Friday, June 27, 2008

Prayers for Kennedy

On the sidebar, you might notice a new button. It's for a sweet little girl named Kennedy. Kennedy is only about a month younger than Sarah, but has been through so much in her short 4 years. She has a little something extra, like Sarah, but her family has been tested with some medical challenges that we haven't. Last year, right before her 3rd birthday, Kennedy was diagnosed with AML (Acute Myelogenous Leukemia). Kids with Ds have a much higher rate than the average population to get diagnosed with leukemia. But, the up side is that kids with Ds also have a much higher remission/success rate. The chemo schedule for AML is rigorous (this is the same form of leukemia that Chelsea was diagnosed with). It is 6-9 months of chemo, between 4-6 rounds, with each round lasting about 1 month from admission to release. Then there's the side effects of chemo: hair loss, NO immune system, pain, nausea, general fatigue. So many of our online friends have had to deal with this.

After she got through that with flying colors (she's still in remission!!! Yay!!), she had another surprise for her family. See, another medical issue that many kids with Ds have to face is AAI (Atlantoaxial Instability). It is a problem in the upper part of the spine where the neck vertebras aren't formed correctly. Kids with Ds have to be screened starting at age 3 to make sure they don't have this otherwise they could be seriously injured or even paralyzed if they have a bad fall. Sarah was tested last year and so far everything looks good, but she will be getting more x-rays done soon. Kennedy was also diagnosed with an even more serious version of AAI called AOI (atlanto-occipital instability). To borrow the way Leah described it, Kennedy's head is merely resting on top of her spine. She is flying to Philly today to have a spine fusion surgery. This will be a long recovery time for her & her family. To make things a tad more complicated, Kennedy's dad is serving this country in the US Army, and left in December for his 2nd tour in Afghanistan. He will be flying to Philly to be with his family during this time, and will be able to stay with them during Kennedy's recovery.

Did I mention Kennedy has 2 brother's and 1 sister? This whole family could definitely use prayers for strength and courage through this tough time.

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