Sunday, March 6, 2011

Honored Hero: Jenna

Jenna (above) is the daugther of another teammate - Terri. Terri shared Jenna's story this past Saturday at training. Jenna was diagnosed with ALL, Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia in 2004, while the family was at Disney World! Yes they were on vacation. She received a blood transfusion in Orlando, then the doctor allowed us 2 days at the beach to relax, and we headed home to Austin to start her cancer treatment.

When they arrived back in Austin they promptly took Jenna to see her new oncologist, Dr. Wells. He explained her condition and treatment, saying the goal was to get her "good as new". Treatment would take approximately 2 1/2 years. During that week long stay she had surgery to implant a mediport in her chest, more specific diagnostic tests, and started chemotherapy.

Terri continued to tell us how Jenna was extremely tired and slept all the time. About a week after being sent home, she started complaining of tummy pain and her color was coming and going. They returned to the hospital and found out Jenna had developed severe pancreatitis from one of the chemo drugs. She was rushed to the Pediatric ICU (PICU) and almost died. There were a few other complications...she had 5 IV sites, a NJ (nasojejunal) tube to bypass her stomach and allow her pancreas to rest. She also had an insulin pump and still does to this day. She was in the PICU 6 days and then transferred to the regular cancer floor. Jenna slowly recovered with time, physical therapy, and the excellent care of the wonderful nurses and doctors.

I'm proud to post that I met Jenna on Saturday at the Honored Hero luncheon...and she is a beautiful, happy young lady in 5th grade! And want to know something else really spectacular about Jenna...last year she was the only 4th grader at her school to get perfect attendance for the that's healthy!! Terri gives credit to God for that. He answered their prayers and healed Jenna, making her strong and resilient.


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