December 03, 2008

Beginning to Engraft

DSC_0200 It's been a couple weeks since we've had a chance to write, so apologies for the long post. Here are a few updates:

The staff and volunteers at Sloan helped made Thanksgiving at the hospital as normal as possible. Since we weren't able to bring Luca out of the room, volunteers brought us a small table with a white table cloth, and delivered a surprisingly good Thanksgiving feast. Luca was having a good day, and was playing with his toys while we enjoyed a quiet meal and a bottle of wine. We have a lot to be thankful for: all the overwhelming support we've received from everyone, the amazing doctors, nurses, and staff at Sloan, all of the families we've met...and the blessing of having Luca with us.

At some point early Sunday morning, while we were asleep, Luca somehow managed to take off the thick bandage dressing on his chest and remove his central line - the tube that was surgically placed for all of his IV medications to run through. He didn't yank out any of the stitching; instead he gingerly threaded the line cleanly out, leaving an exposed hole, and then went back to sleep.

We'll refrain from including all of the details, but needless to say it was a shocking scene to wake up to. Within a few seconds there were about 10 doctors and nurses in our room. Luckily Luca had just received blood a few hours earlier, and didn't lose too much of it. The surgical team came in later that day to replace the line, and Dr. Emma (one of Luca's favorite surgeons) was nice enough to file down Luca's nails while he was under anesthesia in the OR. Hopefully that should put a damper on any further Houdini-like stunts.

The transplant is going generally well. Luca's counts have started coming back pretty quickly, and this is evidence that his transplanted stem cells have begun to engraft. This is very encouraging, and everyone here is impressed and excited at the progress.

He has seen some bad days from the nasty chemo side-affects, but has been able to fight through them, hour by hour. Over the past few days, however, it's become more and more laborious for Luca to breathe. There are a few potential causes, and we're staying on top of each one. Last night the team decided that Luca's situation was deserving of closer attention, so we packed up our stuff and moved over to the Pediatric Observation Unit, where we started our journey at Sloan back in March.

Here Luca has his own nurse, and his vital signs are monitored continuously. There are two potential places you go to from the POU: back to the regular floor if things get better, or across the street to the ICU if things get worse. Things are looking good so far...Luca was able to hold his own last night, and today even had enough energy to sit up and play for a bit. God willing, the continued return of Luca's white cells will resolve the problem over the next couple days, his breathing will return to normal, and we'll have another sigh of relief to let out on the way to a recovery.

As always, the love and support we've been lucky enough to receive helps us through each day. A grand caynon of thanks to everyone.


Manal & Greg,
You continue to amaze us with your strength and patience, may God bless you and keep you strong.
You are in our thoughts and prayers.
Rania & Chris

Love, strength and prayers coming from Brooklyn....

You give me strength Luca! You are in our thoughts & prayers!


Samer, Michelle & Sienna

Manal, Greg, & Luca,

Keep fighting little man!! Our love, support, thoughts, and prayers are always with you.
We love you and miss you!!
Hugs and Kisses

The Lampman Family

Luca, Manal & Greg,
We are thankful for YOU! You have given us strength and determination that we would never have known existed. You are very special people in our lives and we pray for you daily. Luca- can't wait to meet you! Manal & Greg- miss you so very much! Love you tons & tons!!
We love you
Holly, Andy, Tommy & Matthew

Dearest Manal, Greg, and Luca,
Thank you for posting and letting us know how things have been proceeding. Sounds like Luca has conquered another feat and milestone in his recovery. This is great news. Now we just need to keep those nails trimmed up =). Seriously, he is so determined all the time. You gotta love his spunk! Definately a Zraiker =). With Daddys brilliance of course!

Continued prayers, hope, and lots of love during this time.
Love you guys,

Can you believe how flat Missouri looked against Oklahoma last night! It's the Big 12 Championship, man, you gotta want it! Anyway, thanks for watching the game with me last night. It's always more fun to watch a big game with one of your best bros. Be good. See you soon.

we think of you three everyday. keep fighting and know that we love you.

matthew melanie and wyatt

We know you can do it! Keep fighting little Luca! We love you and think about you everyday.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family always.
We love you!
The Craig Family

Luca, YOU ARE A CHAMP. God Bless You and your wonderful family. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

Keep fighting little champ! You are always in our thoughts and prayers.
Big kiss to all of you - we miss you!

This is such a powerful picture that truly shows the incredible love the three of you have for each other. I feel so blessed to have Luca in my life. For a baby boy who is almost 1 years old, Luca has taught me soooo much, a life time of lessons.

Miss you so much Manal and Greg, hopefully I can come by tonight.

Love you Luca!

I cannot stop thinking of this picture- Greg you have an amazing way of really capturing the love and strength Luca finds from you guys. Although he looks like he really feels yucky, it is SO clear he feels safe in his mom and dad's arms and knows he will be taken care of. Again, know you are in our thoughts and prayers always- Love, Kelli

I have to imagine you all find the strength each day more and more as you need it. I truly believe he is such a fighter and imagine he shows that to you both each day. Continue to trust in that- you are CONSTANTLY in our thoughts, prayers and minds. We love you!!!
John, Kelli, Johnny, Jake and Jordan

I think this was a sign from Luca saying enough of this crap, I'm better.

It seems like he was really on a mission.
God bless you all. Your in my prayers.

Evie Hawa

I love you guys. You have everyone's support and love. Luca is so strong and we are fighting with him. There is a long, happy, family-filled life ahead of Luca, it's right around the corner!

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