Kermott Chronicles
Rachael Marie Kermott

My Family

David Emerson Kermott
Renee Eunice Kermott
Rachael Marie Kermott
b. 12/18/1994  

Rachael is in the top-middle of this picture.
When she was born she was 8lb. 13 oz. and 21" long

Last Update: Tuesday, October 20th, 1998 @ 8:56am

Kidney Update

Saturday, August 2 @ 4:55pm

We went to the University of Chicago Medical Centre Saturday for a CT scan.
Rachael was very brave despite the IV and the insertion of a feeding tube up her nose
in order to get some awful tasting stuff (contrast) into her stomach. The liquid allowed her
GI track to be seen in contrast to the kidneys. The scan gave the doctors a better
view of the tumor that may have been growing on her kidney since conception.

The doctors believe that this may be what is known as "Wilm's Tumor" which has always
been known to be cancerous. It also appears to be in Phase I which is the most contained.
The tumor seems to be in the upper middle of the kidney which would require that the kidney
be removed. Survival rates for this procedure during Phase I are better than 95%.

I'm not sure which was giving the most trouble: The HMO or the Hospital.
The HMO would only allow a referral for the CT scan and would not allow admission until
after the results are viewed by a doctor. The hospital wouldn't allow an outpatient CT
scan until Tuesday and wanted Rachael to be admitted before they would do the CT scan.

The saying goes: "Don't let the sun go down on a Wilm's"
Whenever a tumor of this kind is discovered you don't wait for schedules.
The doctors at North Suburban Clinic were very helpful in getting us seen ASAP

We ended up going in to the Emergency Room to await a CT scan--bypassing the need to be admitted.

The surgery has not yet been scheduled. The doctor plans to remove the right kidney,
right adrenal gland, and appendix while she's in the area. Recovery time is usually
4 to 5 days. With only one kidney Rachael will need to stay out of full contact sports
like football :(

There will be a rather large scar that will run from just above her belly button to her side.

I (David) will be staying with Rachael through the night. Renee will be going back home
each night. Only one parent is allowed in the room for the night. Renee's sister, Michelle,
has been staying with us and watching Amber for us.
Monday, August 4 @ 8:55 They have sent samples of the tumor to the lab to check the pathology of the cancer. We will get the results back on Wednesday. Here's what we know now...
They're 99% sure it is a Wilm's tumor. They have changed the status from Stage I to Stage II due to complications during surgery. When removing the kidney the top of the tumor cracked open which spilled cancer cells into her abdomen. They washed her out with saline and suctioned her out during surgery. The spillage means that they will require that she be on chemo-therapy for a longer time (which should kill any cancer cells that may have spread through her system). This also means that there is a greater possibility that the cancer could spread to other areas like her lungs or brain. She lost very little blood and did not require a transfusion.

Rachael is back with us in her room after 3 hours in surgery which started at 2:15pm. She has an oxygen line and stomach pump tube in her nose, a catheter for urine, a saline solution IV, and a heart/lung monitor for me to look at as I sit her with her.

I went down to the OR Recovery room and sat with her until she was able to be moved to her room in the Children's hospital. While I was holding her hand she opened her eyes and smiled at me. I told her that they were all done and she fell back asleep. She woke up again 15 minutes later when the blood pressure gauge started squeezing her arm. She said, "Yeah" when I asked her if she wanted to see mama.
Tuesday, August 5 @ 11:51pm

No word yet on the lab work.

That was a rough night. She slept peacefully until 3am. The nurses take the vital signs every three hours so she had to grab as much sleep between prodding's as she could get. I held her hand from 3am to 6am (both of us falling asleep between jolts--I'll explain in a minute). Rachael doesn't like getting her blood pressure taken but is getting used to it. She has only said a few words all day. Mostly "no", one "yes", when asked if she wanted to see a movie she said "Cinderella". She isn't very vocal about pain; but, the look on her face and her behavior is usually enough to clue us in. Between 3 and 6am she slept fitfully. Every 90 seconds she would jolt herself awake. I asked her what she was dreaming and she said, "I fell" (I wasn't expecting an answer). For the most part she just keeps quiet. She had 1mg of morpheme at 6am and the nurses have been giving her about 1mg every 3 hours.

Renee's been getting to the hospital at about 8am with William in tow. He's in another growth spurt and has been eating about every hour. The nice thing about it is that he tends to sleep through the night (about 7 hours) before expecting breakfast. Renee's going to spend the night with Rachael and William so that I can give my aching back a rest. The chairs fold out to a hide-a-bed which has bars in all the wrong places. I've got a killer back-ache.
They removed the catheter at noon today and we were able to put a diaper back on her. The allowed visitors so I was surprised when I came back from lunch and found that they had moved us to a new (and bigger) room which was now filled with visitors. Renee's Aunt the missionary from Chile, Renee's parents, sister, one nephew, one niece, and Amber (Rachael's sister). There's a nice(er) bed in the adjoining suite which Renee can sleep on (lucky duck) and a shower. I've been washing my hair in the sink (no I don't have to take it off first!).

Renee just called and told me that after they had adjusted Rachael's morpheme (1.2mg over a half an hour) and that she seems much more comfortable. She's purked up and is talking now. I just wish they allowed both parents to stay the night.

I'm hoping to get to the hospital at about 8:30 tomorrow. They should be getting the lab results to us around noon.
Wednesday, August 6, 1997 @ 11:12pm

The preliminary lab results were viewed as "Favorable Histology" which means that the cancer is less likely to grow back or spread. We will know for certain after all 14 slides have been analyzed. They should be finished looking at the slides by noon on Thursday. They have confirmed that it is Willm's tumor and it is cancerous. More on what that means tomorrow (after I learn more about it).

Today Rachael got out of bed and visited the Toy's -R- Us playland in the basement of Wyler's Children's hospital. Wyler's was in the news today. Evidentially some gang member shot at another guy and missed and hit a child who is now in Wyler's. Rachael played for about an hour, walking all over the place. She about gave me a heart attack with each move she made. She would drop something and try to pick it up and stop and hold her abdomen. She wanted to take some dinosaurs back to the room to play with but they didn't want her to. When we got back to the room we watched "Snow White" and the Doctor's visited to give us the preliminary word on the pathology of the tumor. Rachael's not had a thing to eat since Sunday noon. Nothing to drink since Monday morning at 3am. She asked for a cookie this morning and said that she was hungry at night. She has a very large canker sore on her tongue. She slept for 3 hours and then went back down the playland. She was walking much better this time and we played for about 2 hours until they closed up for the night. They did let her take some potato heads which we played with till I had to go. When I got up to leave Rachael pouted and said "Daddy!"--I played with her for a while longer.
Thursday, August 7, 1997 @ 8:01pm

We got the final lab results this afternoon: Favorable Histology. The favorable part is that there are better percentages of complete recovery in Stage II (in the 90%) where unfavorable is much lower. They did find cancerous cells in the outer cell wall of the kidney which would have put her into Stage II even if the tumor had not broken open during surgery. She will have 18 weeks of chemo which will require injections once a week for 10 weeks Rachael has a central-line which allows her to be given an injection without having to poke her each time. She will start chemo-therapy this weekend and will be able to come home. The two medicines that she will be given once a week for 10 weeks: Dactinomycin and Vincristine. Nausea is the most common side affect.

Rachael got her NG tube (stomach pump) taken out this morning. At noon she had a liquid lunch. She's getting around to the point that I don't have to help her stand or pick things up for her. I do help her down from the bed. She has scared me so many times today that my chest is hurting--the adrenaline surge--the jolts, whew… She took a walk around the hall, played Nintendo64 (kind of), painted, cooked her plastic food and served it to Renee and I.

Amber is here to help make things interesting. They played, watched movies, and fought just like they always do. As I'm typing this they are watching The Hunchback. I fast forwarded the part where Quasimodo's mother is killed--amazing that Disney showed that.

The news about Rachael is slowing to a trickle. I will most likely not update this page until sometime this weekend.
Friday, August 8, 1997 @ 10:00am

Well, I guess I will update this page before the weekend…I was so surprised by the news I wanted to put it on the page right away. We may be going home today! Rachael is taking a bath now and they removed her IV. She hasn't had any morpheme since yesterday noon, only Tylenol. There's so much to adjust to. To a certain extent we will have to watch out for her but we shouldn't isolate her or treat her much differently. It will be a hard thing to control.

Friday, September 12, 1997 @ 10:58am

It's been a while since the last time I updated this page. Here's an update.

It's hard to know exactly how bad Rachael feels; but, usually two to three days after the chemo shots she feels rather crummy.. Every Monday she gets a Vincristine chemo shot which is the milder of the two shots. This Monday she will also get an Actinomycin D shot. She started losing her hair three weeks ago with the first Actinomycin D shot. She still has hair but it is very thin. I'm guessing that after this next shot there wont be any left. We'll be buying her some cool looking hats. She is much more touchy about the food she eats and we cater to her whims regarding this so that she keeps the food down. Amber seems to understand that Rachael is sick and needs special attention; but, Rachael seems to get rather jelous of the time that Renee needs to spend with William.

It is very hard to see your young daughter go through something like this. Sometime earlier this year I was saying to Renee that I was rather content. We were all healthy. We were going to be able to pay taxes. My computer had enough hard drive space.... Life was good. Murphy usually gets the last laugh...

Let me make this point (because it's my web page I can say what I want). God shares our grief. He does not cause it. God gave us Life. If we know Him then we can have MORE life (life more abundant). LIFE HAPPENS! All we can do is deal with it. Don't turn your back on God. I believe that God does heal--if it is part of his plan. All I can say is that "All things work together for Good for those that Love God." Whatever happens we WILL be there for Rachael and will help her through the times ahead. I thank God for Rachael.

Wednesday, November 19, 1997 @ 9:49pm

Rachael has one more chemo shot left on December 8th. Her hair started to grow back after she stopped receiving chemo shots each Monday--now she gets them every three weeks and even that is almost over. On Nov 17th we went to Wyler's Children's Hospital to get another chemo shot, blood work, and an ultrasound of her abdomin. The ultrasound went well. Everything looked fine there. The Make a Wish foundation is sending us to Disney World sometime next year for 5 days. We've never been on a real family vacation. We usually just visit family. The kids will love it.
Tuesday, January 27th, 1998 @ 8:56am

Rachael's tube was removed Friday, Jan 23rd at about 8am. She misses it. We told her that they would send it in the mail and she could have it again. They said that quite a few people ask for the tube as a keep-sake. Rachael's hair is growing quite nicely. He color is very good. Yesterday she had Renee give me a call at work to tell me that she wanted her "special tube" back.
Tuesday, October 20th, 1998

Rachael continues to have good check-ups. We go to U of C every three months. The doctors are continuing to watch an area in her lungs which they noticed on June 29th. The next day we went back in for a CT scan of her chest and abdomin. I had the day off already because Renee and I were going to spend the day together on our 8th Anniversary. The "Artifact" was determined to be some sort of vascular tissue (veins) that for some reason are showing up on the X-Rays. They continue to monitor it and compare all the prior X-Rays with the new ones.
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