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Is it Time for a Long Overdue Update?

I'm gonna say... YES, so grab a drink, grab a snack, have a seat, and here we go!


I know it's been a while since the last time we updated you, and we do sincerely apologize for that; there has been so much going on with Autumn and her family. However, here we are, to tell you ALL about it!


So, where to start...


MIBG Radiation

In our last update, Autumn was supposed to receive her MIBG radiation treatment in November of 2023. A few days before, after completing a few scans and tests at SickKids, her doctors and oncologists discovered something quite serious.


Cancer had spread quite rapidly over the last few months and the cancer in her skull had began eroding the bone that connects the nose and the skull together, causing the cancer to form in its place. Doctors were worried that if Autumn went through with the radiation treatment as planned, the cancer in that specific location would shrink and could potentially cause brain leakage through her nasal cavities.


Instead of the generalized radiation, Autumn completed 8 separate days of localized radiation, hitting spots that were high in cancer (and specific areas that were getting painful for her), such as her skull, legs and spine, just to name a few.


A few weeks ago, Autumns leg pain was becoming quite unbearable, and she took it upon herself to tell her mom that she wanted to go to the hospital. The Tylenol and morphine were simply not enough, and we knew that the only place we needed to be, was SickKids.


After being admitted, and realizing that the cancer was becoming a lot more aggressive, doctors started Autumn's generalized MIBG radiation treatment, which, if you remember from over a year and a half ago, meant that she would be in a bed surrounded by lead walls for about a week.


Autumn powered through her radiation treatment like the champ that she is, and after her radiation levels dropped to an acceptable level, she was released from the hospital and was able to go home!


Blood

A few days later, after finishing her radiation treatment, enjoying her time at home, Autumn went in to the hospital to receive a blood transfusion, as her platelets were running low.


Blood platelets (for those that don't know) are tiny blood cells that help your body form clots to stop bleeding. Having a low platelet count can be life-threatening, especially to kids living with cancer.


After arriving at one of her dedicated satellite hospitals, we were told something we never thought was possible: "we don't have any...".


Don't have any? I mean, we've been seeing the ads on TV and on the web, how blood banks are running low and that people should go out and donate. We honestly just thought they were running a little low, but never to this level.


Now, I know a lot of people were worried that Autumn didn't get the blood that she needed. She eventually did, just not the day that she needed them.


The scary part for Autumn is that when she needs blood products, either hemoglobin or platelets, she needs it NOW. Not getting the proper treatment when it's needed the most can be the difference between life and death. This isn't something we can be okay with, and we need to find a way to make sure this never happens again! (Spoiler alert - our plan can be found by continuing to read)


Infection... **sorry, infecTIONS

After the radiation treatment and the eventual blood transfusion, Autumn developed a high fever and unfortunately had to be re-admitted to SickKids, after spending only 4 days at home.


After trying to determine why she was spiraling down so quickly, doctors ran an array of tests and cultures, only to find out that she had (get ready for this...) pseudomonas aeruginosa.


What the f$&k is that, you ask? That's a great question, we'll let Dr. Google answer that for us. The bottom line is, it's a serious bacteria that is capable of causing antibiotic resistant infections.

Oh, and then, she ended up with an infection causing open sores on her tongue.


What's that you say? There can't be anything more? Oh, my dear, if only you were right. Two days ago, she developed pneumonia.


I can hear you from behind your phone or computer right now: "okay this kid has gone through enough". Well, yesterday she received more platelets and developed an allergic reaction, which caused her heart rate to jump up to over 200 beats per minute (tachycardia). There must have been over 15 doctors and nurses in her room trying to figure out what to do, and luckily they found the perfect medication cocktail to calm her down.


What's Next Well, at this point, we wait. She is still emitting an extremely low level of radiation from her treatment, she has a couple of infections and she has pneumonia, so the best place for her is exactly where she is now: at SickKids. She is slowly getting better; the fever is starting to come down, and her energy levels are rising a bit (she has enough energy to yell at us, so to me, that means things are moving up). Hopefully things can slowly come back to normal and we can get the (insert preferred swear word here) out of the hospital and back at home!


ENOUGH WITH THIS POOP, TIME FOR GOOD NEWS


Ontario Police College Fundraiser During the last update, we let you know that over 550 police recruits and instructors from across Ontario raised money for Team Autumn through a variety of different functions and events. After 3 months of finding unique ways of raising money, all the while going through intense mental and physical training, we are proud to say that a total of $18,550 dollars was raised for neuroblastoma research at SickKids Hospital in Toronto. This money will go directly to help fund research and eventually find a cure for children who will be diagnosed with this type of cancer in the future. We are so incredibly proud and thankful to all the men and women who dedicated hours and days doing everything they could to support this cause.


Autumn's Make-A-Wish Tree / IAMGOLD

The last time we wrote, we also informed you that Autumn was chosen to be one of Make-A-Wish Canada's recipient of Trees of Joy. IAMGOLD, a gold producer and developer based in Canada with operating mines in North America and West Africa, is a company that donated money and time to help create the most beautiful Christmas tree for Autumn, filled with everything she absolutely loves. From princesses to beautiful ornaments, they worked so hard to make sure Autumn had the most amazing time, and she was over the moon. We are so thankful to them and their entire team that helped make this event happen, and we hope that they know how much of an impact they had on making her smile that day.


Blood Drive Our blood drive is one of the many, amazing events that we hold, and that we will organize more regularly, as blood is needed every single day for so many people in this country, young and old alike. Donating blood only requires giving up a bit of your time (and blood, of course), but it has one of the biggest impacts on children living with cancer. Autumn has depended on blood donations to receive transfusions, and we can honestly say that she would not be here today if it wasn't for people donating blood. Keep an eye out for more blood drives, and soon, we'll be setting a new goal of 500 blood donations a year in support of Team Autumn.


Sarah's little helper

Mom does spend a bit of time working at Lala Salon in Guelph, working on her hair extension business (Check out Level Eleven Extensions on Google)! When mom goes to work, Autumn loves to spend the day with her, practicing on her own mannequin head, and meeting all the wonderful people who come in.


Why the long face?

Autumn's friend Harper celebrated her birthday and invited Autumn to go horseback riding with her and other friends. This was Autumn's first time and well, she absolutely LOVED it. Could NOT stop talking about it, even asking us when she'd be getting her own horse (how about we start taking care of our dogs first...)! Thank you Harper and Heather for organizing this wonderful party, Autumn had a lot of fun and she will be remembering this one for sure!


Cruise

Autumn, mom and Nana enjoyed a little week at sea in November when they went on a cruise. Even though their stop in the Bahamas was cancelled due to weather, they were able to enjoy some time on the cruise ship and Haiti, where Autumn soaked up the sun. The best part of all this - Autumn did not give a flying BEEP cause all she wanted to do was be at the Kids Club on the ship! Hey - at least she had fun.


It's a DANCE, DANCE PARTY!

Autumn and her friend Madelyn have been tied to the hip ever since they met a few months ago, and Madelyn is quite the dance teacher for little Miss Autumn. We are so incredibly grateful to have such wonderful friends who will give anything to make Autumn part of their lives. To see Autumn happy, smile and be a normal kid is everything we could ever ask for (okay, maybe a cure for paediatric cancer obviously)!


Okay.. well, that's enough for now. Also, I must turn this laptop off and change rooms as Sarah has been repeating "Istanbul was Constantinople, Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople" and I don't know how much more I can handle.


Toodles for now, and with much love from EVERYONE at Team Autumn, thank you for reading (hopefully you're a few drinks deep by now - I am)


And as always... enjoy the plethora of pictures!



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4 Comments


Guest
Feb 26

It’s a good song!!!

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Replying to

don’t even try Sarah… it’s NOT!

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Guest
Feb 26

I had 2 doughnuts and a cup of coffee while reading this. Thank you so much for posting. I have grown to love little Autumn from your posts and I had been wondering how she was doing.😍

Quwatha Valentine

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Replying to

Thank YOU Quwatha for continuously showing your support! 💛

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