Riley Simmons's Journal
Update from UCSF
Written Jun 27, 2013 8:31pm by Rick SimmonsI think we should quit promising more frequent updates since it doesn't seem to be working. I guess we will just do the best we can. Things have been going very well since the last post. The "B" cycle was very hard on Riley's blood counts (her WBC's actually dropped to 0). She had to be put on house arrest for awhile as she had no immune system but other than that she tolerated it very well. Her counts have since rebounded and she had no problem staying on schedule for her next round.
We reported back to UCSF on Monday for round 4 which started off with her first full scan in months. We are so happy to report that the scan was negative which is positive! That sounds confusing but the bottom line is her doctors were very happy with the results. There is no sign of any bad stuff going on in her head or spine!! I cant tell you how relieved and happy we were to get that news.
Last weekend we celebrated Allie's 19th and Haley's 15th birthday. It is hard to even type this numbers but I'm glad we were able to be home as a family for their birthdays.
Riley reached another milestone in her recovery recently when she participated in her first soccer practice since her diagnosis! She was all smiles out on the field with her friends and although she needed frequent breaks she did great! To give you some idea of what soccer means to Riley, we would like to share the story that was written for the "Kick for a cure" game. Since it tells a little bit about her journey it can be found in "My story" here on Caring Bridge.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to our family and friends for your continued love and support. It has meant so much to us all!!
Love, The Simmons' Family
The "B" Cycle
Written May 31, 2013 10:21pm by Rick SimmonsWe have been dreading this new line up of chemo drugs, not sure why, maybe because Riley has been doing so well we don't want to change anything. Or possibly the fact that Riley has to get several infusions of a drug called Mesna to keep her bladder from bleeding, one of the many side effects (we will spare you the details of the rest) of the chemo she will be receiving. Her "roadmap" consists of three rounds of cycle A, cycle A, and cycle B, ( AAB, AAB, AAB, finito!) this is her first cycle "B". So, with that weighing heavily on our minds, we decided to take a little detour on our way to ucsf to visit the Scholtens' at Seacliff Beach. Great decision!!! We had an amazing day relaxing on the beach with good friends and perfect weather. Riley couldn't stop smiling and laughing with Ariana. We wish the day never had to end. Unfortunately we couldnt stop time so Thursday Riley was admitted and started on the new chemo. So far, she is doing great! Allie is here with us too, a big treat for Riley. Haley is camping with friends, I am sure having a blast! (Can you believe Allie just finished her first year of college and Haley finished her fist year of high school???). Allie and Riley have been cuddled up in bed together giggling all day!!! Riley is doing so well there is talk of us getting out of here earlier than scheduled. We will have to see after chemo tonight. Keep your fingers crossed!
Written May 19, 2013 6:18pm by Rick SimmonsSo many amazing things have happened since our last journal entry. We clearly need to post updates more frequently. On Friday 04/19, while Riley was in the hospital for her chemo treatment, the Manteca high school girls soccer team held their annual "Kick for a cure" soccer game. This year's game was held in Riley's honor and benefit. During halftime of the game, Riley's team played a scrimmage. Ironically, Riley played in the same scrimmage last year before her diagnosis. It was unfortunate that the timing didn't work out for her to be there, but she was able to meet the team on their photo day and she even got to sit on the bench during games before and after her hospital stay. The team and coaching staff embraced her and made her feel as though she was part of the team. She was thrilled when the girls gave her the game ball after winning the game. As if that was not enough, the Geerlof family purchased a Hope Solo autographed soccer ball, which was one of the raffle prizes at the event, and presented it to Riley during a soccer tournament where she was watching her team play. It's so amazing that the game that Riley loves has given so much back to her.
Have you ever heard the song "I won't give up" by Jason Mraz? That is a song that will be in our hearts forever thanks to Riley's wonderful friend Malery States. When Riley was first diagnosed Malery sent us a video of her singing the song for Riley. It was an extremely emotional time and seeing this little girl pour her heart out in a song was so uplifting. It must have taken us 10 tries to get all the way through the song but it helped us so much. I bring this up because Riley's school recently held their talent show and this time we were treated to a live performance by Malery. Furthermore, she asked Riley to come on stage with her so she could dedicate the song and sing it to her. With Malery's dad Brett playing the guitar she performed another beautiful rendition of the song. Needless to say, someone must have been chopping onions in the auditorium because our eyes were watering something fierce. All of Riley's friends and teammates have been so wonderful during this ordeal. I don't know if they realize how much they are helping her through this. Riley has a constant stream of therapies but I think the play dates with her friends may be the most effective.
Those were some of the highlights heading into this weekend. We had a wonderful day yesterday at the "relay for life" event at the Ripon high stadium. Riley was invited to join a team hosted by Brad and Paulette Field. As we walked the track and talked to people that heard of Riley's story or had similar things happening in their lives it helped us realize that we are not alone in this fight. It was a tremendously inspirational day with wonderful people all around doing everything they can to help fight this terrible disease. If you have ever been touched in anyway by cancer or even if you haven't, we highly recommend going to the relay next year as it is fun for all ages and it is for a great cause. If you made it this far, thank you for reading and I hope we can make future entries more frequent and therefore shorter.
The Simmons Gang