Warming up to the mzungus

Hi again!

Shelton and Erica left this morning for a safari and will be back tomorrow so I’ll try to keep everyone in the loop until they return and can update you on their adventures the last couple of days.

It’s always an interesting day when the kids really decide to start warming up to us.  Initially they start out sitting on their beds very polite with us and then there comes a point when they are running at us in the morning and following us around in the afternoon–and then they get a hold of our Iphones and the relationship is cemented!

There is one boy, Henri, who has been the fastest to become our friend.  He made a paper airplane on Thursday (I’m not sure where) and he and Erica were flying it around–I’m told at the fans to see if they could really make it fly.  He loved that paper airplane!  And you can imagine what happens to paper airplanes at the hot, damp equator–on Friday morning he came running up to us with his very limp paper airplane showing me how floppy the wings were and demonstrating that when you tried to fly it, it just fell on the floor.  So he wanted more paper–never fear a new airplane was flying later in the day!

Henri also fancies himself an amateur photographer and videographer.  Maybe because he has the biggest smile I think I’ve ever seen.  He had Erica’s phone on Thursday and wanted to take videos but he takes videos that are very short like pictures–but he doesn’t want to take pictures.  Friday he had my phone and I now have a series of Henri selfie videos on my phone.  He is actually very good with an Iphone, he knows how to go between apps and can zoom in and zoom out and all.  We were talking for a couple of minutes not paying attention to them and suddenly heard loud music coming from my phone–which I couldn’t figure out until we realized that they had found the Remission 2 game that I have on my phone from when we were trying the game out.  So then there was a whole herd of little boys around the phone.  Well, I guess we are taking a multi-faceted approach to curing cancer and I guess all little boys like video games.

There is a super cute little girl named, Helen, who is about 3 years old who I think has a crush on Shelton and that may go both ways.  She likes to find him and follow him around.

The kids were relatively stable on a medical front yesterday.  There is a child who is 2 years old that we met Tuesday with ortital and jaw masses that were obstructing his airway that I advised just starting Burkitt’s treatment on becuase the tumors were literally growing before our eyes–so what else could it be?  He got chemo on Wednesday night and yesterday things were visibly better.  We would worry a lot about tumor lysis and do lots of labs in the US–by omission he didn’t get IV fluids after chemo Wednesday but seems to be urinating just fine.  I think his Thursday chemistries didn’t result yesterday.   So we will see what the next couple of days brings.

As a side note for all you oncologists out there, we asked and they don’t see a lot of later increases in phosphorus.  They are not necesarily looking for it either but we seem to see that more often.

Joycee, my little one from the last post was doing great on Friday.  Her tumor is also visibly getting smaller and her Dad reported that she was able to eat some solid foods too.  So we’ll see how she does over the next couple of days as well.

Shelton, went on his first consult mission to one of the other wards outside of Jengo La Watoto yesterday too and really got a picture of how wonderful the oncology ward is compared to the other conditions.  They brought that consult child back and we suspect metastatic neuroblastoma presenting with a large orbital mass.  It’s unclear to me so far whether the abdomen has been imaged yet because the child came later in the day but the mama had the head CT done in Arusha in February and the orbital mass seems to be arising from the bone with other skull based mets.  We will continue to work with them on this one.

That’s it for now, when my phone is charged again after its run with the children I’ll try to post some of the Tinga Tinga art I talked about previously.



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