Note: Last Fall, little Mischa Arnott made the news as she sought a donor so she could receive a life-saving bone marrow transplant. Her mother, Renata Lewis-Arnott, sent this update to the Times Review.
Well, here we are…. Some news for you regarding Mischa, our little three-year-old girl who has been battling bone marrow failure this past year. We are sending out this e-mail as it is both hard and mentally exhausting to keep up with e-mails at times. Sorry for the mass message – you know we wish we could speak with you individually!
Later today, we will be taking Mischa to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver for a long admission. After an extensive search and so much help by many of you to actively sign up for the bone marrow registry or spread news to others you know, Mischa was extremely fortunate to have found a bone marrow match. Only 20-30 per cent of patients actually find a match in the world, so we are very lucky. Starting tomorrow, if she passes one last one-transplant test in the morning, she will be starting chemotherap for a week. Then, on her 4th birthday, Feb. 8, she will be receiving her bone marrow transplant.
The transplant is an extremely risky venture – we have been advised this is our “last resort.” We know the odds are stacked up quite high against us now and for the foreseeable future but she does have this incredible life force about her that has seen her ripping around on her skis on the green runs on Blackcomb for the last month – don’t ask me how. Her hemoglobin is only about 50, which would put any of us in the Intensive Care Unit on life support if we had those same blood counts. I tell ya’, she’s just unbelievable and this is what we really hope can carry her through this next stage of her time. Knowing that her outcome with a transplant is a guessing game at this point, we are trying to let her have as much fun as possible. When she begs us in the morning to go skiing, it’s hard not to give in!
We miss Revelstoke – not everyone knows that we have had to relocate our digs to the coast in order to be closer to BC Children’s Hospital. Not quite ones for the city, we tried to make life a bit closer to normal in the mountains and were able to rent a house in between Whistler and Squamish starting in November. This was a necessary life change to make.
Then, in early December, we had quite devastating news that the cause for Mischa’s bone marrow failure was likely a gene mutation and that our one-year-old girl Esme’s health was also in possible jeopardy in the near future. The tests for Esme are being done currently at a genetics lab in California and so we will know if this was a random or inherited mutation in a few weeks time. We have been told that her chances are good, seeing as how both family histories don’t show any sign of this previously but you can imagine how quickly the stress has now increased with worry for our second daughter now too. To say that we were ‘upset’ by this news was, well, about the biggest understatement you can ever imagine.
In the meantime, we keep on keeping on, one day at a time and we are appreciating each day like never before. We are fully kicked into “survival mode” as they say, and when you are here, HOPE is the biggest thing that you have as a parent.
I have had quite a few requests to send cards or things down here for Mischa. She can’t really accept anything directly into her isolation room over the next two months, so feel free to send things to the house where one of us will generally be every few days.
Our address is: 58 Pinecrest Rd, Whistler, BC, V0N 1B1, (604) 932-3308
Thanks again everyone for all your support and kindness that you have shown. It really has meant so much to us to receive your thoughts and words – even if we can’t always write or phone back. Just you taking your time to think about us and show you’re caring is just so amazing.
All the best for now,
Doug, Renata, Mischa, and Esme