The following page contains updates regarding Mary Beth's progress for December of 1999.
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Mary Beth is truly remarkable!! Yesterday she underwent surgery to have a central line placed (that will be used for medication, chemotherapy treatment, etc), a spinal tap and had bone marrow withdrawn for testing. She was in the hospital at 8:00 a.m., was under anesthesia for these surgeries, and left the hospital after 6:00 p.m. Today she showed up at 9:00 a.m. for the DuBourg Math Contest. Not only did she show up -- she won a 4th place ribbon for her individual score. She stayed the entire morning with her schoolmates to participate in team games and wait for the awards ceremony. Congratulations, Mary Beth -- for your mathematics achievement and your continued courage!!
PRAYERS REQUESTED....Mary Beth is undergoing another surgery tonight because the initial tumor regenerated itself on her cerebellum and was larger than its original size prior to the first surgery. Radiation is then scheduled to begin on Tuesday. She has had a very rough week and went back into the hospital because of recurrent nausea and dehydration. Please keep her and the entire Ricken family in your prayers.
Mary Beth came through the Sunday surgery successfully as well as a surgery on Monday to put a permanent shunt in place. She had her first meal today since the day of the DuBourg Math Contest (12/4) and she is sleeping a lot. Sheila did say that Mary Beth was asking for some Frappucino from Starbuck's!! Guess she was getting pretty tired of her ice-chip diet!! Plans are that she will be in the hospital for about a week with radiation scheduled to start soon.
When Mary Beth went back to the hospital about 10 days ago, it was her birthday. She was very sick, wasn't feeling well, had to be re-hydrated and undergo more testing. It wasn't a particularly fun-filled birthday. One bright spot of the day though was when she got to meet Hale Irwin who happened to be in the hospital for the dedication of the hematology - oncology clinic being named in his honor. Here is his picture with Mary Beth.
She started chemotherapy and radiation treatments on Thursday. According to her dad, things are progressing. She has had Steak and Shake twice, Subway, Taco Bell, and Long John's Silvers and doesn't particularly care for the hospital food.
Mary Beth has a new haircut -- "like Winona Ryder's." she said. She donated her hair to Locks of Love, a group that makes wigs for cancer patients. She may be coming home in the next couple of days, depending on how quickly they can get some of her strength back.
Add McDonald's to the list of non-hospital food she's been eating.
Mary Beth continues to do the unexpected. She came home from the hospital on Monday and then after her radiation session on Tuesday, she managed to summon up the strength to attend the 8th grade Author's Tea.
It was hosted at the Berras' home with parents and friends of the 8th graders gathering to hear each of the students read an original composition which they had chosen. Mary Beth was not feeling very well, so Mrs. Barrere read Mary Beth's piece. The evening was enjoyed by all and the guests were very impressed with the students' writing.
Mary Beth looks very cute in her new short hairdo and it resting at home after the daily radiation treatments. She and her family would like to wish everyone a Blessed Christmas and thank all for their continued prayers and kindness.