220 Days to Go
I know, I know, I’ve used “Wow, what a difference a Year Makes!” as a journal title already …. probably more than once, if anyone's keeping track. But when the treatment for childhood leukemia lasts 26 months (and that’s your BEST case scenario!) well, you’ve got *several* chances to compare snapshots in time, a year apart.
So speaking of snapshots, today’s journal entry will be primarily photographic. Not because I don’t have a lot to say (when do I NEVER not have a lot to say?) but because I want to get these recent pictures put up on the site. Then I’ll update again in a day or two in my usual lengthy, wordy, ongoing, Good-Heavens-does-she-ever-stop-talking-manner.
So, as a preview, check out this picture of Kendrie taken one year ago, when she attended Field Day at her brother and sister’s school in May of 2004:
How pathetic is that? She was seven months into her treatment, which means she was right about at the end of her Interim Maintenance #2 phase. Bald, fatigued, nauseous and miserable. Not since the time I took Blaine to a scrapbook store have I seen a person LESS interested in their surroundings.
Now, check her out as a participant in THIS year’s Field Day extravaganza:
Jesse Owens, eat your heart out! Have you ever seen such baton-passing skill???
I don't know whether to be impressed or amused by the look of concentration on this face!
And of course, because no Pre-K activity or event would be complete with Kendrie's boyfriend Nicholas by her side .... the requisite picture of the happy couple.
In case her athletic prowess isn’t evident enough, what with the Field Day photos of all the baton passing and ball bouncing and what-not, check out her t-ball skills from the first scrimmage of the season:
Running to first base after her turn at bat. I love the image of the kid in the background, falling down trying to field her ground ball. That's a pose that happens a LOT in t-ball!
Crossing home plate, to the roar of the crowd ...... (or at least the enthusiastic clapping of one middle-aged mom with a camera around her neck)
"Hey, as much as I like the hitting and the running part, I have to admit that tagging these guys out at first base is kind of fun .... maybe *defense* is my thing!"
So, if you are really, really, really, really, really lucky (and we are) this is what nineteen months of chemotherapy treatment for leukemia looks like. Happy, healthy, pink cheeked and glowing. In case you hadn't realized, kids fall on both ends of the spectrum with regards to side effects from these treatment protocols. Obviously, even with her occasional nausea and fatigue and bone and joint pain, Kendrie is WAY at the good end of the spectrum. Way. As in freakishly-way. We understand that the effects from the various chemos are often cumulative and we still have seven months to go. Don’t think for one second we don’t count our blessings every day. We do. And one of our biggest blessings just learned to tag first.
Hope you all had a great Mothers Day!
PS. If you have a spare second, please visit our friend Caleb’s site. Caleb was diagnosed with leukemia in July of 2002 and has been on chemotherapy for almost three years. Remember when Kendrie said boys get an extra year of chemo because they’re stinky? Well, the real reason is because the testicles are a sanctuary site for leukemia cells and the extra year of chemo is to make sure none of the cancer cells are hiding there. Unfortunately in Caleb’s case, they were, and he has “officially” relapsed, only four months away from being done with treatment.
That’s the thing about this disease that is so frustrating and frightening to me. You can take your medicine just like you’re supposed to, never miss a dose or a day, do everything your doctor tells you to do, avoid all the germs and never skip a doctor’s appointment and wash your hands and everything else …. And BAM, sometimes the cancer comes back anyway. It doesn’t matter if you’ve completed a month of chemo, or six months, or a year, or two years, or even if you’ve been off-treatment for a few years. There is no 100 percent guarantee that what we are doing is going to be enough to keep the leukemia away forever, and that just sucks. It’s random, and it’s terrifying.
Sucking even more for Caleb and his family is that his dad is currently serving in Iraq, so please say a prayer, not only for Caleb’s health, and Caleb's doctors and family as they make some difficult decisions regarding his care, but also that his Dad is able to travel safely back and be with his family. I’m sure they would appreciate some notes of encouragement if you have time to sign their guestbook. I know we love it; I’m sure they would, too.