122 Days to Go
First, let me apologize for the delay in updating. There might actually be a few people (Hi, Mom!) who noticed. Kendrie had an all-day clinic appointment on Friday, and I flew out of town to visit friends this weekend, so my computer time was severely hampered. And YES, for those of you with curious minds and/or good memories ….. just so you know …. I DID stick an extra pair of socks in my purse to put on my feet at airport security. In a few months, when I can shuck the sandals (which I hate) for boots (which are MUCH more my style) it won’t be an issue. But for now, standing around looking like the dorkiest tourist in the WORLD is worth not having those nasty airport-floor germs attaching themselves to my feet. Was I a failure in the fashion world? Yes … but at least I didn’t hyperventilate like I did the last time, so it was worth it.
Anyway, Kendrie has been coasting along at 65 percent chemo since she got out of the hospital in early July and doing great. I’d almost forgotten that most of you actually check in on this site to make sure she’s doing ok. Sometimes, I’m so self-absorbed, I think it’s nothing more than a place for me to vent about my crazy family. So, just to bring you up to speed, I thought I’d let you know about Kendrie’s clinic appointment and how things went.
Back when she was in the hospital in late June and her counts just wouldn’t recover, you might remember they gave her a transfusion of something called IVIG …. I’m sure there’s a fancy, medical, technological explanation of what it is and what it does, but I don’t know it. Basically, it’s like a booster shot for the immune system. As happens occasionally, Kendrie had a reaction to this transfusion ….. uncontrollable shaking, chills so bad her teeth were literally chattering, and feeling colder than she’s ever felt in her life. We threw so many warm blankets on her we almost couldn’t find her!
Well, IVIG is given every month for three months, meaning Kendrie was due for the next transfusion. Although her counts are back up to where they should be (which also means we’ve now upped one of her chemo meds, the 6MP, back to 100 percent) she has to receive all of the IVIG. Sort of a “better safe than sorry” measure, since her body, her immune system (and her parents!) are just beaten down after almost two years of chemo. I was a little worried about her having another reaction, so they pre-medicated her with Tylenol, IV Benadryl, and IV Decadron. It was like watching a drunk fall asleep at a party … I think she was still chewing a bite of corndog in her mouth when she passed out. But at least she didn’t have any reaction this time and the transfusion went as it should.
I knew that it would take several hours for the transfusion, in addition to the triage, port access, exam and chemo. It has been months since we’ve had a “long” clinic day and I was determined not to mess it up. I made a mental list of everything I wanted to take that day. Blanket and pillow for her, book for me, dvd player and dvds for her, a few books and toys for her, a bag with snacks, a bag with drinks, and the bag of Beanie Babies that my girlfriend Renee gave us to donate to the treasure chest (thanks, Renee!) Proudly, I can honestly say, I forgot nothing. Except to double check that the stroller was in the van. And of course Kendrie, upon arrival at the parking garage, realizes her arms are broken and she can’t carry a damn thing to help me, and apparently her legs are broken as well and she would prefer to be carried. Needless to say, it was a bit of a struggle to get it all in! But we managed and the visit went fine.
Her doctor thinks she *might* make it back up to 100 percent on all her chemo before the end of treatment, but there’s hardly any chance she’ll be back up at 125 percent of everything like she was. He explained that it’s better to keep her on a slightly lower dose, steadily, that her body can tolerate, as opposed to increasing her chemo too quickly and running the risk of her counts dropping again, and then having to stop chemo, then starting again, etc. With only four months of chemo to go, we’ve adopted the “slow and steady wins the race” motto.
Here are a few other things that caught my attention on Friday:
Driving to Atlanta, I had forewarned Kendrie it was going to be a long day due to the transfusion. She remembered the “medicine that made me feel so cold” from the hospital and was a little apprehensive about receiving it again. In an attempt to make her feel better, I was telling her she would get special medicine beforehand to make her feel relaxed, and keep that from happening again, and I told her, “You’ll probably even take a nap today …it will be perfectly fine; nice and calm and peaceful for you” and in the back of my mind I’m thinking, “I wish somebody would give me something so I could take a nap today -- she’s lucky!” and then I thought, “No, maybe I should think about what I’m saying. *Lucky* is probably not the best word.”
Kendrie knows how to work the buttons on the dvd player. Not just “play” and “stop” .. but all the fast forward, rewind, scene selection, and menu buttons. So now, not only do I get stuck watching (or when I’m driving .. listening) to the same movies over and over, now I am stuck listening to the same specific scene over and over. On Friday, she was obsessed with the scene in Homeward Bound II where Shadow and Sassy rescue the little boy Tucker and his kitten from the burning house. Over and over. And over. And all I could do was compare this to back when my kids were so little they didn’t know how to work the buttons on anything and the one time we tried to put a tv/vcr in the back, Kellen, age 2 or 3, shoved m&m’s in the player and broke the whole thing. Ah, the good ole’ days.
Our elementary school has a program for kids to stay after school, used primarily by working parents. Sort of like day-care at the school. The kids get snacks, do their homework, go to the computer lab, play outside, in the gym, etc. My kids have been bugging me for three years, telling me how much they want to go to the After School Program (ASP). So last week I decided ASP might not be such a bad thing to have as a back-up, in case Kendrie and I were stuck in Atlanta, or I had a late afternoon appointment, etc. I mean, I’m a stay-at-home mom because I choose to be, so it’s not like we have a great NEED for this, but it couldn’t hurt, right? So I signed the kids up and they went on Thursday. I dropped them off for school at 8:15 and didn’t pick them up until 5:45. As much as it pains me to admit this, I actually missed the little rugrats. So imagine how I felt when I picked them up and they all three came running to me, exclaiming about how much fun they had, and that was great, and could they do it again tomorrow? Then, Kellen offered up the final insult when he said, “Yeah, and if you’d get a job so we could ride the bus, that would make it perfect!!!”
Um, remind me again why I stay home???
Well, wish us luck at school tomorrow. Kendrie has apparently been having “issues” with a couple of little girls telling her to get out of the girls bathroom and a few boys in the lunchroom talking about her being bald. I have to be honest, considering the way she dresses, who could be surprised by the bathroom issue? And that’s pretty much what I told her. I didn’t give it too much thought, until tonight when she was laying out her clothes for tomorrow, and she told me she needed to wear some “girl clothes”. In her mind, of course, “girl clothes” constitutes changing her Yu-Gi-Oh tennis shoes for Dora tennis shoes …. But the simple fact that she’s doing it leads me to believe it must be bothering her. I’m going to try to convince her to wear a hat tomorrow as well. Not because *I* think she should, but because I think it might be less confusing for the young kids in the other kindergarten classes who don’t know her from last year. I plan on talking to the teacher about it as well tomorrow … Cancer worries me, side effects from chemo worry me, fear of the unknown worries me …. But NOTHING raises my hackles like the thought of somebody hurting my child’s feelings, even another child.
Hope you all had a great weekend,
WORST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: I’m not real happy about going back to school tomorrow. In fact, I told my mom tonight that I didn’t want to go. I think she was pretty surprised by that, especially considering Nicholas is going to be there and everything. Hmmm, we’ll see what happens.
BEST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: Well, hopefully it’ll happen tomorrow, when those girls in the bathroom realize I’m a girl.