Wednesday morning update: Well, although Kendrie is home from school again today with a nasty sounding cough and runny/stuffy nose, the fevers have stopped. We spent the day driving to and from the clinic for IV Rocephin, but since her ANC was 1500, we were able to go home .... just warned to watch for more fever, or if she starts feeling seriously punky. So, the verdict appears to be nothing more than a late-summer cold, which for normal people is just annoying, but for a kid with a port-a-cath in her chest, is just a little bit more. I'm pretty sure she'll be back at school tomorrow, anyway. And thanks for the happy birthday wishes for me, too. Yes, Natalie, you are correct. 25. :) (Kidding. I am frighteningly close to finding out for myself if 40 is *really* the new 30!) :)
Tues morning update: Well, scratch my optimistic comment about "no fever". Kendrie woke up at 3am running a little over 101, and it hasn't broke yet, so the on-call oncologist has instructed us to head to the clinic for a fun-filled day of bloodwork and IV antibiotics. Not to blab toooooo much personal information, but happy *&^*&^# birthday to me.
First of all, thanks so much to all of you who left Kendrie birthday wishes in the guestbook over the weekend. I was out of town and didn’t check the guestbook between Friday morning and last night, so logging in and seeing all those well wishes for her was truly heart-warming. I print out the guestbook every so often and I know that the same messages that mean so much to Blaine and I, as a show of support now, will mean just as much to Kendrie someday. She likes hearing them nowadays, but I’m confident that when she gets older they will be even more precious. I will update with photos of her birthday party after the weekend, also. (holding your breath, aren’t you?) :)
Now, for our “big” news ---- she only has 100 days of treatment left! Actually, I think its 102 and that I must have miscounted somewhere, but we’ll jiggle the dates in a later entry. Today, we feel like celebrating this milestone! Can you believe that when she started we were staring down 786 days of protocol?? One hundred might sound like a lot to some of you, but compared to 786, I think it will fly by. Let me sum it up for you in another way:
Only 120 doses of oral chemo pills left. Some nights it’s four pills, some nights it’s eight, but she gets them all at the same time, and she only gets morning steroids five days a month, so “technically”, it’s only 120 doses to go!
Only 56 doses of oral prophylactic liquid antibiotic to go. Sort of. She’ll stay on this antibiotic for several months after treatment, as a preventative measure …. but only 56 "official" doses to go!
Barring any complications or unexplained fevers, only four port accesses to go!
Only four doses of IV chemotherapy to go!
Only two transfusions of IVIG to go!
Only ONE spinal tap to go!
I really feel as though we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The picture at the top of the page is supposed to be all three kids, holding up fingers to show the wonderful number 100 …. but Blaine had to be recruited because Brayden was too busy pouting and telling me how much she hates me to pose. Five minutes later, she and Kellen were doing the cha-cha around the living room. Truly, she’s a sweet child. Either entering the pre-teen years, or possessed by Satan. I’m not sure which.
Regarding these final 100 days, I’m guessing most of the parents out there can identify with some of my feelings. When your first child is born, you are so excited to reach each milestone (First bath! Solid food! First tooth! Crawling! Walking!) that you wind up wishing away their first year and then sitting back wondering where the hell the time went.
With your second child, you’re so busy making sure everyone is fed and clean and dry and safe and not flushing the remote down the toilet that at the end of *their* first year, you look up and wonder where the hell the time went.
With your third child, especially if you know it will be your last child, you have finally learned to stop and smell the roses. (Which is better than the smell of dirty diapers you’ve been firmly entrenched in for the previous two years!) With Kendrie, I snuggled more, relaxed more, and simply enjoyed the present for what it was. Hey, I had three kids under the age of two and a half, but I was just getting the hang of this peaceful, savoring-the-moment thing.
Fast forward to October 13, 2003, the day she was diagnosed with leukemia.
On October 16, the day she began her chemotherapy treatment, I didn’t think those 786 days would ever end. I was terrified we wouldn’t GET to the end. I admit it, I have blatantly and willingly wished away the past two years of her life (Intensification! Consolidation! First Interim Maintenance! First Delayed Intensification! Second IM! Second DI! Long-term Maintenance!) and, I admit, I will be wishing away the next 100 days as well.
I’m sure when these twenty-six months are behind us, I will regret that I spent so much time wishing for it to hurry up and be over. I’m sure there have been moments …. the present … that I have missed because my eyes were too fixated on the goal at the end. Just getting to the end is a miracle. Maybe being excited about it isn’t such a terrible thing.
I hope everyone is having a nice Labor Day weekend. We had plans to take the kids fishing, then out to dinner to celebrate Kendrie’s birthday. Unfortunately, she woke up this morning with a stuffy/runny nose and a cough. We started the summer with a cold, I guess it’s only fitting that we end with one as well. Hopefully she’ll be feeling better in time for school tomorrow. No fever, so we’re not too worried yet. In light of everything that has taken place a few hundred miles to our west, it seems a little frivolous to be having a birthday dinner anyway. I feel I should write something profound about the loss and devastation, but there really aren’t any words. Plus, to be honest, I’m giving thanks for the last 686 days, and looking ahead to the next 100. I wish the same peace for the hurricane survivors.
WORST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: I don’t think it’s cancer-related, but I am getting dang sick and tired of coughing and sneezing today, and of my mom and dad checking my forehead all day. They think they are so sneaky, but I can see right through them! “Checking to see if any more hair has grown” …. My foot!
BEST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: Well, at least I just took my last dose of Bactrim a few minutes ago and don’t have to take any more of that foul-tasting crap for the next six days --- that’s a good thing, right?
PS. Hey! We have been truly blessed by the family and friends that have followed along on our journey and who faithfully continue to check in on my insane journal ramblings. According to my calculations, we should hit visitor #400,000 sometime near the end of this week! If you are that person, would you please sign the guestbook and let us know? I'd be honored to make a Caringbridge donation in your honor ... much like our dear friends Mr. Bruce and Mrs. Sandy did for Kendrie last week. Thank you!