Thursday, December 22, 2005


Day 7 OT

You know, we’ve been so busy this past week with family coming in for Kendrie’s OT celebration, and then our early-Christmas, that it’s hard to believe a week has passed already since Kendrie took her last pills. I guess this time of year flies by for everyone (unless you are one of the poor schmucks stuck in a never-ending line at Wal-Mart for last-minute gifts!) What a great feeling though …. one week down, and assuming she lives to be 104 years old, only 5,096 to go before we can quit worrying!

We drove up to Atlanta yesterday afternoon for her pre-op appointment with the surgeon who was removing her port. It was the same doctor who placed the port in her chest at the time of her diagnosis …. He made the comment while examining her, “Wow, I put in one of the baby-ports… the really small ones. How old was she when I did this?” I replied “She had just turned four” and he said, “I’m surprised it held out through the entire treatment and she didn’t need to get another one. You’ve had some extremely good nursing care if they were able to access this tiny thing the entire time!” Um, ok. Good to know, I guess! (But of course we've known all along that Nurse Mary is da bomb!!)

Since we had to be at Day Surgery at 6am (My word, can you believe people actually get up and go to work at that ungodly hour???) we elected to stay overnight in Atlanta for convenience sake. Luckily, we were able to spend the evening having dinner and visiting with our friends the Connors, whose son Brandon recently received the wonderful news ALL CLEAR FOREVER!!! on his previous neuroblastoma diagnosis. If you’re having trouble finding your miracle this Christmas season, go back in Brandon’s journal and read about his cancer journey --- miraculous, indeed, and a great reminder about the blessings that are out there.

Anyway, despite some grumbling from me {understatement} when the alarm in the hotel room went off at 5am, we made it to Day Surgery just fine and the port-removal went off without a hitch. Kendrie was a good sport beforehand and only cried when they were wheeling her bed down to the operating room and I wasn’t allowed to go with her, but the nurse promised to hold her hand while she was being put to sleep and that seemed to make her feel better. At our clinic, I’ve been able to stay with Kendrie for all her spinal taps; and for her previous bone marrow aspirations, which took place under general anesthesia in an operating room, I was allowed to go back with her until she was put to sleep. I’m not sure why this time was different, and she wasn’t very happy about it, but she did ok.

Afterwards, she was groggy and hard to wake up, and fussy. Extremely fussy. {understatement} She gets really pathetic and whiny after any kind of ‘sleepy’ medicine … I’ll have to remind her of that before she heads off to college, won’t I? Nobody likes a sobbing mess at frat parties, "So remember kids, don’t drink alcohol!" (Think she’ll fall for it?)

I did have a surreal moment when I was pushing her in the stroller from Day Surgery to the parking garage. First, the sun was blinding me and I couldn’t find my sunglasses …. Then I realized I was freezing cold …. Then it hit me; it’s sunny, the air is crisp and clean, and we are NOW officially done with cancer! Sure, we were done the first time after the final spinal, and done the second time after the last clinic visit for IV chemo, and done the third time after the last batch of pills at home ……… and yes, we still have to continue seeing her oncologist for follow-ups for the next few years and watching for any late-term side effects from the chemo, yadda, yadda …. But barring any relapse, God forbid, we are now, this time, finally, at long last, for sure, no more do-overs, DONE! And with the port gone, if she runs a fever, I can just fling Tylenol at her and put her back to bed like I do the other two ---- er, um, I mean, soothingly rub her back and press cool compresses to her brow while humming comforting lullabies under my breath. Just like I do the other two. Yeah, that’s what I mean.

But what a great feeling to know that except for some follow up visits and follow up meds, she is finished. How much nicer it is to be at the end of the treatment road, instead of those frightening days at the beginning. I took a deep breath of that cold air this morning, squinted my eyes against the mid-day sun, and said a prayer of thankfulness for all the blessings she has been given. And for the fact I had a close up parking space and didn’t have to push her very far in the stroller. I guess *that* is the perk of arriving at the hospital at 5:45 am!!

Thanks for thinking of us today.


WORST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: Ok, this really bites. I razz my mom and give her a hard time about things, but I have to admit that she has been like a bulldog throughout this entire process when it comes to me and my irrational hatred of anything sticky -- band aids, tegaderm dressings, surgical tape -- I hate it all! She has almost always been there to remind the nurses not to put any of that crap on me, but today, she was defenseless. The doctor not only covered a big spot on my chest with tegaderm dressing before bringing me out of recovery to her … tegaderm, the REALLY sticky kind, but I have to leave it on for four to five days! Something about germs, and keeping it dry ….. stinks, stinks, STINKS! I was NOT happy when I woke up from my surgery and found that on my chest. The IV in my hand, I was ok with, the E.T. light on my finger, I was ok with. I think I've proved through the last two years that I can put up with a lot of junk! But this tape crap has GOT TO GO!!!

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