The past several weeks as we have gotten closer and closer to the end of treatment I have been in this happy-go-lucky, things are great state of mind. I’ve felt that these next weeks would be a breeze in comparison to what we’ve been through. After yesterday’s chemo, I realize just how wrong I was.
A twelve hour day in the hospital is God awful from the start. You’re up early, and then you’re just sitting all day, never really getting yourself that energy you need to feel human. I was on the fence about if Elena was going to make counts for chemo. Her ANC (absolute neutrophil count), which is basically white blood cells, or the level of which her immune system is functioning, needs to be 750 in order to get chemo. A normal level is between 2000-7000. Yesterday, her ANC was 768. Talk about making it by the skin of your teeth.
Getting the chemo started wasn’t so bad, as we keep her occupied and I’m snuggled next to her throughout the day. It’s not fun watching your two old act like a drunken sailor from the anti nausea meds she’s taking. It’s even worse when they don’t work. The first round of puking isn’t so terrible. She throws up the contents of her stomach, shakes it off and proclaims how much better she feels after. It’s after the fourth time, when her stomach is empty and it’s causing her severe physical pain to dry heave…that’s soul crushing watching your child go through that. And yesterday was the worst she has experienced. Not only did it persist all day and up until we left around 8pm, but we ended up filling the entire garbage can in the room with those blue puke bags. I don’t know…15 of them?
Yes, I know. We’re almost done, we’re close. It’s true and I am so incredibly grateful for that. I’m grateful for how amazing Elena has progressed, how little has changed in her life and I know, truly, how much worse it could be. But even knowing all of that, it doesn’t make days like yesterday any easier. Yesterday, as I’m sitting Elena up from a dead sleep so she can throw up the smallest amount of water she just drank….listening to her stomach wretching, begging to get everything out…no, it is no easier knowing it is only one more time after this that she will have to have this three drug chemo cocktail that makes her this sick. Once is enough to break your heart, and hard.