Friday, April 10, 2009

On Holiday, and Chemo #6

I meant to post a new entry at some point during the week, as it's been a pretty busy week, but I just didn't. I was in Harrisburg for the past two days, with The Boy and with my family, and I figured I could stay mostly disconnected for those few days without the entire world collapsing.

So. Tuesday (which seems like a long time ago) was a perfectly fine day. I got my car detailed on the inside, which was prompted by the fact that I left my sunroof open, but also motivated by Passover and the quest to eliminate leavened bread from my life for the next week. Considering how clean the car is vs. how dirty it was...worth every penny. I did some shopping, and we had a friend visit. He lives in Michigan but was on the east coast for his sister's wedding; he figured he may as well stop and see a few friends and a few sights while he was in the area. The Boy seemed to like him well enough. They played with Play-Doh together.

Musical Daddy had rehearsal on Tuesday night, but our friend went to the diner with me and The Boy. He commented that in terms of handling the whole parenting thing, including a little guy who likes to climb on stuff and touch everything, I really don't seem to be all that stressed out. My response was that when your kid has cancer, a lot of the little stuff doesn't really seem to matter, and then your child senses that you are more relaxed and spends less time getting on your nerves. More on that topic later in the post.

The Boy and I were delayed in leaving for Harrisburg on Wednesday morning. The usual thing where one event delay leads to another. I was in a rush and figured I'd let him eat in the car. But then I figured out that I was missing some iPod-related cords and really couldn't function without them, and since I'd be passing our highway exit anyway...may as well stop home. About a block from home, he threw up. So it was a good thing we were almost home anyway. And an even better thing that I had this carseat cover because cleanup was just a matter of taking a few wipes to the area. It wasn't a lot but it seemed as though he had eaten in a hurry, and that was a factor combined with his having a cold and cough.

The trip to Harrisburg is under 3 hours, and I often make it without stopping, but I figured that The Boy could probably use a break in the middle. I stopped at a Burger King which did not have a changing table in the bathroom, so we did the standing diaper change. Fortunately, he was very cooperative.

We arrived at the hotel in the late afternoon, shortly after my family had arrived and checked in, so we didn't have to wait. We were met at the door by my mother, who was, of course, thrilled to see The Boy. She loves her grandson SO much.

Hotels are generally not that much fun for toddlers. There is some level of excitement at exploring a new place, but it gets old pretty quickly. It didn't take long for The Boy to discover that he was able to open the door and exit the room. Fun for us. He also didn't take long to learn how to open the fridge. With it being Passover, we had to bring our food with us for the times when we weren't at my aunt's house. I shopped for much of the food, because the prices here are a lot better than those in Pittsburgh.

The seder was held at my aunt's house. Both sedarim, actually. They live in a large Tudor with lots of fun places to explore, sets of stairs to ascend and descend, and an impressive playroom and toy collection (even though the youngest child is 22 years old). My aunt is also rather enamored with The Boy; she was prepared with several items with which to amuse him. She has a briefcase full of little superhero figurines (a good toy selection for the child who is past putting everything in his mouth and loves to take things out of bags and boxes). Musical Daddy may be given the task of sorting them, as he likely will recognize many of the characters.

Anyhow, there was no expectation that The Boy would stay at the table the whole time, nor wait for his meal. The seder doesn't begin until 8, and the meal isn't served until 10, which is pretty unreasonable if you're 1.5 years old. Fortunately, he was able to find the kitchen. Grandma was excellent at following him, wherever he chose to go (not that she really sits still so well anyhow), and I was sure to bring him back to the table for certain highlights, like The Four Questions and the frog song. He certainly ate his fill both nights--turkey the first night, brisket the second night, with apples and grapes and juice to go with it. He also enjoyed the songs and seemed at least to react favorably to The Four Questions, which I had been playing for him and singing for him frequently, in preparation.

It does feel a little bit isolating, to be the only one with a very small child at such an event, but it was nice that my mother and sister and other relatives were willing to amuse him and chase him around. Snaps to my uncle for taking The Boy out for a walk yesterday, where he actually napped for quite awhile after fighting off sleep for hours, giving me a chance to relax. I can remember when we were kids, we would sometimes stray from the table to play. My mother had the first two children in the family (actually, two and three, but the first was my cousin who lives in Israel and wasn't in attendance at these events), so I'm sure that she had her hands full with us, especially since once I was old enough for conflict, my brother and I would fight constantly.

All told, it was a wonderful visit, and I'm so glad that we went. Fortunately, the holiday landed on a time that was good for The Boy in terms of his counts and how he would be feeling.

Straight from Harrisburg to the hospital this morning, to begin chemo #6. Of 30. We'll be 20% finished after this...every one of these stays brings us closer to the end of the treatment and hopefully our trip to Disneyworld. Although we arrived before 9:30, it took awhile to check in with admitting. At least the room was ready on time, but the chemo didn't start until 3:00. I'm not excited about that, because he is getting Carboplatin today which runs 6 hours. Followed by Etoposide, which requires that his blood pressure be taken every 15 minutes. So that will happen probably at 10:00, because The Boy will be due for a dose of Zofran in between the two chemo meds. Very annoying. But hopefully they can shift it back a bit for tomorrow, and even if not, it isn't so important, provided that they are willing to shift the third dose of Etoposide back on Sunday.

The 3-day chemo stays are generally easier and also do not require the same additional medication as the 5-day stays. As I found out, my mother had only two chemo medications during her treatment, but because she had one that was related to Cyclophosphamide, called Ifosphamide, she also needed the extra little doses of Mesna, which is the bladder and kidney protectant that The Boy gets. She had that one and Doxorubicin/Adriamycin. That's the one that turns your pee red.

I am a bit concerned because The Boy still has his cold. I am also not thrilled that I have it and Musical Daddy feels like he might be getting it too. Likely, since Grandma is staying with him, she'll get it as well. Of course, Grandma never whines. She doesn't complain and she doesn't get upset. She'll stay up late with The Boy or amuse him in the middle of the night. She hops in the car for visits...and of course, she is here every three weeks. Not to say that she never complains about anything, but she is remarkable and self-sacrificing because she loves The Boy and she loves us too.

Hopefully, I can get through this weekend. We both are singing for Easter and my voice is in questionable condition due to this cold. Of course, I can't take much for it. AirBorne, which normally saves my behind when I feel like I am getting sick, is off-limits for pregnant women.

One of The Boy's oncologists is pregnant with her second child, about 6 or 7 weeks behind me. Additionally, one of the nurses at the treatment center is expecting her second about a week after I am, but since hers will be a scheduled C-section, she'll possibly be in at the same time that I am. There must be something about the center--be careful when you drink the water there.

Anyhow, Boy needs Mom. Later.

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