Male oncology nurse: Does he have cream on his back? Me: …. Him: Does he have cream on his back? Me: Wait, what? He passed? Him: Yup, his counts were 1,100 ME: Shutthefuckup, oh my God. We didn’t think he was going to pass, because he had a cold last week, and we’re all sick at home, and his counts dropped like 20 points in so many hours. He passed? Are you sure?- At this point my voice cracked and the male nurse asked if I was OK.
Honestly I wasn’t sure if I was Ok. I wasn’t really sure how I felt. Of course I was so freaking excited obviously because Gage finally “passed” from delayed intensification to maintenance but scared because holy hell, MAINTENANCE! we have waited nine long months for this. Three months longer then most, because of all the complications. Also because, we are kind of in the chemotherapy home stretch. What if the cancer comes back? We now have more freedom to go places, because maintenance generally means higher counts. How do I go from never taking him anywhere to suddenly start taking places again? I mean there are germs everywhere. EVERYWHERE. ***note to self ask for higher quantity of Xanax, and stock up on hand sanitizer wipes***
So he passed and Gage had to get a lumbar puncture, where his amazing doctor inject chemotherapy medication directly into his spinal fluid and test the fluid for any leukemia cells that should definitely not be there. It is such a stressful time, Gage hates to be held down. Hates it. In the past we have had to have three nurses and myself hold him down, and that was with benadryl and fentanyl. Let me tell you, not fun. At all.
This time it was different though, this time he didn’t try to fight us holding him. He did cry a little, but I sang him songs, traced his eyebrows and nose with my finger and gave him what felt like a million kisses. Telling him that he is such a strong brave boy, a fighter who I couldn’t be prouder of and that I loved him more than words can ever express.
For the next two and a half years Gage will be on a cocktail of chemotherapy drugs, he will get vincristine injected into his port, which hopefully he will get put back in within the next two months. This kid needs a bath, he hasn’t had a “real” one since December 2010, he misses it and sponge baths just don’t cut it. He needs to soak. Then every three months he will get a lumbar puncture to make sure the leukemia stays gone.
He is on the road to recovery people. It is long and so very scary and dangerous. But he is making it. He is surviving.