I did something very indulgent yesterday. I hired somebody off of craigslist to come to my house and clean up Gagers room, because even though we have been in this house for… OMG, three months as of today. The most I had gotten done in there was getting his large furniture put together, clothes and toys were always on the floor. Unpacked boxes, hangers, empty target bags I hide from the Hubs so he doesn’t see how much I actually buy ***target is like mom crack, totally addicting*** and a hospital overnight bag. Just in case. But on the floor it all was, taunting me.
Everyday I would go in Gagers room and then walk right back out again, promising myself and the Hubs that I would clean it tomorrow. Promise. Finally after three months of midnight diaper changes and almost spraining my ankle over all the crap on the floor, I took action and her name is Jovita. She is an angel in a denim jumpsuit and knock off Sketcher Shape ups. It took her two and a half hours and forty dollars but it was more than worth it for me, seriously it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I swear Jovita is just like the miracle worker the rest of my day was totally amazing, my hair looked super shiny, my makeup looked flawless, and I fit into my skinny jeans!
OK, that last part was a total lie. My skinny jeans don’t fit and I don’t see them fitting for a long time. I’d like to blame the girl scouts for that. Them and their stupid cookies…thin mints sandwiched between dark double chocolate chip galato. Yumm-O.
Honestly though, sometimes a person just needs to do what is right for them. Jovita was exactly what I needed. Firstly, because I am super lazy much to the Hubs dismay and secondly, because I finally got to put Gagers new race track carpet on the floor in his room instead of rolled up against a the wall. He totally loves it.
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Tagged blogher, broviac, cancer kids, candida, chemo, chmotherapy, CT scan, death, delayed intensification, Gage, healing, hickman line, hope, hospital, hubs, leukemia, life, love, panic attacks, trust
Bath time in our house is a HUGE event. For Gage. Not for me. Gage loves baths, mainly because he only gets them once a week. Then he is only in the bath for like fifteen minutes tops, with no splashing. While during the entire bath I am freaking out, begging Gage not to splash, and telling him to “sit down before you fall down.”
Normally Gage would be able to take a bath for as long as he wanted to, heck I have had to refill the tub with hot water half the time, he can play in the water for hours. That all changed in December when, after careful consideration and tons deliberation Gages doctors decided to take out his port. Because no matter how hard we tried, and how much medication we pumped into him, Gage kept getting candida in his blood. So with fear and trepidation, we sent Gagers back into surgery to remove his port and replace it with a temporary hickman line. Which is a pain in the butt, not only because I have to drive to the hospital every three days to get the dressing changed, because it’s an open site. But also the site can not get wet. Hence the excitement of bath time.
I have concocted my own special, Gage is gonna have a bath dressing. Which involves saran wrap and surgical tape. Poor Kid he hates this, mainly because every bath he gets, I use half a roll of the saran wrap and a whole roll of surgical tape. But Gage gets his bath, the nurses get a clean smelling baby for clinic the next day, and everybody thinks I’m a good mother for making it possible to Gage to bathe; so everybody wins.
I was begging Gage to give me the bucket, since he is on steroids right now I have to ask nicely and make it seem like he totally wants to give me the bucket. Or he might go Linda Blair on my ass, and throw him self backward in the tub, his head might start spinning; and throwing up chemo medicine on me. Come to think of it, he does that when I don’t get his food to him quick enough too. But he did give me the bucket, nice and calm like; and so I gave him an extra fifteen minutes in the tub. Ain’t I just the nicest?
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Tagged bath time, broviac, cancer kids, candida, chemo, chmotherapy, clinic, CT scan, death, delayed intensification, failure, fear, fun, Gage, healing, hickman line, leukemia, life, live, love, lukemia, maintenance, normal, pancreatitis, panic attacks, picc line, port, sick, surgery, trepidation, trust
Last week I had emailed Megan at the Pablove foundation, because I had questions about the True Pablove event. I really wanted to be able to attend but was unsure of going because of all of the people. So I emailed Megan asking if there was going to be a place for kids with cancer, just so they would not be around all of the people; in case somebody was sick. Megan emailed me back, saying unfortunately no, there would be no special accommodations, but that they’d love to have Gage and his guests come to the event as guests; and they hoped we could make it. Which was so nice if them, thank you so much!
It was so amazing to be able to spend the day outside with Gage, my parents, my bestie and her daughter. Gage had a blast! I really felt like he was a normal toddler for the afternoon. He got to meet Yo Gabba Gabba, listen to Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang and decorate Valentine crafts; it was such an amazing day. It was easy to forget why we were there, that we were honoring the memory of a little boy who lost his fight with a bilateral Wilms’ Tumor, by trying to raise money to fund pediatric cancer research.
It really was such a great day, one I will remember forever and make sure Gage knows about it too. It was an almost normal day.
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Tagged candida, CT scan, fun, Gage, hospital, leukemia, live, love, normal, pablove, port, yo gabba gabba
So I have a secret. I read other mommy bloggers and the journey that is their kids leukemia. All. Day. Long. Much to the Hubs dismay, because this means I generally get nothing done. All. Day. Long. But I read their blogs to see if ours lives are similar, to know that I am not alone, that Gage is not alone, because even if I talk to the other moms in the clinic, it’s just not the same. I talk to those woman once or twice a week in the clinic, where these woman on the internet, who have no idea who I am. I read about them everyday, getting to know them, getting to love them. ***I kind of feel a little like a stalker, weirdo right about now***
I get strength from these woman, knowing that they have been through hell and back, and they have survived even if their babies don’t. I have cried desperate tears of pain, while reading funeral preparations for their babies. I have cried happy tears while reading posts written about when babies had their last chemo treatment, and got to go home for good, never needing to have another lumbar puncture or bone marrow aspiration again. I’ve gotten sick to my stomach at seeing the word of relapse, and praying and bartering with God or whatever divine being is out there to please never let me hear those words said in the same sentence as Gages name. I have found myself in these woman, and hope that someone is reading what I write and if they are going through what I have gone through that they get strength from me as well.
What I have learned from the majority of these blogs, is that not only do I have the most amazing health insurance, but the hospital we go to is fan-fucking-tastic. I have read about kids having to wait for five hours, before being admitted into a hospital room, or that when from the time Gage was diagnosed with leukemia to the day we knew the type of leukemia he had, acute lymphoblastic leukemia was a total of five days, which I guess is not the norm, because I have heard some places take up to four weeks for results. Those five days seemed like the longest of my entire life, I know I would have gone crazy if I would have had to wait a whole month. Did you know that some hospitals have cancer patients share rooms?! This has got to be the most absurd thing I have read so far! There are no good things about leukemia, chemo, or hospital stays but having our own room is a little, teeny tiny perk.
One of the terms I have heard over and over again has been a baby has “earned” his or her wings. Yesterday I read that Josiah has earned his angel wings, and I hate that term, because he should not have earned them so young. He should have gone to college, gotten married and knocked his wife up with eight babies. He should never had gotten sick in the first place. I hate that we can put a man on the moon, pick the gender of my next kid if I wanted to, or wear underwear that magically makes my waist and thighs two inches smaller; but we can’t find the cause or a cure for childhood cancer. The world truly does suck in that regard.
Some days I really feel like I am barely staying afloat. The last couple of nights I have been having trouble sleeping. I lay awake for hours staring at the wall above my bed, not seeing the wall itself but a movie reel of those first nights in the hospital. Me holding Gage in my arms as a nurse tries without luck to find a vein to start an IV as Gage slips in and out of consciousness. I see his pupils start to dilate, and his mouth starts to foam. I hear the nurses asking me to please go sit in the parents waiting room, since it was starting to get crowded with all the nurses and doctors rushing in. I’m walking the hallways, again. In my nightmares I’m just walking a hallway, lap after lap after lap. CODE PINK is blaring out of the hospital loud speaker and I can’t stop screaming. This is my hell and I have been here almost every day since August 2, 2010.
These last few weeks Gage also has been suffering from nightmares, I hate that he can’t tell me what he is dreaming about. When I go in his room to check on him when he cries out at night, his sobs of terror are heartbreaking; nothing can comfort him. The look in his eyes kills me, because I wonder if he is remembering those nights, like I remember those nights. I had hoped that he wouldn’t remember any of this, that he would be too young; so far it looks like that may not be the case. I hate those nightmares for him more then I hate those nightmares for me.
I am constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. Our lives have been such a roller coaster ride I keep praying, hoping, and wishing that we can keep on this positive healthy path Gage has been on. But he has a little cold right now, and I get up like eight times a night to make sure his cold hasn’t turned into a fever, I count his coughs every hour to make sure they don’t get worse. His poor doctors must hate the fact I have every single one of their phone, pager, and fax numbers on speed dial. Because, let me tell you since Saturday I have been calling, paging, and faxing at least three times a day. “No, Mom the cough is not in his lungs. It’s just a cold. He’s fine.” How do they know, since they haven’t seen him in a few days? We go back to the clinic for another dressing change, hopefully he will have improved by then that way we can have an easy, stress free weekend.
So once the shock of being pregnant wore off, I did EVERYTHING I was supposed to do. I said hello to prenatal vitamins, and goodbye Tylenol for headaches and sciatica, my bloody mary became a virgin mary and no more sushi,***California rolls do not count, they are not sushi*** I planned for a drug free birth; that the Hubs quickly vetoed. Thank you baby Jeebus that he did too, because I was rushed in for an emergency c-section after twenty-two hours of labor. Which happened to be the easiest labor, ever. It was that that last hour that totally messed everything up. Thanks Gage.
But once Gage was born, I thought the biggest thing I would have to worry about would be autism. I swear, dumb, I know but I guess I have always been the “glass is half empty” type of girl. So we bought The Vaccine Book, by Dr. Sears and again, yes, I know that there has been no proven link between vaccines and autism, but we still chose to go through with the alternate vaccine schedule, and no flu shots ***I don’t tell you how to raise your kid, don’t tell me how to raise mine*** I nursed forever, used glass bottles, attempted to make my own baby food, Gage took one bite and refused to touch the stuff ever again. I might have even tried cloth diapers, but I throw Tupperware away if it’s been sitting in the refrigerator with food in it too long, so extra laundry wasn’t something extra I was willing to ad on to my to do list.
I would never have guessed that this is where my life would have taken me. A stinking cute toddler, with a terminal illness. A little person I love more then life it self, who if I could magically take this shit on myself and save him the pain, I would. I never thought that maybe Gages, first birthday could have been his one and only, or that the reason he would be getting his first haircut was because, I wanted it to on my terms and leukemia and chemotherapy could suck it; so we shaved it. And then it never fell out, because apparently 5% of kids do not lose their hair during chemo. Gage is one of those kids who doesn’t follow the “chemo rule book.” Everything that should not happen, happens and what should happens, doesn’t. Ain’t that the shit? Makes everything much more of an adventure.
He’s our fearless little warrior.
What did you do today? We walked…
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Tagged broviac, candida, CT scan, Gage, happy anniversary, hospital, leukemia, live, love, port, surgery, the walk
We just finished our last day of Standard interim maintenance therapy(SIMT) yesterday! the normal procedure for SIMT which involved Gage having to go through this:
- vincristine IV on days 1 and 29
- dexamethasone IV or orally twice daily on days 1-5 and 29-33
- oral 6MP on days 1-50
- oral methotrexate on days 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 36, 43, and 50
- methotrexate IT on day 29
The IT the methotrexate mentions on day 29 means InTrathecal, basically they injected it into his spinal fluid, via lumbar puncture. Always a good time at chemo.
It is so good to know that we only have one more therapy session before we continue on to Standard delayed intensification therapy, and that’s only if Gages blood count is high enough to move on. Which from past experiences I know that treatment can be delayed for weeks on end.
This is what Standard delayed intensification therapy consists of:
- vincristine IV on days 1, 8, and 15
- dexamethasone IV or orally twice daily on days 1-21
- doxorubicin IV over 15 minutes to 2 hours on days 1, 8, and 15
- pegaspargase IM on day 4, 5, or 6
- cyclophosphamide IV over 30 minutes on day 29
- cytarabine IV or subcutaneously (SC) on days 29-32 and 36-39
- oral thioguanine on days 29-42
- methotrexate IT on days 1 and 29
This round of therapy is similar to the consolidation therapy, he went through in the very beginning but Gage was in the hospital, having everything go wrong with him, we were more worried about him surviving complications to surgeries and infections. I honest to Jeebus can’t remember any part of consolidation therapy, also mid way through treatment Gages diagnoses was changed from aggressive treatment to standard treatment; due to complications from his pegaspargase. That complication was one of the best complications so far, just because they were able to reevaluate him and judge he was responding so well to treatment so his chemo doses were decreased and so now they aren’t as strong.
Once Gage is done with Standard delayed intensification therapy, he will move onto Maintenance therapy, for the next three and a half years. Which seems like such a long time, but three years is nothing since we want Gage here for at least another eighty years or so. This is what Maintenance therapy involves:
Each course of maintenance proceeds as outlined below. Courses repeat every 84 days for a total of 2 years from the start of interim maintenance therapy for female patients and 3 years from the start of interim maintenance therapy for male patients.
- vincristine IV on days 1, 29, and 57
- oral dexamethasone twice daily on days 1-5, 29-33, and 57-61
- oral methotrexate on days 8, 15, 22, 29, 36, 43, 50, 57, 64, 71, and 78
- oral mercaptopurine on days 1-84
- methotrexate IT on day 1
It just seems incredible to me that Gage, has undergone such dangerous treatments. Seriously, I have to inject these things into him on a daily basis, and yet I can’t even throw them in the trash because it is hazardous waste and totally illegal. But if this saves his life, then I am willing to do anything.
Gage getting his dressing cleaned and changed. He is so awesome! Oh, and yes, that tube is sticking out of his chest, it actually coils into his heart.
Three years ago today we were married on a boat in the San Diego harbor at sunset. Saying yes, was the smartest decision I’ve ever made. Thank you to the Hubs for giving me your last name, your love and Gage; they are the most precious gifts I have ever received.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged broviac, candida, CT scan, Gage, happy anniversary, hospital, leukemia, live, love, port, surgery
So you all know that Gage went to the clinic on Monday for our usual chemo, these are all of his blood counts for this week.
WBC’s Auto: 3.0(L)
RBC, Auto: 3.33(L)
HCT, AUTO: 29.2(L)
RDW, BLOOD: 15.0(H)
PLATELETS,AUTOMATED COUNT: 129(L)
NEUTROPHILS %, AUTOMATED COUNT: 43.4
LYMPHCYTES % AUTOMATED COUNT: 41.5(L)
MONOS %, AUTO: 12.3(H)
EOSINOPHILS %, AUTOMATED COUNT: 2.5
BASOPHILS %, AUTOMATED COUNT: 0.3
Everybody at the clinic was pretty happy with his results, which means I was pretty happy. Gage continues to get through everyday with little to no complications, I just hope we can continue with this positive trend he is on.
Monday at the clinic, waiting for chemo and lumbar punctures.