Thursday, July 3, 2014

Chemo Cycle 4- Storm before the Calm

By all account, we expected the worse for this round of chemotherapy since the last round was so harsh on Ania.  Monday night before we were to be at the hospital at 6:30am for Ania's MRI & Exam under Anesthesia, there were some wild thunderstorms. Our breaker of course broke so we lost power. I had lots of pent up anxiety about her procedure and chemotherapy so I pretty much had a melt down after it was revealed there was nothing we could do about the breaker so we were in for a very dark night. Luckily, Mimi was with us so she made the pitch black not so scary for the kids. They pretended they were camping! 
Our lovely neighbors were also very helpful by bringing candles and flashlights. One neighbor, an electrician, helped to diagnose why the power went out in our house and told us he would gladly come over the next morning and fix the breaker. We are so lucky to have such great neighbors!! Huge thank you to Barb, Tony, & John for lending a helping hand in our time of need! 

Unfortunately, our bad luck didn't end with the power outage. Before bed, Mike took one last look in the basement because it was raining so heavily outside. We were flooding!! I was beside myself but reluctantly went into damage control mode. Mike and I went down the the basement with candles and flashlights to pick up anything and hopefully prevent too much damage. At one point, I bent over to pick up something off the floor and when I stood I felt a sharp pain on my forehead. I now had a gash on my head from some hanging metal of our unfinished basement. Mike took one look at me and said, "well it doesn't need stitches but it is bleeding quite a bit." Great. 

I was so defeated and down. It's been 9 months since Ania's diagnosis and I had been feeling so weathered and only focusing on the negative. It's hard watching your child get so sick so often. The impending storm of chemotherapy cycle round 4 just about wrecked me. Thankfully, we were given a few rainbows this time around. 

So brave but a bit nervous before her procedures. She wore her pajamas and some jewelry as she was getting checked into pre-op. 

Typically we do some oral medication to relax her before any surgury but it always causes so much stress for her. She really hates the taste of the medication so she elected to just breath the strawberry scented sleepy medicine from the mask. So much less stress for her and she did very well! There was our first rainbow of the day! 

My mom and I waited for a few hours for the tests and exams to be completed. Again I was so nervous- focusing on the fact that since October 2013, we have had several negative surprises with this cancer and part of me just kept thinking, " they are going to tell me bad news." 

Once she was done and we could go back to see her in recovery, I could breath a little easier. Dr Shapiro (retinal specialist) came in to tell us that her remaining right eye looked perfectly clear and that her left eye socket had healed beautifully since her eye removal in March. He also said she was now considered " very low risk" for future retinal cancers! LOW RISK- two words that go beautifully together that we had not really heard up until this point! Our 2nd rainbow of the day! We later learned that her MRI was also clear. No sign of any tumor growth in her brain! A third rainbow! 

We were admitted to the children's hospital to start her fourth round of chemotherapy. Lots of wait time as her chemo meds were not actually ready until 8:00pm. So we got creative of course and worked on a window drawing. Together we drew a castle in the sky complete with a dragon, princess & knight! It was a nice window to a fantasy world outside of our hospital room!

Chemotherapy began and we went to bed around 9:30pm- nice and early in anticipation of a long night ahead. To our surprise, Ania only got sick once during the night and then twice early in the morning. That is a major difference since she has typically been very sick for hours following that first treatment. A fourth rainbow! 

On Wednesday, I went home to spend the day with Kellen while Mimi (my mom) stayed with Ania. All day she said she was in great spirits and was even able to give out another pair of her magical butterfly wings to another little girl fighting cancer! 
Spreading joy & wings to all she meets!

A little pre-4th fun!

Mommy & Kellen time! He just had to wear her beads :) 

While I was home with Kellen, we went out and ran some errands. We found an adorable tin tea set while we were shopping and came home and had a little tea party together. I know he enjoyed playing with me but  I know he would have enjoyed having his sister there more.....
Tea for two? :) 

That evening she had her next round scheduled for 5:00pm. Since Ania was doing so well after her first round, there were hopeful whispers that if she continued to respond well after the next dosage, she could possibly go home that evening!! 

Sure enough, she did great!! Daddy, Kellen and I arrived at the hospital around 8:00pm and not long after, they told us she was being discharged! Another rainbow! 
"Dr Kellen" gives her her final check up and says "Looks good! Time to go home!"

We made it home at nearly 10:00pm. Of course, Kellen had to show her that new tea set! Yes, they were able to have a very late tea party together! Pure magic and the final rainbow to this relatively calm fourth cycle! 

This most recent experience, although it started out pretty rough, reminded me to look out for those rainbows- and pretty soon this whole storm will be over! Bring on the last 2 months of treatment! 

God Bless,


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