This evening we finished round one of chemotherapy. Well, mostly. He’ll still require a weekly dose of one drug over the next couple of weeks, but for now we’re playing the counting game. That is, watching his blood counts go down, down, down over the next week before they begin to recover again. He’ll be getting daily doses of a drug called G-CSF which will help his counts come back up. Of course, once they’re back up to normal, that’s when we start all over again.
I was anxious the first day, and not exactly soothed by the fact that our nurse geared up in a hazmat suit to administer the drugs. She explained that because of their repeated exposure to them, the nurses take extra precautions. Still!
The last few days at the hospital have just disappeared. Gavin has received chemo drugs for the last three days, and a variety of other medications. Overall, he reacted pretty well, but did have a pretty intense bout of nausea and a fever last night. I was plunged back into the anxious times post-surgery when he was connected to an oxygen monitor and I spent sleepless nights watching his SAT levels dip down. Thankfully, although we monitored him last night he did well, slept through and woke up pretty cheery and non-feverish this morning. Unfortunately, he had to go back under a general anesthetic this afternoon for another procedure and did not react well to the GA upon waking. I feel like such an old hand at all of it now, chatting quite normally in the surgical waiting room with my relief team: Mom, Lozza, Dunc and Nikki. Only once did I wait in there alone and it was a nail-biting experience, not to be repeated.
However, that was a minor bump in the road and a couple of hours later he was busy popping DVDs into his new portable player even as his chemo drugs ran.
A large part of each day is spent talking to his many doctors, nurses, therapists and pharmacists trying to sort out all the information we need for his continued treatment. Most of what I’ve learned over the past couple of days is essential to his home care.
That’s right. I said home care. If all goes well over the next 24 hours, they’ll send us home for a couple of weeks. We’ll have to come in once a week to clinic, but apart from that will be sleeping in our own beds and living a relatively normal life again.
I haven’t set foot in my house since the end of June. Actually, I don’t think at any point in my life have I ever stayed inside such a small square area for so long – the few blocks that surround Sick Kids in Toronto. My perpetually itchy feet have always kept me exploring, and on the move. Luckily for me, that trait has also helped the last few weeks, because I’m not such a homebody or creature of habit that I really miss my house or my things. Some people would be in agony being away from home and drifting here and there, but weirdly, I kind of thrive on it. Plus, I long ago developed a sleep defense-mechanism that allows me to fall asleep anywhere I like. I don’t mind eating whatever, whenever or wearing the same clothes over and over.
I don’t want to go home until Gavin comes with me. And it looks like he might be coming with me this weekend!