Monday, August 6, 2012

Radiation- Treatment #1 of 27

We woke up this morning ready for our first day of radiation... for Gabriella that is.  Ironic how we talk like this is "our treatment" but we are all in this together.  Treatment was scheduled for 10:30 but we had to check into the Ford Surgery Center at 9:15, per policy.  We know this place too well and know that we will be waiting for about 45 minutes before they even call her back for her pre-op.  Really, we were not in a rush this morning and if we hit traffic, so be it.  This morning was different though.  There was no rush to get going, no pre-packing the night before, no anxious cleaning (just the usual cleaning); just routine.  Maybe we are just getting tired of this, maybe we are just robotic now and its becoming automatic; not sure really.   I had a sense of relief knowing my mom will be at the house because she'll automatically clean, vacuum, sweep, and take care of everything I know I need to but just don't have the energy to do.  This morning, we were on task and ready to get the show on the road.  G had to be NPO (nothing by mouth) from midnight and nothing to drink after 7:30am.  I offered her water before her cut off time but she wanted milk.  I reminded her she couldn't have anything but clears and this was the last chance until after the procedure.  She kindly refused with her sweet little "No thanks" and on we went downstairs to cuddle with Nana before getting dressed and on the road.   

Adam got coverage for the whole morning by Bruce Ingle so we could get "settled" with our new regimen and figure out how it's all going to work.  Nana came down last night to be with Bridget so we could focus on G for her first treatment.    I've never seen our girls so wild at night, running around, dancing for Nana, and playing with Mr. Tortoise (we're turtle sitting for our neighbors and the girls are loving it).  We were thinking it was going to be hard to get them down to bed but they were out pretty easily.  G even had a short play date with Charlotte in the morning so I think she gladly wore herself out.  

We checked in, got accessed, waited patiently for the pre-op nurse (who apparently doesn't do this often) while she kicked the anesthesiologist out twice so she could finish charting, and finally walked down the multitude of hallways, walkways, and doorways to make our way to the radiation area.  Never once throughout the whole morning did G complain about being hungry.  She'll quietly play on the iPhone or iPad but I'm pretty sure this is her way of dealing with all of the commotion going on around her.  Finally to the radiation area.  It becomes very real when you walk into a room with huge monitors and medical machinery that is going to deliver hazardous beams of radiation necessarily killing off cancerous tumor cells but causing damage to normal cells.  Deep breath.  It's quite unnerving really but its something that has to be done.   

It's never easy to see your child go through the transition of playing enthusiastically on the iPad, making cupcakes, to succumbing to anesthesia.  As soon as the medicine hit, she felt it, slumped over and looked up at me with her big green eyes.  In a way I felt as if she was saying to me, "Mommy, we have to do this again...".  All I could do was hold her little floppy head, kiss her multiple times, tell her daddy and I were here and lay her little body down on the cold, hard table and watch as everyone in the room scurried to place her properly to get started while considerately telling us to "leave the room now".  We fight the urge to run back into the room, knock everyone out, grab our little girl and run far far away.  But we know what we must do.  There's no thinking it over too much, we just do it because we have to.  

Adam and I sat quietly in the waiting room.  Claudia, one of Dr. Donaldson's nurses came in to discuss after radiation treatment and what to expect in the weeks to come.  Then we met with Dr. Donaldson and her team of doctors.  Again when she walked into the room, I had an immediate sense of calmness, positivity and trust that came over me.  Not sure if any doctor has ever made me feel this comfortable but she has a way about her and I just know we are in good hands.  Before we finish our short meeting, Gabriella get's wheeled by, back to the recovery area.  We were right behind, trying to catch up by following the sounds of her little heart beat from the monitor.  There's something about hearing your child's heart beating that is very calming.  Maybe it goes back to the first ultrasound when pregnancy is confirmed and you hear your child's heart beat for the very first time.  Most parents seem to know that they have instantly fallen in love and know you will do anything in your power to protect this little being.  Entering the recovery area, we were greeted with more than the normal crying and screaming.  Try all you might, its hard to block out these sounds and not feel the pain and fright these kids must be feeling.  Gabriella was sleeping like a beauty queen and was able to slowly wake.  She was a happy kid when she woke up especially having her warm coconut milk readily available and chocolate covered granola thins.  Before we knew, we were on our way home.  It was actually 4 hours after we checked in but there was a lot packed into that 4 hours.  

Gabriella is home and recovering.  She's actually doing well but seems a little sleepy and says she's dizzy.  I'm hoping she will get used to the anesthesia and hopefully they will be able to adjust the dose so she's not so sleepy and dizzy.  We've got 26 more treatments to go.  

Just keep swimming.

1 comment: