Ahhh, wow. Done with one chapter and on to the next. Sorry for the lack of posts this past couple of weeks. We've been basking in the glory of finishing Gabriella's radiation treatments and trying to "clean up" what we've left for so many weeks...laundry, bills, dirty dog, dying plants, uncleaned fish tanks, unattended yards, fridge clean out and grocery store trips ;-). That felt like the longest marathon ever but that's pretty much how we had to look at it. We still have 18 weeks of chemotherapy and are still guarded but the worst is over. One more day, one more mile and just put one foot in front of the other until we crossed the finish line. Success.
Our last week of radiation proved to be difficult but it was basically like Friday's...TGIF. We knew we were at the end and just needed to make it through the last 4 days. The weekend "recovery" was hardly that but we enjoy every precious moment when we are all together. G was back on her GCSF shots (not fun but Adam and I have gotten used to them and have our routine) and Bridgy was getting over her cold. I'm not sure how we did it but G managed to avoid getting Bridget's cold. There were still sneezes exchanged by both but the majority of the boogies were gone. Whew!
Monday morning was the same; difficulty in waking up, getting going and getting motivated but we somehow managed to do it. Adam worked on Sunday so I got the girls ready for the early morning trip to the hospital, even putting them in some comfortable "day clothes" (as G likes to call them) so I wouldn't have to worry about changing them in the morning and they wouldn't look like they just rolled out of bed. But really, who cares about that anyway? We picked Adam up from work and drove to the hospital, got accessed, got bloods drawn for regular Monday labs, stayed while G went to sleep and rotated between me getting B breakfast and coffee while Adam waited for G to be done. To the post-op waiting area where we talk with Pam until she takes one of us back so the other can stay with Bridgy since she's not allowed back there. Ok, done. On our way home.
As we were driving back, I get a call from the "unknown" number. We know the routine well enough to know that it's the hospital calling and normally on Mondays, they're calling because of a problem with her labs. The nurse practitioner tells us G's hemoglobin is 9 and needs to stay above 10 so the radiation will have the most affect. So, they schedule a blood transfusion for Tuesday. Ugg, Adam works and I didn't want to leave Bridget for an unknown period of time for radiation in the morning then a blood transfusion that couldn't be started until 2pm. Two of the three transfusions she's been without complications but there was the one where she peed blood right after and landed us in the Stanford ER for 5 hours. We try to plan for these things as much as possible so I asked if we could do it that day (Monday). Yes, but not till 2:30pm. Great, I'll take it. G and I drop Adam off at work in Los Gatos to get his car and drive home to Scotts Valley so we could drop Bridget off for her nap (with Adam there) and G and I could go back to the hospital. This makes a second trip up to Packard but hey, we don't have to figure it all out when Adam was at work on Tuesday!
G was so amazing about driving back to the hospital. We even stopped at Jia Tella's (a local favorite in SV) to pick up some food for lunch...and dinner just in case and got her a bubble gum ice cream. As we drove up to LPCH, G pointed out the bushes in the front shaped like animals and said, "Mommy, I really like that beautiful animal topiary". Apparently somewhere on the way, she learned "topiary".
Luckily our room was a single with a TV and lots of movies...oh yes, and a new toy from the gift shop for being so compliant in going back to the hospital. (We have many bad habits we must break.) Thankfully the blood was close to being ready when we got there and ran in over 2 hours (versus 3 the last few times). No complications so back home we go at about 6pm and made it in time for bath with Bridgy, books and bed. The rest of the week, Tuesday thru Thursday we were bumped up an hour earlier. My sister took Bridget for the morning and off to radiation we went. Adam ended up getting off work early on Wednesday to come home and pick G up for radiation so I could have a day off. I was very grateful but felt a little guilty not being there the second to last day. She doesn't get to have breaks so why should I? But I got to enjoy my morning hanging out with Bridgy.
The last day was pretty awesome. One of our radiation nurses brought a princess gift for G and a couple of radiation tech's had a pink sparkly tutu for her with a purple unicorn. They really got to know her well after 6 weeks! She even got a certificate for completing radiation. I'm not sure if I want to frame this or burn it. But for now, I'll hang on to it and let G decide when she's older.
|G happily drinking her milk.|
|28 radiation treatments COMPLETED!!!|
|Some of our favorite post-op nurses and crew!|
A trip to the SC County Fair...
I'm not sure how we even fit this in but we made it to the Annual SC County Fair! It is such a great time and we always make wonderful memories when we are there so it's well worth the effort. After Adam and G got back from radiation on Wednesday, we all took off to the fair. We had an awesome time and really enjoyed ourselves.
|Loving this picture!|
|G riding "Mocha".|
|Bridgy riding "Shorty".|
|Getting ready for her face painting|
|Loving her pose!|
|Tea cups. Luckily I have Adam to take them on these rides ;-)|
Our weekend getaway....
We asked Gabriella what she wanted to do after radiation was over and she said, "I want to go to the beach". Not wanting to go too far but having a little trip to look forward to lead us to Costanoa. It's a beautiful place about 10 minutes from Davenport where you can bring an RV, camp, stay in tents, or stay at the lodge. We had driven by a couple of times and thought it would be really fun to take the RV up for a couple of nights. After unpacking from the week of radiation, doing some laundry and re-packing for our trip, we were off. First stop was to visit Teresa at the Capitola Mall and pick up the "Giving Fountain" money that the mall so graciously offered us after seeing the article in the SC Sentinel. This money will go to our Team G Cookies for Kids' Cancer Bake Sale to benefit childhood cancer research! I'm honored that so many have gone out of their way to make a difference in the lives of these children fighting for cancer.
We convinced our awesome friends, Danielle and Pat with their two little ones, Brook and Nicole to come join us as well as "Uncle Johnny"...besides Ronnie, one of the girls favorites! Gabriella and Bridget were so excited to see everyone, play at the beach, ride in the trailer (borrowed from our kind and ever helpful neighbors Toby and Julie), roast marshmallows, eat ice cream and just have a good time.
Bridget was so excited that she didn't nap the whole time we were there! Needless to say, she's making up for it this week. Once again, this was the weekend for Gabriella's immunity to drop so we were armed with the necessities. Again we managed to slide by the infectious fever causing bacteria that will put us back in the hospital for at least a week. I'm not sure how she is staying so strong and dodging the fevers but she seems to know her body pretty well and rests when she needs to. Gabriella has been pretty incredible about washing her hands, drinking and eating. I'm sure all of this is helping.
|The gang with our blazing fire and roasted marshmallows.|
|Love these guys!|
|And these girls! With Nicole and Brook, |
who have each grown about 2 feet since we've known them.!
|A little music on the lawn.|
|My "sweet" girls.|
Last but not least...
We had another amazing meeting for our big Bake Sale for Cookies for Kids' Cancer last night. Kellie, Angela, Stacey, Larisa, Mariela, Cara and Michelle...thank you ladies for being such a big part of this event...and of course everyone who has been working their butts off to help...Jen, Jesse, Ronnie, Mel, Cheri, etc. etc.! I am really looking forward to this event and am just overwhelmed with gratefulness to everyone who is getting involved. The more I see of these incredible children and the difficulties they face, the more I want to be involved. It's been hard to not be a part of the dark side to childhood cancer. We are trying our best to make it as positive as we can and keep so much hope for Gabriella but when you are absorbed into the world of pediatric cancer, you can't help but look death into the eyes. Unfortunately, it's the reality that some of these children and their parents will face and it cannot be ignored. We have to keep fighting.