Monday, October 22, 2012

Scanxiety and Chemo Round #9


For the last couple of weeks we have been enjoying some quality family time, no chemo, no radiation, no trips for G to the hospital at all.  Today we get back into the game.  Her overnight chemo number 9 is today.  In our last meeting with the oncologists, they told us that the cumulative effect of the chemo and radiation may start to take hold.  Today started like the rest of the chemo's.  Lots of fluids to start and then the meds.  G was feeling good enough to go down to the gift shop for a stuffed animal for her and her sister.  We wandered to the cafeteria for some popcorn and orangina.  Then back to our room for the NLCS.  Then the reality of chemo and cancer came back to us.  G started throwing up.  And throwing up.  And throwing up.  We tried Ativan which seemed to work for a brief time.  She got pretty high and kept calling me boss.  "What's the plan boss?".  What 4 year old says that?  Then more throwing up.  So we tried Benedryl.  She is finally sleeping but I'm afraid that this night has just begun.  Ugh.  Wish us luck.

Team G


It's difficult to fight off the feelings of helplessness when I'm away from G and she's feeling the effects of chemo.   These past couple of weeks, Gabriella has been doing incredibly well.  Today we completed #9 (of 14) of her three drug overnight chemo, where she stays for pre and post hydration for 24 hours.  Adam and I have taken turns staying the night with her.  It's a physically difficult night for her because of the chemo, the nausea and the constant peeing every couple of hours and sometimes every hour.  I forget how emotionally difficult it is to be at home on the other side and not be able to comfort G while she's throwing up, to help her with her nausea, or to give her cuddles when she needs it.  Even seeing her little face on the phone isn't a substitute for kissing her soft little precious bald head that I just love to kiss.  It's especially soothing to brush my cheek over the little strands of peach fuzz that cover her head.  But daddy is there giving her plenty of love.  Bridget and I had a fun night having a dinner picnic on the living room floor while watching the Giants win the NLCS Championship. 

The past week has come with many emotional up and down moments for me.  Things started off last week with a visit to the ICU at Kaiser (my work) for a few hours of compliance training via computer.  Seeing some of my favorite co-workers of nurses and doctors was encouraging.  It was great to feel a stronger sense of normal just being at work for a few hours.  Just realizing how many of my co-workers have been following our story and cheering us on was inspiring.  I'm always a little surprised when people are happy to see me back.  Since I work so little, I didn't think I was missed that much.  It's nice to be missed and welcomed back so graciously.  Adam had the girls at home and they enjoyed their afternoon playing as daddy does.  I even got to spend the money I just made at work on a shopping trip to Marshall's; mainly for the girls but the clothes are so darn cute!  I just couldn't help it ;-)

After getting the carpets cleaned and G's blood drawn by our nurse Ellen, the girls and I took off for a little road trip to see my parents in Lincoln at their new house.  Gabriella kept saying, "We're going to England." And people would say, "Really, England?"  She would say, "Yes, that's where my Papa and Nana live".  Then she would say, "Wait mamma (her new name for me), where do Nana and Papa live?".  I would tell her Lincoln and she would say, "Oh, Lincoln, not England" and giggle.

The girls with Papa and the Halloween witch and their "do-rags".
Having milk and relaxing before bedtime.
This is pretty much how G sleeps...with her elbows in your face.  

I was a little nervous about the trip but made sure I had plenty of supplies just in case and knew the location of the nearest hospital.  Luckily I brought a couple of syringes of GCSF with me just in case I got the order from the doctors.  When we got there, we had a grand time just hanging out, carving pumpkins, going for walks with Papa to find the wild turkeys and relaxing.  Bridget ended up with a stuffy then runny nose (yikes) but the doctors gave the go ahead and give the GCSF to G to boost her immunity so she could be on time for her next chemo.  Lots of hand washing, spraying and G's will not to get sick worked...again.  On the way home, we decided to take a detour to the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield.  The girls went nuts and enjoyed picking out a "couple of things" to buy and enjoy.  Bridget actually found her way into a box of Jelly Belly's and ate the whole thing while I was driving.  Lesson learned....don't leave a 2 1/2 year old with a box of candy and expect her not to get into it.  

In front of the Jelly Belly Factory!
Bridgy with her little bruised lip.
The girls in Jelly Belly heaven!
Love these girls!
Racing the Jelly Belly car.
Over the weekend, we got a chance to see the Peter Pan and Wendy play where Auntie Mel's daughter, Peyton starred as Tinkerbell.  It was G's second theater play and Bridget's first.  We weren't sure how Bridgy was going to do but they both clearly enjoyed it and sat through the whole play.  Bridget enjoyed clapping with everyone after the scenes and G loved seeing her friend Peyton as Tinkerbell.  Most of the cast even came out after the show to say hi to the girls and meet G.  She even got an autographed program from everyone in the show.  It was a nice escape and a fun family day getting to pick out the girls Halloween costumes at Woodworm and enjoy an outside lunch with some beautiful weather at Kianti's prior to the play.

Getting "glitter fairy tattoo's" before the play. 
The girls with Tinkerbell, Peyton.

An old friend of mine, who has traveled this journey with her son, reminded me recently that I need to stay positive and truly BELIEVE that G will be ok.  These are probably the best words and advice that anyone has given me and an email that I have referred to many times over the last 5 days.  It is so absolutely real, devastating, frustrating and emotional to be a part of this pediatric cancer world.  Getting to know other families and then hearing the stories of relapse...It just SUCKS.  It happened again today from another family we met at Camp and made me want to crawl in a hole.  It's like you're on one of those rides that just keeps spinning when you just want it to stop because you have this overwhelming sense that you're going to throw up everywhere if it doesn't.  Once the world stops spinning for a moment, I can come out of my hole and put my boxing gloves on again.

I have continued to remind myself what I have been reminded...I JUST HAVE TO BELIEVE that G WILL BE OK.  I have to stay positive for my family and for her.  I know she will come out of this just fine and we will enjoy a sweetness in life that we never would have known.  Thank you Kara for your ongoing support.  

This will be a huge reminder for me as we enter into the re-staging phase of our protocol....scans next week.  I can already feel the anxiety starting to overwhelm me.  The difficulty breathing and the need to plan, clean, keep as busy as I possibly can.  Not only have we booked our Disneyland trip, which we are so excited about, but I've already looked into a trip to Hawaii to celebrate our 10th anniversary, New York for a girls trip, our Disney World trip, cleaned the garage, carved a massive pumpkin, cleaned out the girls old clothes, worked on planning our next fundraiser, Christmas gifts, toy drive, cookie drive....whatever it takes to keep it positive and to get my baby through this.  

I just know that she is fighting this cancer with incredible strength and determination... as we all are.

Just Keep Swimming...


Sea Salted Caramel for a breast cancer fundraiser.
Just wishing that all the pink I see this month could turn gold in September.  

1 comment:

  1. Keep swimming, keep boxing, keep getting back up over and over and over again. Reach deep down inside and reach up and out... for any little bit of strength you need. It's so freaking tempting for me to think "everything is great!" And forget this is such a long fight. With victories and defeats all along the way. I pray for you, for the will to BELIEVE! To believe in the ultimate victory for Gabriella that is awaiting just over the horizon. "What's the plan boss?" I love that! The plan is to win G!

    Love you Cosner family!!