As she's pulling it off she asks, "G, can I puw thi ban aid off?"
"(S)owwy G" as she hands the bandaid back to G.
"That's ok Bridgy".
They hug and both continue to play.
We received some truly wonderful and incredible news this week after G's scans. The CT scan done on Sunday showed no metastatic disease in G's lungs, which we were expecting. This would have been a sign of some serious progression which we knew wasn't the case. The next day was the MRI done under anesthesia. I'll just get straight to the results...the primary tumor is GONE!!!!!! The larger lymph node on the right (the one that was more concerning) has shrunk MORE THAN 50% from the 2nd MRI...yes, the 2nd done in May!!!! It has shrunk even more since the first MRI in March. I asked to see the scans going back to May then the originals from March. The results were astonishing from the original scans. The tumor that originally occluded about 70% of her bladder is GONE!!!!
G was amazing with her scans. She had to be NPO (nothing by mouth) after midnight for Monday's procedure but could have clears until 11am for her scans at 2pm. Nana, Bridgy and G made lots of Jello the night before and stocked up on apple juice and gatorade. Adam and I were able to get to the gym in the morning, which was much needed while Nana watched the girls. When we got to the hospital and checked in to the pre-op area, it was strangely quiet. The usual procedure happened, vitals, access, questions and off to the anesthesia induction room. G, true to form, showed off her beautiful hand picked ruffled skirt and accessories to the staff, who ooed and aahed, rested her head on daddy's shoulder and waited for the milky white napping medication to hit. She took a big yawn and was off for her MRI. To ease the waiting time and the nerves, Adam and I got to visit with Dulce (who lives up to her name), my dear friend and Kaiser co-worker. We talked, laughed and the time went by. In the post-op area, we saw some familiar smiling faces of the nurses who cared for G so diligently after each radiation treatment. De-accessed, home and now we wait....optimistic for good news.
Tuesday was probably one of the roughest days... just waiting breathless with the weight of the world on our shoulders. I had an annual RN skills day at the hospital so Adam took the girls to visit with our dear friends Uncle Johnny and Auntie Una, who had rented a beach house in Aptos. The morning brought a renewed sense of hope. As I was driving to work, I saw the full moon shining big and bright while the sun pushed it's way into the sky. Driving past the reservoir, wisps of steam were swirling off the water. Something about this morning was different, besides the fact that I was up that early. It was pretty amazing to see.
Adam and I were both constantly checking our phones and texting each other to see either had heard anything after the email I had sent to Dr. Aftandilian. We received an email letting us know we would talk about the results at our meeting on Thursday. This sent me into a total panic not being able to hear any preliminary results and I just thought of the worst..."OMG...It's bad...no it can't be.....she's doing so well....why won't they tell us anything....wouldn't they tell us if it was bad...can't they tell us if things are looking good...something...anything"....etc. etc. I finally broke down at lunch after visiting my manager Maryanne. I just needed to hear something, anything.... this was about my baby's life and I needed to know....NOW! But I know all too well the reasons they don't tell you over the phone or via email. That just wasn't good enough and I needed to know. Dr. Aftandilian finally let us know that everything was looking good...the tumor was gone, lymph shrinking and no metastatic disease. It took a while to absorb but once I did, I started to scream, cry, laugh....AAAHHHHHH!!!!! MY DAUGHTER IS BEATING THIS AWFUL UGLY DISEASE!!!!!!! SHE IS A FIGHTER AND WE WILL ALL CONTINUE TILL IT'S ALL GONE!!!!!! I can finally breath a little easier!!!
We are ecstatic to say the least!!! I want to run up and down the street screaming, doing cartwheels, throwing my hands up in the air!!!! Which I do but there is always something that stops us in our tracks. We don't want to celebrate too early and think that this is the end of our journey. We still have a long way to go but it's exhilarating to celebrate the little victories along the way. Actually, this was a BIG victory...just knowing that all this "treatment" is paying off and we are going in the right direction. The thing with cancer that we know all too well is how it can sneak up on you, punch you in the gut and take your breath away. A little part of us always wants to always be "on guard" and prepared. How can we not be prepared for the unlikely when the unlikely has already happened to us? My cancer momma friend Angela said it best in one of her bast blog posts in reference to taking her son for post treatment check-ups, "So trying to reason with a mom who thinks her son has symptoms of something really terrible and unusual, after he's been through something else terrible and unusual, is not possible."
We fight our children's cancer AT ANY COST and believe that our child's cancer WILL NOT COME BACK. We know that Gabriella's cancer is not as relentless as some of the other cancers out there and for that we are extremely optimistic. But as a cancer parent, we will continue to be guarded and prepared....but definitely optimistic.
With good news coming and more on the way, I was ready to have a really fun halloween...costumes, candy, trick-or-treating, and good friends. Our tradition the last couple of years has been to head with our good friends, the Winters and trick-or-treat at the Vineyards in Scotts Valley. Uncle Johnny joined us this year donning a funny costume. Gabriella has been insistent about being a "rainbow with jewels on my wings and I glow up". She talked about this costume for a couple of months and wasn't wavering on her choice. A lot of people thought she was saying that she would blow up...but she wanted to "glow up". Daddy made that happen by buying black light neon spray and a black light to shine on her all night...and that he did. Bridget wasn't totally sure what she wanted to be but chose a bumble bee costume. They both looked incredibly cute and we had a blast running from house to house with all the other trick-or-treaters on the streets. Gabriella ran with Nicole trying to keep up with Brook and Bridget was closing in from behind. B was trying to give her candy away at first but caught on to the idea that she collected the candy to put in her bag. She made sure to turned around, waived to everyone that gave her treats and said, "Appy alloween".
The next morning, we got our sleepy, sugar hungover girls out of bed early to make sure we were at the hospital at 9am, which was a tough task in all the morning traffic. We had a pee stop for both girls and a throw up stop for Bridget likely from too many treats the night before. We met with our doctors, Dr. Marina and Dr. Aftandilian talked about the results and went over the procedure for this coming up Monday. They weren't expecting to find anything new at the primary tumor site and we are incredibly positive for that news as well. The exam will be done by Dr. Hillard, our pediatric gynecologist, who I got a chance to talk with the next day about the procedure and felt really great about the conversation. Dr. Donaldson, our radiation oncologist will also be present for the exam. Biopsies will most likely be done so we can see how the cells are responding under the microscope but they'll meet with us after the procedure to discuss what they saw. We won't received the pathology results back till the following week but we're expecting more good news.
The last few days have been somewhat normal and it feels wonderful! G got to attend her art class and Bridget has now pretty much potty-trained herself for night time...at only 2 1/2 although the "me" has found it's way back into her mouth. I got to make a birthday cake for my sweet friend's little girl, Samantha who turned 3 and attend the birthday party. My dear friends little girls (Addison, Samantha and Julia) were so sweet to G and Bridgy and didn't even bat an eye to G's bald little head. Ahhhh.....a little glimpse of our pre-cancer life and life after cancer.....but much much sweeter than I could ever imagine. Life is good.
|Just love these little girls!!!|
|"Croissant Fit Trainer with the girls. |
Bridgy not too sure about the outfit.
|Here we go!!|
|Enjoying green cupcakes|
|My amazing friends and our girls!|
The holidays are going to be AMAZING and I'm really looking forward to sharing them this year with my beautiful and amazing family and all of my friends!!
Continuing the fight and grateful for all the support,
One last story as G and I were watching the World Series.
"Shhh, Buster Posey is up."
"What, bust my posey's up?"
"Lol...no honey, it's Buster Posey...lol"