Last month Kris and I were driving home from the hospital after G's last chemo treatment. I looked at Kris and said what we both were thinking. "This may be the best day of our lives". We both chuckled a little but understood that this was a battle won, but the war was and is yet to be determined. The next incredible day was two weeks ago when we sat down with Dr. Marina and she told us the preliminary scans were clear, "nothing in her lungs and nothing new on the MRI." Another brick was removed from our shoulders. That night at home when the phone rang I gave a nervous glance around before I answered it. Once again, Dr. Marina with good news, the PET scan showed no cancer activity. We popped the cork on the Champagne and cried. Another brick.
The following Tuesday we met with Dr. Marina for a more formal review of the scans that had now been looked at by the oncology team and given their report. Same results, clear. Another brick. We were now clear to have G's port (central line) removed. Monday morning Kris and I got up and were out the door a little after 6:00am (that's pretty early for us). We wrapped G in a blanket and tossed her in the car. As I carried her out of the house, the rain was falling on her head and she covered up with the blanket. It was the same pink blanket that one of my co-workers, Gina, gave her just days after her diagnosis. That blanket has been with her through quite a bit. G slept in the back of the car as we drove to the hospital for one last milestone. Once her port is out, she is considered a regular kid. No longer will fever be immediately assumed as a central line infection and require immediate admission to the hospital with a bombardment of antibiotics for weeks. All three of us were beside ourselves with happy anticipation.
At Packard the procedure was fast and uncomplicated. The anesthesiologist was cool as was the surgery team. We got to see a lot of nurses in the recovery unit that we got very close to while G was undergoing radiation. It was pretty amazing. The surgeon made me laugh when he came out and told us that we have to keep her mellow for about a week. Low activity. This kid has felt like crap for the last year. She finally feels good and is the most energetic and happy kid I know. There is no way we could keep her mellow for a week, even if we wanted to.
Last night I was checking on the girls before I went to bed and watched G sleeping in her bed. It brought back memories of the countless times we had snuck in and given her her shot while she slept. Damn I'm glad that's over.
The plan now is scans every three months for the rest of this year. If it does come back, the earlier we catch it the better. After the first year she moves to scans every four months for two more years. Then it is scans every 6 months for I don't remember how long, but it will be awhile.
This month has been a series of beautiful milestones. Great big victories. We are overjoyed with the news but we realize that we have lots of nervous days ahead. Parent's in the kid's cancer community called it Scan-xiety.
We have had a few questions about when will it truly be over, when can we really celebrate? If there is one thing that this year has taught us, it is that we celebrate today, we celebrate every day. Life is a gift, and right now it is a dream. We have no idea what is next but I can tell you today, life is good.