August 6, 2009 Did you ever feel like it’s been about four days since this morning? Today was chock full… of goodness, luckily. Today was clinic day and our first day of Interim Maintenance. Tanner’s neutraphils (big infection fighting white cells) were down to 1500 from 3400 last week. 1,500 is still good for a kid with leukemia, but 3,400 was almost normal. So, farewell freedom… it’s back to precautions. We feel lucky to have had that week, though. It was nice to be able to get out.
I always feel like my preconceptions about chemo have been dramatized by television. I picture rows of people sitting in infusion chairs for hours, receiving IV chemo and feeling really sick. While there are some chemos that require a long infusion time, most don’t. And, there are definitely some kids in there that look like they’re feeling really bad, but many don’t. Tanner received two types of chemo today in less than 10 minutes. No IV pole or anything. The nurse just injects them very slowly from a syringe into Tanner’s IV line which is connected to her port. All done. And, as far as feeling really sick… we haven’t come across that yet as of bedtime today. In fact, Tanner was super active today. We played Wii Cheerleader, swam at the Whitler’s and played with some friends that dropped by after dinner. Chemo?!!! What chemo?!!!
Of course, I’m not naive enough to think this will last. I do believe this phase will be more difficult than the last and the cumulative effect of the vincristine and the increasing dosage of the methotrexate will take their toll. But, for now, you would never know anything’s wrong with her.
I registered Tanner for 1st grade at Moore Elementary this evening. It was bittersweet. I was excited that she got Mrs. Franklin as a teacher and that Mrs. O’hara, the reading teacher, will be her homebound teacher. She also has a great class, with many little friends from kindergarten. But, it made me sad she couldn’t come with me like all the other kids, to meet her teacher and see friends she hadn’t seen all summer.
Tanner made me promise to write down the names of all the kids in her class. When I got home, we got her jammies on and sat in bed with her yearbook and looked up all the kids, her classroom teacher and her homebound teacher. Tanner is a social butterfly and she knew all but two of the kids in her class; and those two were new to the school. She was really excited and I wondered whether she really understands that all those kids will be in class without her for at least half the year.
The school is being so remarkable about trying to make her feel connected, though. They’re investigating the idea of teleconferencing through computers so she can check in with the class once a day, and the homebound teacher said she was going home to read Tanner’s blog so she could learn more about her. Her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Cope stopped by this past weekend and brought Tanner a Build-a-Bear. She asked if she could stop by once a week during this school year and read with her. Wow! Moore Elementary is a small school and we are so grateful for the feeling of family there and for the love and concern they show us and our daughter.
So, it was a full day, but a good one. Four days ago this morning, I thought we might have had a rough day because of the chemo, but it was a great day. Which just goes to show you how unpredictable leukemia, chemo and my kid are.