Yes, Esther's cancer treatment will be somewhere around a year. I know this, but it just hasn't been real. Our nurse knows our journey, he knows it will be long and that we'll see him again. I just can't wrap my mind around this reality. It feels so unreal. Last night I went to bed, fighting tears. I have been really just living one day at a time, but the gravity of the coming months of treatment is overwhelming. Living one day at a time is good...pretty sure there's a Bible verse about worry that's pertinent here. I took some deep breaths and succumbed to my utter exhaustion.
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34
In the night Esther woke up afraid and hurting a bit. She asked me to cuddle with her, she held me tight and I slept with her for a couple of hours. This was a gift to my soul. She's been a bit standoffish toward me and it's been hard. At a time when all I want to do is hold her and try to shield her from any more pain, she hasn't wanted me all that much.
We woke up and skipped breakfast because Esther's MIBG scan was at 9am and she needed to be sedated to be still for the imaging. This scan was to find any other hidden cancer cells and determine if her cells take up the agent that will be used in her MIBG therapy next fall. Ten percent of the time neuroblastoma cells don't take up the radioactive dye. The scan was a bit frustrating. There is a nation wide shortage of a drug they use to sedate children without putting them under general anesthesia, so Esther had to go under general anesthesia. She has not handled this well, waking up very nauseous. I just didn't want to add another variable to make her sick. The scan took an over an hour longer than we anticipated and ended with a difficult interaction with a nurse and Esther was hysterical when she woke up. Because today was the 4th of July, the scan won't be read until tomorrow. However, because the nurse made me worry, we asked the in house oncologist covering the inpatient kids take a look. Her cells did take up the dye (that's good) and there wasn't anything majorly alarming, a couple of other areas that may have cells, but it's best left to a radiologist to read. All in all, it's not a huge concern. The purpose is to find every hidden cancer cell we can possibly find. Sounds a bit Jehu-like, no?
When we got back to our room Esther ate a little bit and started her 5th day of chemo. She did well, enjoyed a visit from Aunt Margarita and Uncle Wayne. The chemo is doing it's job. On Tuesday her uric acid levels were high...this is good and bad. Good because that's evidence that the cells are dying bad, because it's hard on the kidneys. They were able to lower the levels with some meds and extra fluids. The bump on her head is quite a bit smaller already. Praise God!
We packed up our hospital room. Thank you for all of the cards. They are so sweet and an encouragement to us and the hospital staff that entered our room. Esther loves her new snuggley friends.
We took our giant bag of medicine and hit the road. Esther and I headed to my parent's house and Anthony and the other four kids are at home in Fort Collins tonight. Tomorrow Esther has a check up in the oncology clinic and a shot to help her body build new white blood cells.
Pray for all of us to stay healthy in between chemo treatments and for us to give each other a lot of grace as we learn to navigate the new reality of our life. Pray we'd take one day at a time in our new reality and give over those anxieties. I found myself singing a song from one of our Seeds Family Worship CDs. They are awesome, we highly reccomend them.
"Do not be anxious about anything. But in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving submit your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" Philippians 4:6-7