We officially passed the first month of treatment and our second round of chemo. The first round of chemo was really rough on Michael, but the second week of treatment was a bit more tolerable. This month, we also underwent surgery to place Michael’s central line in his chest. He likes his “tubies” much better there than in his arm and often pretends he is Doc McStuffins by helping us and the nurses clean them daily.
Not surprising, we were thrilled to get discharged from the hospital yesterday and, if all goes well and he stays fever free, we should be home for 10 days. On January 22, we will return to the hospital for his stem cell retrieval, where his stem cells will be collected over 1-2 days, frozen and stored in preparation for the 6-week Stem Cell Transplant that will take place later in his treatment plan. For now, we will be grateful for the time we have at home, playing and watching Peter Pan on repeat. 😊 Then on January 29, we will return for Round 3 of chemotherapy, which is slated to be a high-dose, brutal round targeted to kill the neuroblastoma cells. I am dreading this treatment and I absolutely hate cancer.
That said, if this last month has taught us something positive, it is that we are surrounding by incredible friends, family, coworkers, and an amazing community. Friday reminded me of just that, when Anthony came home from school smiling ear-to-ear carrying a bag of hundreds of homemade cards from 6th graders at Lincoln Middle School. As I read through the cards — some from kids I know and many from kids I have never met — you could feel the outpouring of love for our sweet boy. They drew pictures of Michael’s favorite cartoon characters and wrote endearing notes in which they promised to pray for him.
As tears rolled down my face, I realized that we need to appreciate the good that this awful disease is creating. We need to find ways to turn adversity into resiliency … find strength during our worst days … and hope that this disease teaches us all to take time to love more.
The other night, as I sat with Michael in the hospital and whispered “I love you”, he whispered back something that, at the time, made me laugh. He said: “I love you great.” As I reflect, he has it right … and we “love all of you great” for supporting us through this time.