First published February 20, 2012 on facingcancer.ca
The boys and I are spending Family Day together while Kate takes refuge at her parents’ home. It has been quite trying for her since her last chemo session (the 3rd of last Monday). We, obviously naively, thought that the recovery from each session would become easier to handle. The reality is that Katie has been laid progressively lower after each session.
Last time, it was thought that additional hydration would help so she spent an additional two days dragging an IV pump and pole around the house while saline dripped slowly into her system. If you’re ever considering it – an IV pump is not an attractive element to add to your home decor!
So that didn’t work and in the midst of all of this the remainder of the family came down with some sort of mutant strain of Ebola. Gabriel hacked and sniffed for the entire week. Samuel, who is only two, developed the cough of someone who has smoked for four decades and sounded a lot like Mercedes McCambridge in ‘The Exorcist”.
Guess you know where this is going. A vulnerable immune system can only stand so much and while the Neulasta treatments appear to be giving Kate’s white cells a real boost (her count was astronomically positive at last bloods) the virus wormed its way in. Yesterday, we began the day with a very pleasant and welcome journey to E.R. at OTH where the local muppets weren’t really much help but even weirder was that Katie’s temperature, which had been hovering around 38.4 rang it at a very normal 37.3.
We came home.
The shivers and fatigue and general yick and sore throat and cough re-emerged and her temp was back up to 38.5.
Back into the car and off to CVH.
Six and one-half hours later I dropped Kate off with her angel of a mom and came home to relieve my father-in-law of the boys.
The good news? Her temp was normal. The results of tests on what appeared to be a couple of pints of blood were all good – although the battle had depleted the white cells. Good work though ladies! You fought off infection. And, you fought off flu. And, while Kate still feels baffed out today, the kind ministrations of her mom will undoubtedly get her back on her feet.
In the meantime, the boys and I (with Grandpa’s very real help) are managing to make it through the days and nights as a family. The lads miss their Mommy no doubt and would vastly prefer that she be with us but as Gabe says, “Get better Mommy and make the chemo sharks fight hard so you can come home.”
On Family Day then just this – my profound thanks to my own little family and to Roger and Wendy, Andrew and Judy, Bob and Nicola, Alex and Louis. Also my personal thanks to my gorgeous niece Elaine for her support and for being such a great caregiver for my mom. And, many props to our extended family Cindy and Lloyd, Lisa and Andy, Wayne and Tammy, Rebecca and Charlene, and every single one of the amazing people at Pigeon* who have individually and collectively proven that you can in fact form a family within the workplace.
To all of you we say thank you. Our hope is that on Family Day one year hence we’ll be celebrating as a whole and bringing the boys’ Mommy into our warm embrace.