Today was clinic day. The works: Spinal tap, vincristine and flu shot. I took Johnny this morning, and we almost made it there early too. Yes, me -- EARLY. The last time we were early to something was w a y before Sophie was born and I was taking Johnny to t-ball practice and arrived about 10 minutes ahead of schedule. As I pulled into the parking lot I said "WOW guys, were early.". Johnny freaked out and cried "What's that? Are we in trouble?". Anyway, even with traffic we made it on time, which I will take as an "early".
Not having a port anymore is an issue (good and bad) when Miss Cheryl is on vacation. Miss Cheryl ROCKS BandAid Junction/IV's.
Now the following experience is something that rarely happens at TCH, and we LOVE all the nurses and Doctor's -- heck, they saved my kids life, but today wasn't a great day for Johnny.
The first nurse stuck him three times with no luck. She sighed and asked a rhetorical question "Let's see... who should I call..." I, of course, answered "ROBIN". So she did. Robin came and tried two more times (now we're up to 5 pokes) and finally got it. Again, these people are awesome at what they do (but they don't usually do IV's), and I am not trying to undercut their incredible work they do each and everyday, it was just a long one for all of us.
We got his counts and they were great, his ANC went up to 1,600. We are going to keep his meds at 66% at least for another 4 weeks, check his counts and if they are still good, up the meds to 75%. Talked to the Docs, and then waited 3 hours. We played cards, puzzles and practiced math facts (multiplication). With Johnny (probably everyone), he was ready for action/chemo/spinal as soon as we got there. He puts himself in "the zone" or puts his "game face on", if you will. After waiting 3 hours once we saw the Docs, it pretty much killed the mood for him. He started to think about the impending pokes on his back. And got real quiet. Johnny and I are very similar and sometimes we don't even need to talk to communicate with each other, kind of a "Crockett and Tubbs" relationship (I am SO dating myself with the Miami Vice reference).
I got mad. Quick. I tried not to be mean, but when Johnny gets scared it's hard not too. After I asked few quick questions, things started moving pretty quick to get the procedure going. As the nurses preped Johnny, one very astute nurse noticed that the vein with the IV was blown -- not good. Nothing else looked good on Johnny to start another one. ...And he had explicit instructions where he wanted the next IV to go. Pretty much in his hands - only.
How about your foot? NO!
What if we just do your arm for the procedure and butterfly for vincristine? NO!
What about just about your wrist (almost the joint). NO!
Then the tears came. He tried so hard to hold them back, dug his head in my chest and tried his hardest to cry quietly.
Back to Robin we go. She got it on the second try (were up to 7 now), and it was a good one too. YES! Now back to the procedure room (yes, you have to go back an forth until you find someone who will stick you). Our last resort was to come back another day. That's when I said NO. Anyway, our favorite docs took care of him without a hitch, he fell asleep pretty quick and I don't think he remembered too much after that. I'm not counting the pokes he gets in his back -- if I did, we'd be up to 10 now. What's the record for "Human Pin Cousion"? Anyone? Anyone?
We didn't leave the clinic until 3pm. But thankfully we are home now. He's asleep now, and will probably sleep until lunchtime tomorrow. Today was hard for Johnny, tough on me, and we are both beat. Luckily his next big visit isn't for another 12 weeks -- just in time for his birthday.
The totally awesome news is that the end of treatment is SEPTEMBER 7! -- 2008, but hey, there is light at the end of the tunnel. On New Years Eve as the clock struck midnight and we all cheered and clinked glasses, Johnny quietly said "Yes! In 2008 I'll be done with cancer." and gave me a high five.
Next appointment is in two weeks (no chemo), then two weeks after chemo. I'll keep you updated!