As I sat around after dinner Saturday night, I mused aloud: "How on EARTH is it already November? Wasn't it just August?" Adam raised his eyebrows in silent agreement. While the past 2 1/2 months have been the most consistently emotionally challenging months of our lives, they've also been among the fastest. Before time launched into this crazy, uncontrollable fast-forward mode, I was 21 1/2 weeks pregnant and relatively comfortable. Now, I'm 32 1/2 weeks and I feel like a beached whale. Did I really feel like this with the others so early on? I don't think so. But as many have rightfully pointed out, this is my fourth baby in six years and I'm rapidly approaching that mythical 'advanced maternal age' marker. What do I expect?
But anyway, those are just simple and largely trivial musings. The important ones are to come.
To bring us directly to the present, Adam drew Logan's bloodwork this morning, delivered the little vials to Quest, and we heard from Philippa this afternoon: His ANC is nearly 9,000, his WBC count is a robust 10,300, his platelets are at 185 and his hemoglobin, 11.5. All within normal range; the ANC is actually substantially higher than it needs to be, in fact -- 1,000 is the minimum to start the next cycle of chemo -- so off he goes tomorrow to start the next round of this battle.
I took the news with a mixture of relief and sadness. Relief because I know, in my academia-loving little head, that Logan needs to go back asap to start cycle 3. The MRI showed great progress, yes, but it's still an aggressive cancer, and it's still in his brain. We need to let the drugs get back to work and we need to let God work through them as He has so far.
But there's also a marked amount of sadness in play, and for pretty obvious reasons: He's been home with us for 3 days, and now has to go back. Three days out of 30 just doesn't feel like enough time. I think we've all enjoyed our time together as a family as much as possible. There were, naturally, the inevitable kid-squabbles that popped up (since we didn't turn into the Waltons when Logan was diagnosed with cancer) and my little sunshine is clearly tired and worn down from his cycle two infection. But he tried, we tried, and we made what we could of the short time we've been given.
On Saturday, we made our annual trek down to Pastorino's Pumpkin Farm in Half Moon Bay. I know I harp on the importance of that trip, but it really is a defining Fall moment for our family. It's something we've done every year, even before we had the kids. I have a photo of me or me plus kids standing out in front of the gate from every single year except the very first one we went, beginning with me 37 or 38 weeks pregnant with Abby. I wanted the 2010 photo so badly, and am so, so grateful that I was able to get it and add it to my collection. If I remember, I'll create a little album here and upload all 7 pictures so you can watch how we've grown over the years.
Given how late we went in the season this year, the place was almost empty, which was a big blessing! Granted it meant less gourds for the pickin', but there was more freedom of movement, less worry about sneezers and coughers and snotty little noses running amok and threatening us with their white blood cell-sucking tendencies. It all just felt so right, and given that nothing feels right these days, it was a relief.
Yesterday we went Trick or Treating; Abby was Jessie from Toy Story, Logan was a Pit Crew Member for Lightning McQueen, and Isaac was his hero, Buzz Lightyear. Logan walked along with the other kids for a few houses, and then got tired and Adam carried him until we looped back home. Abby and Isaac (okay, well, Mr. Candy, Isaac) was really into the whole shebang, so I took Logan home while Adam continued on with them. It was nice to have some quiet time with Logan; despite being tired, he sat on the stairs across from me and ate a few pieces of his bounty, and in true Logan form, shared with me (even though I didn't really want any!). That's just his nature.
Today's been a slow one. Abby was 'sick' (cough, cough) and we just hung out together. Adam worked much of the day, but we slipped out as a family to have lunch at Costco, per Logan's request.
He hadn't napped at all until today, although I know he's been exhausted. The nights have been challenging. He's been up a LOT, and whimpers in his sleep. He's spent portions of the past two nights in our bed, and he broke my heart when at one point, he cried out 'but I don't WANT to go in!'. I don't know what he was dreaming, but I can imagine. And it makes me sad to know that he has no choice, that his 4-year old-ness has been taken away from him in such a cruel and inhumane fashion. But we make what we can of what we're given, and he's trying.
Oh, and lest I should forget to share this tidbit, we did manage to eke out 5 million stem cells per kg of body weight over the course of the four days of pheresis last week. It gives us enough for a single stem cell transplant down the line. Praise to God for that. They're going to try to again after the third cycle to secure another 5 million, so please hold that goal up in prayer. He may well not need a second transplant, but it would be wonderful to get the stem cells anyway.
Entering cycle 3, please pray against a repeat of the disaster that was cycle 2's infection. Pray that his body rebounds well, that he will avoid infection, and that we'll be able to to stay on-course to begin cycle 4 in a timely fashion. And of course, for complete healing. I pray every single night (and many times during the day) that God will touch him, eradicate every single cancerous cell, and then seal him so that it'll never again be able to enter his body. I know that a mother's faith has healed a child at least once in Biblical history, and I know it could happen again. I'm doing the best I can do, and thank you for helping us along.
Enjoy your evening, and thank you.