We have many anniversary’s cancer in our family. The day of 1st diagnosis, when she was cancer free the first time, diagnosis the second time, 2nd time cancer free which meant she could start preparing for BMT. BMT birthday and engraftment day, just to name a few.
This last week, lumber jake said to me,” It’s September 11th” and rather sarcastically said,”should we celebrate?”
Not only is it a sad anniversary for the nation, now it is a sad anniversary in our life of cancer. Five years ago on this sept 11 was the day we were told monkey#2″s leukemia had returned and we were whipped into immediate whirl wind of chemo, radiation and bone marrow transplant. How ever before that, but after we were told, the doc left us to breath it in, in a dark hospital check up room, tears streaming down our faces. We thought we knew what was ahead because we had done 2 years of treatment before. We were wrong. However we looked at each other and I told Chloe, who had heart breaking tears in her eyes, that we were a team and we were going to fight this!
Five years later, no, I don’t like to celebrate this day, but I do reflect on it. We had no idea what was up ahead, those treatments and radiation prior to transplant still brings tears to my eyes. I think back on it and sometimes think it was someone else’s story, not ours. This year my reflection was on how grateful I am for her life. The chemo, and other complications she had, made her loose 10 pounds. Pounds she needed. It broke my heart to undress her, change her dressings and have to help her walk into the bathroom to puke for the 5th time that day. She couldn’t keep anything down. One night it was just me and her in the darkness of her room. The light was spilling in from the hall outside her bedroom. We were waiting for her home care nurse to take CBC’s. I was on my knees quietly talking to her about this and that, when it got really quiet. I watched her take a breath and waited. I waited some more, then I whispered a quick prayer, “Chloe, breath.” I was rewarded with an intake of breath, and have never been so relieved.
Here CBC’s were drawn and the nurse left, however I received a call a half hour later of a panic nurse explaining to me, “Your daughter is so sick, her counts are so low I don’t know how she is breathing, you need to call her doctor now!!” In a panic I called the on call doc which happened to be on that we knew, I told him what happened and he said that he had had the same call from the nurse. He reassured me she was fine for a cancer patient, her numbers are what they expect from her treatment.
My reflection this Sept 11, five years later is on her life and that she breathed that night, and still does.