After Jackson was discharged from his first round of chemo, it felt like we made it home just in time to come back for clinic visits.
Oh, the hem/onc clinic…where the idea of a quick visit is four hours.
For those unfamiliar with how chemo works, here’s a quick synopsis. Getting the chemo makes you feel yucky, but just wait, that’s just the beginning of crummy. Over the next 2-3 weeks, the chemo works in your body wiping out your bad cells, but also your good.
What does that mean? Everything tastes like crap. You lose weight and get cranky and tired. You hurt and ache and turn this unique shade of gray. But if you’re lucky, the chemo is doing something else besides making you feel like staying in bed all day – it’s killing your cancer. So basically, you’re all like “Chemo is the worst thing ever created in the history of the world” and also “Go chemo, go!” (Jackson’s belly shrunk within DAYS of getting chemo and I’ve got to be honest, seeing that difference so quickly was so encouraging!
Chemo drugs compromise your ability to fight infection, so your blood counts literally go to zero. Frequent blood and platelet transfusions become necessary. If we were in the clinic for a blood transfusion, we could be there from 8:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. As a mom, this was complete torture with a one-year-old who just learned to walk and needed an IV pole. Jackson wanted to run, climb, fit through tight spaces, then climb past those tight spaces or keep moving when you were distracted by the doctor talking to you…pretty much all the things you shouldn’t be doing with an IV pole.
Running with a toddler and an IV should pretty much qualify as an Olympic event. (Though we did make some great friends during those long days!)
This photo was taken during a clinic visit on St. Patrick’s Day 2009. We were getting ready to be admitted for Round 2 of chemo and look who we found when we got to clinic! The little distractions: new toys, crafts and special visits from the Buddy Brigade (below) really helped break up the day and pass the time.
Jackson was about 2 seconds from stealing his headgear…