Four weeks ago today we headed to St. Louis for a doctor's appointment. The rest is history, so to speak.
We have been finished with chemo since October 13th, the rest of our time has been spent just waiting for his cell counts to recover. We played the same waiting game in Springfield, after our first round of chemo. Right at the four week mark, on a Friday, we were able to go home.
For three days.
At that time we knew the counts had been slow coming up, but no one acted alarmed. In fact, for some patients they claimed it was normal.
However, the doctors office visit the following Tuesday clued us in that Steven's counts were slow recovering, and still low, due to the fact that the cancer, less than a month after chemo, had already returned.
This, obviously, wasn't a good thing.
Because of the aggressiveness of the cancer, we were then admitted to Barnes, and started another, stronger, round of chemo. We were told that Steven's overall odds went up if this round of chemo worked. We have been praying for this.
The initial time frame given for count recovery was 21-26 days. Today is day 26.
Yesterday they had to give him more blood because his counts had dropped below his parameters. When looking at his count chart on the wall, I noticed that it was his red blood count that had fallen below the line. It was his red blood cells that had initially alerted the doctors in Springfield that something was wrong. It was also, most likely, the reason Steven felt short of breath...the cause of our trip to the ER in the first place.
These factors has me playing out a lot of "what ifs" in my mind.
After speaking to the doctor this morning, I know that sometimes it takes 5-6 weeks for counts to recover. I also know that if they haven't recovered by the end of the week, they will do another bone marrow to make sure that it isn't the presence of cancer that is causing this.
Again...more "what ifs".
Please pray that Steven's counts start to recover. I am frightened of the thought of him going into the transplant process without the best odds possible in his favor. He deserves the best odds possible, however many people deserve things that they never get. Sometimes that works in our favor...and sometimes it doesn't.
There are times that it really stinks that life isn't fair. Sometimes it's a blessing that it isn't.
Please pray for us.
This past week Steven insisted that I go home to take the kids trick or treating. "They're still little..." he said. And he's right. They are. They are little kids who have had do deal with some very adult things.
And they have done very well with the cards they have been dealt, although Blake is struggling a bit. He has started to cry almost every night during our phone calls and has also started having panic attacks again.
This is something that we have struggled with in the past, but we had all but overcame it.
Unfortunately, with our current situation, they have returned. Although, to an adult, the fears that he gives voice to seem silly and unfounded, to him they are very real. As is the panic.
My heart is broken as I hear him cry and know that worry is consuming him. Although presenting itself in various manners- fear of the bath water scalding him to death (he read on a water heater that it was possible), fear of having his tonsils out (which has never even been mentioned), fear of his heart "giving out on him" (and complaining of pain in his chest), fear of something being terribly wrong because he is having more nosebleeds (Steven has been having nosebleeds) - I am certain the worry is centered around his daddy.
I know this because there are times it consumes me too. Although I can give him scientific evidence that he isn't scalded, or doesn't need a tonsillectomy, I can not take the worry about his daddy away from him.
I know, though, that children are resilient and there are times that Blake acts as carefree as any other child his age. And I am thankful for that. In fact, Halloween night he played just as hard, and enjoyed the candy just as much, as he ever had.
But then, out of the blue, the worry creeps back up again.
Sitting in church Sunday morning, listening to a homily about All Souls Day, the priest spoke about death, and what it meant to us as Christians. Although the homily was meant to give hope, Blake couldn't get past the reference of two significant deaths that had occurred in the priests life, both lives taken by cancer.
There, in a pew at the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica, Blake started to cry. I wanted to cry too.
Instead, I took Blake out to the foyer and downstairs, where I asked him a question I already knew the answer to. "Are your tears because you are worried about Daddy?" He nodded and buried his head in my side. I told Blake that maybe it would be a good time for him to say a prayer asking God to watch over, and heal, his daddy. I explained that everything was in God's hands.
I think this both comforted and scared him.
I understand this.
It comforts, and scares me too.
What if God decides NOT to heal Steven.
Where would we go from there?
Please pray that we never find out.