Steven went to the ER last Thursday because of a fever. I woke up next to him in bed, feeling the heat radiate off of him. My first thought was an infection.
So was the doctor's.
However, in Springfield, the doctor wasn't familiar with the regimine, and expectations for someone following a stem cell transplant. After determining his kidney function was off, and believing it to be a kidney infection, he mentioned, almost in passing, that there were immature cells and blasts in his blood. He even stated, "that's probably expected, right, with what you've been through?"
I knew it wasn't, and the life drained from my body.
After a frantic 8 am call to Dr. Jacoby in St. Louis, she herself called me back and spoke with me.
Steven would be taken by ambulance to St. Louis and tested further and treated.
By the weekend it was determined by a bone marrow biopsy that the leukemia was back and 50% of his marrow consisted of blasts.
Chemo started two days later.
So, today, I find myself back in a hospital room, watching my husband fight, but without the vigor he had before. The strength of his body had been reduced considerably after the last transplant, and now, adding more chemo and knowing there is another transplant on the horizon is frightening.
My heart is also heavy with the knowledge of what this does to our kids. Last night, in a moment of honesty, Blake started crying for the first time since learning that his daddy's cancer was back.
"I just want to go home. I don't like St. Louis.", he said.
I held back tears but my mind was screaming it's agreement.
I told Blake that he had family back at home and they would love to see him and that he could go home at any time. One look at his face and I knew that "wanting to go home" was more about going back to a time before he had the knowledge, or fear, that his life now holds, and less about a location.
I took an opportunity and gave the kids a pep talk, which was as much for me as it was for them.
I reminded them of everyone that loves them. I reminded them that God was in control and that all things would work for His good...whether we could see it or not, and I reminded them that we were a family and that we were in this together.
They were not alone and they never would be.
That was my vow. Regardless of what happens, THEY will NEVER be alone.
So today, as I sit in this hospital room, I listen as the kids make and race paper airplanes. They sound happy.
I look at the wall and see pictures that they have drawn reminding their daddy how tough he is, and to cheer him on. I smile at their use of the word "ain't", a word they know I detest and a word they think solidifies their "country-ness" in this big city.
And I use these things to remind myself that life goes on. Even if "life" looks a lot like the inside of a hospital room.
Please continue to pray for our family. This is such a rough road, and it's rougher each time we go down it. The disease has shown it's persistence and one transplant has already failed.
You can't have unlimited transplants.
The doctor mentioned that she believed, that this facility had done three transplants at least once before and that not many people can physically handle it, so it's generally not an option. And I don't know whether it's one we would even be given.
This transplant has to work.
Also, my family has experienced another loss, and I am the only one who knows at this point.
Rowdy, Steven's beloved dog and long time companion, passed away Friday night on our front porch. My cousin found him Saturday morning.
He had lived a long life; Our kids have never known life without Rowdy.
Although he had began showing his age, he was still very active. I can't help but think that Steven's absence played a part.
Rowdy's heart, like my own, was heavy.
So, as I sit in this hospital room, and watch the kids throw paper planes at each other, I try and think about when, and how, I can possibly tell Steven and the kids, that Rowdy won't be waiting for us at the end of the drive when we get back home.