Sunday, February 17, 2013

rough days

It happens about once a month where Carter will just feel awful.  His legs and back hurt (thanks chemo...) and then he gets headaches.  It's usually within a week of getting chemo in the hospital.  And then the week after that his stomach bothers him because of the steroids that he takes for five days each month.  I'm embarrassed to admit that it took me about a year to notice the connections between the medicines he was getting and the different side-effects.  Maybe I was still in survival mode or something, I don't know.  I don't really have an excuse, I just didn't think about it.  But now that I have payed more attention, it's like clockwork.  Today was one of those bad painful days for him.  He just lays down and cries because it hurst so much.  Poor guy, it's so heartbreaking.  But today was hopefully the worst of it and he'll feel better tomorrow.  But then his stomach will start hurting for 3 or 4 days.  But THEN he'll feel better.  And then get more chemo a few weeks after that.  Ugh.  Is it April 2014 yet?? 

But all this being said, he has WAY more good days than bad and for that we are all very grateful.  I'm just feeling really sorry for my little guy right now.  It took a long time for him to finally be able to fall asleep tonight.  It was a rough day for him :(

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Feb chemo

We had our second visit to the hospital here for Carter's February check-up and chemo.  Everything went very smooth this time although it still took longer than I wanted it to.  One of the many things I've notice about living here is that no one is ever in a hurry.  And they all own at least one dog.  And they all smoke.  True story.  So back to the visit.  My very sweet (American!) friend offered to watch my two littles while I took Carter.  That was a life-saver!  Then to make it even better, the missionaries from church came with me to translate.  I am once again so grateful for the kindness and generosity of these wonderful people who barely met us and are so willing to help.  Everything went according to plan with two exceptions.  #1:  Carter's ANC is pretty low, only 200 right now which puts me into extra crazy-phsyco-hand sanitizer-stay away from my son with your germs mode.  Chicken pox is much more common over here, which is sucky because it's really scary and dangerous for chemo patients.  I've been kind of a nervous wreck about that one as we have been around family members of chicken pox-sick kids and didn't know til later.  Terrifying.  It's hard for me to let him go to church or school because it could be hiding anywhere!  And these kids don't even know they have chicken pox until they've been contagious for days!  Ah, what's a mom to do?!?!  Sorry, anyways... they decreased the dose of one of his oral meds in hopes that his counts will come up a little.   #2:  Carter had a stuffy nose so they wanted to test to see what kind of virus he had.  They've done this once at our old hospital when he came in with a fever and they just swiped the inside of his nose with a q-tip type thing.  WELL, this time they wanted him to (sorry, this is kinda gross) get some snot down the back of his throat and then spit it into their little official spit jar.  It's pretty hard to explain to a 5 year old how to do that - he couldn't do it.  Their next option was to stick a tube up his nose and down his throat and suck some out.  And that's precisely what they did.  He HATED that!  Maybe it wouldn't have been quite so bad if the nurse hadn't told him that it wouldn't hurt at all.  He kept telling me how much it hurt afterwards.  He screamed and cried for a while afterwards.  It was heartbreaking.  He hasn't had to do anything so crappy for a while now.  This one was hard for me because I'm not convinced that it was necessary.  Carter showed up at the clinic countless times in Portland with a stuffy/runny nose and it was never even considered to do something like that.  It all happened so fast I didn't even really know what to do.  But if they ever want to do that test again when he doesn't even have a fever and is otherwise feeling fine I will kindly tell them no.  Other than that, it went well and we got out at a much more decent hour than last time.  Oh, one funny thing though.  I have to check in with admissions when we get there and pay for our visit.  These past two times we've just had to pay for it ourselves as we have been applying for health care but it's not finalized yet.  The secretary has been so concerned for us both times that WE have to pay.  It's socialized medical care here so it just blows her mind that she's not sending the bill to the government.  She told the missionary who was translating between us, "tell her right now that she needs to apply for medical coverage.  Tell her in front of me right now so I can see it.  She really needs to do that!"  Haha, kinda sweet I guess that she's so concerned.  It's a big bill so I don't blame her but we hopefully will get reimbursed for it.  It's fun to see all the differences in lifestyle here.  It gives us a new and different perspective on life, that's for sure.  But we have been enjoying ourselves a lot.  I'm so glad this monthly visit is over!
Sorry I've been so bad at taking pictures!  I'll be sure to bring my camera to the next hospital visit so you all can get a feel of the place.  I know you're all so curious what the inside of a French hospital looks like :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Prayers needed for a friend

Some of you know our friend Jake Newren who has been battling the same kind of leukemia as Carter, only with an added challenge that required a bone marrow transplant.  ALL is the most common form of childhood cancer but it's rare (and more dangerous) for adults.  Jake and Dennison were roommates back in their single days and Jake now has a beautiful family.  He even saved us on our wedding day when we were stranded at the temple.  Our truck keys were headed back to the reception with my parents and Jake came to our rescue with the spare key.   He was diagnosed last fall and had his transplant last month.  He is in need of lots of prayers right now, we're praying for a miracle!  We know from personal experience that there is POWER in prayer!!  We love you Jake!