Things are getting pretty exciting around here! Yesterday was Carter's 2nd to last chemo visit. We even scheduled his surgery to have his port removed next month. It all seems so surreal. I remember a long time ago, Carter was in the playroom at our old hospital with his daddy. An older boy (I think he was 7...) was there and was showing everyone his port that he'd had removed just that morning. He had just finished treatment. Dennison told me about it later and we talked about how happy we were for that boy and at the same time so overwhelmed with the path ahead of Carter and us. It honestly seemed like an eternity away that he would be the one showing off his port and finally finishing treatment. I think we even asked each other, "Will that ever be us? Will that experience actually happen to our family?" And honestly, we didn't know. How could we? Our son was in a fight for his life (still is...). We hoped and prayed that we would have that day in our future to celebrate. And here we are, 45 days away from it. 45 DAYS! We still hesitate to get excited about milestones knowing anything could happen still. BUT, even if something did happen, would we regret celebrating this? Of course not. So bring on the party!
His appointment yesterday went great. His port wouldn't draw any blood when it was first accessed so they had to put a drug in it called TPA. It breaks up any clots or blockages that may have formed. He's had to do this once before a long time ago. We all kept joking that we don't really care if his port stops working all together cause we'll just take it out next month. Oh wait! We're doing that anyway! Hahaha, we're hilarious. Anyway, it did work after that so they could do a CBC and give his second to last dose of vincristine. Then we were sent on our merry way. I did have a great conversation with his doctor though. I was asking how often he would come in for check-ups over the coming years (every month for the first year, every 2-3 months for the next, and gradually get longer between visits until it's once a year) and how long he would have to keep coming. He told me they'd keep checking him out all through high school (that's a long time!) but not necessarily to check for relapse, more to watch for late effects of the chemo. I'm not sure if that make me feel better of worse! I started researching late effects one time and it was way too depressing so I stopped and just ignored that part of all this. I know that some late effects include heart problems, fertility issues, growth problems, learning problems, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah. I stopped reading after those ones... BUT the good news is, Carter's doctor said that Carter is at a very low risk of having any of those. All through treatment he has tolerated the medicines very well and had minimal side effects (they didn't seem minimal to us at the time...), and has already recovered very well even in maintenance. What a relief! Of course that's no guarantee but I'll take it! He also told me that most relapses happen within three years of diagnosis. We've already passed that milestone, so that's great. After 5 years from diagnosis is when they can count him in the statistics as a survivor since the chance of relapse at that point is very very minimal. Also another big relief! Again, anything can happen, but I'll take that one too! And in other good news, once his port is out they don't worry so much about infections. That means that if he gets a fever, guess what I have to do.... absolutely NOTHING! No ER, no antibiotics, no blood cultures, nothing. Just give him some tylenol and put him back to bed. Ahh, it will be nice.
Carter has had one other appointment that I haven't mentioned. Last month, just another chemo visit. He's also been to the ER twice for fevers. Other than that, everything is going great. He's liking 1st grade and is learning and growing everyday. We want to have some sort of party next month when he's finally done. Any ideas?