It has been a while since I've felt like I did yesterday. The doctors told us recently that the second most anxiety inducing time for parents is once their child stops treatment. First of course being the diagnosis, but when a child with cancer stops taking all the medications to kill cancer cells, it almost feels like that safety net is taken out and it becomes a time to see what their body is going to do on it's own. As we approach the end, we are so excited to almost be done, yet there is definitely some anxiety as we move forward and they begin watching her to make sure nothing comes back.
I have only had a few times over these past 2 years and 2 months where the fear of relapse has overtaken me and one was yesterday. It's so hard not to go back to day 1 when she starts having odd symptoms and there are definitely times where I see a bruise on her body or she has an unexplained fever that my mind immediately goes to the worst. Relapse is almost a word that I can't say. It is such a scary thought to not only have to start over, but have to go through treatment more aggressively as relapse means their cancer was stronger than the treatment. I've followed too many other children who have relapsed and to see their families have to go through it a second time, only worse is heartbreaking.
All that said, Abbey looked good at clinic yesterday. By the time we got there, her fever was down some. Her vitals all looked good and she perked up as we right away got some crafts to do to pass the time. She was given an IV antibiotic and her blood looked good. Her numbers were all on the low side, but there was nothing suspicious in her blood. When our nurse came in and told me that nothing looked funny I was finally able to breath. From what they saw, it looks like she is fighting a little virus and her immunity is border line low (her ANC should not go below 750 and yesterday it was 770) so they decided to hold her oral chemos that she gets at home and not do her IV chemo today. We were able to come home yesterday and will go back next Friday for her to get her IV chemo, assuming that her ANC is up some.
The nurse practitioner could see in my face that I was concerned and she sat and talked to me for the longest time. Our medical team truly is amazing and there really are not words to express the appreciation that we have for these people. She listened to my fears and assured me that this was very normal how I was feeling. She too had tears in her eyes as she understands the pain that parents feel as their children go through this, yet she encouraged me with lots of good information as to how well kids with leukemia do. She told me that relapse is rare, but when it does happen it most likely happens in the first year. She said that they will watch her closely, but as they look at her they aren't looking expecting to see it come back. They are expecting it to be gone and for her to live a normal healthy life. I hung on every word that she said and we walked out of there yesterday feeling a little more confident that we had beat this disease.
Thank you again for your support and love for us! Please continue to pray for Abbey and us as we will soon be in this next chapter of this journey as she will be stopping treatment on January 8th. Please pray for her to never relapse and for us to continue to know that God is in control of ALL things. Thank you!