Saturday, May 29, 2010


Where to begin since we last talked? Ok, I guess this time I'll go in chronological order.

Wednesday was Natalie and Daniel's last day of preschool. I brought cupcakes in for Daniel's birthday, so I couldn't get away with not bringing them into Nat's class, even though her birthday isn't until Memorial Day. She's great at the emotional-blackmailing.

And Eve was just happy to be out in public. You mean I get to get out of the stroller AND eat cake? Seriously?

I spent that night with Bon Jovi making 250 cupcakes and a small cake for Natalie's preschool graduation. I'm pretty sure if I had the windows open, the whole neighborhood would have known how I give love a bad name.

Thursday morning, we headed down to Womble Park (hereby renamed "Team Eve Park with the Snow-Cones") for the graduation and end-of-year picnic. We repeatedly told the kids there would be no snow-cone truck as there had been at the fundraiser. (Whoever said "kids will learn" obviously did not field the same question from Natalie and Daniel fifty times over. They don't learn quickly. I've seen Daniel rock back in his chair and hit his head on the floor, only to get right back up and do it twice more. I'm not quite sure how any child is supposed to learn when they seem to have an affinity for head injuries. Note to self: buy helmets before it's too late.)

The preschool director asked each child what they wanted to be when they grew up. Natalie's answer: a dance teacher. Which is perfect, because she has already picked up on the subtleties of the butterfly versus the tootsie roll.

We were just so happy Nat's marks were good enough to walk across that stage.

Eve, not quite so happy. Many apologies to the people within twenty feet of us who were videotaping their children. But wait, I have that cancer card on me somewhere...

Friday was Eve's first off-treatment visit to Duke.

For the first time since October, I felt absolutely sick. I remember seeing the big, black spots on the original ultrasound pictures that turned out to be tumors. Scanxiety set in. Now that my chemo crutch is gone, how can I not worry that those SOBs are coming back? Maybe I can get a prescription for Xanax for the mornings of scans, since it would probably be inappropriate to show up at the children's center with a highball that early in the day.

Had I noticed the sonographer was looking for a kidney on Eve's right side, I would have saved her the time. But now I'm thinking it will be a good joke for Eve as she grows up. "Doc, I think I'm having some kidney stone issues here on my right. Can you take a look?"

I do wonder what is there on the right. My guess would be Eve's stomach has seriously taken residence in the vacant lot because she has been eating like a teenage boy. Which, according to her doctor, is to be expected after seven months on chemo. For every peanut butter sandwich she left untouched when feeling nauseous from the treatment, she has eaten eight more in its place. And some days she sounds like a fifty-year-old, shouting, "I want more Raisin Bran, chicken salad, and grapefruit!"

Anyway, the ultrasound was clean. As clean as they can tell by ultrasound. I think an ultrasound compared to a CT or MRI is kind of like me with my contacts in and out. Contacts in, I can spot Matt at the airport baggage claim before running up and giving him a kiss. Contacts out, I have surprised a very tall stranger.

Sticker count: 6.

The echocardiogram came next, and from my limited doppler experience watching the local weatherman, everything appeared normal. No one rushed from the room to find a doctor, which is always a good sign. They are never rushing out to tell the doctor the end to that great knock-knock joke they forgot earlier.

Sticker count: 14.

The chest x-ray came next. I know, I know, Eve had cancer in her kidneys, not lungs. But if it metastasizes, guess where it's heading? So we're totally going to keep an eye on those airbags for a good while.

Sticker count: 21.

We made our way upstairs to the hem-onc clinic so I could finally figure out what comes next. (Our last visit with a new doctor could be summed up as: You're done, check ya later.) Long story short, Eve will have a CT and/or MRI in June, then the same scans done in August. After that, she will be scanned every three months for the first year, when the risk of recurrence is highest. Year two, she will be scanned every six months, unless I call up the oncologist and tell him I can't sleep because I need a scan. The farther out you get from the end of treatment, the farther apart the scans get. So, will I be sicker from taking her to the scans, or will I be sicker from worrying that they are too far apart?

We're keeping the port in as long as we can. Eve will get to see her nurse friends at Duke monthly for port flushes to make sure it's not clotting up. Which is fine with her, because she always gets more stickers.

Sticker count: 24. Mommy now has 23 stickers on her hands and shirt and one lonely sticker on her butt.

Welcome to remission.


  1. Remission...a good thing! Another step to living as a BUSY normal mom of three little people. Great news! Enjoy your Memorial Day! Maybe you should make cupcakes.

  2. And now you get to learn how to "live between scans." Truly, it becomes easier with each scan. Not the scanxiety -- I have not noticed a measurable difference in that. But the living between scans gets easier and easier. We live normal messy fun lives til about a week before scans. Then we start hugging a little harder, a little more often. Our eyes are occasionally wet. We begin throwing so much salt over our shoulders it looks like a beach in our kitchen. And then scans. And then "NED." We celebrate, and we go back to normal. Living between scans.

  3. I absolutely understand this post! I've said it before and I'll say it again, "There is comfort in chemo!" I swear I did not sleep the entire week before her first scan. Jackie has an ultrasound at the end of June. I'm sure I will be terrified again. I don't think I will ever be not afraid. I keep feeling like we are waiting for the other shoe to fall.

  4. Scanxiety is awful, sometimes worse than the chemo anxiety and definitely worse post-treatment than during treatment. I know that The Wife and I don't sleep for a couple of days prior to hospital visits now that The Boy has been off-treatment.

  5. yes. true. and all that jazz. now when we leave the house, i find my children are slightly socially disabled. it has been hard for us all to re-enter the atmosphere. i hope your weekend was long and enjoyable.

  6. Love the video and the blog as per usual. So maybe you can help us make the dream come true of building a bar in the parking deck called "The Recovery Room" where parent's with scanxiety and bedraggled nurses and doctors can take the edge off after a long day! haha! See you monthly, Nurse Brooke