Monday, August 9, 2010

If a picture is worth a thousand words...

...then this post is worth about 21,000.

You've seen the Before I got the chemo-cut pictures. You've seen the Last 24 hours of having two kidneys pictures. You've seen the I'm a super-badass with one kidney! pictures.

Now, I present you with the You totally wish you could pull off Eve's haircut now that she's off-treatment pictures. Again, I'm warning you, if you don't become a fan of Jo's PhotoMojo on Facebook, I'm sending Downstairs Eve your way. With non-washable markers in tow.

And Daniel even let Jo get his picture with his best friend, Carb. Can a child seriously survive on crackers and air? He's made it four years. How many more years will it take before we can get a picture of Dan sans snacks?

Wednesday night marked the eve of Natalie's first day of school. We told her she could pick out any restaurant she wanted to go eat.

Mom, I picked out a really special place. You said I could pick anywhere!
[Insert dollar signs flying out of a car window during a high-speed chase. Please, God, don't let this end up at Chuck E. Cheese.]
I have a super-special place, Mom! Are you listening?
[Why did I ask an open-ended question? Why did I not make it multiple-choice?]
Mooom! I want to go to...
[Insert dramatic pause]

I love you, Natalie. You are awesome beyond your five years.

So we all stayed up much later than any sane parent would let their child stay up the night before their first day of kindergarten. Because that's how we roll when fried chicken is involved.

The next morning, Nat awoke bright-eyed and fortunately not bushy-haired, much like I did during my early education.
Natalie could fit a slightly smaller kindergartner into this backpack of hers.

Eve isn't quite sure what to do with herself. It's too quiet around here.

Oh good. Looks like she found something to do.

The first day goes well. Nat arrives home without any bleeding or dried blood of an opponent. Victory is mine! I could get used to this.

Dinnertime rolls around and I eat. And I eat. And then I eat some some. Why?

Because I'm NPO in the morning! Well, technically it's Eve who's NPO, but I swear, that child can sense an ice chip hidden under your tongue. And she asks you for whatever you're consuming with, "Can I want one?" No, Eve. You may not want one. Absolutely not, under any circumstances, are you to want what I am having.

But it's cool. We had the first CT on the schedule. She was NPO, but not long enough to turn into Downstairs Eve. Just NPO long enough to think the contrast in her juice tasted good. You know, like when you starve dinner guests so they'll think your pot roast is, like, totally rad.

"Dude, this juice has a serious aftertaste. I'm not that NPO. Let me starve another few hours before you try that again."
Eve wonders why the VHS case doesn't have any pages, pictures, or words in it. This book sucks.

So, they say you learn something new everyday. (They know an awful lot. I wonder if they like me. Do they think I'm cool?) The day of the scan was no exception.

You see, I was on a tight schedule. Eve had to get sedated, have her scan, wake up, go to clinic to see her oncologist, and then we needed to fly back home in time to get Natalie to school for Meet the Teacher day.

Famous last thought: I'm sure there's one of these steps I can skip.

Eve was sedated with our old friend, Ketamine. Why anyone would wish to use this drug recreationally is beyond me. I suspect they have never seen their child under its influence with the shaky pupils that are looking at you but seeing nothing. It's probably like talking to me when I'm daydreaming about Taco Bell.

Eve has been sedated many times. Everytime after the procedure/radiation/scan, she will wake up, and then fall back asleep. We have always let her take a little nap before trying to rouse her to leave. On Friday, I decided once she woke up after the scan, I would just keep her up. No time to lose, can sleep when you're sedated.

Anyone who might have given their preschooler ketamine could probably tell you that they wake up hallucinating. Staring at their arm, wondering why it has suddenly turned into a bowl of guacamole with the voice of Sid the Science Kid. They certainly cannot sit up unassisted, let alone walk. But, one thing I have found that they can do is eat. And what do you need to do to be released from the sedation area? Be awake, eat, and drink.

Ok, kid, eat these graham crackers and drink this juice so we can head up stairs. Time's a wastin'.

The thing about clinic is, it's first come, first served. It doesn't matter what time your appointment is. Normally, I love this. We would come to clinic on chemo days right when it opened, regardless of our 11 a.m. appointment slot. But when you come anytime after, say, ten minutes after it opens, you are guaranteed to sit and wait. And when your kid can barely sit upright because she's in a k-hole, what else is there to do but watch G-Force for the umpteenth time in the waiting room and eat graham crackers?

The wait wasn't actually too long, although it seemed a lot longer since I had this drunk kid falling over in my lap. We were called back about fifteen minutes after we arrived and went to get Eve's vitals and measurements. I'm proud to report that all of our children are now officially at least three feet tall. I'm sure that's both important and exciting at some amusement park, somewhere.

We got to the exam room and I sat Eve down on my lap. She was akin to a Weeble, except I was fairly sure that if I let go, she would definitely wobble AND fall down. The noises she was making reminded me of this experimental three-disc Prince album I picked up at Target for $1.99. Strange, but not necessarily something you'd put on mute, unless you suddenly found a better Prince album.

And then, amidst the strange noises, came a hiccup. Along with all the crackers and juice.

I am glad Eve had the juice with the crackers, though. When I was pregnant with Natalie, I had what they call morning-noon-and-night sickness. Everyone had an opinion on the best way to avoid it. The thing is, you CAN'T avoid it. You just have to deal with it. It's like cancer, just a lot easier and way less life-threatening. I never found that eating dry toast or crackers while laying down when I first woke up made my morning any better; first of all, when you have something pressing on your bladder, you want to go to the bathroom as soon as you wake up, not lie around chomping down on saltines. And have you ever thrown up dry crackers? I am pretty sure they turn into cement. Trust me, just drink some orange juice and get it over with. Pregnant ladies, thank me later. Men, get ahold of yourselves and stop forcing dry toast down your pregnant wives' throats.

Of course, Eve would throw up for the first time in clinic on the one day I switched out my diaper bag and failed to transfer the extra change of clothes that had not been necessary since last October. Thank goodness for nurses who can recognize the sound of graham crackers and juice hitting the floor. Without our unnamed angel, I would probably still be sitting there, dumbfounded, wondering where I was going to put this drunk baby where she wouldn't fall down and bump her head, while I cleaned up. And then you wouldn't have gotten to wait for this blog to load all of these pictures.

Note to self: do not skip post-sedation nap.

I managed to get Eve into a hospital gown, although she was certainly suspicious since everytime she wears one, she has been radiated/had her port placed or revised/wakes up with one less kidney.

Eve's oncologists came up and said the preliminary radiology report looked great. Now we just had to wait for the final report. I can honestly say I wasn't anxious at all that morning, but just hearing the part about waiting for the "final" report got me all kinds of nervous. Probably, to the outside world, annoyingly nervous. Like how I get about preparing Natalie for kindergarten. The kind of nervous that has friends ask, "Can't you have some Xanax or some wine?"

Eve was hooked up to a Zofran drip so she wouldn't spread graham crackers all over the van on the ride home, and then we were off with a vengance to get to the elementary school to meet Nat's teacher.
And I made it with two minutes to spare! Two minutes early in the Christy Griffith book is a damn near miracle.

That night, Matt and I joined friends out for the Beer, BBQ, and Bourbon Fest. I figured a morning of NPO would be good preparation for such an event. I tried my best to not worry about final reports and such, even if we have been jerked around by said reports in the past. Friday night was dedicated to shoveling down food without little people asking for a bite. I am fat and happy.

No word of a final report on Saturday, although my children kept me entertained with drum circles and spoken word. Even if the word was, "I quit this band! I quit this lunch! I quit this time-out, Mommy!"

The girls and I danced hand-in-hand in a circle around Daniel, who had his arms up in the air, channeling his inner-Hair. I prayed he would never be drafted.

We played some cornhole on our Team Eve boards. I wonder if Nat and Dan will ever start to wonder why there are no teams named after them.

Eve stepped in a pile of fire ants. I believe she cried more than she did any cancer-related crying over the past year. We opened up a bottle of Caladryl; it smelled like childhood.

Afraid of setting foot on the ground again, I carried Eve all day Sunday.

I wasn't sure I, well, trusted the kids enough to catch me in one of those trust falls you see at feminist gatherings. But leaping over a tiny slope made of pine straw seemed symbolic of something. I'm just not sure what that symbolism is, yet.

Come Monday, I call Duke for the results of the final report.

I think Eve understands the results.


  1. yay eve! she looks beautiful.

  2. I love the after chemo hairdo. Jackie has a similar 'do but hers tends to stand straight up on the top. Loved the video of Eve in the K-hole. Jackie was like that after versed... before having her port removed. Glad to hear Eve is doing well. She is super cute!
    Hollie Greene

  3. Well, I tried to listen for recognizable words in Eve's singing. Must be a foreign song. Congrats on kindergarten Nat. What an exciting time. Love the pics, not the ants, ouch!