Well, the fantasy of hobnobbing with the stars is over and as the fairy godmother said in Cinderella, "On the stroke of twelve, the spell will be broken, and everything will be as it was before."
Dropping us back into reality and leaving us right where we left off!
And that was???
Ah yes, in the midst of the trifecta: my postpartum depression, our two year old daughter's most grueling ALL leukemia treatment phase and our newborn's life threatening infection resulting in a two week NICU stay.
Reality Bites! If only I could tap my heels and get back to OZ.
For a little over two weeks, all of our medical issues ran in tandem.
Atia's oncologist was sympathetic to our circumstances and arranged for a homecare nurse to administer Atia's chemo. It was nice having Debbie come to us. She was our angel and Atia became very fond of her. She had a gentle touch and always talked Atia through exactly what was going to happen. Atia responded very favorably to being treated with respect; though she still stiffened with fear when the needle entered her chest, she shed few tears.
As the Delayed Intensification phase concluded, Atia underwent all of the standard follow up blood tests. The results identified that her blood counts were extremely low, which left Atia weak and susceptible to infection (no big surprise -- she'd just been through one of the most vigorous chemo phases of the entire treatment). Her red blood cells were almost completely depleated creating a need for a hemoglobin transfusion.
We were told it was a 5 hour process!
Because I'd just given birth and was still recovering, Steve took Atia to the hospital solo; it was the first time I'd been absent. I was a nervous wreck the entire time they were gone. I was so fearful that deviating from our normal routine would jinx the outcome, but it didn't.
Steve manned the caretaker role like a pro -- my baby didn't even miss me -- but that didn't affect the amount of guilt I felt. I was ashamed that MY issues had gotten in the way; I'd abandoned her when she'd needed me. THAT was a tough pill to swallow.
To complicate matters, on that EXACT SAME DAYin a different hospital, Asher was being released. He'd been in the NICU for 16 long days and it should have been a day of celebration. We should have been ecstatic that he was finally able to come home. We should have been there well before the medical staff signed off on the paperwork... but we weren't.
Don't get me wrong, we wanted Asher out of the NICU and in our arms at home, but the timing couldn't have been worse. Because of Atia's transfusion, we were four hours late collecting our son.
It was obvious that the NICU nurses weren't used to a family being delayed. They were genuinely concerned about why we weren't waiting to take our baby home well before 1:00PM (his official release time). They actually called us to inquire about our whereabouts.
Though emotional, hectic and exhausting, it was a monumental day, indeed! Two very significant things had occurred: (1) Atia had officially completed the Delayed Intensification phase and (2) Asher was home with us where he belonged.
Filed under: Chemotherapy
Tags: ALL leukemia, chemo, chemo side effects, chemo treatment, chemotherapy, cinderella, delayed intensification, infection, Leukemia, newborn, newborn complications, NICU, postpartum, postpartum depression, Rally for Kids, Rally for kids with cancer, Rally for kids with cancer scavenger hunt, reality bites, wizard of oz