We're still waiting for a room. Cue Fugazi 'Waiting Room' now.
Our bed up on 4 West will be ready round 5. Meantime, we're having a good time catching up on the week. Because Jo Ann was holed up sick in our bedroom all week - plus the fact that I get up hella early to ride and have worked late every night this week - we haven't had much time to, like, tawlk. It feels good to exchange stories with Jo Ann.
On the way here, I reminded Pablo that next Saturday is gonna be a big day at CHLA. I pointed out to him that exactly one week to the hour from the time we were cruisin down Sunset we'd be rollin through 4 West with Lance Armstrong! He is coming to LA to visit the cancer kids on 4 West and 4 East at CHLA. Can you believe it? Pablo and I are freeeeekin the funk over this.
After he does his thing with the kids, Lance and I - and 699 other people - are gonna ride down Sunset Boulevard to a theater in Hollywood. He's gonna make a big announcement about Livestrong. Then one of his friends is gonna interview him onstage, and another is gonna play a few songs. The musician friend was a dad at Walther School when Pablo was there.
When I rode this morning in the San Gabriel mountains, I covered part of the same path of last Saturday's Stage 7 of the Tour of California. There were still huge yellow chalk messages scrawled across the road and on the mountain sides. One said 'Ride Strong. Livestrong.' Another said 'Welcome Back Lance. Thank You.'
I don't know what it's like for other people -people who have not lost a brother to cancer and don't have a child in treatment. To me, those words are touchstones - responses+proclamations from real people responding to Lance's bold call to the governments of the world focus on the fight to find a cure for cancer. Cancer: the top cause of death the world over starting in 2010. Cancer: omnipresent in our world. Cancer: so easy to brush aside, to not see, like scary wallpaper.
Yellow chalk on asphalt 20 miles above the City of Angels. Wouldn't it be great if the smart guys from Wall Street and the military could chalk it up and all their money + brain power could be harnessed to find a cure for this damn disease?
Most of all, the chalky mountain road salutations and next Saturday's CHLA ride bring something our family needs right now: hope. To us, Lance Armstrong is a beacon of hope and action. We need heroes and guides in our lives. And L.A.'s our dawg.
Jo Ann is on her medication, but not feelin any better today. In fact, her throat feels worse. We made her some hot tea, and let her continue resting. When we got home from brunch at Mustard Seed, Jo Ann came upstairs adorned in face mask and green surgical gloves to give Pablo his shot. No way around that. Papa passes out at the sight of a needle. No waaaay I could ever be on the giving end of one of those babies.
Jo Ann is going to go to the doctor Monday. Just what she needs: more doctor appointments in her life. Lots of our friends are sick with flu or other weird winter ailments right now. Our hearts and love go out to all of you and your families, coworkers, employees, et al who are pullin while you're on the mend.
Remember when gettin sick was cool - ie, a trip to the nurse's office and a pass to leave school? Why can't senior year last forever?
Life just KEEPS blowing my mind!
WE ARE HOME! I forgot to mention that we moved over to 430A early yesterday morning. You are right, Laura, it is such a nice little hideaway. Both of our roommates, who were awesome roomies, were getting stem cell rescue and they needed to move us so they could accommodate the machinery needed for such a procedure. The nurse handling them was on our Blood Drive last month, so it was nice that he got to finally see Pablo.
Our night was fine. Pablo wears diapers at the hospital for a couple of reasons, but sometimes they leak and then we are in chemo pee mode... Everything gets taken off, warm soapy wipes are given to us for a scrub down and all the linens are changed - not an easy thing to pull off with a very sleepy and somewhat cranky little boy. We had such incident in the early morning hours today and it was actually not so bad. Kim, our nurse, unhooked P from his IV fluids and after I cleaned him off, I wrapped him in one of the big comfy bath sheets that they have and held him in my lap on the chair. The PCSAs doubled up and got the bed back in order in no time, but P and I were already fast asleep on the chair! We transferred to the bed and Pablo wanted to keep the same position, literally on me, cuddling like a baby... my baby. So sweet, I loved it. When we finally did wake up he shouted, "Mommy, look!" I jumped and as he was unwrapping himself from the bath sheet, he said, "Look how you put me in bed... NAKED!" We laughed for a while. I explained that it was called sleeping in the buff and someday he might actually like that!
I woke up with a terrible sore throat and am worried about having breathed on P all night. I'm completely under this evening and slept most of the day thanks to Polly. I am going to try to see a doctor tomorrow, and keep P as far away from me as possible. Not an easy task. I wore one of his masks around the house this evening and washed my hands about 50 times.
Our plan for now is to go back to clinic next week for a blood draw and Vincristine. In the past, Pablo is usually in need of red blood around that time and his counts hit rock bottom about 10 days from now. We start our daily shots again tomorrow. The pharmacy dropped them off this evening and I told Pablo what it was, he said, "That's OK, I haven't had those for a couple of weeks now... it's OK." He's right. It is OK.
Thank you everyone for your lovely messages, comments, emails, etc... it means so much to us.
We had another fine day at clinic getting Pablo's labs drawn. There was an IHOP event in the garden and when we were leaving they told Pablo to go get some pancakes. As we were on our way, Raul, our friend from the blood bank called Pablo over to meet a celebrity. Brittany something or other from The Suite Life and other Disney shows was signing pictures. She saw Pablo in today's get up (white tank top, suit jacket, pirate pants, top hat with pirate belt tied around it and snow boots) and decided that it was LOVE. She hugged on him and kept asking him about his outfit. He was smitten, too, and loves his autographed head shot.
We went outside to check out the pancake activity and there were all kinds of characters out there... Batman and Robin and a cast of pirates. There was a chocolate chip pancake named Charlie and Pablo asked if he could take his picture with him. Cute.
We headed over the Fred 62 for lunch. We love that place. Pablo always get to go in to Jimmy's office after we eat and pick a candy out of his candy dish, so he was especially excited about our lunch date. Zeus, one of the office managers, always has a toy or some stickers for P. Today Pablo got two packs of Smarties and three packages of stickers - a bountiful reward for eating a good meal.
So, as we head into this final round of Doxorubicin, I humbly ask for all of you to hold Pablo in your own special spiritual place and ask for this powerful stuff to do the trick - rid his little body of all cancer cells without damage, and prevent them from ever returning!
Now, we are trying to organize some fun activities for our weekend.
We are projecting Thursday or Friday check-in for the two day chemo. The waiting is easy after today's no news/good news.
When we got here, Jo Ann + P ran up to the oncology clinic to do a blood draw. I went to Starbucks next door to get the party started. Blood test, plus the ultrasound, plus a urine test will give Dr M all the metrics he needs for our meeting at 1:30 this afternoon.
Our goal and hope is that P's blood numbers are high enough for admission this afternoon. We're scheduled for a two-night chemo treatment. I general terms (I will explain what this means in a later post), we can see the finish line from where we're standing. It's not right in front of us, but we know where it is.