Chemo #12

Rain and clouds are the perfect weather for treatment day. You imagine the world slows just a little, as it should. We aren’t missing friends at the pool, the sprinkler in the yard, or a late-night walk catching fireflies. It’s not so bad ordering in, instead of grilling. And a game of Tens and Twos on the fifth floor of the hospital seems brighter than the rain that falls and puddles on the stained rooftops below.

Today was chemo #12. Leah was a trooper for the poke, and we were happy to have a favorite nurse. Tens and Twos, painting a sunset on a mini canvas, and watching Four Weddings were the highlights. She continues to feel very achy and sick about a half hour into the treatment, which typically takes three hours. The ride home and evening are equally difficult. We are still working on ways to make her feel more comfortable.

Monday, we are back to physical therapy to work on her limp and increasingly sore ankles. Then, mid-July we meet with a nephrologist to monitor her kidneys and high blood pressure, which is a result of the chemotherapy.

On a more exciting note, Leah and I were invited to participate in a panel representing the Expressive Therapy Center. The therapy includes art, music, and poetry. We will speak at a meeting of residents and other hospital staff, and Leah will perform Cups with her music therapist. We decided that Leah is the main speaker, and I’m just the back-up. She loves her audience 🙂

  

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My Girl on the Run

Last week, Dr. Rush was working on the inpatient floor, so Leah’s exam was with a different doctor. (We call him Dr. Surfer Dude- ha ha.) This meant we also had a different nurse. AND this was our first week without our PA, because she moved. I’m happy to report that all was well, despite the changes. The doctor and nurse were awesome, and chemo was uneventful. Leah is still struggling with feeling very sick during the last hour, but we continue to try different fixes, and I’m confident we’ll figure something out. We’ve had some success decreasing the amount of stomach pain the week following chemo. Even though school is coming to an end, we are hopeful that she will have fewer absences when school starts again in the fall.

Now the big news… 

Leah has been participating in an after-school program called Girls on the Run. This program teaches young girls to be positive and confident. The girls also run, with the final goal being a 5k. When I signed Leah up for the program, I had no idea chemotherapy would be so hard on her. Most of the time she couldn’t participate in the walking and running, because she felt sick, tired, or was dealing with an annoying bloody nose. However, she attended as many lessons as possible. I volunteered as a coach, and I was really surprised to discover that Leah is very outgoing in the school setting. She always contributed to the discussions and shared her thoughts with the group. 

This past Sunday was the culminating event, the 5k. We put on new t-shirts and leis, and headed down to Lock 3 at 8AM. It was a sea of green, with tiaras, tutus, hair ribbons, and spray painted hair styles. The plan was to make a game-time decision on walking a short distance or just cheering on our teammates. It was rainy, and Leah was a little grumpy. Partly because she didn’t feel well, and partly because she didn’t have a pony tail to spray paint pink or green. 

We decided to walk a while and made our way to the starting line with the first wave of runners. The adrenaline was high, and we started off jogging with our friends. After a short distance, we started to walk. At the half-mile mark, I suggested that we take a break. Well, during that first half mile, Leah decided on a new game plan. She was going to finish the race, with no breaks. And she did. The last mile was the toughest, with exhaustion, sore ankles, and feet that weren’t always cooperating. But she managed to jog across that finish line. I was so proud of her! Took everything I had to hold back the tears, because I didn’t want to be a “weird mom.” The sweetest part was that our friends waited around and cheered for her as she finished the race. She loved her medal, but seeing and hearing her friends was the best part. The second best part was when Daddy hung her runner’s bib and her medal on the wall in the garage.

My Girl on the Run was amazing!