Day One of Round Six
Today Ellie started chemo! We took her in to the "Day Hospital" for blood work early this morning, and found out that her counts were high enough to begin chemo. We were there until 6:00 p.m. Ellie was given three different chemo drugs, one anti-nausea medication, and one drug to protect her kidneys. It was a full day, to say the least. Having chemo on an outpatient basis was a totally new experience for us, but I have to say that I was surprised to find it a good one. Everything here is done very quickly and space is at a premium, but I've noticed that it is all done with great efficiency and purpose. Everything is done for a reason and in a very specific way. At the end of the day, we were sent home with a backpack full of fluids that Ellie was connected to. We will go back first thing in the morning and repeat the day (minus one chemo drug). Ellie loved coming home, and I have actually felt relieved to be back to the room as well.
I was forewarned that New York would be a change of pace and that I should expect a good deal of "culture shock". It is true that life is vastly different here than in Florida. For one, things seem to move at lightening speed and with a great deal of noise. When I finally make it back to the room, my whole body seems to be humming from the frantic energy all around outside (and in the hospital). Coming into the cool and quiet of our room is like stumbling upon an oasis in a desert. My mind is often racing to keep up with the information coming at me with great speed, amidst the background of never-ending visual and audio stimulation. I think that I am gradually adjusting, and I don't find the differences to be bad... just different. I find that I really love the fact that things are done efficiently. It is a beautiful thing to see. In this fast-paced city, the one common thread that I have seen is how wonderful the people are. I was prepared to be buffeted. I expected that my laid-back, easy going and often timid manner would be eaten alive in this city. Evertime I venture out of my safe little room, I come into contact with friendlier and more helpful people than I ever expected. One man gave me his seat on the subway and two different men helped John carry Ellie in her stroller up long flights of stairs (and they didn't see her bald head before offering to help). Numerous people have stopped to give directions and advise, both on the street and in the hospital (on more than one occasion in the hospital, someone has changed directions to literally walk us to the correct elevator or location). Without fail, everyone has been just wonderful. Granted, everyone is rushing to and from wherever they are going so nodding, smiling, and making eye contact are generally not done. I think this is because there are just so many people everywhere and walking is a form of transportation here... you would never get where you are going if you stop to visit and smell the roses. You probably would also run into a certain number of crazy or harmful people if you opened yourself up to the general masses. Anyway... those are my observations... I have been pleased with many of my experiences here, but I am just so tired. It has been a lot to take in and adjust to, and the amount of walking is so outside of my comfort zone - literally. I am so out of shape (she wails, as if she is just discovering this for the first time... sigh...).
Well, I need to get to bed. It is late, and my poor little sweetie threw up not that long ago (somewhere near the beginning of the last paragraph, to be exact). She is now sleeping quite peacefully, but it is bound to be a long night with all of the fluids going in... Thank you for praying - please remember Ellie during the next three days of chemo, and for some days after. She will be fighting nausea and stomach pain and probably some jaw pain. After chemo she tends to have stomach pain and we always fight hard to keep the mouth sores away... so far she hasn't suffered from those.
Please also remember Ethan. He misses us so much. We have seen him a couple of times on the web cam, but it makes him too sad. When he sees us, he wants to touch us - seeing with his eyes is just not enough (he's so like his daddy in that way). I can see the struggle in him - he feels like he should be able to just reach through the screen and hug us, but then he can't. Talking on the phone is a little better, but it reminds him that he's not home and he gets sad all over again. Overall Ethan is happy and well - staying with Stan and Pat keeps him on an even keel: peaceful and predictable, which is very good for him. Then he gets to go to Mom and Gary's (he's there over night tonight) which makes him happy to have a fun outing. We miss our little buddy so much. It hurts me to see him sad, but then I have to rely on eyes of faith to see past that and remember that God will not let go of him while He's taking care of Ellie and us here in New York. The longer I live, the less I am able to trust what I see and hear with my physical eyes and ears. And the more I rely on who God IS. It is then that I see past my little boy's tears and notice God's arms holding him tight. My earthly eyes get in the way just a little bit, though, because those Heavenly arms somehow look like four loving grandparents...