Monday, September 8, 2014

Another Hospital Stay in the Books

Paige is in remission.  She's been cancer-free since early February.  This is nothing short of a God thing.  The mass that seemingly appeared out of nowhere and the cancer cells that developed in her bone marrow--GONE.  Every day I thank Him for taking the disease out of her body--but that's not the end of it.  There is still more healing to be done.  Paige's body must be 'prepped and primed' to prevent those bad, bad cells from ever coming back.

What does this mean?  Months of intense chemotherapy, which we are getting closer to finishing.  Fatigue.  Muscle weakening.  Nausea.  Adverse reactions.  Delays.  The list of 'yuck' factors Paige has dealt with is quite extensive, yet she faces each obstacle with courage like I've never seen before. She is fierce.

The latest hurdle came about 9 days ago.  I'd finished bedtime prayers with the kiddos and was working on a blog post when Paige called me to her room.  She had the chills.  Was fine an hour earlier.  Not now--she was spiking a fever.  A short time later we were on the road to TCH, knowing what would lie ahead.  Fever plus low counts meant antibiotics and a hospital admission.

Early in our journey, Paige would get upset about the ER trips.  Fortunately (or unfortunately, I suppose), we've now done this a number of times and have quite the routine established.  It's a pretty calm process--discover a rising temp, phone the on-call docs, grab our pre-packed 'get outta here' bag, and hit the road.  We pray as we are pulling out of the driveway and talk the whole way there.  Not scared.  Not even all that anxious.  We know she's going to be well-cared for.

This particular hospital stay lasted 7 days--2 days less than the one a month ago, so that was nice.  Blood cultures all came back negative, and the fever subsided after just a day or two.  The thing that kept us there this time (as in previous admissions) was her next-to-nothing ANC count.  This magic number tells how well she can fight off infection and would keep us there until doctors felt it was safe for her to go home.

Paige felt pretty good during our stay this time around and was honored to meet one of her heroes, Dr. Jennifer Arnold!  She surprised Paige with a visit to our room, and my girl could hardly stop smiling--it was wonderful!  Paige and I also participated in a ribbon-tying ceremony commemorating Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  It was really special, and I'm so glad we were able to attend.

After transfusions of platelets and red blood cells, a week's worth of antibiotics, and just playing the waiting game, Paige was released to go home.  We're grateful for a few days to rest and recover in the comfort of our own home.  Next up--hospitalization for chemo when her counts are back where they need to be.  I have no doubt Paige will face this just like she does everything else--with strength and bravery that is just plain inspiring.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.   Romans 12:12 

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