Ana made it through her first full week back at school since her transplant without any issues. I’m pretty sure she loved every minute of it. She even got to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a class trip on Wednesday which involved riding a charter bus to and from the city. She had to take her medication in the morning and afternoon without me there to constantly remind her, and she did an amazing job remembering.
Her labs drawn on Monday came back looking good, so she’ll start getting blood work every other week from now on. This is another small milestone on the road to normalcy (understatement).
I spoke with Maria (the physician’s assistant at Columbia) about Ana’s Prednisone level. She’s on 7.5 mg/day which is a lot less than she was taking while she was on chemotherapy back in October (it was 60 mg/day), but I’d still like to see her completely weaned off of it. It makes her incredibly hungry to the point where she has difficulty sleeping. She’s back up to 80 pounds and has tons of energy, so the eating is a good thing, but I know she’s uncomfortable trying to manage her hunger. Maria said we reduce the dosage down to 5 mg/day and that usually patients are completely weaned off of Prednisone by about six months after transplant.
Prednisone is what kept the tumor from growing. When she stopped Prednisone, the tumor got larger and larger. I’m worried about recurrence – there’s just no getting around that. I have to keep telling myself that for now, Ana is cancer free. She’s cancer free!
To look at Ana now, is to witness a miracle. I really believe that. She is glowing with health. Her skin looks amazing. Her hair is growing back. She’s happy, energetic and just wants to do the stuff that an almost-12-year-old girl likes doing (mall walking, texting her friends, painting her nails.) I can’t stop staring at her. Sometimes entire days go by without me asking her how she’s feeling.
I’ve never been so grateful for HEALTH as I am now.
This was a much easier week for Ana than it was for me. I’m attempting to wrap my brain around the meaning of life, after all. It actually struck me today, as I sat in front of my computer trying (and failing) to concentrate on the screen in front of me, that this whole experience has propelled me towards a mid-life crisis. I’ll be 42 next month.
After (not much) deliberation, I’ve decided to write a book. I started it about a month ago and I’m already on page 60. It’s ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT. Well, that’s not true. There’s still lots of other things I think about. Like Ana on the steps of the Met with all her friends from school (that’s her in the blue hat).
And Emily turning 9, which is happening on MONDAY. If my baby is now 9, I guess that means I must be getting older too.