Three, Two, One, Vinblastine

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Yesterday (Friday), Elijah *finally* had his last planned dose of chemo. In three weeks, he will have a full-body PET scan, and if it is at least as good-looking as his previous scan, then he will go to an observation schedule of check-ups every month, then every three months, then 6 months, then annually. He has about an 80% chance of staying well, says Dr. B. He would be likely to relapse sooner than later, so they will probably leave the port in for a few months. Dr. B. said after three years, his chance of relapse dramatically decreases.

The interesting thing Dr. B. said about the PET scan is that it does not have to be completely clear – just mostly clear. That takes a load off anticipating the scan. Now, after all this, am I excited? Meh. I’m quite glad the little guy won’t have those nasty drugs in his body, but this hasn’t really felt like a “weight-lifting” moment. Brian reminded me that it’s a good thing. Our big-sigh-of-relief moments had been coming after re-inflated lungs and such. His progress has been so protracted that a last dose of medicine is pleasantly anti-climactic. Plus, we are probably holding our breath a little bit for the scans. Plus we have been in “cope” mode for so long that our leaps for joy are probably more like tentative skips. Plus we generally feel great about his condition and don’t expect any surprises. Plus, the only thing that will change in our routine is the absence of medicine; we will still take monthly jaunts to visit our clinic friends.

I have a nearly-irresistible urge to skip his last week of Prednisone. I am to give him 9 more doses over the next 4.5 days, to accompany his chemotherapy. That stuff makes him absolutely bonkers. Then, there is the Zantac to protect his tummy and the Hydroxyzine to help *us* sleep, because none of us can rest with his steroid-induced Brownian motion. So, that’s the hard part of 10 milliliters of repugnant liquid to get a twitchy, cantankerous toddler to swallow. If I’m sneaky, I can get the first gulp to take him by surprise. He fights the second squirt, pocketing some in his cheek long enough to convince me he’s swallowed, then blow-holes it before erupting in a spirited cackle. On the third attempt, his face is whipping side-to-side so quickly, I can scarcely locate his mouth. I visualize my next move, waiting until he pauses, and I launch my medicine missile. Typically, I then shuffle to the sink to wash my empty syringe, hoping he’ll absorb enough from the puddle in his ear to do the trick.

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