We have been soaking up our time at home thus far, and while it has taken some adjustments, we are all so happy to be here, even if it is for a short time. On Friday, when we arrived, Caemon couldn’t stop checking rooms, cabinets, closets, and drawers. He had to know what was in the refrigerator, the freezer. He wanted to know if outside was still there, if his outside toys were where they should be, if the cherry tomatoes still growing were just as good as they were at the beginning of summer (the answer: absolutely).
The next day, our first full day at home, we decided to take a drive to see the fall colors in the vineyards and to visit our favorite farm stand. We knew Caemon would get a nap, but we also hoped he might wake up long enough to see his favorite farm and point out a couple of pumpkins he might like. We have to be especially cautious even outside because even the normal fungi and bacteria in dirt can be potentially harmful to someone with neutropenia. As luck would have it, Caemon napped just as planned and got to take a look at the piles of pumpkins lying around. He waved at the chickens from a distance, and we jumped back in the car to continue our drive. Along the way, he told us from the back seat, “I love going for a drive.”
This was our one and only outing, but it was so good for all of our hearts. We have since spent a lot of time doing things around the house that we have missed. Caemon and I made zucchini muffins (with zucchini from the farm), filled with all the fat and sugar I typically substitute out with things like applesauce and agave. Caemon loved pulling out the ingredients, measuring, choosing spices to include, and stirring everything together. It was hard for him not to be able to lick the spoon ( the neutropenia and raw eggs are not a safe combo) because the boy loves muffin batter, but even that he handled, especially when he got to open the oven by himself (and, admittedly, he did get to taste the butter/sugar/vanilla/zucchini mixture before we added eggs) . Today, he has eaten muffin after muffin after muffin. He wants nothing else. We can’t really deny him (they have vegetables! whole grains! protein! calories!), especially because he won’t have fresh homemade muffins again for awhile.
Mostly, we’ve been having a lot of together time. We’re letting Caemon sleep in our bed so that we can all wake up together. He loves sprawling out, and the cats love sleeping next to him. This is such precious time. We are doing as much laughing as we can, as much snuggling and dancing as possible, and plenty of just being our little family at home. This has been good medicine for us all, and we’re seeing just how much our boy has grown and matured in the course of a couple of months. It’s one thing to hear him rattle off medical terminology in the hospital (which is, undeniably, quite impressive), but it’s another to hear him stringing together complex sentences with ease, to see him grasping new concepts–because the changes are more apparent here, in his home environment. Despite our fears that his development might be impacted by his illness and treatment, there are many ways in which our boy is thriving, and we can finally see that here at home.
I won’t lie that I’ve got a constant nagging in the back of my mind that soon we will return to the hospital, that he will have another operation, and we’ll begin another round of chemo. It’s hard to imagine our lively little guy who is feeling so much better than he has in so long sick from chemo again, struggling with fevers, rashes, infections, but it’s what we have to do. He is very aware that we’re going back, is even looking forward to it, but there’s a big part of all of us that just wants to stay here and forget about this cancer business.
For now, we’ve got two days until Halloween. We have a pumpkin to carve, a costume to complete, and, yes, even trick-or-treating to do at a few houses in our neighborhood (masks are a wonderful thing!). Yes, there is packing as well, but our focus is on every fabulous moment we get to spend with our boy, from morning tea to bedtime stories. We won’t be wasting a single second.