We have made our return to the hospital, and this time, we managed to be gone until the morning we were due back, which is not the usual for us! It was hard to return after such a short and lovely time at home, but once here, we got down to the business of BMT.
We have been talking about Caemon about life beyond the double doors quite a bit lately. You see, the children’s oncology unit is a pair of hallways that both end at a set of double doors. Beyond the set of double doors is the bone marrow transplant unit. Caemon has known about the double doors for some time but had never seen behind them until just before we left when he had his first glimpse. He knew there were things to look forward to here, so once he moved past the difficulty of leaving home again, he began to anticipate his new experience behind the double doors. He knows it is special here, and so far, we have worked to make it even more so by putting up special decorations (many lights and even large tree decals on the walls to give the feel of a forest), giving him some special gifts, and helping him become acquainted with the new rules here (moms can’t eat in the room, a bath must be had every day, no more disconnecting from the IV pole or leaving the room, etc.). I would like to share more about this when I am less tired, but today has been a series of adjustments for us all, and I imagine we will continue to learn how to live life beyond these double doors.
Tonight, Caemon is receiving the first of his conditioning chemotherapies. He has already had one dose along with the drug Attivan, which is meant to prevent seizures (one of the side effects of this particular chemotherapy), but which can cause children to either become relaxed and happy or out of their minds and a bit wild. We were fortunate to see the first reaction and not the second tonight, so we are pleased about this. We all need our rest.
Because this is the first day of Caemon’s chemotherapy, or “conditioning,” it is called “Day -10.” We are counting down to Day Zero, which will be the date of transplant. We are told this will be December 20th (on the eve of the Winter Solstice). Beyond the transplant date, we will count days as +1, +2, and so on. Such is the way beyond the double doors. As far as we know, our donor is having her surgery to harvest her bone marrow this week. I don’t know the exact day, but my best guess is that it will be the twelfth. Those cells will then be frozen in anticipation of Caemon’s transplant on the 20th.
So here we go. We’re on our way up the mountain. More to come later.