We are waiting for blood test results to see whether or not Jack will start Phase 2 of his cancer treatment on Monday. I got a notice in my email that his lab results were in but they haven’t posted his white blood cell counts yet, so I can’t see whether he is neutropenic or not. The waiting is hard!
We met with the oncologist yesterday (update on CaringBridge) to go over what Phase 2 of Jack’s treatment entails. It was a LOT of information – 26 pages or so. To be handed a page FULL of side effects for each of 8 different medications…I wanted to throw up. One medication requires us to wear a mask and gloves while giving it to him. Another can cause heart damage and result in a lifelong restriction to lift no more than 50 lbs. Many of these disrupt learning ability (some temporarily, some long-term) and it sounded likely that special services at school will be needed for Jack later on…
And that’s when it hit me – why this is different from managing a chronic illness like diabetes. The medications Jack is getting to treat his disease are hurting him, as well. To treat the disease, we have to wreck parts of his body and then give him more treatment to help with those things. It’s a fucked up cycle and every time I think about giving my child toxic chemicals, I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut. It’s all wrong.
So today it’s hitting me anew how much I HATE CANCER!
I think part of what got me through Phase 1 was knowing it was short and that Jack wouldn’t be losing a bunch of weight and hair. His hair has started to go a bit, but Phases 2 will likely take it all. His chubby cheeks will go, too.
I dread it. I can’t stop thinking about my dad and watching the weight melt off of him when he was sick. I imagine Joe is going through something similar, as his father (Jack’s namesake) died of Melanoma. It’s hard not to feel like it’s especially unfair that we have to watch our son go through a disease that attacks his immune system after what we went through with our fathers. It feels like we are cursed or something.
(Jack’s blood test results were just updated – if my calculations are right, his ANC Is 770 and he is all set for starting treatment Monday. Yay…)
We will get through this. We will, we will, we will. But it’s so hard to walk around and participate in daily life when my heart hurts so much.
Today I donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to help my friend Beth reach her Team in Training Goal. Please help me spread the word about this fundraiser. I’d love to see Leukemia wiped out.