We started the morning in the Oncology Clinic. It's strange how normal and routine these days have become. A few months ago, we would have known nothing about what it must be like to have a child or grandchild with cancer and what it would be like to go through treatment. Now we know our way around the clinic and the hospital, which service is on which floor, where to go for MRIs and CT scans, where to park for what, where to find food, videos, books, the laundry room, or the best cell phone reception, what time different places open and close, which elevators go to which floors, what to pack for a long day in clinic or three days in the hospital, and the names of many doctors, nurses and aides who have worked with Emery throughout her treatment. We know about flushing central lines, dressing changes, transfusions, IVs, medications, giving injections. We know how long it takes to get from Katy to Hobby Airport and which alternative route works best when traffic is backed up. We know that the HOV lane on the Katy Tollway changes to "toll tag only" at 8 PM, even if you are already in the lane and can't get out. We can find Shipley's Donuts and Starbucks in the morning if the traffic isn't bad and we're actually early for an appointment. And we know there's no point arriving at the Clinic before 6 AM because the elevators are locked till then. Oh yeah, and if you have to get stuff out of your car and it's valet parked, they'll bring it to you, let you unload, and repark it without charging you twice.
I am still a little bit shocked to see so many children with cancer. It doesn't really hit you until you see a bunch of kids in the same waiting room and realize that they all have a cancer of one kind or another. Today a group of young women invaded the clinic to have a dress-up party with the kids in the waiting area. They had cowboy hats and sheriff's badges, makeup, tiaras, feather boas, and colorful sunglasses for the kids. We saw some of the cutest little bald headed girls all dolled up and smiling so big and happy. Bonnie and I both wanted to take their photos but we thought it would be intrusive and their parents might not want them on the blog (even though we really wanted you to be able to see how cute they were!) The parents weren't nearby and it seemed like it wasn't appropriate at the time. But, oh, they were having so much fun. Just adorable.
We spent a couple of hours in the Clinic, had Emery's labs done (all were good) and got some IV fluids started. Dr. Thompson showed us the CT scans and MRIs on the computer, which was very interesting, though a bit difficult for untrained eyes to understand completely. One thing was certain: the tumor was LARGE in the beginning and is much smaller today. We could definitely see and understand that part!
Emery was readmitted to the 9th floor (Oncology/Hematology, our home away from home) this afternoon. She'd gained some more weight and is about 9 1/2 pounds now! Good job, Bonnie and Emery!
Chemo did not begin till fairly late tonight because the nurse had to collect 30 cc of urine for some lab tests before chemo could start. Sorry to be indelicate, but a tiny baby just does not put out a lot of urine all at once, so we went through quite a few diaper changes before they had enough to do the tests. I left the hospital about 11 PM and Emery was sleeping peacefully while the chemo was being administered. I am hoping she had no problems with it and that all three of them will have a quiet night. Bonnie and David are sleeping in the room with their girl, of course. David will be here till Sunday, when he will go home for another week of teaching and then come back again next weekend.
Here's hoping that these three days of chemo are uncomplicated and that Emery's tumor will continue to respond well to the treatment. She will finish chemo on Sunday but we are not sure yet when she will be released from the hospital.