Is “W-O-O-H-O-O” one word or two?!
We had a check up and blood work this morning, and Calum‘s blood counts are on the rise! The treatment cycle known as “delayed intensification” is finally over and Calum‘s doctors are confident that, at this point, he is steadily recovering and we won’t be seeing more dips. Calum‘s neutrophils are still slightly in the red zone, but our doctor is confident that over the weekend Calum will no longer be considered “neutropenic”. He actually thought that it was possible he may not even have been neutropenic if our appointment had been in the afternoon rather than the morning. Though Calum was on the cusp of needing a blood transfusion again, we were told that the red blood cells, which produce the hemoglobin, are typically the last to recover, so they decided to withold transfusing him with the anticipation of it coming up naturally in the next few days.
Just before Christmas we were at our dear friends the Devaney’s home for a small family Mass with their priest, Father Devron, who has become a friend to us all. Being it Advent, Father Devron was telling us about the real meaning of Advent, which he said is all about vigilance. Not long after that Mass we were in the hospital with Calum and, after about three weeks, we were being released to go home. We stood there terrified, listening to our doctor
talking us through what to do at home. He said the hardest part would be in the later months of treatment when people can start letting down their guard. He said, “we needed to be vigilant”. I’ll never forget hearing those words again, and the salient repetition of that theme. This has been a combination of doing everything within our power to keep Calum healthy and, ultimately, relying on God to take care of the rest.
To that effect, our doctor mentioned the rarity of making it through delayed intensification without a hospital stay. I told him it was because we kept Calum locked in his room for two months, only opening the door to throw him some food. Though we may very well have a hospital stay somewhere in our future, it is rewarding to have kept him home through this whole cycle. We realize, however, so much of this is out of our hands, and we are blessed to have been so, so lucky.
While we will continue to be on high alert with Calum, we need to begin opening our lives back up to the world. This idea comes with excitement and relief but, maybe mostly, with caution. Wish us luck!