Same as Always

That is Eli’s typical response when asked how he’s doing. What does it mean? It usually means that he’s doing fine and is in a good mood.

Today, we are starting a different treatment. We are back to trying chemo, a different regimen, but chemo just the same. Same as always. We’re easing back into the weekly chemo treatment routine–port access, labs, pre chemotherapy hydration, infusions, anti nausea meds, watching for fevers, immunocompromised precautions, long days away from the family, meals brought by friends and family, etc.

As of my last post, we were making decisions about how next to proceed. I had already researched and made a decision about the next treatment over a month ago, so it really was easier than the process we went through during the summer. I didn’t really want Eli to go through chemo again, lose his beautiful red hair, look more skeletal than usual, while dripping poison into his veins, but this is the best chance of buying the time we want for him.

So, for me, the hard decision had already been made, so it was more a matter of letting Eli come to the same decision. He considered the options, including not treating, which he decided is not an option he will consider right now, and decided on chemo. He isn’t bothered by the prospect of losing his hair, but he is bothered by needing a port and all that entails.

Relaxing before surgery

Last Wednesday he had his port placement surgery. It went smoothly, but he hadn’t been told that the plan was to send him home with it accessed in preparation for chemo the next day. When he awoke from the anesthesia and discovered the plan, he was very opposed, so chemo was postponed a week so he could be deaccessed before going home and he would have a week to heal before being accessed again for chemo.

I, of course, didn’t want to delay treatment, but I endeavor to defer to Eli’s preferences since he has to live with what is done. So, I did try and bribe him, which didn’t work, so today is the first round of chemo instead of last Thursday.

Covid and Cancer

If it isn’t hard enough to deal with cancer, try it during a pandemic. Our latest Covid related difficulties came about while I attempted to find someone to care for my younger children for Eli’s first round of chemo. Even though Adam works from home, I prefer to use him as a last resort when it comes to caring for the younger children during the work day. After all, someone has to earn a living around here.

So I started by asking a neighbor if the younger three kids could play at her house during the two hours that all of the older children and adults were going to be at work or in their classes at the high school. Well, she had an appointment to have her daughter tested for Covid-19 due to an exposure that occurred last week. So, that option was out. Next, I contacted another neighbor. She was okay with watching the children, but a couple of her kids were home from school due to a Covid-19 exposure last week, as well. It had been long enough since the exposure and with no symptoms that I wasn’t terribly worried, so I accepted the risk and agreed to send the kids over during that two hour window. With our various Thanksgiving plans having fallen through, we wouldn’t be around others much anyway.

Between texts arranging for child care, I got a phone call from Primary Children’s hospital. I was a little confused that they would call at almost 7pm, after business hours. It turns out that, while there for his port placement surgery, Eli was exposed to someone who tested positive for Covid-19. 🙄

Since Adam and I weren’t exposed, that means it was someone in the OR or PACU. It was also eight days ago and he has no symptoms, so the risk that he has it is low, but it is one more thing to deal with, amongst everything else. My friend was still okay with watching the kids, but Adam decided to take the time off work and spend it with the kids.

So, what’s the take away? Even when masks are worn, if you are still in close proximity with someone who tests positive for over 15 minutes, you are still considered to have been exposed. By the time the sick person has symptoms, gets tested and contact tracers track you down, you are either already symptomatic, if the exposure resulted in transmission, or you are probably okay, unless you are in the minority of people who develop symptoms after the typical 5-7 day incubation period. So, what this really confirms is that interacting with other humans is not risk free. You just need to decide what your risk tolerance is and how you prefer to mitigate it, or not.

Post surgery, eager for an In-N-Out burger

Eli is optimistic that this treatment will kill his cancer. We should start to see tumor shrinkage soon. #Hope

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