Monday, August 09, 2010

What Would a Clark Summer Be Without a Little Bit of Leukemia?

If you haven't already heard the horrible news, Richard's Leukemia has returned.

My pseudo-baby-book for the boys will once again be hijacked by the latest news in Leukemia-land. As always, the story that comes straight from the horse's mouth can be found here, in Richard's Blog.

But... if you are one of those people who likes to know all the details, followed by how I'm feeling about the situation on that particular day, followed by pictures of my beautiful boys, then by all means, continue reading.

If you've made it this far, here are the deets...

Wednesday - Richard goes for his monthly routine bloodwork.

Thursday night - The phone rings. I look at the call display. It's VGH. Now... I know he just had his blood work done the day before. So, that's not a good sign. Plus, it's nighttime. That's not a good sign. And lastly, his next appointment isn't supposed to be until October to meet the oncologist, so it can't be a reminder message. That's not a good sign. I was already an emotional wreck that day from an event that I shall not delve into right now, so the outpouring of tears came fast and hard. I tried to stay positive, but Richard arrived in the room a few minutes later and said, "So, that was the hospital. My platelets are low, at 24." That was all he needed to say. This was followed by some cuddling and head shaking and cursing. They tell us he'll need to come in for a bone marrow biopsy to see if the Leukemia has returned.

Thursday night and Friday - My thoughts are morbid, but I try to think positively.

Saturday and Sunday - My thoughts are much more positive and I just try to wrap my head around it all. Can't imagine what's going through Richard's head. However, I'm holding back the tears these two days. Trying to stay positive in the hopes that "it's something else" and/or maybe his platelets dropped for some other reason. The hospital calls to come to the LBMT for 8:30am. Saturday, Richard is having some severe stomach/gas pain. So badly that he goes into emergency on Saturday night just to be sure it's just gas. With the low platelets, and the pain not subsiding and being very unbearable, he thought is safest to go in. He came home around 5am having not gotten any sleep. Nor had I, knowing he was there and I was home alone hearing all the crazy noises one hears on a Saturday night when her husband isn't home. Nothing could be seen. It appears it was just stress related. Hope Richard doesn't mind me telling you about his gas.

Monday - Erica graciously offered to take the kids while we went to the hospital. Thank you, Erica. Sure glad I took you up on that, with it being such a long day.
We arrived. Richard fell right into routine, checking his own vitals. The nurse "Nancy" who was the first nurse we had a year ago, was our nurse today. She must be the nurse assigned to new people. She's pretty awesome. She said, "So nice to see you." I said, "Not really."... but don't worry, she knew what I meant. She was wonderful. Richard's bone marrow biopsy didn't start until about 9:30am. He said it went until 10am, but really, it was more like 10:20am. He didn't have the big strong guy that gets in there and gets-r-done. Instead, it was the little gentle lady, who just like last time, wasn't strong enough to get in there into his tough bones for a proper pull. She had to call in reinforcements. I had to step out for about 2 minutes. In that time, a big strong guy came in and did it and it was over, but you could tell from Richard's expression and later his words that if given the choice again of having Dr. Dainty (names are changed to protect the innocent) slowly widdle away for 15 minutes more or to have Dr. Do-it-Now-and-Do-it-Hard in 1 minute, he would definitely choose Dr. Dainty. She is also a pleasant wonderful petite little powerhouse, but I tell you, Richard's bones do not enjoy being dug into.
In the meantime, his blood work returns and we realize that his white cell count is down too, which the oncologist had not told us on the phone. His platelets were down to 15 now. Not good. This also made us realize this day would become very long, as they would probably want to give him platelets. That adds two hours at least to the day.
Early biopsy results showed that yes, the Leukemia is back. ARG. The oncologist also had failed to mention on the phone that blasts showed in the bloodwork, so that was kind of a tell-tale sign that wouldn't have left us much room for thinking it was not Leukemia. Oh well.
We assumed, that if Richard was to be getting chemo, followed possibly by a bone marrow or stem cell transplant, that he would be an outpatient, since he's not starting out sick this time, nor is he 'new to Leukemia', but alas, no... he must be admitted. Lucky for us, there wasn't a bed available today. We have probably one day (Tuesday) to get all our ducks in some sort of crappy jumbled pathetic pile (not in a nice row), and then take him for blood work on Wednesday that is supposed to be followed by him being admitted. Just like last time. Close to a month. There are postives and negatives. Most of the positives are for me. Most of the negatives are for Richard. Richard was hoping to be an outpatient and to stay at the Cancer Lodge again. That would've been perfect. He is NOT looking forward to the hospital food again, but at least this time, he knows ahead of time that he can ask for the special menu that Richard was not informed about until about 2 weeks into his hospital stay last summer.


Positives to being admitted vs. being an outpatient
*Do not have to pack up the kids to drive back and forth to VGH all the time.
*Richard does not have to travel in a car for 1.5 hours each way feeling sick and in the passenger seat. Which you may recall from last time, he doesn't like.
*Richard is being monitored closely.
*Richard is far away from germs and nastiness.
*No long days at the hospital for the kids and not having to deal with the kids at the hospital.
*Not having to take the volunteer driver service and drive with someone he doesn't know, and possibly have to ask them to pull over the car so he can puke.

Negatives to being admitted vs. being an outpatient
*hospital food.
*Richard isn't at home with us.
*hospital food.
*Richard feeling bored.
*hospital food.

So yah.. that's about it. Not much else to say about that. I'm sure Richard could rattle off many many more negatives.

I will say it is nice to go into this knowing more than last time. Although it will be different this time, I do feel better prepared mentally.

Thanks so much for taking us to lunch/dinner today Dad! It was very much appreciated!


Some pics of how wonderful life was until Thursday night...

AJ Comes Running

So, AJ runs to me down the hall all full of giggles telling me I need to come to his room to see something 'really super funny'.

He has this folding animal alphabet thingy. You mix the animals front and rears to make things like a rhinopus (rhino and an octopus).

He discovered this little gem....

Yah, that's right. He made 'turd' or should I say 'tird'. It's a turtle front on a bird behind. Why does he know that word? Dust off the Mom-of-the-Year trophy...
That's what I call him sometimes. More like like, "Don't be a turd." Wow, that doesn't sound good when I type it on the blog. Hmmmm. Should I delete that? Nah.

One Afternoon

The Trans Canada Trail where Richard and I had our second date.

A little P.D.A. What else is new.

me - "Hey boys. Sit on that bench for a nice picture."
Dex - "buy ! buy!" (translation... bugs! bugs!)
Richard - "boys get away from there"
me - "Oh no! Wasps! There's a nest right in front of Dexter under the bench."

Tuesday or Wednesday?

After visiting our favourite elementary school playground with Erica and her kids, AJ really wanted to go over to Jack's house to play. Erica and I did a trade. I took Rya home with me and Dexter, and Erica took AJ home with her and Jack.

Before naptime, Rya and Dexter did some drawing on the roll out paper. Dexter has discovered that he can actually draw actual things. This is a spider. It's a circle with legs. Do you see it there?

Rya is a delight to have over. She cleans up all the markers that Dexter doesn't put away. Hmmm, maybe I need to have a girl. "Oh Richard....."


Kim and her boyfriend, Jared (who AJ just adores), came for a visit. After hanging out outside while the boys played in the pool, we dried them off to bring them in for dinner. AJ begged and begged (followed by tears and a meltdown) wanting Jared to sleepover. AJ had it all planned that they would play Transformers followed by Jared sleeping in his big bunk and AJ sleeping down below in the reading bed.
As you can see from the pictures (taken on my phone in the dark) that AJ was not going to let Jared leave. He was blocking him and crying and crying.

Just Another Day in Jen's Backyard

Once the big kids were finished their turn on the trampoline, it was time for the little kids (formerly known at 'the babies'). L-R, Madisyn, Jaxon, Emerson, Dexter

Meanwhile, the big kids were chillin' in the pool.

Nice back float, AJ! Nice swimming Makenna!

Nice back float, Makenna!

Nice swimming, AJ!

Richard and I always like to start off a a diagnosis of Leukemia by going to a party. Last time, it was Kim's graduation. This time, Erica's sister in law was having a pirate party for her two little boys' birthdays. It was a great day. Thanks for the fun, Dione!

Here, Richard and the boys are looking for pirate treasure that will be later turned in for 'booty'.

It stopped raining long enough for an outdoor search. The boys had fun collecting coins.

There was a clown making balloon swords!

Right in the middle of the picture, you can see Richard watching the fun unfold.

Both of my boys said "No thanks" to face painting, but later, we couldn't find AJ anywhere. We found him in the face painting chair!

I can't even begin to tell you how much fun Dexter had on this Melissa&Doug piano.


The days previous to this, still need to be posted. I'm just sick of uploading photos right now. So, tune in tomorrow or something to see the waterslides, Dexter watching kites, more backyard fun at Jen's, and a visit with Grand-Dan.


Anonymous said...


my thoughts are with you guys and, trust me, they are frequent. i'm sending healing vibes your way richard!

it was a pleasure having you over on saturday. thanks to aj and dexter for being friends with owen and adam and for helping to make our pirate party a great success! and thanks to you sonja for partaking in the jello. next year...jello wrestling pit! haha


Tara said...

Dear Cancer:

It seems you don't understand simple instructions, but Richard broke up with you. Please take the hint and go away.

Seriously. You suck.



PS...MUCH love to you and the boys, are in our thoughts and prayers.

legend_018 said...

I love the pics. I'm sorry to hear about what is going on. I just can't imagine being in your shoes. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...

blah- this is a nightmarish re-run, I can't believe it.
As I wrote to Richard, our help is still abundant and there for you if it will make your lives easier at all. Just ask.
I can't remember my Google account, that's why I'm "AnON".

Anonymous said...

I don't know what to say... If you ever need any help - babysitter, a meal dropped off... anything, let me know and I'll do my best to help you guys out.
Strength in numbers and from what I can see, Richard has an army behind him.
love & hugs,

Erica said...

Really sorry to hear about Richard. Ack!