Leukemia is a scary word. After five days at the hospital talking with incredible nurses, doctors, and the rest of the amazing team at PCMC, it’s still scary, but seems manageable, or something like that. Payson has a very treatable diagnosis. It’s still leukemia, it’s cancer, it’s scary, but we feel fortunate about his specific stuff. It could be much, much worse. It’s funny the things you start to count as blessings sometimes.
Sixty years ago, there wasn’t a cure for this. Twenty five years ago, there was only a 30% success rate at treating it. That’s why it’s so scary, I think. Incredible progress has been made.
So, what’s next?
We know the schedule for the next month, the medicines he will get at each visit, the medicines he needs to take at home each day. After 28 days of treatment, he should be cancer free, at least according to the tests. There’s a general plan for the six or seven months after that to make sure the leukemia is totally gone and that his bone marrow works right. But because each patient is different, the plan will progress based on Payson’s specific response to the medicine and his genes, which we know are totally fabulous.
There’s no scheduled inpatient visits. However, we expect that there will be some, because his immune system basically exists at the hospital rather than inside his body during some points of the treatment. So if he gets sick, he goes up there and hangs out for a few days.
So, life goes on now. Payson does chores, plays the days away, usually feels ok probably, has some really super sucky times, we all wash our hands like a zillion times a day, we weenus touch instead of shaking hands (that means bumping elbows – we gotta come up with a better term), and we frantically check Pace’s temperature like 80 times per day, making sure he doesn’t have even a single scintilla of a fever.
This is him on his first night back home. He doesn’t seem too stressed about things.