Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 - The Aftermath

So it's the last day of the year, and it has been quite a year for me. I know there's been little to no activity on my blog, but there has been quite a lot going on for me that I haven't posted about.

This year, my younger son did SEA and passed for his first choice of QRC...
This year, my older son also transferred into QRC...
This year, we found out that my younger son had cancer...

The cancer diagnosis is one that affected everyone in our family and one that I have been meaning to write about for quite a while now, but it never seemed to be the right time.

As my son starts his 8th and FINAL (Woot! Woot!) cycle of chemotherapy this week, and as the year comes to an end, the timing seems to be right.

In May of this year, after numerous doctor visits, a CT scan revealed a tumour on my son's lung. To say this was unexpected would be an understatement. The last thing we expected to hear were the words tumour/cancer.

My son underwent two biopsies to confirm the type of cancer he had as the results were inconclusive. His samples eventually made their way to Miami where he was diagnosed with B-cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.


He was admitted to Mt. Hope Children's Hospital - JBF Unit, while we waited on his results and while the did additional tests such as echocardiograms, X-rays and another CT scan. He spent three weeks at Mt. Hope as his doctors were wary of the position of the tumour near his heart and lungs.

My son absolutely hated being in hospital being poked and prodded, as he missed his last days of school, the excitement of last day and not being around his family.
Passing for his first choice was one of the only things that cheered him up while he was in hospital. While he missed his school orientation, the school made special provision for him when he came out of hospital, and he got a tour of the school with the vice-principal, which he loved.

His treatment involved 8 cycles of what the doctors called "intense chemotherapy". His protocol requires him to get chemo for 5 days straight. So for 5 days straight, every 21 days, he is hooked up to a machine that administers his chemo drugs.

Thankfully, he has had little side effects. He has lost his hair, eyebrows and eyelashes, but has had none of the other side effects of chemo like nausea, vomiting, fever.

He had to put in a portacath which is the better/easier way to administer the chemo than an IV. He has had to go under anesthetic over 10 times, for his biopsies, portacath surgery, lumbar punctures and bone marrow tests.

When his 5 days of chemo is over, he also has to go to the hospital on a daily basis for blood tests to be run and to get his shot which boosts his white blood cell counts, that the chemo kills.

He is now on his LAST cycle, and we are all excited for the all day, all night hospital stays to be over. Once his cycle is over a PET scan is the next step to see the status of the tumour, if it is still there, and then his doctors will let us know where we go from there.

We have had a good experience with Mt. Hope where he did all of his treatment for free, there have been some hiccups here and there, but for the most part it has been a positive experience.

I have had tremendous support from my family and friends (who have kept me sane when people around me were acting crazy) and I would like to say thanks to them all. Not gonna get all mushy here, you all know yourselves ;)

So that has been my 2012 in a nutshell.
Happy New Year to all my readers, wishing you all the best an hopefully more blog posts from me in 2013 :)