One of the things that they're looking for is a "rising trend."
Do you think that going from an ANC of 18 to 70 overnight is a rising trend?
The staff was quite pleased. Our attending physician actually solicited guesses from the rest of the staff during morning rounds, as to what Sam's ANC would be tomorrow. He himself guessed high. Very high. It was a mite hard to take him seriously with his leprechaun hat on, but overall...spirits are good.
Could it be tomorrow?
What exactly are we waiting for? Something around 150, probably...although anything over 100 is still considered a "rising trend."
So while we await the continuation of the rising trend, we celebrated a little bit of Halloween.
Dad came for the day and brought Sam's Harry Potter costume.
The two of them participated in the HOT Unit Halloween Party, which had crafts, food, and some trick or treating that I think involved a few stuffed animals (way better than candy, if you ask Sam).
Later on, Sam tested out his new light-up turtle (he couldn't wait for bedtime), and it made a really cool picture: (Thanks Sara, Richard, and Roo!)
I'm alternating between total excitement and a desire to manage expectations. I don't want to get Sam's hopes up for leaving tomorrow, but I want him to be aware of the "last time" that we do things. Today we took a little walk and then I suggested we go back via the "secret elevators." I told him that maybe this would be our last time in those elevators. He liked that idea.
I spent some time today talking with one of the nurse practitioners about Sam's future medical plans. It's hard to believe that we have been at this for five months, and that our hospital journey is about to come to a close. There's a little bit of anxiety about this, since there's quite a feeling of security here, knowing that we are cared for and that Sam is checked and watched and monitored. (We can always call the magic phone number that gets me to the Charge Nurse.) I asked, for the first time, for some statistics. What are the relapse rates? What are the statistics that we will go home and never come back? What are we looking for? How long until we feel completely safe, until we have no more worries? Some of those questions she was able to answer. But others she wanted to check with someone else - to see how Sam's low risk factors figure into the equations. I will get more answers over the coming weeks.
Overall...we are doing well. The light is bright at the end of the tunnel. But what is at
the end of the tunnel? I think it's a big forest. I know I'm mixing metaphors here, but once we are out of the tunnel...we're in the woods. And we won't be out of the woods for five years. The woods will probably be lovely, right? Fresh air, beautiful trees, life experiences, trips and celebrations, school and camp and life
I think we can live in the woods. It will be much nicer than the tunnel.
They don't declare him completely safe, free of risk of relapse, until he's been cancer-free for five years
. (Which, if you're calculating, is about his 12th birthday.)
But for today?
I can only think of home.
And of taking my kid there.
Whenever it is...each day, each moment, we will celebrate.
Life is a gift.
And we are grateful.