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We’ve learned to celebrate small victories along this journey. Because sometimes small victories are all we’ve got. But today was a pretty big victory.
The removal of that PICC line signifies the end of cancer treatment. The end for now and perhaps, we hope, the end of cancer treatment forever. I told Austin, as we finally walked out of the hospital at ten past six this evening, that I hope he never ever needs chemotherapy again in his entire (long, long) life.
The PICC line last week
It was a complicated day, not without its hiccups, such as at ten this morning when I got a phone call from Fairfax saying Braedan was in the nurse’s office with a tummy ache. Luckily my mom had taken Austin to the clinic and I was able to pick up Braedan (who seemed miraculously fine as the day went on) and secure a babysitter all before I was due there at lunchtime.
When I showed up and told Austin I was there for the “long shift,” he reminded me that I was there “for the happy time too!” I had told him earlier that we were “sort of done” after today. He asked for clarification a couple of times and I said that he was done with chemo and done with sleepovers and done with his PICC line and, aside from some blood draws, mostly done with cancer. And he asked, “Done done?” And I (hemming and hawing) said, yes for now, but that we would have to start again in a little bit to take care of the kidney (he knows all about dialysis already; he refers to it as “the four hour thing”) but that for now, we would be done. To which he replied, “Super-done?”
For us, yeah . . . I guess this counts as super-done.
So we waited through hour after hour of blood, followed by an extra IV antibiotic to clear up a lingering ear infection and finally, finally, as everyone (staff included) was itching to go home, the woman from IV team showed up to pull the line.
It was no big deal; Austin said he couldn’t feel a thing although he sat nervously in my arms chewing on his shirt while it happened. And then it was done and everyone clapped for us and we went on our way.
Whoosh, just like that.
And then tonight, after a few meltdowns on the part of both boys, we drove over to my parents’ house and did just what we’ve been waiting to do:
They are now sleeping soundly (nothing like swimming to get your kids to sleep through the night) and we’ll go back again tomorrow. Because for now, for today, we are indeed super done. And that is definitely worth celebrating.