Packing our bags again (you’d think by now I would just keep one ready and sitting by the door). Austin and I are due in the sedation unit tomorrow morning at 7 for his 8 o’clock time slot in radiation. He needs to be sedated every time he has radiation so he doesn’t move (telling a three-year-old to lie still doesn’t quite cut it), which turns what would be a fifteen minute appointment into an hour and a half one.  Once we’re done there, we’ll check into our room on the oncology floor until Saturday.

He’ll get chemo each day this week, some days one drug, some days two, administered through his mediport. He’ll also be receiving IV fluids to help flush the chemo through his system because one (or two?) of the three drugs in his regimen is particularly hard on the kidney (great). He’ll have radiation each morning except New Year’s Day and will then continue with that once we’re out-patient for a total of twelve weekdays. We expect to be released Saturday morning and should then be home for two weeks before returning for the next round of chemo on January 18.

I’m assuming this week will actually be sort of boring. I don’t think he’ll be violently ill or anything; the anti-nausea meds he took the first time worked wonders and should again. The big difference this time is that his blood counts will take a bigger hit, making him much more susceptible to infection, but that’s not an immediate threat and won’t really be apparent until a good ten days later. So this week will probably be about killing time. In fact, I think a lot of the next four months will be about killing time. When he was a baby, it was fairly easy to keep him away from kids and germs. Now he’s used to school and playdates and I think he’ll be bored more than anything else as he’s sequestered at home with no one to entertain him but me. I’m afraid I’ll be bored silly myself, without my usual few hours off in the morning. But, after the last few years we’ve had, we’ll take boring. We’ll definitely take boring.

Today has been lovely. We walked this morning through a faint snow (which has finally turned our very green Christmas into a winter wonderland) out for a breakfast of pancakes and scrambled eggs.

Then a lazy day of trying out new toys (kids) and trying to weed through the mess (us). My friend’s mom, a professional photographer and regular follower of Austin’s story, came over this afternoon to take family pictures. She stayed late to photograph as we shaved Mark’s and Braedan’s heads.  We were hoping Austin would want to join in because his hair is expected to fall out quickly and in big clumps this time (as opposed to the wispy hairs left in his crib the first time) and we thought it would be both easier to clean and easier to witness if we shortened it first. But he wanted no part of it and we let it go at that. He’ll join his bald buddies soon enough.

The boys are now asleep together in Austin’s bed (and by “the boys” I mean all the boys). Dreaming, I hope, of the peaceful happy days that are bound to come. Of the calm after the storm.

But first, the storm . . .