We returned home bright and early yesterday morning and things have been remarkably normal. So normal in fact, that I find myself wondering if it was really chemo that came in those double-wrapped “Danger” packages that have to be checked by two nurses against Austin’s hospital name band (which he’s never ever wearing and, if we’re lucky, can be found hanging from his IV pole) to make extra sure they’re giving it to the right kid. This boy has lost not one hair off his head and only the tiniest amount of energy from his body. Not that I’m complaining — if he wants to be asymptomatic, I’m all for it!

We do expect his blood counts to plummet this week (7-10 days post-chemo) which ought to make him irritable and tired and at risk for infection (and therefore sequestered from his usual activities). He’ll have labs drawn tomorrow when we go for radiation (I have two alarms set!) so we’ll use those as a guide for what we’re able to do this week. I’m really eager for him to return to school, albeit on a limited basis, just to maintain some sense of normalcy in his life (and mine).  But we’ll just have to play this by ear.

One good piece of news: He’s supposed to get an injection of a drug that stimulates the growth of white blood cells each day for a week after chemo. This is a shot that I’m supposed to give him at home, usually in his thigh (his only slightly chubby part) once a day. He got his first one last night administered by a nurse in the hospital in case he had a rare but serious allergic reaction to it, and then we were planning to start today. You know, I know a few things about injections having had diabetes for almost twenty-four years now. But still, the idea of doing that to my child was not something I was looking forward to. Well, upon the suggestion of a friend, I asked the attending doctor yesterday (who happened to be the chief of oncology) if we might be able to delay the second shot from tonight until tomorrow morning when Austin’ll be sedated for radiation and do it then. He thought this was a brilliant idea! So I’ll bring all the gear with me and inject him while he’s totally out, oblivious to everything. It’s only going to get us through this first week and then I’ll obviously have to figure out how to do it on a squirming screaming child for the rest of chemo, but at least I should feel like a pro by then. Such a relief.

Speaking of reliefs, this whole past week has been a relief. Such a huge weight off our shoulders to know we can do it; to have made it through with such flying colors. I know it will get worse; in fact the next round includes a new drug that I’ve heard is a little rougher in terms of nausea and vomiting, but at least this first week is behind us. This lets us stand tall and move forward with confidence instead of cowering in fear and dread.

You’d think I wouldn’t need reminding by now, but Little A sure is tough to keep down.