March 2014 seemed so far away back in December 2011, I thought to myself back then and over the past few years how will we get through this as a family, how will Ava handle all this chemo in her little body? Well its finally March 2014 and after a 2 day delay because of Mother Nature, Ava started her last and final cycle in her chemotherapy treatment today.
Today March 5, 2014 we started our day early this morning at the clinic where she received a poke in her tubey and we waited for her blood counts. Her blood counts were good at 1170 so she received pentamadine and her final dose of Vincristine chemo. The clinic staff was so wonderful they gave her a Barbie at the end of treatment at the clinic and also an award and a photo op :) It was such a joyous celebration, I had many tears. Tears of joy and relief knowing that chemo will never again enter my little girls body through her port ever ever ever again. Over the past 2 1/2 years all of the nurses and doctors and staff at the clinic have become like family. We will always have a special place in our heart for all of them. And we will still see them once a month for the first year off treatment and for the rest of Ava’s life.
We then went to the hospital. The same hospital and same area where Ava was diagnosed with Leukemia back on December 9, 2011. As happy as I was with the celebration we just had at the clinic, my anxiety came back as Ava had one last big chemo procedure to go through – the spinal tap with chemo. With spinal taps, children cannot eat 8 hours before the procedure, so Ava was hungry and it was already noon. Well her spinal tap did not start until 230 PM! And she put up a fight with the sedation medicine as she did not want to go to sleep, but the medicine won and she was finally sedated so they could start her final lumber puncture. After I left the room where Ava was being sedated, I cried. I cried tears of anger that our baby girl had to be here and had to get chemo in her spine and up to her little brain, I cried because we had done this to many times before and should never of had to do this to our baby girl in the first place. The sedation doctor came out and got us, and I spoke with her doctor and she told us her spinal fluid was clear (which is exactly want you want to hear). After she told me that, I started to cry again, but this time it was a cry of relief, a cry that it was finally over for our baby girl who has had too many sedations and spinal taps to count, a cry of happiness. The nurses we had over the past 2 1/2 years at the hospital – Beth, Julie, Cindy and Natalia have all been amazing to our family, and we said goodbye to them as we will never see them again (at least not there!). As we left I looked back at Room 16 in the Sedation Suite, that was the room that we heard the news that Ava had cancer on December 9, 2011. I didn’t say goodbye to the room, I just looked at it and hoped and prayed that no other child will have to be in that room with their parents and receive the same news as we did on December 9, 2011, but knowing that until a cure is found there will be many parents with their children hearing news that no parent should hear about their child.
So the liquid chemo is done for Ava, never to be in her little body again. But now we still have 5 days of steroids this week and 2 more times of oral methotrexate and 16 days of oral 6MP to take over the next few weeks. After March 21 we will celebrate as I won’t have to give our baby girl any more chemo in her little body. She will still have her port in her chest until the beginning of April. This means if she does get fevers with her port in she will still have to go to the ER and get accessed in her port to received antibiotics. So the end of her treatment is officially over for us once the port is removed from her body and her body is whole again.
As you can imagine I am filled with so many emotions – happy, sad, anxious, nervous, joyous, angry, loved and more – I am emotionally exhausted, and so is my husband. Prayers have helped me this week as I have prayed a lot to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus our Lord and God to help heal Ava’s body and help her body while the toxins are placed within, God is Good. And I truly believe that prayer helps. We are almost there, almost complete, almost free of the very toxins that were put in your little body to save you.
Thank you for your continued support and prayers.