So... I guess the 'news' of this week is that my fellowship medical exam is over - for the moment. It was on Saturday (8-5pm) and I found it quite tough. I couldn't really have dreamt up a less ideal or more emotionally challenging lead-up and preparation, so I don't have high hopes of passing, to be honest. But all in all, at this point in time, although I'd love to pass, my care factor is rather low.
We've just come to the end of Week 2 of Ned's leukaemia treatment, and it was fraught with anxiety and weariness.
Monday evening, Ned was admitted to hospital for a GA (general anaesthetic) and other procedures early Tuesday morning, followed by his regular chemo. He didn't bounce back as quickly as he had the preceding week, but he was ok and therefore discharged Tuesday evening.
Wednesday was the day I documented in my last blog entry - Ned was miserable and lethargic... which seemed in keeping with chemo side effects. I had planned my last 2 full days as "cram" days before Saturday's exams. I clearly hadn't remembered the "no plans ever" Golden Rule when living with a neutropaenic leukaemia sufferer!
Over Wednesday night, Lucy started vomiting profusely. We were up most of the night, and the times when it was quiet, all I could think and worry about was how on earth we could prevent Edward so easily contracting it... and how I'd stay well enough to get through Saturday.... So we instituted strict bedroom quarantine on Thursday, and have succeeded - thus far!!
Unfortunately, that Thursday, we all awoke with colds, and Ned's energy levels deteriorated further. We took him into hospital for bloods, which revealed an expected anaemia, although with a haemoglobin count borderline for needing a transfusion (explaining the extreme tiredness!).
Friday, we needed sunshine and fresh air, so I popped him in the pram, rugged him up, and took him for a run. In his quiet exhaustion, his occasional small smiles seemed to convey enjoyment of finally getting outside, and he remained essentially ok until early afternoon, when he started deteriorating rapidly with a rising fever. He was admitted, started on IV antibiotics, and scheduled for a blood transfusion Saturday morning - when I would be completely uncontactable in the exam! Sleep that night didn't come easily.
Poor Ned's weekend in hospital hasn't been pleasant, but we're hoping his energy levels will improve somewhat now he's replete with haemoglobin, and once he's rid of the infection.
We're commencing Week 3 of Ned's treatment today - which means we're nearly halfway through the 5-week Induction phase. And we've been blessed by so many things we are so grateful for:
- The constant messages (phone, emails, cards and Facebook) that we both receive. In contrast to what some of you may think, each one is read and treasured (even if we don't get around to replying)! Our newsfeeds are full of happy children who are healthy and walking, and we mourn for our old Ned, but your messages remind us that you are thinking of us or praying for us. It is so reassuring and comforting to know that hundreds of people worldwide are lifting us up in prayer.
- The steady stream of meals that have been arriving on a daily basis. If there's one thing we don't have the energy to think about at the moment, it's cooking nutritious meals for the family.
- The dear friends who are visiting us in hospital with coffees, bringing sugary sustenance, sending care packages and toys, helping with this blog, doing our laundry, looking after Lucy and looking out for her, taking beautiful photos, providing a listening ear, and just being there. You know who you are :)
- Our beloved families. Seth's wonderful parents have helped, visited, risked contracting gastro, and prayed endlessly. My fabulous aunt and my legendary siblings (Olivia, Simon, and Simon's wife, Emma) have all flown down from Melbourne at different times to live in, cook, clean, tirelessly help out and give us a bit of break. I know my parents would be too if they weren't working in Congo!
For all these various contributions and gestures, we thank you, because they're all making this arduous, undesired journey that much less lonely and depressing.