Since this journey has begun, it has all been tumultuous, uncharted territory for us. And only occasionally do I feel like we’ve achieved some sense of normalcy or stability along our not uncommon road fighting a “typical” leukaemia.
Today, for the first time since Ned’s diagnosis, our boat was well and truly rocked. Emotions I’d thought were dealt with made a resurgence, and suddenly everything seemed shaky and uncertain again.
You see, during his general anaesthetic last week, Ned had some tests done, mostly to check his bone marrow and whether he had responded, as hoped, to the Induction phase of his chemotherapy regime. He was showing all the physical signs of responding well, and his neutrophils had recovered as predicted, so everything was looking favourable.
Today we got his results, which negated all of that. They showed that, although he has certainly responded well to the chemo thus far, it hasn’t been as “optimal” as hoped. Consequently, without any change to his current treatment or upcoming treatment protocols, he is at high risk of having a relapse in future.
He now faces a much more intensive next 5 months, with more grueling and “toxic” chemotherapy, and the possibility of needing to go to Melbourne for treatment and a bone marrow transplant (Lucy is our only option, so will be tested). This latter step will be dependent upon another bone marrow test in 4 weeks’ time (after 4 weeks of “high risk” treatment).
Suddenly we’re no longer tracking along the usual, “routine” leukaemia path anymore.
It’s definitely a low point for us… if one can get lower than having your child diagnosed with leukaemia in the first place. Seth and I both realise that there is the possibility of many hurdles along this journey, but we hadn’t expected them so soon, and to be perfectly honest, we feel like we were just starting to recover emotionally from that initial shock. I, personally, am drained. I just realised today how deplete my energy reserves are (early, I know), given the concurrent hugely heightened stress (from exams) and nausea (from the pregnancy) of the last few weeks. This next month of waiting for the follow-up test will need a lot of prayer and encouragement, I think!
Fortunately, we have Seth – a pillar of strength for our family, and my ever-forgiving, tolerant, endlessly-patient, kind and loving husband. And thankfully, our 8 years of marriage and friendship has steadied us for the trials and stresses ahead. But we’re aware of what challenges like these can do to families, to marriages, to sibling relationships, to mental health… So, for now, for the unknown ahead, for the lack of strength and energy we possess, for the horrendous chemical assault on Ned’s little body, we commit this journey to our Lord.