Today's the day. Cole is 6 years cancer free today. Here's a link to last years post about what all we went through leading up to Cole's surgery - Happy 5 Years Cancer Free
I'm so thankful that Cole is well. Right now (I actually typed this Sunday night - the night before our big anniversary) he's playing Toy Story 3 on the PS3 and enjoying just being a kid. We're sitting around - Jason on his phone, me on the computer. Like it's a regular old night.
Six years ago there was nothing regular about this night. I don't remember exactly what happened the night before. I remember we had lots of visitors that day and the next morning. I remember how great our nurses were - they were so sweet to Cole and us. I remember the hospital gave us a room - a large room, one with three hospital beds in it. We had space to wait and spread out with all the family. We'd outgrown the waiting room the first night.
I remember having crayons and paper with us - for Cole - but I know I sat in the floor in the room while we waited to hear about surgery and I colored pictures for Cole - to cheer him up. I remember being sick to my stomach. I remember not really eating anything. I remember a lot of silence. Just sitting and waiting.
When we got to go back to see Cole after surgery - he just wanted Jason (which was usual during the hospital time for some reason). I remember his eyes weren't really able to focus at all. He couldn't move much at all. When they got him settled in PICU we knew he was struggling. He couldn't turn his head to the left. His left side was really weak. The left side of his face almost paralyzed. It was rough.
He still wanted to hear his favorite cartoon - Blue's Clues - even though he couldn't turn his head in that direction to see the TV. I remember us trying to move him later and him crying so bad. I'm thinking he must have had the worst crick in his neck ever known to man. Poor baby. We laughed several times because all my mom ever really said was 'bless his heart'. That's just about all you could say, really.
His sweet personality was back in no time though. He was a bit grumpy from time to time - thanks to the steroids and pain, I'm sure. It was such a long ordeal - it felt like we were in the hospital for years. It was really just 9 days. They sent us home the Sunday after his surgery. He did okay Monday but had a fever Tuesday. Wednesday morning (Ash Wednesday) he was burning up. We ended up back in the ER bright and early that morning. Cole had a fever around 105 when we got there. They did a lumbar puncture without even sedating him. He didn't even flinch a tiny bit. He was so very sick.
We ended up back in the hospital for about two weeks. He had a serious infection and had to receive heavy duty antibiotics. It's funny now - when we watch House we hear all these drug names - chemo drugs and stuff - we know too many of them by Cole's experience.
The time in the hospital was really long - filled with questions and no answers. I'm so thankful we ended up in Memphis at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
They helped save his life.
They took the burden of his care off our shoulders and just said 'we've got this' and they did!
We head back in a little less than three weeks for his 6 year check up. Usually this is really long with loads of testing. We've finally reached the point where all the tests aren't necessary for their research. So, it's not too bad of a check up. I'll still be nervous, even though I know he's okay. I'll still worry until Dr. Gajjar gives me the thumbs up. After 6 years, that stress hasn't gotten much better.
But, today (ok - tomorrow) he's happy, healthy, a little spoiled and all ours!!! I'm so proud of him!!