Today is the second dose of Dad’s granulocytes (white blood cells) for Nicholas.
Kendra will go home to Saskatchewan in a few days. She was in a sterile room behind an ante room for 50 days after her bone marrow transplant. I can’t imagine how a six year old feels after being set free from that hell.
She was very sick as the new bone marrow took up residence, and from the drugs she took to combat “graft versus host.” The new marrow is the graft and the body is the host. The body views the new marrow as a foreigner and goes to war. Sometimes the war is so terrible the body rejects the new marrow. At worst people die.
I hear Kendra giggling with her mother. She bends her head towards her mother’s dark hair; they look like best friends telling each other secrets. She’s a great kid, a brave slayer of cancer dragons.
Nick’s diagnosis was a mystery, an unfolding nightmare. We were terrified but completely ignorant of cancer and chemo.
Three years ago Lorelie was told her three year old daughter had leukemia. They were down this horrifying road of cancer and treatment. They went home believing it was over and looking for a return of normal life. Then Kendra relapsed, and Lorelie had to tell her, “You’re going back.”
They knew what to expect. Their terror is educated.
At the House, I’m with Lorelie on the back porch with a cup of coffee. Of course I’m glad they are going home, but I will miss my mentor. Even with her heavy load she lifts me up. We sit side by side, her knee next to mine and I tell her that Kendra will make it, and she tells me that Nick will too.
May 28. 1999