This summer has been a breeze, health-wise for my 6 year old daughter, Ellen, Last year she not ony was ill with leukemia, but suffering from the side effects of the introduction to chemotherapy. After not being able to swim, play t-ball and ride horseback last summer, she has been enjoying all of those things — and more– this summer. In fact, Ellen is doing so well it’s easy to forget that she still has a life-threatening illness.
This week we had a reality check, which reminded us of the many things that can go wrong when a child — or anyone for that matter — has cancer. We went for a routine blood draw and chemotherapy IV Monday and the nurse practicioner couldn’t draw the blood. Nor could another nurse and an internal radiologist. We spent the entire day at the clinic and hospital while the nurses and doctor tried various clot-busting medicines to unclog the port. Nothing worked so Ellen’s blood was drawn, and her chemo was given , to her through an IV in her wrist.
Today we went to another hospital and clinic — the one where Ellen iniitially received treatment and which is her primary treatment center. The nurses here worked all morning to unclog the port with more clot-busting medications and Ellen now is having a two and a half hour infusion of a clot-dissolving medicine She is sore from the needle being moved around and has a rash from the pastic tape put over the needle that’s in the port. If I could change places with her I would in an instant, but the best I can do is offer support.
The past two days have been a sobering reminder of the many difficult things children with cancer must endure. But, I also know that this, too, will pass and the sun soon will shine again on Ellen.