On Wednesday afternoons in the oncology ward at CHEO an unfortunate group of people convene. They are different ages and have different backgrounds, some have traveled far distances to be there, they have different likes and dislikes, and they probably would never have had the chance to meet be it not for the one common bond that they share. They each have a child with cancer. They sit together for an hour, sometimes more, and they talk about their children and their cancer. I was fortunate enough to sit with this group of people this week, and although the subject matter was serious - one father was back at CHEO after learning that his daughter had relapsed after a year off treatment, another parent learned that her child would have to have radiation therapy, and another mother discovered that her son's cancer had spread and he would need another 6 rounds of chemotherapy, the mood was unbelievably uplifting and positive. Each person told their story, and ended it saying ... the good thing is.
So many good things. I left the meeting feeling fortunate, blessed, and happy. Happy to be in a place where so many people care so much. Where our nurses and doctors share in Phoebe's triumphs and cheer her on as she rolls over and sits up by herself for the first time. Where the same nurses and doctors patiently guide us through the difficult days and listen to our concerns. Fortunate for the people who work tirelessly behind the scenes to find a cure for cancer, for the short but wonderful breath of winter air that my little family experienced together this week, and for the thousands of people who are ready and waiting to be bone marrow donors.
We learned this week that a few possible donors have been found for Phoebe, and that they are working behind the scenes to choose the closest match. Soon we will learn the type of donor, be it stem cell, cord blood, or bone marrow and how close the match is. Once a donor is found, we will sit down with the transplant doctors to hear about the procedure and what to expect. But for now, we will focus on the task at hand, and that is getting Phoebe safely through this round of chemotherapy. Her fourth phase of treatment started on Tuesday with a lumbar puncture followed by a 24 hour infusion of high dose chemo. She has already cleared the high dose chemo, it is crucial that it clear out of her system quickly to avoid any damage to her kidneys, and now we wait to receive the next infusion. She has some mouth sores, mucositis and nausea as a result of the chemo, but is still smiling and reminding everyone around her just what is important. Right now that is love, laughter, strength, perseverance and an unwavering belief that everything will be okay.