This post is #95 in a year-long series ... Through this series of posts I plan to share our family's experiences during our 17-year-old daughter's year-long battle with brain cancer, which began in February of 2008. My desire is to process through the events of that year from the perspective that a decade of time has brought ... for myself, really. But if you'd like to follow along, you're welcome to join me.
Six months. Half a year. That's how much time had passed since Hannah's brain surgery. It had been a trying six months, to be sure ... but by this point cancer had subtly slipped into the background of our daily lives. After the initial flurry of radiation treatments and clinic visits, things had settled into a surprisingly comfortable routine. It's still amazing to me how quickly we had adjusted to the lifestyle, the vocabulary, and the ongoing monitoring of the cancer experience.
We had been told that she would be receiving chemotherapy treatments for a year, so it was a good feeling to know that we were at the half-way point.
We didn't know at the time that we actually were at the half-way point of Hannah's journey ... just in a different way than we thought.
My email from ten years ago today ...
Today marks six months since Hannah had surgery to remove a malignant tumor from her brain. In some ways, it seems like it was just yesterday, and in some ways, it feels like it was a lifetime ago. Since that date, Hannah has undergone six weeks of daily radiation and chemotherapy, three additional 5-day rounds of chemotherapy, three MRIs, monthly visits to the oncology clinic at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and weekly blood draws. There is no doubt that our entire family has been changed forever from this experience. We have all had our faith strengthened and have been amazed at the outpouring of love, support, and prayer we have received from our friends, family, and total strangers. It is incredible to me how many people read these emails and pray for our family…many people we don’t even know. We can never, ever thank you enough for what you’ve meant to our family.
Hannah started her junior year of high school this past week, taking her chemo medication on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We are so thankful to report that the side effects were much less problematic for her this time. Her nausea was much better controlled by medication, and her only real problem was fatigue. She was able to go to school without much difficulty (only needing to leave early one day), and was able to use the weekend to rest up. It’s so encouraging to know that the chemo should not interfere too much with school, because she has seven more months of these 5-day rounds to go. It looks like our biggest concern will be with her immune system, which will be compromised as long as she is on the chemo. We’ll just have to try to minimize her exposure to illnesses and bugs that will be going around this fall and winter.
We went today for her weekly bloodwork, and all of her counts, though a little below normal, were good. She is still a little bit tired from this past week, but overall is feeling great. She will enjoy the next three weeks she has off before beginning chemo again around September 15th. Again, thank you so much for your prayers and support!
God is good, all the time!
Jill and Brad