As promised, here's a bit more detail. Our day in Houston yesterday (eight hours) stretched out longer than it needed to because of ungodly traffic (going and coming) and a long wait in clinic. But, as I already mentioned, the trip was worth the wait. Dr. Russell thought Erin looked fabulous, bragged about her blood numbers over the month, and signed her up for another round of etoposide. We have scans scheduled the first week of March, and at that point we will know more about how this is working. Right before she left to return to the OR, Erin remembered to ask Dr. Russell the question she had been holding in her heart for the past couple of weeks.
Erin: "Can I play in the goal now?"
Dr. Russell: "Can you play where?"
Erin: "Can I play goalkeeper in soccer now?"
Mom/coach sucks in her breath and hopes for "no." (Parents really don't relish watching their children slapping down sharply struck balls headed straight for their face or other key body parts--especially if they have a catheter embedded under their skin in their chest).
Dr. Russell (with no hesitation): "Sure."
Mom/coach: choking noises.
Dr. Russell: "What's the worst that can happen? It breaks under her skin and floats in her bloodstream down to her heart."
Mom/coach: more choking noises, perhaps chest pain, too. Can't tell whether it's real or sympathetic.
Dr. Russell: "Sorry. Just kidding. That wouldn't happen. If it breaks, she would have to have it removed. . . Erin, try to keep your hands up in the goal, for your mother's sake. See you in a month."
Erin dances a jig.
To backtrack a little, last weekend was quite a spectacle. Davis played soccer on Friday and we got to bed late only to hop up at 4:45 to catch his ride to Houston for the state chess tournament. He had mixed play on Saturday, taking out his first two opponents relatively easily, than losing a marathon to a very highly rated player in round three. By his fourth matchup (6:00 p.m.) he was out of soap, and lost a match he probably should have won. Instead of retreating to bed, he ate, regrouped, and entered the Bughouse Tournament. If you have never heard of Bughouse, I probably can't explain it adequtely--it's chess with two players playing two other players on two board. Any pieces you capture you can give to your partner to place on his board. As you might imagine, things move very quickly and chaotically. Davis and his partner, Spencer Kendrick, ended up winning alot--enough for a second place finish and a three-foot trophy! If that wasn't enough, Davis really got after it on Sunday and won both matches he played. He had to take a bye in the final round to make it back to Bryan for Beyond Guitar, but his play was enough to secure a medal at state and a 13th place finish for the team (not bad for a team that has only three members, compared to other teams that brought ten or fifteen players).
In the meanwhile, the rest of us moved at a little more leisurely, but no less enjoyable pace. We had a grand time with Mark and Liz, and Erin discovered a kindred spirit in the lovely Liz, who took the time to read and draw with Erin. It turns out they both have an affinity for fairies (and may, in fact, both be fairies, for all I know).
Our lovely weekend came to an abrupt end on Monday morning when we discovered our "Old Man" dog, Luke, couldn't lift his head or stand on his own. The lines from Erin's poem (previously published here) had gone from "My dog Luke, He doesn't do much" to "My dog Luke, He doesn't do anything." Walter carried him downstairs (remember, this is a 90 pound yellow lab), and we really thought that his time had come. We took him to the A&M Vet hospital anyway, just to see if anything could be done. I was thinking stroke or spinal tumor or possibly poisoning from some toxin he might have stumbled across. In the end, the vet just thought his knees had given out. After years of hard use, he has no cartilage, few ligaments, and much arthritis in both of his back knees. We spent the morning with him at the vet and by late afternoon they sent him home with pain medicines, anti-inflammatories, instructions for physical therapy, and a suggested course for accupuncture (I'm thinking this is an idea that's going to remain on paper).
In the meantime, Erin's congestion, which flared up substantially over the weekend, had moved into her ears and gotten infected. So she has started a new course of antibiotics. I guess I mention this only because I was contemplating the irony of paying my dog's vet and pharmacy bill on Monday within an hour or so of paying my cancer-stricken daughter's doctor and pharmacy bill. Can you guess which was less than $50 and which was greater than $700?
Everybody felt better on Tuesday. Davis because he had gotten some rest and his soccer team came out on top of a 6-0 game in Killeen. Erin because her nose was less drippy and her ear less achy. And Luke because he was no longer immobile. In fact, after his water aerobics yesterday, he was pretty darned perky. . .for an "Old Man."
Now, we have made it to another weekend. I hope we all get some rest.
Happy belated first birthday, Emma Dear! We'll be there in a week to celebrate with you!