September 30, 2008
Did you see the new offer on late night network television? Ronco's fabulous Wheel O' Worry. Tired of your worries falling into a clutter in your mind? Never know which worry to concentrate on at any particular time? Feel like your worrying is a mess? Ronco's Wheel O' Worry solves all of those problems. The spokesperson I saw highly recommends it for the parents of pediatric cancer patients.
I bought one: $19.95 (or some multidigit multiple of $19.95, I don't actually have the bill yet).
I can testify that this handy device allows you to sort your worries and consider them one after another so you are never at a loss for what to worry about next. At first, having the Wheel O' Worry let me concentrate all my worrying after Erin's last scans on figuring out what treatment option would work AND that we could live with. As the Wheel O' Worry rolled forward, it enabled me to stop worrying about treatment options and concentrate on whether Erin's tumor burden would increase much waiting for treatment to start.
Treatment started and her pain dissipated, leaving my now orderly worrying process to move to the possibility of complications from having low platelets and the ensuing transfusion. As soon as that resolved, I could worry about the ramifications of serious infection from a compromised immune system. Her immune system rebounded, just in time to focus on low hemoglobin and a packed red blood cell transfusion. That fell away, as the Wheel O' Worry rolled on, bringing back a renewed interest in Erin's platelet count. The platelets recovered and fell away as a matter of concern, but the Wheel O' Worry rolls on allowing me the luxury of considering whether the one week delay will give the tumor too much opportunity to grow unchecked.
Before I got my handy Wheel O' Worry, I never knew what to worry about. Now I am never without the "right" worry.
Get one now! Don't wait!
[Disclaimer: this product does not handle the worry of fever and unwanted hospitalization particularly well. Fever concerns do not seem to fall into place along the edge of the wheel, coming into prominence occasionally and then receding. Maybe they will work out the bugs on later models.]
I can't say that Erin has slowed down to accommodate the new version of her disease. She stirred up an impromptu get together with Noah and Jackson (and assorted others: Hannah, Heather, Garrett, and Thomas) at Dairy Queen after school Friday, just because we hadn't yet done that since school started back. Once we got home, we had about forty-five minutes to grab supper and a quick dressing change on her PICC line (actually there is no such thing as a quick dressing change where Erin is concerned, but I was as quick as she would let me be) before I drove her to The Theater Company's production of "Cinderella." She and Katie had the privilege of sitting with board member, Leslie Borski during the production. Ask me how special a teacher you would have to be to have your former kindergarten students want to hang out with you once they became middle schoolers?
Conveniently for me and Walter (who wanted to enjoy adult beverages without the risk of driving to fetch her home), Erin spent the night with Katie. When we fetched her home on Saturday morning, she found her Aunt Kat and cousin Emma awaiting her. Emma is always up for play (Groovy Girls and Polly Pocket), and Erin is now having the roll reversal of being the BIG cousin instead of the LITTLE cousin. We also went out and supported Erin's soccer team in an 8-1 win. Unfortunately, Erin was not soccer-eligible this weekend because of low platelets. She handled the benching with grace, but I could tell that she wanted her turn on the field.
On the way home, she asked if I would shave her head when we got home. In essence, her rate of hair loss had really dropped off, leaving a very bizarre hair pattern in what remained. Picture your favorite male-pattern bald guy. . .you know, their hair grows at their side burns, above their ears, and in a little semi-circle around the back. Erin hair was the negative of that. . .kind of a reverse tonsure, with hair growing on her crown, but nowhere else.
Anyway, she thought it made her look like "one of those three stupid guys" (a range of stupid guys crossed my mind before I decided she meant the stooge with the creepy bowl hair cut). So we went out of the back porch and shaved her slick.
Saturday night we continued celebration of my birthday with Kat and Emma, and also our dear friend Olga, Keith, and Michael. Erin whipped up her famous guacamole and also made festive frozen yogurt dessert with dark chocolate chunks, marshmellows, cocoanut, and cookie pieces. Because Erin missed the arrival of Emma on Friday night we let her skive off Sunday school and church the next morning. They documented their play with photos (and no, just like a certain politician new to the national stage, you did NOT BLINK and miss the whole month of October. I think they were just searching for a costume for Emma to wear when the real day comes around).
Erin headed to school on Monday with a little trepidation about the new look. Fortunately, the day coincided with the arrival of the new laptops each student in the INQUIRE Academy gets for their own personal use, AT SCHOOL and AT HOME. Erin was incredibly excited about her new I-Mac or Macbook or whatever you call it. By the end of the day, she was totally not self conscious about her lack of hair, having made numerous slide shows and experimental photos with the built in camera and the Photobooth software. She found very artistic ways to stretch and twist images of her bald head on the screen. I'll try to get her to send some to me to share. This is the image she uploaded as her desktop:
You may have noted up above that I had dismissed the platelet worries and moved on to something else. Erin had labs after school yesterday.
HGB 8.8 (trending slowly down. . .should I add this back into the Wheel O' Worry repertoire?)
WBC 7400 (normal)
ANC 4800 (normal)
PLT 126,000 (soccer and P.E. eligible, hurray!)
With these numbers, it looks like the five-day chemo party scheduled for Thursday through Monday is on! Please let me know if you would like to skip work or school to share the fun. I think we will spend Thursday night and Saturday night in Houston and Friday night and Sunday night in Bryan.