I have been meaning to post this update on how our little Hazelnut coped with her second round of treatment, but to be honest, I have just not had the strength. Not because Hazel struggled through treatment. In fact, she did remarkably well! Her pain and itchiness was so well managed, that she did not complain one bit. Besides being run down, she felt fairly well! She even got out of bed every day!
I have just not had the strength because our week being home has been exceedingly overwhelming. Our first few days are generally difficult, because Hazel doesn't quite feel herself yet, and I have to transition to being a mom of one, focused on just one thing, the care of my daughter; to full time homemaker, mother of five, wife, chauffeur, housekeeper, meal arranger and preparer, etc, etc... I have found that, so far, these transitions have not been easy ones for me. However, I also find myself being immensely thankful for just being home. It can sometimes be a battle in my mind over which emotions win. Then, Hazel developed a cold (not really a big deal), but also mentioned to me that a molar was loose. Not just any molar, but one of the molars that was crowned due to deterioration from prior treatment. So after meeting with the dentist, we discovered that her tooth was infected, and we needed to have X-Rays done to see how to proceed. The X-Rays confirmed that her tooth is beyond repair and will need to be extracted. Just one more thing to schedule and to worry about, and for my little Hazelnut to cope with. On this very same day, Hazel spiked a fever of over 101.3 degrees fahrenheit, which in the cancer world, earns you a coveted spot in the Emergency Room and CHLA. We spent the whole night there. Thankfully, her labs came back and all her numbers were within normal and safe range. They gave her a dose of antibiotics and sent us home at 4:00 in the morning. So, needless to say, our week at home was not uneventful! Despite the fevers, infection, long appointments and fatigue, Hazel still bounced back very quickly and showed us all that she's got this! She even got to go to school on Friday!
In addition to all the happenings going on with Hazel, our Neuroblastoma community lost two children this past week, both of whom I either knew personally, or followed very closely and became friendly online. On Friday, I attended the funeral for one of these children, Eli Gradon. Eli was a remarkable young man, with an equally remarkable family and community. His father Mark, always by his side, never failed to be there for every other Neuroblastoma family he knew and saw at the hospital. Just such a gracious and kind human being. While difficult, there was something that happened at the funeral that just struck me. During his speech, Mark spent almost the entire time giving his heartfelt thanks and gratitude to those who helped his family. Then, at the end, he mentioned several cancer fighters by name who are still in the fight, including our Hazel. He said that they will continue to fight in honor of their son, and in honor of our children, so that that can be healed once and for all. This right here. This is our community. A father, bereaved by the loss of his son just the morning before, standing in solidarity with other families so we don't lose hope. Mark, if you are reading this; thank you. Thank you for being you, and for sharing your son and your family with all of us. Thank you for speaking healing for my daughter. Thank you for not giving up the fight. We love you.
I also have been struggling with anxiety because Hazel's doctors have scheduled her first scans to see if the treatment is working, and they are scheduled for TOMORROW. I would have liked to have included you all in on this detail sooner, but as I said before, I just could not sit down to write. My brain was not connected to my hands this week. Hazel will also meet with the dentist at CHLA and receive a bone marrow biopsy(on Wednesday). Hopefully we will have results to share on late Tuesday or Wednesday. If not, we meet with her doctor on Monday afternoon, right before beginning her next cycle of treatment that evening.
So please be thinking about and praying for Hazel and our family throughout the rest of this week. Pray for good results from these scans. We want to see this cancer already melting away!