So, today was the day. Treatment has begun. Day 1 of radiation is in the books. I have to say that although I am worried about the side effects that are going to come with all of this, I was also relieved to get to today. I feel like this is what we have been preparing ourselves for the last 2 weeks and I am ready to get rid of those cancer cells!!!
Caleb handled the morning really well considering his treatment wasn’t scheduled until 1pm. We had a morning appointment with his Radiologist, and then a little bit of a break before his radiation treatment. Luckily, St. Jude always has something going on. Sometimes it’s arts and crafts, or cookie decorating, but today was extra special. Once a year Tumi (the luggage company) does a special event for St. Jude families. They designed a piece of luggage specially for St. Jude and each family received one for free. I will forever support and be grateful for the companies that do awesome things for St. Jude families, and Tumi is now on my list. The design of the luggage is confetti to represent the confetti they throw at your “end of chemo” party. Caleb will get to have a party when he is finished with treatment. I can’t wait for that day!!
But, as one doctor said to me today, “if you don’t start, you can’t finish”, and so today we started. Caleb is super chill and makes all the nurses laugh. He likes to show them how strong he is and he passes every test. The only time he gets nervous and upset is right when it’s time for them to put him to sleep. He just hates going to sleep! But luckily they always put him out really fast so he hardly has time to panic over it happening. And then we get to give him a kiss and we have to walk away. That is the hardest part. I hate leaving him alone but I’m so thankful for the amazing nurses, anesthesiologists and doctors that watch over him as if he was their own. Many of them share stories with me about their own children and it’s nice getting to know them. We see many of the same people every day so we are getting to know them and they are getting to know Caleb, and that is very comforting. (FYI those are not dirty finger nails in the pictures, he has play-doh in them. Play-doh is a hot commodity around St. Jude and they give it out to the kids all the time for them to play with and stay distracted. Play-doh fingernails is a common thing with St. Jude kids! Ha ha!!!)
Caleb woke up drowsy and hungry as usual. One of the first common side effects with radiation is nausea so I wasn’t sure how hungry he would be, but he woke up very hungry. He asked for apple juice and fish crackers at first, followed by donuts and smarties on our ride back home. He did complain about his tummy at the very end of the night right before bed, but that could have just been all the junk food he ate plus pizza for dinner, and not necessarily the radiation. So we gave him some of his anti-nausea meds just in case. I’ll see if he continues to complain about his tummy or if it was just all the food he ate in a short time!!
Other than that Caleb bounced back from the treatment really well today. I know in the next 2-3 weeks we will see a lot more side effects like red spots on his skin at the treatment site and hair loss. But I’m just taking it one day at a time and the nurses here are ready to treat any side effects that arise. They are very good at keeping the kids as comfortable as possible and I am grateful for that!
On an unrelated note, I have to share a cute story about the boys. I am noticing them becoming closer, and I think it’s because they don’t see each other during the day anymore! I think they really miss each other! They love sitting in our large window and looking outside, and this morning before school they saw a lady bug on the window. Then when Tyler got home from school he couldn’t wait to show Caleb the surprise he made for him… he colored him a green shark at school because green is his favorite color! And all day when Caleb is away from Tyler he points to something and says “that’s for Tyler” or “Tyler would really like that”. I love that they think about each other and do things to make each other happy.
The last big news of the day… we were told our apartment is ready!!!! So tomorrow morning we will move into an apartment at St. Jude’s long term housing facility. We will do an orientation at 10am so they can show us around and then we can move in. We are nervous about seeing the place we will be living until mid 2019, but also excited to feel like we can get settled into a place and call it home for now.
The Bryant’s think of you yall often during the day and ask each other if we had any news or blogs today. Little milestones are key. Having Tyler there for support for Caleb is amazing and will be tough on him but that relationship will be key to keeping spirits up. But Mom and Dad you will she daily miracles to help you along, but you two being together will be each others support. I’m sure these things aren’t anything you might not already know. But it’s important for you both to release, decompress, and have time for you for the strength for them. Love always from your Bryant family. And know we are always here for anything even just to talk, no matter the time (James working 24hrs a day normally is up at random times). Prayers as always, Micah 6:8 is what keeps us moving here at our house.
-Samantha, James, Marcus, and Mackenzie
So glad the first day went well! Those boys are so sweet!!