September 1, 2007

Back to school

Hello everyone. I wanted to write and give some updates on Aidan and nursing school. Aidan is home now and doing great. He hasn't been running any fevers and aside from his belly and back pain, he's doing well. We go for another chemo treatment and bone marrow aspiration on Tuesday. The bone marrow aspirations are done weekly right now to determine how he is responding to his treatments. As of the last BMA he isn't yet in remission, but the goal is to have him in remission by day 29, which is toward the end of September. Being in remission means that there are no Leukemia cells visible under the microscope in Aidan's bone marrow, but research has shown that even though there are none visible doesn't mean they still aren't there, which is why they have protocols for treatment (ie: 3 years of chemo). Over the past 50 years research for ALL has come a long way. The cure rate for kids with ALL between the ages of 2-6 are upwards of 85-90%. We have no doubts in our minds that he will be cured, but the road getting there will be a tough one. Aidan is a tough cookie and his little body is so strong and will fight these cancer cells till they are no more. Why Aidan got Leukemia, we don't know, but what we do know is that there is hope and that is what we hold on to. We don't focus on Aidan's cancer. As a matter of fact, I refuse to use that word. We focus on his cure, and that is what will get us through.

Keith has been taking good care of Aidan while I am at school, and believe me it's hard not being home with him all day. When I come in the door, Aidan's first words are always.. "Mom, I'm so glad you're home!" He's so sweet. The steroid he is on has caused him to want to eat us out of house and home. The only thing on his mind is food and after he's finished with one meal, he's already planning and talking about what he can eat next. LOL Also, he talks....A LOT! He never seems to stop talking (mostly about food), but he's turned into a little chatter box. Last night I said to him "You sure do talk a lot." He said "Yeah." and we had a good laugh. The doctors told us he would be extremely moody on his steroid and he would turn into a little monster, he's had a few tantrums, but it's mostly the talking that has changed. He can't seem to find his "stop talking" button. I don't mind, I enjoy listening to his little stories and hearing him go on and on about what he loves to eat, it's better than most people's conversations, which are usually all about things that don't matter. Dealing with an illness such as this sure does put things into perspective. I realize there are so many thins that aren't important and all this time I've focused on those things. Already Aidan is teaching me a lot.

School has been going ok. It's a very busy semester. It seems we have something to do every day. We have a quiz each week, which are pretty easy to pass as long as you listen in class. We have group projects that are due every couple of weeks, did I mention that I hate group projects? Well, I do, because on top of having a family and being in school full-time, who has the time to meet with people and work on a project? Yesterday was our first exam. I thought for sure I'd fail because I missed the whole first week of class and lecture and the only time I had to study was the night before. I missed 4 out of 50 and got a 92%. I think God was standing over me instructing me to pick certain answers...."C looks good Christy." Ha! It wasn't a difficult test, but I didn't know the material, I guessed a lot. Hopefully I'll have the same insight with the rest of the tests. Next Wednesday is our first skills test. We have to perform 3: Timing contractions (duration, frequency and intensity), palpating the fundus and assessing for expulsion and the last one is checking the lower extremeties for a positive Homan's sign. They aren't bad skills, but it's just nerve wracking. Next Friday we have a written skills test, meaning we answer questions about the critical requirements...sheesh. Next Thursday is our first clinical day. I go to the Nursery on my first day, fun. We only have about 5 clinical days and we have 2 days where we are on-call for labor and delivery. Like I said...busy. We only have one exam in September so that one will be a doozie and we have 3 in October, rounding out with our final exam. I'll be so glad when the class work is complete. After our final we complete out 100-120 hours of precepting and then we're done. Yay.

I must admit I'm not nearly as excited about being a nurse and graduating as I had been before. It makes me sad that I'm not jumping up and down with glee, afterall, this has been my life for 3 years now. I guess my goal now is to finish it so that I can move on. Others in my class are getting all excited, but I just can't feel like that right now. I have much more important things to think about and graduating is just a small piece of my life now, when before it was my life. Funny how someone's life can change in the blink of an eye. I'm sure there is a reason I was suppose to be a nurse and now I'm sure it has to do with my son. I was offered a job on the children's oncology unit at Aidan's hospital. The compensation is almost too good to pass up, but can I go in there again and look at it differently? Everytime I enter that unit will I be reminded of when we were told of Aidan's diagnosis? Will I be able to offer something to families that other nurses cannot? I'm not sure, but I do know that there is a reason for all of this, and I hope to find out what it is one day.

Here are a few photos of Aidan with his awesome nurses at his hospital. They were all so wonderful and I can never thank them enough for the great care and skill they brought us each day.
p.s. please excuse Aidan's orange tinted teeth. His doctor said he'd have cravings and one of his has been cheetos. Lovely. :-)