Everything is going to be alright, maybe not today, but eventually because beautiful things happen in life when you distance yourself from the negative and have faith.
Are we turning a corner? Has our journey gone the distance or is this just another phase filled with false hope? Will we be rejoicing or hanging our heads, heavy with burden and frustration over continued grief?
It appears as though Jacy has turned a corner in her treatment! Day by day, hour by hour, as her doctors continue slowly (and I mean turtle slow) reducing her steroids, she is feeling stronger! Her breathing has cleared up immensely, her intestines are somewhat co-operating, and although she remains on a steady regiment of Lasix, her swelling appears a bit reduced.
Walking these hallways is still a struggle but she is walking the entire hallway, not just to the door and back within the confines of her room! She is eating three meals a day! Although bland food and only in minute amounts it is a positive sign indeed for it translates to her body accepting nutrition!
Jacy’s doctor came in yesterday afternoon to announce they believe it is time to drop her dosage of Jakafi (experimental drug). This is huge! It means she is definitely moving in the right direction. It also means she is slowly becoming one of the 30% that survive this new experimental treatment! Her doctors will begin tapering dosages slowly and in segments. Starting today they will cut a few milligrams from the Jakafi then sit back and watch for 7-10 days. The fear being a relapse of GvHD (Graf vs Host Disease) which would put her right back at square one! Of course no one wants that, but at some point the process needs to begin and everyone on her medical team feel with all the positives lately, now is that time. Fingers double crossed!
Steroid dosages will also be slowly dropped again. She has done very well over the last 10 days since her last dosage adjustment which has been very encouraging. Jacy’s skin, still mottled with red marks, looks more like a giant stretched sunburn than the blistered, peeling abnormality previously covering her body. The doctor says her skin is healing very well and looks fantastic! Her skin looks so well he also announced there will be no more photopheresis treatments either! Such good news and having seen the previous skin condition I would agree with the doc, it does look fantastic! Don’t any of you become jealous when this is all over but she will have the skin of a teenage girl! Of course what would you expect, treatment is only a couple million dollars and you may die, sooooo…
Her immunosuppression drugs will also be adjusted as they fine tune its need in regards to controlling her new white cells and how they operate! This combined with a steroid reduction should allow her vision to improve over the same 7-10 day period barring any type of re-lapse. Her periods of visual acuity have improved, but she seriously cannot wait to be able to see again 100%. I tell her no hurry, she may end up with perfect eyesight and realize what a mutt she married and dump me! Ha!
So are we turning a corner? Does this nightmare possibly have an end date? I think yes.
Yesterday when I arrived her brother, mother and step mom where there and we all had a fantastic time laughing and joking about everything from family and friend dynamics to the absurdity of hospital existence. It was great to see her smiling and chuckling as though it was a normal family gathering at any one of our houses for any number of reasons! The only thing missing was good bbq and a bottle (or two) of wine. I felt great when I left her last night. I knew with all the energy spent with us she would most likely sleep well.
From the beginning I have touted faith. It is not something I just say, it something I believe! Whether your faith is absorbed in religion, a god, a spirit or just a continued faith in yourself. One should have faith, it helps quell any negativity and although I am also a realist, having faith has allowed me a better grasp of working my way through my emotions when they arose.
Does this mean I am no longer scared? No. We still have a very long road ahead of us in regards to a full recovery. In reality we both will remain scared for a very long time to come. A simple cold, cough or sniffle. Her feeling run down, tired or lethargic. Losing weight or gaining for no reason. Any mark, blister or lesion. All these things and more will have us running back to the doctor at a moment’s notice. Hopefully as time passes these feelings will pass as well.
For now, Jacy needs to get to the next level of care which involves her leaving the hospital for her dads house where she will begin daily outpatient care treatments right back at Stanford. She will be with family, in a familiar setting, living in an apartment that we have stayed in numerous times and that is a humongous boost for morale. Not just for her but the entire family.
The next level after three months of outpatient? Come home! I cannot even imagine what it will feel like for her to walk through our back door, live in her own house, sleep in her own bed, and not rely on others for care after possibly 9 months? I am positive she will need to work her way through multiple emotions associated with being gone for so long from her ranch, children, animals etc…
There has been nothing easy about this journey for anyone. It has been and continues to be an uphill climb. But when I think about where we are compared to a month ago, and how well she is responding to treatment in combination with her doctor sharing such good news yesterday? I say yes we have turned a corner and that uphill climb appears to be flattening out just a bit. None of us can wait for the ride down the other side of this crazy ass Leukemia ridden mountain!
Have faith, move forward, when you fall down get back up and try again. For if you have faith there is nothing to hold you back from success but you.
So to the question posed at the top of the page.
I choose rejoice….