Yesterday around 3:30pm I listened to a message from Dr. Gardner from Seattle Children’s Hospital. She wanted me to call her back. And I knew. I knew that what seemed impossible, had suddenly burst into our reality. The biopsy results were, “consistent with leukemic infiltrate.” Dr. Gardner asked if we could be in Seattle Friday, knowing that Thursday was unrealistic. So, game on. Make the phone calls. Start packing. By midnight so many tears had been shed, my face looked like I had been beaten up. Six restless hours of sleep and it was time to finish wrapping things up and get on the road.
Sten, Allistaire and I are in a hotel near the hospital. Tomorrow at 10am Allistaire has her labs to get her current CBC (Complete Blood Count). Then it’s off to get an EKG and an Echocardiogram. At noon we meet with Dr. Jessica Pollard, her primary doctor here and AML guru. At 1:30pm Allistaire will be put under, have a bone marrow biopsy and aspirate to determine if the cancer is in her marrow. At the same time they will do an LP (lumbar puncture) which will tell us if the cancer is in her spinal fluid. I’m guessing she’ll have a cat scan as well sometime soon. All of these tests will help give us a clearer picture of the extent of the cancer in her body. The EKG and Echocardiogram will give us base lines for her heart. At this point we are tentatively scheduled to have Allistaire admitted to the hospital tomorrow but that will be part of our discussion with Dr. Pollard as a plan for her treatment is determined.
There is so much to process. Allistaire is sitting next to me right now, thumb in her mouth and Doggie up against her nose, rubbing back and forth so slow as she intently watches Toy Story on the TV. I am so acutely aware that this is her last night outside of the closed doors of the SCCA (Seattle Cancer Care Alliance) Unit. I know those double doors, the one’s that lock her away inside. As the sun set tonight and sky was all pinks and blues and purples, my heart thudded as I knew that it would be a very long time before Allistaire would be able to be outside again. As I closed the door behind me at home today, I wondered if Allistaire would ever enter that house again. Would she ever sleep in her big girl bed again, the one we just set up for her less than a week ago? Would I ever again hear the belly laughter of two sisters racing around the couches? Too many painful questions to even utter.
Tonight there is a looming reality before us. This time will be much harder. This time will be much longer. This time I won’t have Sten here, I will be alone.
Tonight I borrow these words, “Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will leave me home.”