Sunday, May 29, 2016
One of Callum's classmates caught chickenpox - but it took a few days to actually diagnose (mostly because the parents didn't see a need to visit a doctor when they were sure he had it, via discussions and pictures shared with an advice nurse on the phone). They noticed a few bumps/rash last Tuesday, but didn't think much about it since their child also has a number of different allergies.
However, on Wednesday, the rash had grown and the lesions were seeping, some crusting, typical to chicken pox. So they kept him home. On Thursday, the rash had spread even more (they kept him home again thank goodness), so the school nurse decided, even though they hadn't seen a doctor to confirm it, that she'd send a "possible" exposure notice out. She also put a call into me.
We talked for awhile, and after, I sent an inquiry into our oncology team to see what their advice was. We were supposed to go to Camp Okizu this weekend (the family cancer camp we go to every year), and I also wasn't sure if there was anything I needed to do, or watch for, with Callum.
Our oncology nurse called us back late Thursday evening to discuss the situation. Since Callum's classmate hadn't been seen by an actual doctor, in person, it made our situation a bit more strange in terms of what to do and how to handle it. If Callum was indeed exposed to chickenpox, then we would need to cancel our trip to Camp Okizu *and* come into the clinic right away, because we would need to give him an immunoglobulin shot for chickenpox.
But not knowing a doctor's diagnosis left us in this gray area. Our oncology team asked that we try to get the family to be seen by a doctor immediately (Ha! Easier said than done), but in the meantime we should probably cancel plans to Camp Okizu to be safe.
What about the immunoglobulin shot for Callum?
Welllll, maybe we should hold off for now.
Why? Is there any reason NOT to give it to him? Shouldn't we play it safe?
(Our nurse - who's new to us and the clinic - didn't have a good answer for me on that one. I later found out she was hesitant because she didn't want to put him through the trauma of the shots - more on that later).
So, I emailed the school nurse that night with all of this new info - asking her to please try again to persuade the family to see a doctor. I then proceeded to email Camp Okizu and others about our canceled weekend.
I also told the boys the bad news, that we wouldn't be going to Camp Okizu this weekend. They were really bummed. Callum cried. It was heartbreaking. :( So, the softie that I am, I said well - we already planned on taking tomorrow (Friday) off, to drive to Camp. How about you guys stay home and relax instead?
Really? Miss school? Okay! That seemed to cheer them up quite a bit. ;-)
I got word from our school nurse, about mid-day on Friday, that Callum's classmate had an appointment with his doctor that afternoon. Yay!!
Meanwhile, I was pressing our oncology team (and directing a lot of my questions to our oncologist since I wanted to hear his thoughts on this), about going ahead with the immunoglobulin shot. It seemed to me, if they wanted me to assume Callum was exposed, and cancel our Camp Okizu trip, then we should also assume he was exposed and therefore get the shot. I did finally get that agreement from our oncologist in the afternoon - the clinic called and asked how quickly we could come in for the shots (there would be at least 2 she said and maybe 3 depending on his weight). We made an appointment for 5pm that evening.
Because we didn't know if we'd need to access his port or not (if he had a bad reaction we might meed to), I prepped him with Emla (numbing) cream on his port and both arms. He was terrified and started to panic - since the "magic cream" equaled pokes. :( I explained we weren't accessing his port, just a shot in his arm, and these others were "just in case".
But why do I have to get a shot? (Tears were streaming down his face)
Because your friend got really sick and we need to protect you.
It turned out, he needed 3 shots. And, the shots are intramuscular - so, similar to a flu shot. Which means they'll hurt like hell. :(
The lead nurse asked me how we should do it - all at once? I said yes - let's get it over with. HOWEVER, what I thought she meant was one after another in rapid succession, no waiting around. What she meant was LITERALLY all at once.
This important distinction dawned on me as they started prepping all three spots at once, but by then it was too late to back off - the train had left the station and I now needed to keep my kid as calm as possible. (He was playing on his iPad while they prepped, so he was only mildly nervous at that point)
Plus, I was pretty sure it was still the better way to go, since the shots would be painful and he would be harder and harder to hold if we did them one by one.
We had three nurses administering three shots at once. One in his arm, two in each thigh. I was near his head/shoulders, to hold down his upper body. Another nurse was at his feet, clamping down his knees and ankles. One of the nurses said "Ok, in on three right?" Yes. And 1-2-3, all three shots in at once.
You can imagine the screaming. The crying. The shaking. And then me just holding him close and doing my best to calm him down after it was all done.
It was brutal.
The nurses also felt awful of course. So they immediately rushed out and back in again with all sorts of goodies to appease my poor kid.
One brought in ice packs to lay on each of the shot sites. Another brought in 3 Popsicles, for his 3 shots. And another brought in 3 different toys. You can see everything laid out on his bed in this pic, which was taken about 10 minutes after his shots. He immediately starting in on the Lego pack, which cheered him up immensely (thank goodness!).
We hung out for another 45 min or so, after the shots, to do another set of vitals and to make sure he didn't have any immediate reaction to the immunoglobulin (he didn't). I was also given instructions to keep monitoring him after we got home.
The immunoglobulin shots are, ideally, supposed to prevent him from getting chickenpox at all. But at the very least, they should lessen the severity of the virus, should he get it. So it's best that we got the shots.
And, while we were en route to the clinic for the shots, I *did* get an email from the classmate's mom (and school nurse, both), confirming the child does have chickenpox. So, we made the right call for sure.
Now all we do is keep an eye on things, and if we're at the clinic for any appointments, we need to keep him in isolation, since he'll be contagious for (roughly) the next 3 weeks!
Just when we're about to finish school, enjoy the summer, and wrap up his chemotherapy program, we get another little reminder of how seriously scary this all is. *sigh*
(The Jodoins were joining us for dinner Friday night - so when we got home from the clinic, Callum immediately ran into the house, looking for his buddy Connor, like what he'd just been through was no big thang. The kids swam in the pool, ate some dinner, and then played games, all night long, chatting nonstop the entire time. When I put Callum to bed that night, he said it was the best day ever, even though he had to get 3 shots. So glad we have such a happy and strong little trooper on our hands!) :)
Saturday, May 28, 2016
In fact, just tonight, I noticed the light was still on in his room - I walked in and he was still reading - and it was almost midnight! Yeesh.
Thursday, May 26, 2016
M: Oh!! The tooth fairy left you a surprise but she gave it to me! Go get ready for school and I'll go get it!
C: Hrmmm. It better not be a hug and a kiss.
(Yes, he really did just say that. *sigh*)
So while he got his clothes on, I quickly cobbled a note together from the Tooth Fairy, with a dollar bill, and stuffed it all into an envelope for him to open.
Luckily, that appeased our little guy and he was all smiles once more. ;-)
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
The dentist said all was fine and that Callum's job was to keep wiggling it. I guess when they hang on that long the sharp edges along the top of the tooth can poke into your gums and can actually hurt. Who knew! (Not me.)
While he was snacking on lunch today he yelled out to me - Mom! My tooth fell out!
Oh? Where is it?
I swallowed it.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Logan immediately said, "What the heck! I thought we were all done with work on the house!!"
Ahhhhh, if only. ;-)
He and I headed BACK up the peninsula, picking up a few of his friends along the way, to meet their PE teacher at a bowling alley for some bowling fun that afternoon!
The school has a huge annual auction fundraiser, where you can bid on tons of fancy things like some one of a kind bottle of wine or safari trip to South Africa. But there are also parties you can buy tickets for, or outings with the teachers, that they've donated and we all, as gullible parents, bid on. :)
I knew Logan would love the idea of bidding on items no matter what. But when I told him his favorite (PE) teacher of all times had a few items that he might be interested in, he suddenly got SUPER into it.
So, we bid on a few things and ended up winning his number one favorite item "Bowling with Ms. Hedges", as well as another item with her, where he gets to be the PE teacher for the day.
As part of the fun, the winning bidder can invite up to 3 of his/her friends along to join. I'm always encouraging Logan to make new friends and was pleased to hear him rattle off three boys names right away, excited as ever to have them join.
Of course, they had a blast and didn't want to go home when it was time for me to pick them up. They were still so amped that the entire car ride home, the 4 boys basically wrestled and giggled the entire time. It was so fun seeing them have such a great time together! :)
After we dropped off the last of the friends, Logan and I then headed down to the South Bay for a BBQ party at a friend's house, that Jon and Callum were already at. I was so beat, but still enjoyed seeing old friends and hanging out for a bit before we had to finally call it a night.
Then, I skipped off to a birthday party with Callum, at a trampoline park up north. He had a blast, as you can see! I love the one I accidentally caught of him mid-air. :)
They had a blast. They both swam around, diving and dunking and shooting their water guns and throwing balls and making up all sorts of games for a good two hours before I decided it was time for them to get out, clean up, and start getting ready for dinner. They were both so bummed and would have probably stayed in the pool until it was dark, had I let them! :)
I'm so glad we have this outlet for them to play. I foresee many summer afternoons just lazying around our pool and backyard. I can't wait!
I snapped it and immediately sent it to my Mom. When we used to work together, long long ago, we'd shake our heads at the signs we'd see posted in the bathrooms.
I have since always chuckled when I see them - clearly (not) working, but presumably posted by some exasperated coworker. :)
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
The second pic is one I took this morning while we were waiting for the bus. It's a fairly steep hill where we wait - he likes to climb to the top where it bends, watch/wait for the bus, and then run like hell trying to beat it. I feel like I'm going to have a mini-heart attack every time he does this - I'm petrified he'll stumble and slide down on his face. But, look how happy he is! So I let him do it anyway.
Sunday, May 15, 2016
But, we still had a nice time and Jon got to meet several other couples - many who live in our neighborhood - so it wasn't all bad.
We did skip out early though, since we were a little tired from all the rubbing elbows and decided to take advantage of having a sitter. So, still all dressed up, we headed to the movies to close out the night! ;-)
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Since we're getting close, we're now starting to talk more about what the end of therapy looks like. We have roughly 4 more months of treatment. After that, Callum will have another bone marrow and LP procedure to ensure, and officially document, that he's in remission and cleared. A few weeks after that he'll have another surgery to have his port removed (which he's both excited, and nervous, about). Crazy times!!
Sunday, May 8, 2016
I am so unbelievably proud of them and the loving smart funny boys they are growing into. We're so very lucky.
Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful Moms I know! ❤️