Saturday, September 5, 2009

Aria is Well

October 16, 2008
Subject: Aria is Well!

It is hard to believe that we've been out of the hospital for a week now. Aria is back in school and feeling well!

It was a rough few days at home at first. Reo was ill, which made us anxious about Aria considering her immune system was so suppressed. We figured that whatever he had, she had already been exposed to so we simply kept our fingers crossed and tried to eat well and get plenty of rest. By Friday October 10, 2008, Aria was scheduled for a count check to make sure that her numbers were heading in the right direction. She had not had any chemotherapy medication since being admitted the Saturday before. I was not able to go with Aria to clinic because Reo was home sick, so Aria and Doc went. It was a very simple in and out kind of thing and we got her test results later that day. You'll recall that her ANC on Tuesday when we left the hospital was only 140. By Friday her ANC soared to 960 and all of her other blood work was either normal or near normal. This was wonderful news because Aria could now eat fruit, which is something she had been craving. We have baskets of apples that she was dying to bite into and wasn't able because her counts were so low. She also wanted to play outside but we had reservations about that too. We were told not to resume her chemotherapy until another count check on Tuesday, which was yesterday October 14, 2008. In order for her to begin chemo again, her counts need to be 1000 or more. Her lab results came in later that day with an ANC of 1064. In some ways this is an odd kind of thing to celebrate but it helps to think of it in terms of 'getting back on track.'

So here we are getting back on track, actually feeling quite 'normal.' Aria is such a typical kid in more ways than not and that aspect of her essence is rich and sustaining to me. Just the other day we were playing together with this magnetic fairyland that Aria adores. There are little magnet pieces in the shape of fairies, trees, wizards, household items, a king and queen and so on and so forth. We create a magical kingdom and go on wild adventures eating fresh pumpkins from the gardens, watching the birth of baby unicorns, who later nap and find themselves rescued by knights. It is all glorious fun.

Monday's game was clearly influenced by the death of Duck, our baby kitten that happened just the day before. Poor little Duck waddled a little too close to the gate where the dogs snooze and was chomped by Cat-Killer Buddy. He died while I was holding him. The kids were all able to say good-bye and with very little fan-fare that was that. So Aria and I were playing with the magical kingdom when Unicorn Mama suddenly went into labor.
"Mama, you say; Oh Mama unicorn, what beautiful babies you have!" ordered Aria.
"My word Mama Unicorn! What beautiful babies you have!" I said excitedly.
Aria proceeded to have the Mama Unicorn lick her babies and clean them up. There were 10 in all.
"Oh Mama Unicorn, you are being such a good Mama", I said.
Aria continued grooming her babies and taking care of them. It was such a glittery, fairy-like gentle moment watching her.
Suddenly Aria shouts, "Oh dear! one of the babies has just died!"
"Oh No!" I exclaim.
"Don't worry mom" Aria begins rather annoyed, "it is just getting ready to go to the Spirit world. He'll be ok."
There was a pause. Then Aria jumps a little surprised, "Oh Look! He's gone to the spirit world. There he goes! Bye-bye little friend!"
Again this was a sweet and serene moment until Aria then said, "Ok mom, now we can put his body in a bag and throw it in the garbage!"

I burst out laughing and it was the muffled sort of 'better not laugh in church' kind of thing that I just couldn't contain. Aria was irritated. For the life of her, she did not understand what was so funny. She was so matter of fact about it all because that's what we do with the bodies of our dead kitties. No ceremony. No fan-fare. Those dead little kitties go into a bag and straight into the garbage. I'm sure to her mind, why wouldn't we do the same thing with this glittery make believe baby unicorn. It was hilarious! That is Aria. She has such a profound awareness of herself that catches my breath. At the same time she has this wooden matter-of-factness about her is that both grounding and arresting.

We are enjoying these moments of wellness to their fullest. Aria will return to the clinic for a count check on Monday October 27, 2008 and if all is well she'll have her first spinal tap in a long time the next day Tuesday, October 28, 2008. I'll mention that that day is Doc's birthday! Oh Joy! Oh Celebration--Nothing like a spinal tap to go with cake and ice cream. This will be Aria's first spinal tap in this phase of maintenance treatment, which indicates that we've reached the 3 month mark. She will have spinal taps every 3 months for the duration of her treatment.

As I finish this little update, I can see Aria and Rianna playing in the living room. Aria is home from school today. She slept in late and has a cough still. My instincts tell me to be on guard and to keep her home despite that her counts are good. They're having fun and she is in wonderful spirits. Truly, she is a perfectly healthy appearing little girl who will be five years old October 24, 2008! It isn't like I have to remind myself that she has leukemia and that I forget she's still so vulnerable and fragile, but rather I can relax into the present moment of her. I can see in this moment that she is happy. She is well. She is full of energy and vitality. She is colorful and creative. She is mighty and insightful. She is glittery and bedazzling. She twinkles and because of that, so can I.

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