Chemotherapy

I have never experienced chemotherapy. It sounds horrible and scary. Cancer is a word that has always terrified me. I have worried that I would get skin cancer from all the summers at the pool unprotected from the sun. I have waited a little longer than recommended for my mammogram or Pap smear. I’ve lain there thinking, “Ok, you blew it off, and now you’re going to have cancer…”   Jake was home for Thanksgiving break. He had just completed his first trimester at college. He was tired; I thought it seemed normal. On  Wednesday,  December 2, 2015, Jake called us and said he had a fever and was short of breath. I met him at the student health services office and assumed he had pneumonia. He had gone to classes for 2 days, but was too weak to walk to the cafeteria to eat. It took several weeks of testing to get the diagnosis. It was AML leukemia.  The chemo would start that night.  I was scared of the toxic chemicals going into my 19 year old baby’s body. To my surprise the chemo was only for 7 days. It actually made Jake feel better. Even though he was dependent on blood transfusions for awhile, and it wiped out his immune system, he did quite well. He perked up and his cough got better. He looked good and asked us to hook up his Xbox. His only side effect was his thinning hair. His dad and he let a CNA shave his head. It was not what I expected. The leukemia was gone… This chemo for the preparation of the bone marrow/stem cell transplant was supposed to be more difficult.  I have to say, again I am surprised.  I pictured him vomiting, horrible diarrhea, begging for help as I watched unable to do anything to ease his pain. Nope…he looks good. His biggest complaints are a sore throat and his bladder is irritated.  They have to give him a lot of fluids to protect his bladder from the chemo. The chemo is over- hopefully forever. It is not the chemo of the 1970’s. I am surprised and amazed at how far medicine has come. I am thankful my son has not suffered though something I imagined to be much worse.

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