5:00 PM Unfortunately, there was no alarm malfunction this morning, and I got out of bed around 5:20 (did I mention that I am not much of a morning person?). Sophie and I got ready and left the house around 6:15. There was pretty heavy traffic, so we didn't get to the clinic until right at 8:00.
In their infinite wisdom, UNC Hospitals has "centralized" the check-in procedure for all oncology patients in the various clinics, which means that all the cancer and radiology patients have to go to the same spot on the ground floor of the Gravely building. This innovation has never been as satisfactory as the old procedure, and it just seemed like another layer of bureaucracy. Anyway, for some reason, this morning the check-in stations were understaffed and it was a zoo. Sophie and I waited 30 minutes just to get checked in, and I'm sure that the wait got longer than that (the line certainly did).
Anyway, all of that to say that it was a long morning. Adriane, Sophie's "Carolina Pal" was there waiting for us, and Sophie played with her quite a bit. We did the exam thing (no problems), and talked about the possibility of a flu shot. The nurse recommended we wait until the next clinic visit, because Sophie will need to be sedated for that procedure, and they can do the flu shot then as well. Brilliant! One of the more interesting things that happened today was that the nurse wanted to do Sophie's blood draw and chemotherapy in the treatment room (the "scary place" as Sophie calls it). I explained to Sophie what we were going to do and where it was going to happen, and she didn't have any problems with it at all. After all that she has been through (and after all that we have had to watch her go through), it is such a wonderful feeling to know that she still trusts us and believes us when we tell her something!
The infusion went very quickly and all we needed to do was wait for the blood work to come back. No transfusion. In fact, although everything but her platelet count dropped, the drops were very slight. As for her platelets, the count has gone back up significantly (from 89 to 279--which is actually within the normal range). Sophie's ANC is 0.5, which is right at the cut-off for a compromised immune system, so we'll need to take extra precautions. In spite of the early morning, and in spite of the frustrating check-in, I was positively giddy when we left at 10:00. Because we have made it through four rounds of chemotherapy! Thanks be to God!
We still have the marathon final round of chemotherapy ahead of us, but for the first time since January 21st, I feel as if I can exhale, if only just a little bit! We are by no means out of the woods, and complications can come up at any point in this process, but I feel like celebrating.
Home health care will come on Monday to do blood draw and if Sophie's counts are high enough for a spinal tap (which they might not be, but that doesn't bother me, not today), we'll go to the clinic next Tuesday to begin maintenance, and all of a sudden, May 2007 becomes that much closer.
Thank you to everyone for keeping us lifted up throughout this process, and continue to pray for Sophie, and for our whole family!