As we packed and prepared ourselves, we had a bitter sweet feeling that was hard to describe. Though we were happy at the chance of going home we were also sad that this time was coming to an end. The past four weeks have challenged our family in ways we could have never imagined. It has also been a time that we have been able to fully focus on keeping our family strong.
Our world shrank to 400 square feet over night as we adapted to the hospital room and guest room. For the most part, Heather and Carmen managed with the limited belongings that they took to the hospital on that first night. Of course, we brought reinforcements and comforts during the month but our life became very small, very quickly.
It was also time to bid a sad farewell to the amazing associates of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel who have become like our second family. Their compassion and understanding of our situation was truly incredible. Quite simply....the Royal Hawaiian Hotel provided us with a roof but the associates provided us with a "home" for Carmen. Saying "Thank You" to these individuals at the Royal Hawaiian does not come close to describing how Heather and I feel.
As I mention the Royal Hawaiian, I would be remiss in not mentioning how fortunate I am to be working for Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Since day one, everyone with Starwood have been incredibly supportive, generous and compassionate allowing Heather and I to focus on Carmen 100% during these early days of her journey.
So...the trip to P.A.U. was a quiet drive. Even though we were confident enough to pack our bags we were still concerned that Carmen's numbers may keep us in Oahu for yet another week.
Carmen did very well at her appointment this week. She had her blood drawn, received her chemotherapy injection and had her Piddycone dressing changed. The dressing change is still Carmen's least favorite part of the experience but fortunately this was her last week.
Knowing Carmen was having a tough time, Child Life Services requested that Tucker the Hospital Dog pay Carmen another visit. This really cheered Carmen up and got her through most of the tough times.
The Doctors are trained to not express too much emotion either way but when Carmen's lab results came back Heather and I could not contain ourselves.
I mentioned in previous posts that the ANC level is what allows our bodies to fight off infection. A normal ANC range is between 1,500 and 8,000. When Carmen was admitted to the hospital her ANC was 0, which essential meant that her body had no ability to combat infection. When Carmen was discharged from the hospital her ANC was at 512, just slightly over the extreme danger zone.
Carmen's ANC levels skyrocketed today to an incredible 6,400!! Up from 730 last week and 679 the week prior. This number was almost too much to comprehend. The doctors remind us that the ANC goes up and down every week and being exposed to something like the chicken pox could drop it to 0 instantly.
The Doctors are also quick to point out that the number is inflated, caused by the effectiveness of the chemotherapy drugs and that the number will fluctuate over time.
But today we are not worried about that. Today we are going home!!!!!!
Heather and I, continue to be inspired everyday by your support, well wishes and positive energy that we are able to read on this blog, e-mails, text and facebook. Thank you all so much for everything.
We feel blessed to have our friends and family helping us along this journey.
A few images of the day.
Visit from Tucker
So Happy to See Tucker
Visiting the odd, yet fun "Teddy Bear Museum" in Waikiki yesterday!