Robbie’s Battle Continues
Robbie’s leukemia has returned.
With those four words our lives were turned upside down all over again. On Saturday, we were all excited that his counts were finally perking up and that he could finally begin to look forward to going home soon.
On Sunday, though, once we arrived at the hospital, the on call oncologists came to deliver the crushing news. Recurrence has been on my mind for some time, especially after seeing a documentary on teens with leukemia and closer to home, the return of the cancer that took the life of Denise Dougiello last week.
In Robbie’s case there was about a 50% chance of recurrence but even they were surprised at the speed with which it returned. As usual, there are no clear cut answers as to why.
The news arrived almost to the minute 25 weeks after receiving the initial diagnosis and almost on cue, he began to suffer. We spent Sunday in a daze, absorbing the news, asking questions and doing lots of hugging. Robbie spiked a fever that wouldn’t quit and having very low blood pressure. The day was spent comforting him and trying to respect his desire to avoid the ICU. Both nurses and doctors worked to honor that request but in the end, he wound up back in the ICU for blood pressure medication. It lasted less than a day and he went right back to 7-West.
We’ve been here long enough that we’ve gotten to know just about everyone on both sides of the floor and as the news spread, the disappointment and concern in their eyes spoke volumes. Dr. Massaro came in from her day off to spend time with us and she looked defeated and was largely quiet.
We began spreading the news to friends and family, rearranging plans. It took some convincing to keep Kate in Maryland to start work rather than come back to Connecticut to sit in a hospital room. I’m still going to Shore Leave and likely San Diego but everything else is questionable.
As Robbie put it, we’re back to one day at a time. The oncology team is putting together a new plan and this time it will include the need for a bone marrow transplant. But first, they have to put him back into remission. The first step is taken tomorrow as he goes for a bone marrow biopsy and lumbar puncture. This week the hunt begins for a bone marrow match.
Speaking of which, Shore Leave is conducting a bone marrow drive to add people to the registry. While people in our immediate area can help in some ways, everyone can register. Robbie just needs one match but every cancer patient can benefit and the process is relatively painless and easy. Those wishing to potentially help Robbie and other people in need, please check out the National Marrow Donor Program.
Sadly, I’ll be back to the weekly updates on Saturdays.