Friday, July 19, 2003
The baby has been throwing up for days now. It started out not so bad, but now he throws up every time he eats. He eats like he's starving...then he throws EVERYTHING up....and cries again because he's famished. I don't know what's going on, but I know that he's sick and needs to go to the doctor. Richard will have to take him because I can't....too many germs.
Lastnight I started getting chills. Chills shouldn't be a big deal, but I also started running a low-grade fever. I took some meds before bed, but by 3AM this morning the fever is 101.7*, my chest and back are assaulting me with pain and it looks like I'm going to have to go to the doctor now, too. DAMN IT!! This fever changes everything. Why does this have to happen NOW - the baby is soooo sick and I just don't have the strength.
We just got ahold of both the pediatrician AND the oncologist and have formulated a game plan. My mom is going to take me to see the oncologist while Richard takes the sprout to the pediatrician. As we scramble out the door, I grab the thermometer because I can feel myself getting warmer with every minute that passes. My fever was 101.7* and now it's up to 102*...what is going on!? By the time we make our way down to the oncologist's office I have managed to drink almost half a gallon of water right out of a jug that my mom had in her back seat. I am burning up! The thermometer is telling me that we better drive fast...it's going higher, and higher. PANIC. Is. Setting. In.
Once we get to the doctor's office, Edith, my chemo nurse, gets me right into a room to start my central line. She checks my vitals and immediately calls an ambulance. I am starting to lose consciousness and crash. She is talking calmly, but TELLING me to stay awake. "Stay with me Lesley. You aren't going anywhere Lesley. We've come too far Lesley. Girl, you hang on! Don't go to sleep Lesley. They'll be here soon. You're a fighter Lesley." By the time the ambulance gets me to the hospital my fever has hit 104.5*.
At the same time I am rolling into the ER, I find out that Richard and Lucas have received orders from the pediatrician to get down to the emergency ASAP and are one their way as well. Lucas is more sickly than we had thought, but they need to run tests to find out what's going on with him. I can hear the ER staff talking to eachother about how the baby coming in belongs to the breast cancer patient in Room #--.
As I am laying there in excruciating pain and feeling like a science experiment, Richard finally arrives at the hospital and rushes into the room to check and see how I'm doing. A flood of emotions washes over me when I see him....and as I glance to the doorway, I see them wheel Lucas by on a gurney.
I can hear my baby crying, but they won't let me see him.
Lucas has been put into the room right next to mine. Since they don't know what's wrong with either of us, we can't get near eachother.
We are so close, yet worlds away.
He's crying so hard!
All I can do is TRY to talk loud enough so that he can hear me - but I don't know if he can even hear me at all. It's a mother's job to soothe their babies when they're hurting and scared, but I can't even hold his little hand. Lucas is only five weeks old.
As the morning has progressed into afternoon, I've had a CT scan, MRI, and who knows how many fluids drained from my body for testing. When I came out of one of my scans, Richard let me know that he and Lucas would be leaving soon to be taken by ambulance to Texas Childrens for more testing. All I can do is lay here on my bed and pray. Pray, pray, and pray harder.
What if I don't make it? What if Lucas doesn't make it? What happens if we're both gone and just Richard, Abby and Conner are left....
Obviously I made it and so did Luc. Lucas was diagnosed and underwent surgery for pyloric stenosis the following day. The doctors at Texas Children's are rock stars, and I have nothing but love and admiration for the work that they do on those tiny little growing bodies.
I was diagnosed with a staph infection in my bloodstream, and stayed in ICU for six days. The source of the infection was my port-o-cath which was removed post haste. Subsequently a PICC line was installed into my arm so that I could finish the remaining treatments of Taxol on my treatment plan.
Richard spent countless hours driving back and forth between hospitals to check on Lucas and I. My mother stayed with me and Richard's grandmother, Alice, stayed with Lucas.
On a particularly low day in ICU, I vividly remember praying and asking the Lord, "I cannot continue this battle in my own strength, You are going to have to cover the gap. But if this is how I am supposed to die, I accept it."
He carried me.