Today is a momentous day. It is officially the last day of Adam's treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, and crowns the other 843 days since his diagnosis on 18 June 2011. He was just seven when he was diagnosed, and his sister was three months old. Now he is 10, and his sister spent the morning bringing me cups of "tea" from the playroom. Time changes and goes on, regardless of how much we are unable to comprehend or imagine it doing so. In particular, two years and four months goes on!!
When Adam was diagnosed I could not believe he had cancer in his bone marrow, the very centre of his physical being, and we couldn't see it. Now he's done and the question I often get asked is "is he cured?" That's easy to answer for a slab of pork, not so for a person. But for all intents and purposes he's in remission, and provided we stay away from a relapse for another 2 1/2 years he will be declared cured. This is Adam of course, and given his history there will no doubt be other issues we have to deal with, but hopefully ALL will not be among them.
I don't say this lightly though, as there are so many for whom it's not such an easy road, or a clear ending. I think so often of those we know who continue to battle cancer and/or have lost someone to it. It's become a personal thing to our family, and we will continue to pray for each and every one of them.
And though this might end up sounding like an Oscar's speech, I would be horribly short-sighted if I didn't say that we had a lot of help along the way, and would not have made it alone. Obviously the docs and nurses at the children's hospital are amazing, and my tears today with Adam's consultant are a testimony that they have done for us what we never could have done ourselves. They gave us back our boy. The pharmacist, the play staff, even Gary Seagraves the magician who I saw in the lobby all played a part in keeping us afloat! Our friends, the ones we met in hospital and all those who supported us from near and far--thank you for your care, for visits, gifts of food, and for faithfully asking "how is Adam?" Our families, who are waiting as I write for word of his results (which I don't have yet, but all signs point to Adam's blood being clear), they have flown thousands of miles to be with us and give us rest and physical help. Family is a good thing, and we are so grateful to all of ours for being our strength. Adam's school and teachers have been amazing, and always willing to put up with a barfy-post-lumbar-puncture boy, a hyped-up-steroidal-boy, and a grumpy-tired-chemo-ridden boy. The charities who have helped us, CHAS, Archway, ARCHIE, Clic Sargent, etc. It's good to know when a charity goes the extra mile and they all do. Finally, our churches, both St Andrew's and St John's, have given us tremendous and crucial spiritual support. Thank you for surrounding us when we needed it.
What I'm saying is that now that we are at an end of one stage, and have taken so much and needed so much, it's good to turn our minds outward again. It's good to join the normal world again, and I couldn't properly do that without recognising the full picture of what has been. So thanks for allowing me that closure!
Going forward, there will still be monthly clinic visits for a year, and six-weekly for another year, and then two-monthly, then three-monthly...so we are not exactly cut loose yet. But today, all that remains is a large ice-cream sundae for the kids, all three of whom have put up with SO much for the last 844 days. They are truly my little stars! And a bottle of bubbly tonight for us (and anyone who cares to join!!) Really I don't need any excuse to celebrate, but if I did this is a pretty damn good one indeed.