We made it. September 16, 2010, Gabriel started maintenance. We are now one giant step closer to the end. The journey before us is still long, but we’ve survived the hardest part. We have crossed that line in the sand.
The word itself doesn’t sound like much. But, truly, this is a monumental point to have reached.
The maintenance phase of treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia is pretty much the same whether it is pre-b, t-cell, or what not. It is a repeating 84 day cycle that continues for basically 3 years for boys and 2.5 years for girls, based upon the date that the child begins the phase “delayed intensification.” So, for Gabriel, that means, on April 27, 2014 he will take his very last dose of Chemotherapy medications and on April 28th, he’ll be done with his treatment.
Chet and I are adjusting to a new “normal” now. Once every 84 days he gets a LP (lumber puncture with intrathecal chemotherapy). Gabe is on a daily oral chemotherapy medication. Weekly he gets another oral chemotherapy medication. One week every month he gets oral steroids. Twice every 84 days he gets I.V. chemo therapy. And for the first three cycles, Gabriel will spend 5 days in the hospital when he is given the clinical study drug, Nelarabine.
This is our new normal.
But, with this, we have tremendous freedom. Starting now, Gabriel is permitted to be a normal activity and is expected to be able to resume the activities he was involved in before his cancer diagnosis. Monday, his birthday, Gabe will be going back to school.
Life will slowly begin returning to normal.
Once he’s done with all of this Nelarabine treatments, he has the choice to have his central line/Broviac removed. Once the site is healed, Gabriel will again be able to take baths, go swimming, and be even more active.
Chet and I are currently in Utah for Chet’s 3rd 100 miler of the year – the Bear 100. I’ll try to pose an update or two. Gabe and Rebeka are holding down the fort with Chet’s mom and my mom.