Out of the Mouths of Babes

“…And God bless leukemia.”

This final supplication offered by Callen, seemingly as an afterthought, caught me totally off guard. It came at the end of a long litany that was otherwise adorable, predictable and reflective of the day’s events: prayers for relatives, friends, pets, babysitters, superheroes, “the whole world, the whole universe, everyone who is a human”, mommy’s hair (which he wanted to bless because “it seemed dry”) and Santa Claus.

It was late in the evening, Callen’s bedtime routine having required more time and encouragement than usual. His lips were cracked and bleeding, his gums raw and blistered from the newest chemotherapy and its newest side effects. He cried at the sight and sensation of bloody drool oozing from his mouth. He asked for Band-Aids for his teeth: I offered kisses, mouth rinse and lip balm instead.

I hardly saw these final moments of his day as a prelude to “God bless leukemia”.

Had we not just lived through the same fifteen minutes? Or the same last week, for that matter?

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In the spirit of World Cup fever, Callen reached target goal of Minimal Residual Disease less than 0.01% in his most recent bone marrow biopsy done Monday afternoon!!! This beautiful news, hand-delivered in hard copy by his attending physician late last night, is a sweet first victory for our little champion. There is currently NO discernible evidence of cancer in his bone marrow! But because he is a slow responder, he will be required to complete this intense three year high risk protocol in order to optimize the likelihood of maintaining longterm remission and eventual cure. We push forward, at the same time savoring his hard-earned victory.

SCORE: Callen 1, Leukemia 0.

Who's the "Big C" now?!?!?!!

Home for the Holiday

It has now been 17 days since Callen last received chemotherapy. Even by chemo holiday standards, that’s quite an extended vacation! Admittedly, as with most getaways, it took Jim and I a few days to relax into the concept of doing “nothing”.

Callen, on the other hand, clearly lacked any ambivalence about his time off from treatment: he was fresh off a blood transfusion and rarin’ to go!

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Pomp. And Circumstance.

Thursday afternoon, Jim and I attended Julia’s high school commencement ceremony. What a beautiful sight to behold – an auditorium of young adults, full of hope and promise, brimming with enthusiasm and beaming with pride. We watched as each student crossed that stage to a soundtrack of cheers, whistles, applause and the occasional cowbell. We could not have been more proud to witness Julia receiving her diploma, her trademark sunny smile and dimple visible even from our distant vantage point. What a moment to relish! What a memory to treasure!

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