Masons operation to remove the bulk of his tumour went well. In a perfect world the surgeons said they would always like to achieve a negative margin, where no cancer cells are seen at the outer edge of the tissue being removed. In our case this could not be achieved, and was the understanding from his latest scans. Mainly, due to his size - being a small person, coupled with the shape and location of the tumour.
Ten days post Masons operation we found ourself back on Rainbow ward for round five of chemo. Straight back into it, no messing about. He would have two more rounds to flush him out before he would encounter his next challenge …..radiotherapy.
Things were slightly different now, it felt like we had crossed the halfway mark. The fact that the main lump had been removed made us feel a little more at ease, and with only two rounds left we felt we’d seen the worst of the chemo affects, we could see some light at the end of the tunnel.
Our routine by now is well established, and a good start is having the car packed ready to go and childcare arranged for Paige. We head up the M4 to hospital and leave car in usual spot for a few days. Trek over to the ward like we're setting off for Everest basecamp, pram fully loaded with bags, bags on back, front and around arms. Squeeze through the doors onto the ward and make way to the room we've been allocated. Mason plopped straight into his high sided cot-bed (jail) and given bottle of milk and iPad - that buys us enough time to unpack and set things up for the first night!
It’s nice for us to be able to write that both rounds five & six went well, Mason has become accustomed to this process now and turned up full of energy both times, branding his new battle scar! His chemotherapy cocktail had been reduced with the exclusion of Doxorubicin. He has maxed out his quota, and as a result will continue Ifosfamide from here on out. This makes for a slightly shorter visit than usual, this was music to our ears as we were 'ironically' battling a british heatwave with his room reaching 30deg C throughout the day and night, no air con and only able to open his window 2 inches! #drama
The weeks following his treatment, he became neutropenic, but did not crash as before, no temperature and we didn’t need to jump in the car and revisit the ward for an extended stay. We felt Mason wasn't suffering with nausea and as a result appeared to eat a lot more normally and even better, seemed to enjoy his meals and snacks - working his way through the whole Ellas Kitchen pouch range, about 200 packs of Tesco cheese curls (like quavers but cheaper & better) and 100 Freddo bars. Yessir.
It was nice to see him maintaining his weight, something that we'd endeavoured to manage from the start, we both believe that he would have struggled with an NG tube if he had needed it for nutrition. Often we would witness other kids on the ward pull their NG tubes out through discomfort or because it was making them feel sick. 'Calories in' was part of our main game plan and fortunately for me I have a wealth of experience in this department.
A slightly easier run and a healthier Mason. Could this be the result of the ‘Red Devil’ being dropped from his prescription (one of the most potent chemo drugs available) or just a coincidence that its the summer holidays and big sister isn’t attending school (the breeding ground for colds and snotty noses). We can’t say??
Not a massive post today but hopefully someone may benefit who is facing early rounds of treatment wondering when they’re going to see ‘The End’. I guess the pattern we slipped into was to just take each round, one at a time. No two have been the same, some a lot more awkward or eventful than others.
For every round done, there is one less to do.