He's less puffy, much happier and back on solid food, but Dominic manages to astound us with more good news every day so far this week.
Today he got his third lumbar puncture, which is a needle that goes in to his spinal column. Doctors draw out the clear spinal fluid to test it for cancer cells, while also administering preventative chemotherapy. Why use chemo if he might not have any cancer there? Why not, I say. But of course it's a touch more complicated than that.
Leukemia tends to show up in three places. It's always in the bone marrow, which makes sense because that's where blood cells are grown and leukemia is a cancer of the blood. It can also show up in the testicles, so ladies, here's one cancer where you have the upper hand. And then finally it can be in the back. That would be bad news because your body is designed to keep blood and spinal fluids distinctly separate. If one shows up in the other, you've got a problem.
Early on Dominic got a clean bill of health for his man-parts, thus causing his old man to speculate they were just genetically large and there was never anything to worry about. His spine? The first lumbar puncture did not go well, as they unexpectedly hit some blood on the way in and then Dom didn't breathe properly upon waking up from the anesthetic. He needed a breathing tube down his throat and wound up with fluid on his lungs, which has since cleared up.
He was also not found to have any leukemic cells in his spinal fluid, however. But then he had a seizure which led to an MRI which revealed some leukemic cells on (not in) his brain. Just in case, they went to do another lumbar puncture in which they hit blood again and he had trouble breathing again.
Today (Tuesday) was lumbar puncture No. 3. They decided (after a different MRI) to poke him a bit higher in the back as his anatomy was simply a bit different than usual - the blood they hit isn't believed to be any sort of problem. And sure enough, this time they only saw clear spinal fluid. As an added bonus he didn't have breathing problems. Hooray!
Our community also continues to astound us day after day. A cheque here, a cheque there. A card in the mail. Random strangers wanting to donate. All we can do for now is say thanks, smile, offer hugs and let everyone know we're optimistic.
It does feel awkward accepting money. We've never been in any major financial difficulty, except for that time after the wedding nine years ago when we started delivering pizzas as a second job to get ourselves out of debt. We always find a way. But I suspect I'll be more thankful and less stunned by all of this generosity in the months to come as we make do with only one income plus whatever medical expenses (not all of the drugs are covered by the hospital) are incurred.
We are working on setting up a bank account for those who do wish to donate. There are some other ideas floating around as well, but that will happen in due time. It's hard to believe this all started less than two weeks ago.
Thanks again for following along on the journey.