It will be his last.
I've cried more in the past week than in the 15 months since his diagnosis with leukemia. A test came back showing blasts of cancerous cells in his blood; the doctors had already told us there's nothing else they can do to cure him.
We've tried everything we could. Multiple rounds of chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, inciting graft versus host disease... and this extremely rare sub-type of AML (with its distinctive 7:12 chromosome translocation) kept fighting back. There are studies of new drugs in the U.S. but only for ALL patients. As our main doctor said this week, do you want to spend the final months of his life in some foreign hospital getting poked and prodded, or try to enjoy the time you have together?
We had hope for so long, but I have also thought plenty of what has seemed like an inevitability. To get this news just before Christmas is repulsive, but there's never a good time to hear your child's going to die.
At least we can plan for it.
The plan could include a wish trip of some sort, even though the actual Children's Wish Foundation refuses to do anything for kids under the age of three. As though such a trip is only about the child. It's about making memories for all of us, good ones, ones that we can reach for when the only other alternatives are the ones from a hospital. We wanted to go to Disneyland, but complications mean Vancouver will have to suffice. Can't leave the country.
How much time does he have? Nobody wants to guess. It all depends on how quick the leukemia grows. We may still do radiation, but now it won't be a curative measure, but rather a life-prolonging one. Trish met with a palliative care team today and talked about things like resuscitation measures. Merry fucking Christmas.
But then, she got to leave the Alberta Children's Hospital with him. Put him in his car seat. As I write this she's on the Trans-Canada Highway. In a few hours they'll be home in Medicine Hat.
By chance, a friend in Calgary signed us up for a food hamper last week from her church. So we have a turkey, potatoes, stuffing, everything needed for a feast. I brought presents home and put the tree and decorations up. I think he'll have a wonderful Christmas.
He doesn't know it, but he'll never have another. So for us, intermingled with that joy, there will also be many more tears.
His journey is coming to an end.