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One day at a time, ongoing

So, it’s been more than six months since Alistair was diagnosed with leukaemia.

He’s been responding very well to treatment, thank God, and our oncologist is more than happy with his progress.

I’m amazed and humbled by Alistair’s resilience and positivity. Truly, seeing his strength keeps me strong. The oncologist and the nurses that care for him tell me that constantly too: that they’re always impressed with how brave and cooperative he is. Needles, medicine, finger pricks… He’ll do them all with minimum fuss. (Except COVID swabs. He hates COVID swabs.) And he’s always polite and friendly to the nurses.

My heart bursts with pride.

Over the last six months, we tried as much as we could to live life as normal. In between treatments and hospital stays, we managed to go for one camping trip at Mornington Peninsula and a couple of quick outings at the beach. As Alistair is immunocompromised, he generally needs to continue a ‘lockdown life’. But when the stars align during the pockets between treatments and he is able to venture out a little, we try to make the most of it.

But there was one thing on our minds: the rona.

We knew we couldn’t avoid it forever.

In January, all of us came down with COVID. Needless to say, I was most worried for Alistair. But the cancer centre nurses were quick to assure me that a lot of their patients also had COVID and there were no complications. Thank God, that was true for Alistair as well. In fact, besides a fever, I don’t think he had any other symptoms. And he was quick to recover (although, because he’s immunosuppressed, he’s taking forever to shed the virus. But that’s a conversation for another time.).

Then a few weeks ago, while he was staying at the hospital for treatment, he had a seizure.

I was at home when I got the call from the hubby and the oncologist, and it shook me to the core. I’d thought, hoped and believed that he had outgrown his febrile seizures. So that was a call I didn’t expect at all.

They sent Alistair for a CT scan and an MRI just to cover all bases. Thank God, everything came back fine. And he was back to normal within hours.

The oncologist said the seizure could have been brought on by a combination of factors:

a) He still had COVID in his body (still shedding the virus)

b) They just detected adenovirus in his system (which is the virus that triggered febrile seizures the last two times he had it)

c) He just had a lumbar puncture as well as a high dose of chemotherapy – both which could potentially cause seizures

I do believe that the adenovirus was the major culprit, as he developed a temperature (not quite fever, but definitely on the higher side) soon after. But nobody could know for certain. So since then, he’s been on anti-seizure medication, and will probably continue to be on it for the remainder of his cancer treatment.

In between all the above were trips in and out of hospital. Emotional highs and lows. Laughters and tears. Frustration and gratitude. Fear and love.

What’s next?

Alistair will be going into the Delayed Intensification treatment phase, which would last for about 10 weeks. After that, it’s the Maintenance phase, which would go all the way until January 2024.

So yes, still a long journey ahead. But we’re taking one day at a time.

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