Thursday, September 1, 2011
We have been waiting for this day for so long--Steven got his leg. I wish I could say that it all went super smoothly and we all did a dance of joy, but unfortunately, the day has come with some sad realizations as well.
I'll back up. We started off the day by stopping into the hospital to get Steven's labs done. Usually, this is done by a home health nurse, but she doesn't come until the afternoon, and I wanted results earlier, so we stopped in on our way to Shriners. It went well, but we cut the appointment close and were a little late and rushed. I suppose it didn't matter much, Shriners was busier than I'd ever seen.
By the time we finally got into our room, we were well on our way to missing the PT appointment altogether. I called up to PT and told them the situation, and the therapist was nice enough to come down to our room and work with Steven while the prosthetist made adjustments on the leg. They were working together to make it just right for Steven.
This sounds so ideal, and really it was, but unfortunately, Steven was so tired and hungry by this time, that he couldn't deal with all the poking and prodding. They were trying to get him to explain what bothered him and he just cried even harder. In the meantime, I got a call with Steven's lab results which confirmed that his hematocrit is low--25.4, almost low enough for a transfusion. (On the bright side, his ANC is up.)
At one point they were talking about the leg needing one more modification and deciding if should keep it a little longer to work on it. Steven had been so looking forward to this day, that they let him take it for the weekend and then I will bring it back on Tuesday when we are up for chemo.
The whole thing was frustrating, especially for Steven. I know there were physiological things going on, but also the psychological stuff was pretty heavy. He couldn't even articulate where his foot was bothering him, let alone why he couldn't stop the tears. As I was thinking about it as we drove home, I think that maybe it has to do with just how much work is still ahead. It isn't the sort of thing where he can magically walk now that he has a leg--in fact, he walks much slower with his leg on and he still needs crutches. It is going to take so much patience and hard work.
I am confident that he is strong enough to do it. And as far as patience goes--well, you may remember my story of the first time he learned to walk. This time it is more than balance that he has to gain before he will walk again. And this will require time and diligence--there is no way around that. Maybe patience is one of the life lessons that cancer will teach him.
As we were waiting for the prosthetist to make adjustments to the leg, I was reading a magazine and I showed Steven an article about cakes. He was starving and he thought it was the most beautiful picture in the world. I had Rob pick a cake up for him on his way home from work. He loved the cake and our little party (we even sang "Happy leg day to you!") cheered him up. Like every other aspect of this journey, we will take this walking thing one day and one step at a time--somehow we'll get through it.