Ethan's month long stint at the hospital ended last Tuesday, finally! We were very glad to have both Ethan and Jen home. =)
Ethan's counts were good enough to move him into the next phase of treatment: Consolidation. During this phase, he'll have different kinds of chemo treatment, one of which will make him really sick, namely, Ara C. Ethan still has an abcess on his liver. He's already suseptible to getting fevers from that, but Ara C has the potential to magnify that. Last Thursday, he did actually get a big fever and we took him to a clinic to get checked. He was also vomiting a lot Tuesday through Thursday. The doctor prescribed benedryl in addition to zophran to kill the nausea. Thankfully, that's helped a lot - hasn't thrown up since! =) In fact, Ethan has gotten his spunk back. He sat up on his own to play tonight. We haven't seen him do this for several weeks. He's laughed a lot and gotten his voice back in order - he talks a lot more now, even learned a few new words, like "Horse" and "Duck".
The kids are loving having him home and play with him a lot. He get really excited when they come over to play with him.
The hard part through all this is managing the house and staying on top of all of Ethan's medication. He has a feeding tube too, which adds to the challenge. With Jen being pregnant, she's not allowed to administer any of the chemo treatments; the home health care nurse has to do that when Merrill is at work. Ethan has to take his anti-nausea medicine every three hours - makes sleeping at night fun...
Besides all the extra challenges, we feel very blessed. So many have lended helping hands, offered up prayers, provided much needed service in many varieties, or shared comforting words. We are very grateful for all the help and support. This is definitely not easy, but the help we have received has made it much more bareable. We are also so very grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ which gives us strength and support in ways we cannot fathom. God does work miracles and does hear and answer prayers. He does provide comfort when at times there doesn't seem to be any. He finds a way to bless when all other paths seem to prevent those blessings from coming. He has a way to heal the broken heart to give courage to keep moving forward. He provides strength during those times when it seems like there is no energy left to move forward physically, mentally, or spiritually. We are eternally grateful for the Atonement. We are learning daily more about how that helps us grow closer to Christ. This trial has put into perspective the Plan of Salvation and how important mortality is to our eternal progression. Trials help us to become like our Father in Heaven. We cannot progress without learning; learning requires differentiating the good and the bad, the pleasant and the difficult and still making the right choices. Ethan in his own little way is an example to us of perserverence, faith, and patience. We cannot imagine being in his shoes, but the light we see in him gives us hope and helps us remember what is most important in life. We are grateful to have him home! =)