Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Last Day

Psalm 71: 23  My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to You; And my soul, which You have redeemed.

Ruby is OUT! She finished her last 24-hour bag of chemo this afternoon, getting her discharged from her LAST round of chemo! While it's only been six rounds (just over six months), they have been intense rounds requiring a lot of inpatient time. Praise more chemo!
Ruby's rounds always start with chemo and end when her counts recover though, so this is the beginning of the last round for her. We got to go home tonight, but now we wait for her counts to drop (and possibly need blood or platelet transfusion(s), and/or antibiotics for a fever while she's neutropenic). All of that before her white blood cells and red blood cells and platelets recover to a level that puts her back in a healthy place; this whole process typically takes a month.

Once Ruby's counts do come back up, we will go back for a check-up and full CBC. A green light there means the removal of her central line will be scheduled. That is a *simple* outpatient surgery, after which she heals and can then take baths and go swimming. Can I get an "Amen"?!?!
Back to Ruby's last day. Before lunch, I packed all of our stuff up and ran 90% down to the car while a nurse occupied Ruby. (I didn't have to twist any arms.) Ruby took her afternoon nap while the chemo finished, and we prepared for discharge. Ruby's nurse mentioned that there was a ceremonial bell in the lounge that Ruby could ring, signifying the end of her treatment...would we be interested in doing that? Of course! So she went to get the final paperwork for us to leave and returned with most of the nurses on the unit at that time. They were all clapping and cheering; Ruby joined in, but kept looking at me as if to ask, 'why are we clapping?'. They had a sign that had been hanging in the hall all day with notes to Ruby. We all walked down the hall to the lounge together so Ruby could ring the bell. My camera was already in the car, but I still had my phone to take a quick video and picture. She rang a few times, smiling after each 'ding'. Once we were done with that, we walked down the hall to leave, the nurses clapping behind us. Ruby was so hyped up and determined in her walk; it was almost like she got it. I stopped her after a few yards and asked her if she was going to hug anyone. She grinned HUGE and turned around to return to the nurses. She gave them each a huge hug and then we left.

It is very likely we will have a few more nights in Hotel Aflac (for a fever while her numbers are bottomed out), but every thing along the way deserves a celebration!

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