“Over A Hump”

Scarlett will begin round 4 of 5 of intensive maintenance today.  It’s a wonderful feeling to look back and see more behind us than in front of us.   Round 4 and 5 will last for approximately 2 months each so around the new year, we expect Scarlett to move into  standard maintenance.  Standard maintenance lasts approximately one year.  Most of the chemotherapy is given orally so we will spend much less time at MSK.  We continue to move forward!  Scarlett will return to school in March.
We have spent much more time in the Hamptons this summer than we expected.  Scarlett is rejuvenated, energetic and so happy.  It has been a summer of “firsts.”  First ride on her bike.  First swim in the pool.  She even picked up a tennis racquet and was running around the court.  She had her first sleepover at a friend’s house which was pure bliss. I recognize that these are all simple achievements but to see her living a relatively carefree life again reduces me to tears.  She is embracing her new found freedom and often asks me to hit the road so she can spend time with her friends or her friend’s mom without me around.  I love it! I am so proud of her and I continue to admire her resilience and fortitude.
Today, we head back to MSK which will be a hard dose of our reality.  When I lead her back to the procedure room for her spinal tap, all of the memories from Fall/Winter/Spring will come surging back. I’ll remind Scarlett that the treatments are going to make sure that the cancer does not return. I’ll remind her that we are so lucky to have these protocols. I’ll remind her that we’ll be home again soon. And I’ll realize that as I am reminding her, I am also reminding myself.  It is a true act of mental gymnastics to stay focused on staying positive. I literally imagine myself walking down a tree lined path.  If my mind starts to go dark, I jump back on the path and keep looking forward.   This summer, I came to a slow bend in the path and as I rounded the corner, I realized that all of the sudden I could start to see the end of this nightmare.  It’s far in the distance but I can see it. I can feel it. We are passing milestones.  We are getting there!  We will do it! ROAR!