Friday, June 27, 2014

They Don't Call It Chemo

To my son Tommy,

I looked up Remicade (the brand name for infliximab) on the internet today. It seems, no matter the source, no one describes it as chemotherapy. But we are here today at St Joseph's Cancer Institute having a chemical drug therapy infused into your mom for four hours that is supposed to go in and block or kill a bunch of cells. That sure sounds like chemo to me, but perhaps I am being too general with my definition and chemo is supposed to be used specifically for the treatment of cancer and not for TNF blockers and such.

Either way, the effects (or should I say side effects) of this treatment, much like the Humira we tried in the past, are pretty harsh. Your mother stayed up the whole night worrying herself about how she will react. "Don't worry" and "everything will be fine" were phrases I didn't even bother trying. I knew they would offer only empty comfort. Experience has taught her that what ever the treatment option is, she should prepare for the worst case scenarios with side effects. And with most of her side effect symptoms before, she has been met with lack luster concern for what she is going through. Hopefully this time your mom's doctors will watch her more closely and monitor for all the possible side effects or at least believe her and act upon her reports. All I could do last night was offer a gentle touch to let your mom know that I am with her, no matter how alone she feels.

That is where we are at anyhow. We are at the point that hope and prayers are what we seem to be able to do. We are at the point where we petitions Saints and loved ones passed for their prayers to God. We are the point that, if this doesn't work, your mom is looking into using hookworms and such in what might be an off-the-wall hail Mary type desperation therapy.

Yet somewhere deep inside, somewhere through the doubt and concern, as I feel the rosary in my hand and pray the prayers that I have known my entire life with new vigor, a thought comes to me to comfort me. Know that you and Cassie and Tommy are loved. So I say, "Audrey Maggio, pray for us" as I finish my last decade and open up my Laudate app to see if I can find some prayers to Saint Timothy the patron of those with stomach disorders.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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