Sunday, November 21, 2010

Here I go again...

but this time with Blogger. I guess it is just that you (or I in this situation) find comfort in what I know.

I took a break from blogging for a while. For one I just really struggled to get back into it. For so long blogging was all about life with leukemia and child cancer and hospital visits and neutrophils and blood test results and not much else that when we reached the point where Bianca's port was removed, life felt a bit too ordinary, almost boring and certainly not newsworthy. Not that we're complaining. Most definitely not. But when you experience intense and "on the go" for such a long time, it is hard to find yourself again afterwards. It is challenging finding the normal again and we are certainly getting there especially now that hospital visits are less frequent.

I didn't really think about blogging at this stage to be honest. Life here is pretty busy and I find now with December and the Christmas season right around the corner it feels pretty hectic. But then my one online friend Sharon recently asked if I stopped blogging and so I started thinking about it again. "Maybe it is not such a bad idea". So here I am, trying it out again :-).

I thought I would start with just a bit of an update on where we are at at the moment and I'll answer some of the questions we've been getting to date:

How is Bianca? Is she all better now?

Bianca is doing really well at the moment. She reached one year off treatment in September (and in fact is 14 months off treatment now). There is still a risk of relapse and in all honesty we don't know 100% if she is "cured" as yet, but the first year off treatment is the most critical with about 10% chance of relapse and we've passed that milestone. So that is a huge relief for us. She recently had to get her MMR immunisations again because after the treatment Bianca didn't retain immunity against measles and mumps and at this stage I think we have reached the point where we feel she is protected enough against things like chickenpox and measles that it doesn't become a panic situation each time we become aware of somebody who gets the illnesses.

How often does Bianca still visit her doctor?

Bianca is currently on 2-monthly visits. During these visits Bianca gets a blood test and she sees her doctor for a check-up. She will be on 2-monthly visits until around September 2011 when she has reached the 2 year off treatment mark. Next year (sometime in 2011) Bianca will also get another ultrasound of her kidneys. During her treatment Bianca had kidney stones and this resulted in a slight abnormality with something to do with her kidneys and it is not something we are overly worried about at this stage so will just do another check next year. Once Bianca reaches September 2011, she should (if all go well) go onto 3-monthly visits for the following year.

Wow, the kids look like they have grown so much!

Yes they certainly have :-). Caitlyn is now 3 and will be 4 in February. I can hardly believe it. That means in 1 year and 3 months my little girl will be going to big school and because her birthday is at the beginning of the school year pretty much I expect she'll probably start in Year 1 as opposed to Year zero. And for those of you not from New Zealand, here kids start school typically around the time they turn 5. Depending on when their birthday is in the year, they will either start in Year 1 or if it is later on in the year might be in a Year zero / new entrant class to start off with. Of course legally you could wait until your child's 6th birthday, but I expect Caitlyn will be ready and wanting to start big school when she turns 5.

Bianca is now nearly 7.5. I can hardly believe that she is nearly done with Year 2 at school and will start Year 3 next year. It sometimes feels just like yesterday when she started as a 5 year old. Bianca absolutely loves reading. It certainly is one of her strong points and she reads more or less at a 13 year old level. Her favourite books at the moment are the books from the Goosebumps series and she is so proud that she read a 123 page book in 3 days. I was quite stunned because I don't think I read books like these (or even as fast as this) when I was 7. And best of all - Bianca is finally able to make real ponytails. She is so happy about this :-). But I'll certainly write more about the kids later on in this blog.

Have you settled in the Wellington area?

It is hard to believe we have been back in the Wellington area for nearly 6 months (I think). We are certainly enjoying being back and more specifically enjoying living on the Kapiti Coast. Waikanae is really peaceful and quiet. It is small, but certainly has everything we need close enough around us. I have been playing around with trying to do a bit of vegetable gardening and it has been quite relaxing discovering this. I believe the Kapiti Coast has a great climate for growing things and so far so good. But I'll write about my gardening adventures a little bit later on.

Anyway, this is just a little bit about where we are at. Feel free to ask whatever questions you might have in the comments section :-)

And with this I'm closing off this first post and we'll see how we go along!


Annie - Steven's mom said...

Oh how wonderful to have you back blogging again! I am really happy that its all good with Bianca, even though it will always be a part of your life - thank goodness the leukemia is a much much smaller part these days. May it get much much smaller :)

I have thought of you often and wondered how you were getting through the 'excitements over' part of life. Glad you weathered it well. Now I look forward to hearing what life is like on the other side of the globe.

Glad you popped in, Lea

Love and light

BridgetPirie said...

Hi Lea,
Great to read your update, as I am always wondering how Bianca is doing healthwise.
Here is a question for you...How is Bianca's eating now? Pete is eating heaps more, but mostly the same old stuff.
Caitlin is looking so pretty in her Ballet gear.
Anyway, love to you all.

Sharon said...

Yay! So glad you have started blogging again. I missed you and the updates about your family!