The next day Stephanie had a hard time concentrating. She’d never seen anyone get chemo and she was worried. After school Brett was there to pick them up. He taught at the high school and they got out an hour before the Middle. “Ready?” Emmy looked ok but Stephanie was white as a sheet.
“Yes, sir.” Emmy climbed in the back of his SUV.
“Not really” Stephanie was honest as she buckled her seat belt in the front. Brett reached out and took her hand.
She smiled at him but couldn’t shake the butterflies in her stomach. “Emmy do you want something to eat on the way?”
“Are you sure we won’t have time on the way back”
“I shouldn’t eat. That way there will be less to come back up later.” The two adults understood but weren’t sure they were ready for this.
At the hospital Emmy checked in and they headed to the clinic. Holly was the first person they saw. “Don’t you ever go home?” Stephanie hugged her.
“Occasionally.” She didn’t say that she tried to be here when Emmy came in. Today she was here more for Brett and Stephanie. Emmy knew how this was going to go but she knew that Stephanie and Brett were going to be nervous.
“So how’d the rest of the tournament go?”
“Great! We won the whole thing.” Emmy was proud of what the team had done.
“And you’re looking at the tourney MVP right here.” Brett loved to brag about her.
Holly held out a hand for a high five. “That’s awesome. And how did the stitches do?”
“Didn’t even notice them.”
She brushed Emmy’s hair back to take a look. “They look really good. Won’t be much of a scar at all.”
“Well let’s get this started. Practice tonight?”
“Yes at 6:00.”
“Then we better get moving. You guys coming?” Brett and Stephanie were hesitant.
“Its Ok. It’s not that bad. Holly explains everything.” Emmy was reassuring them since it was the 4th round she was an old pro. The others wondered how she’d done this alone the first time.
Holly really did explain everything and she was fast. She had the IV in and the drip started within 15 minutes. The medications that she received were fairly quick to give. Within the hour they were completely done and Holly removed the IV. “Brett would you mind applying pressure to this?”
“Hold it tight about ten minutes. We don’t want any repeats of the other night. Emmy bleeding all over the place.” Emmy only smiled her eyes already giving away the way she felt.
Over at the cabinet she pulled out several prescription papers. “OK here are the meds that she may or may not need. They are two different kinds of anti-nausea medicine. If one doesn’t work, try the other for the next dose. I’m praying that this one is easier, but just in case.” She nodded to Emmy and she nodded back.
“Now if she gets to the point she was at last week bring her in. In fact maybe even a little earlier. Emmy let them know before you pass out this time. OK?”
Emmy nodded. “Good luck with that.” Holly joked knowing that she wouldn’t tell them.
Emmy grabbed a few barf bags for the ride home but she only needed one. So far so good. At home she changed and headed back to the family room right as they got ready to walk out the door she took off running for the bathroom. Stephanie and Brett stood near the door and nearly cried for what she was going through. After a few minutes she emerged “OK?”
Practice was OK Stephanie watched her and made sure to sub her a lot. The two teams they were playing this week were some of the weaker ones on the schedule so she hoped that Emmy wouldn’t have to play as much.
After practice she went home and went straight to bed. About nine o’clock they hear her run to the restroom again. They woke several more times during the night.
The rest of the week went much the same clinic after school then practice or a game and by Friday Brett and Stephanie completely understood Emmy’s behavior the previous week. They now understood what Dr. Hatcher had meant by riding the highs and lows. Chemo week was proving to be a low.
They whole week they seemed to be on the move. School, clinic, practice or games. They never got home before 7:00 and every night Emmy headed straight to bed. Then the weekend when the rest of the family just took it easy, Emmy found herself spending a lot of time in bed and the bathroom.
By Monday she felt horrible, but at clinic her numbers really weren’t that bad yet. So they waited for the transfusions. Emmy dragged herself through another week. The games and practices were mediocre and Brett and Stephanie knew that Emmy was paddling upstream.
The next Monday she was unable to hold down anything. Brett and Stephanie were getting nervous and Dr. Hatcher knew they were nearing the time when a decision had to be made about putting in a feeding tube to supplement the nutrition Emmy was not getting. That decision just like the central line would mean the end of the basketball season.
Dr. Hatcher offered her hope when he said he had one more thing to try. He showed Brett how to give Emmy an injection of anti-nausea medication. It was possible that the medication wasn’t working because not enough of it was actually staying in her stomach.
Monday night Emmy was a zombie, in part due to the new medication, and missed practice. Then she missed school on Tuesday and Wednesday and while she returned to school on Thursday coach didn’t let her play or practice all week. Thankfully they’d only had a game on Thursday. She sat on the sideline and watched. Her heart breaking that cancer was finally taking away the most important thing in her life.
The physical and emotional roller coaster of the week took hold of Emmy on Friday night. She’d gone with Stephanie to watch the boy’s home game after their practice and begun to cough a bit. After the game she’d gone to bed and when Brett checked on her he noticed she felt warm.
Waking her up they took it. At 101.2 they were nervous and called Dr. Hatcher. It was enough that they should bring her in. Emmy objected immensely, but in the end had no say. She spent 12 hours there while they ran blood work and pumped her full of fluids and another round of red blood cells and platelets. In the end it was just a virus, probably the common cold that felt more to her like the flu. They returned home by noon and she slept the rest of the weekend.
By Monday the cough and congestion were still there, but the fever was gone so Stephanie relented and let her go to school. This was the second recovery week and after the low of last week she needed to make the most of it. Both the team and her schoolwork had suffered last week. She had a big presentation due Friday for science and had barely gotten it started and the team had lost on Thursday to a descent, but not overly impressive team.
After this dose and the issues with side effects Dr. Hatcher had recommended working with a nutritionist. While she’d been there on Monday the lady had gone over some information about the effect food can have on the recovery time and the impact of the side effects. There were several recommendations for Emmy to try, like eating lots more protein since that would aid in energy production. One of the other recommendations was a lot more vitamin c. Oranges and orange juice were something that Emmy had always liked. These things did seem to help. By Friday of that week she was actually feeling better than she had in a while.
They played in a local tournament and Emmy finally played like she had at their tournament a few weeks ago. Who knew some protein shakes and eggs could have that effect.