Last week, Hank went in for treatments everyday for 90 minutes as his medicine was slowly injected. Each day, they checked Hank's counts and as the week progressed, his hemoglobin levels dropped. On Friday, we were cleared by his doctors to take a trip, not sure when or if we would get a chance for a trip again anytime soon... or at all in the next year... So off we went, to rolling hills Iowa. It was a long ride, stopping for the night along the way. But it was so rewarding to finally land in Iowa, with family eager to see Hank... and his family. :)
We got there on Saturday afternoon and left Tuesday morning. We had off and on sprinkles and sunshine. It was a great visit with family. The kids all enjoyed themselves greatly and I may or may not have sanitized J&S's home. :) Corin is now to the age where the memories are for sure sticking with him, and Hank too... so we were incredibly thankful to the Lord that Hank's counts remained high enough for us to be able to travel.
Hank is really picking up on his "dos and don'ts" of being a cancer patient. He frequently holds out his hands and admits to having touched something, waiting for us to request that he go wash his hands. Other times he will apply hand sanitizer without us even asking. At the few restaurants we went to, I would hand Hank a hand sanitizing wipe, which he would proceed to wipe not only his hands... but his table and chair.
He has also become vigilant about his drinking water. He announced to one waiter, "I can't have tap water, only bottled water." The waiter asked Taylor and I if that was true and we both shook our heads yes, smiles on our faces. If Hank is unsure about something, he has begun asking. It is a huge relief to see him take on some of the "maintenance" responsibilities.
His hair is still falling out, a few hundred hairs still hanging on. Tonight I gave Corin a haircut, and Hank asked me to shave his head bald. Corin was shocked... "Why would you want to be bald?" (We didn't chime in that he soon would be anyways) and Hank replied with " I want to be bald... I like it." So his transition to no hair will be pretty easy then. Good to know. ;) Hank has lost a little weight and his face is looking thinner than before treatments ever started... he is looking more and more like a bigger kid. I think back to the things I remember from being 4 or 5. I remember few things from that time, but the ones I do, were scary memories... like our car sliding on the ice... or having to get a huge shot before kindergarten... or almost falling on my head at the dance studio that tried to teach gymnastics and thought they could spot me in a back-handspring. I think about when Hank grows older... what will he remember from this time? I really hope it will be the good times... like when he got to go on a road trip to Iowa with his family. But if it is the bad times, I hope he remembers it in the light of Truth. I hope he sees God's hand in his healing. I hope he asks to see pictures, and have mom and dad tell him the story of when he had cancer, and that we will be able to cry tears of joy as we recount the many ways Jesus saw him through his treatments and healing and full remission. I pray this will be our hearts and attitudes, but mostly, I pray the Lord will use this journey to bring Hank to an understanding of who Christ is... and subsequently, place his trust and hope securely in his loving Savior's hands. Sweet Hank... praying for healing, praying for Hope.
I leave you with photos.