I had to pick off a few hairs from my lips after giving Yousuf a peck on the top of his head. I noticed his hair starting to spike up as it did last time right before shedding. He wants constant hugs and to be held most of the day. He's still in a lot of pain and barely finds enjoyment in the activities he once did.
I expected bad news from our doctors visit today but, alhamdulilah, was not that bad at all. Today's visit was just a routine check-up to see how his counts were. No chemo-therapy administered. An usual demand of blood transfusions is needed at this time but Yousuf's hemoglobin levels was at a standstill from last weeks count. However, his ANC (the disease fighting white blood cells) were low but that is to be expected. I told the doctor how bad Yousuf was doing and she could see for herself. He was trembling and clingy to his parents with many complaints of aches and pains throughout his body. The Dr. said this is what I kid looks like in this phase and he is actually doing pretty good. She said we are in the lower depths of this treatment right now. His counts could drop even more this week, too.
I had to hold my tears back a bit and just asked the doctor, "I know this might sound like a stupid question but if there is no more leukemia in his blood why are we wiping out his blood like this?" Dr. Margolin said, "Because there is leukemia still in his blood it's just that we can't detect it." Then I asked, "Then how do you know what you are doing is killing them or not?" She said that it's hard to say and she knows that, in the process, a lot of healthy cells die but they will always come back and we are hoping that the leukemia cells will not. She started to rehearse the high rates and statistics again. She seemed to be a little more sympathetic than her usual 'factual self' though. I just sat there with an ache in my chest, "Three more years?"