What are you doing….

New Year’s Eve — I seem to remember some very fond memories of this night in my past….

1. One year while in High School, I spent my New Year’s Eve rewinding all of my tapes (and I had a lot of them) to the beginning of side 1. What a better way to start the new year than right at the beginning? Yes, I am clearly a child of the 80’s. Other years I would spend with one of my best friend’s family, and my friend and I would sit in the corner and feast our eyes on the oddities of her clan. This included one woman who considered herself a “psychic stripper”. Fortunately I never had the chance to see her at work….

2. During several years of college, I would have friends from out of town visit me in Boston for the annual First Night. I think we did First Night festivities once, before realizing that there’s only so many ice sculptures, bad theatre and fireworks you can stand when it’s 30 degrees below zero. The latter years were spent with a good home-cooked feast, as well as the never-ending saga of a friend who seemed to get hit on by some wacko every time she set foot in the city for the holiday. This included my favorite, when a man approached her in the dairy isle at the store while we were buying the fixings for our New Year’s Eve dinner, and offered to smear her body with clam dip. She thankfully declined.

Those years are far behind, and even the concept of marking the occasion right now seems meaningless. But here I sit, hours before this ugly year transitions into one of equal unpleasantness. Vampmommy’s parent’s are entertaining Vampboy after a little dinner, and hopefully soon he’ll be off to sleepy-land so I can celebrate the holiday by dawning a surgical mask and gloves and giving him his chemo. In the meantime, I thought I’d provide you all with a little update.

We did spend the holidays at home — these current chemo cycles have proven easy to handle, meaning that Vampboy regained a great deal of himself these past few weeks. He’s eating, babbling, walking, and proving to be the model for your average toddler on the cusp of 2 years old — tantrums and all. Conveniently a stomach bug (at least that’s what we think it was) got him out of his frantic feasting, so we’ve continued to feed him through his tube and clean up the occasional vomit.

In some ways, however, having this “vacation” from the past six months of illness and drudgery is not as easy or relaxing as one would think. For one thing, he has all of his energy back, yet is not in a condition where we can just toss him back in school. For someone who is not a “stay at home kid” to be stuck at home has proven incredibly demanding on my wife and I. There is then the decrease in adrenaline and the lack of “day-to-day” drama — which gives us ample time to take a deep breath, and survey the vast swath of destruction that has become our life. For the first time since June Vampmommy and I have had a chance to think (and feel) about the scope of what we’re going through, and it has left us both very tired and not necessarily full of holiday cheer.

And the landscape is getting worse with the nasty topic of radiation therapy. You may recall that we had a rather unpleasant conversation about this component of Vampboy’s treatment a few months ago, and opted to withhold making the decision for awhile. Well, “awhile” has passed, and we are once again faced with having to choose a rather unpleasant treatment regimen without a whole lot of existing data on its safety. However, there are a few new facts in the mix; some good, some not-so:

1. The type of radiation therapy we were told about before (and promptly scared out of our minds about) is not the kind of therapy that is being recommended. Instead, a more focused, less dangerous form is being offered that promises to increase Vampboy’s chances of survival without turning him into a vegetable. There will still be side effects, and they will be of a long-term nature that enrages me to no end, but we’ll be learning more about those at a “big fat meeting” later this week with the entire team treating Vampboy.

2. If we decide to go ahead with radiation therapy, we would most likely also repeat the same chemo rounds that are indicated in the protocol with radiation — which means we’d spend six weeks back in “Induction Hell”. With radiation effects thrown in, this means six weeks with a very, VERY sick little boy.

3. About that six weeks — radiation is a daily procedure that would require Vampboy to be under anesthetic. Every day for six weeks is a huge logistical nightmare by itself — let alone the fact we are an hour from Boston and this would take place during the winter months.

We’re not yet sure what our choice will be, but this is what runs through our heads on this New Year’s Eve. Try as I might, when I look back on 2006, I cannot call to mind any memories before this all began. That life seems lost to me — and the future that we had envisioned is just as obsolete. So, we look forward to 2007 with some sense of apathy — same shit, different year, I guess. However, it will no doubt be a big year — just not big in a “Best Year Ever” sort of way. Not even close….

I hope you all look back on 2006 with a bit more fondness than we do, I hope that you appreciate how thankful I am to have you as a reader. Here’s hoping that my post on December 31st, 2007 is more upbeat than this one. Maybe that night I’ll even pull my remaining cassette tapes out of storage and rewind them!


About vampdaddy

Father...Sage...Artist...The Weird One...I am many things to many people. View all posts by vampdaddy

5 responses to “What are you doing….

  • Heather

    Thank you for your reflection about the past and a view into the present. (Tonight, I am going to balance my checkbook and go to bed early. My roommate is traveling so it’s just me and the cats.)…Considering what you are going through and the fact that the Psychic Stripper is one of the few members of my family that hasn’t died or fallen into a sinkhole of despair, I am strangely wistful for those moments in the corner…I, too, wish you a more hopeful, naturally joyous post on New Years’ Eve, 2007. My thoughts are with you all for the days that lie ahead.

    With love,

  • Papa Bradstein

    This was not my favorite year either, but for reasons that pale in comparison to what you’re going through. So I’m hoping that a year from now that I’ll be reading about your happier reflections on the past year and which tapes you rewound while waiting for the new year. You and the whole Vampfamily are in my thoughts every day, and you have my best wishes for the years ahead.

  • pete

    Oh, if only I still had the paper hat made of recycled materials that doubled as a lamp shade for a few years….

    Here’s wishing you all a 2007 that’s infinitely better and healthier than 2006. Clam dip not included.

  • goldenbicep

    Boy that put my slightly melancholy New Year in perspective.
    Best wishes for more happy and hopeful times in 2007.

  • Anonymous

    2007 ……. Can not believe it!

    I pray that each day in our new year brings you better news than the day before!

    We had some friends/neighbors over on New Years eve. Declans picture is hanging on our fridge. Close friends know of the troubles you all are facing…… the others I just left the info out and listened to all the comments about what an ADORABLE great nephew I have. He is truly full of personality – I just want to hug him and play on the floor – he looks like so much FUN – I am sure you are enjoying hearing those giggles.

    You are probably sick of hearing this but I will say it again….. you are fabulous parents….. much strength is needed to help Declan through this and you are doing a wonderful job. Please do take care of yourself too.

    Aunt Vanessa

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