So we are plowing our way through the second half of the 4th stage of Chemotherapy. This stage is called Delayed Intensification and the first half is a mini repeat of the very first stage of chemo that Angelica went through and the second half is a mini repeat of the 2nd stage of chemotherapy.
These two weeks that we are/have been working on are quite intensive. Angelica gets a Lumbar Puncture with some chemo injected into her spinal fluid on Tuesdays. She also gets another “heavy hitter” chemo med on Tuesday along with yet another chemotherapy medicine that she receives for 4 days in a row, Tues, Wed, Thurs, and Fri. She repeats this schedule for 2 weeks and then the last 2 weeks of this stage involve a weekly shot of a chemo drug called Vincristine and another dose of another chemo drug called PEG-L-asperiginase. The PEG is the one that gets injected intra-muscularly into both thighs….not fun.
If all goes according to plan and schedule, she should be starting the next round on February the 8th.
This current stage that she’s in can be a bit tough. Angelica feels quite icky after her “big” Tuesday of fun and that carries on as the week goes on.
The LP can give her a headache. The Cyclophosphamide can cause a whole host of nasty side effects and the Cytarabine (the one that’s given for 4 days in a row, 3 days off, then another 4 days in a row) builds up in your system the longer you take it.
We’ve managed to make it almost through the entire first week. Tomorrow starts the second week of this treatment. Every chemo drug has a high point where the drug is at it’s most toxic, that is called the Nadir. The drugs that she’s currently hit their nadir at about 7-10 days. This means that the drugs that she received last Tuesday are starting to hit their high point. Because she’s taking the drugs on back to back weeks, the effects start to build on top of each other. By the end of this week/beginning of next, Angelica’s counts should be very low and may still be heading down for another week.
We would expect that her counts would be very, very, VERY low over the next two weeks.
One side effect of these current meds is that they can cause fevers. And, any fever is an automatic trip to the hospital. Another side effect of these meds is that her counts could go to low and sometimes when your counts are too low…..you can get a neutropenic fever. Again, with the free pass to the hospital…..
Obviously, we don’t want a free pass to the hospital. We don’t want a medically induced fever. We don’t want a neutropenic fever and we definitely don’t want an infection based fever. So we are praying for Angelica to stay healthy over the next couple of weeks.
Her spirits are high, and she’s doing quite well, emotionally. Her friends keep in contact with her and I’m so thankful that she has a couple of AMAZING girlfriends who are such a great encouragement to her. Geli is working hard to stay on top of her school work, most of the time…..she is a teenager and often would rather be playing on her iPod Touch than plowing through Socials homework. But she is doing really well….especially considering that she is in the French Immersion Program.
We are hoping that with the next stage of chemo that she’ll be able to attend a bit of school. She was able to go to school quite a bit the last time she received Methotrexate.
We have managed to stay out of the hospital since November and it’s been amazing. Not that our time has been all lollipops and roses, but it’s been so nice to attempt to have things as “stable” as they could be.
The stress level in the house seems to be a bit lower. Josiah has had probably the most noticeable change over the past 2 months. He is sort of sleeping better. He is not wigging out, as much. One of the nicest aspects…..he is no longer peeing himself 25 times a day. He went from almost potty trained to mostly completely not potty trained and now….he’s doing better than he was before the diagnosis. He has definitely calmed down a lot and I believe it has a lot to do with things being a bit more calm and stable around here. He is 3 and while that brings its own set of challenges, reducing the “crazy” in the house has really helped him to be at peace, which in turn helps us to be more at peace and for that, we are so thankful.
Jeremy is just Jeremy and we are waiting for him to get some testing done in regards to his unique talents and abilities. His unique-ness allows him to be a bit self-focused and self-absorbed; and while his intensity feeds off the stress or peace in the house, for the most part, he is doing okay.
Xani is struggling. I’m not sure what to do. I’m not even sure how to talk about it all or what to do with it all. We had a good talk on the weekend and I’m hoping that it helps her some. Mentally and emotionally this is all a bit much for her and I think that the stress has caught up with her, physically. She’s been so sick over the past month. It’s just not normal.
We do have all the kids booked into see our family Doctor next week and it will be good to get a check up for all of them.
Jon and I still feel like we are going at a million miles an hour and these 2 weeks of treatment don’t really help with that. Often, the kids will all be put down for the night and we’ll have the opportunity to “spend some time together” and instead, we’ll just go to bed because we are just so tired. Going to bed at 8:30-9pm makes you feel like you are a million years old especially when you wake up the next morning and don’t feel rested. Ah well, it’s only a time, right???
We are slowly making our way through this. It feels like it’s been FOREVER ago that we found out about the diagnosis and it feels like we have FOREVER to go, but we are more than half way through that THAT is awesome!
One day at a time and we’ll make it through this.
Thank you for standing with us and encouraging us and supporting us. We are so thankful to have you in our lives.