November 9, 2009 Despite being somewhat fatigued, Tanner continues to do well under this deluge of chemo, which proves that I will never understand this whole process. Seems like the simplest thing (steroids) takes her completely out and then she does well under the heaviest treatments. She definitely does not have her normal energy level; she spends a good portion of the day sitting or lying down, but she is still able to get out and ride a bike or play briefly on a playground. She is having a little bit of nausea, but it is very controllable with zofran. We are so grateful.
Although we’re ecstatic she’s feeling so well, there is still this weird creepy feeling; we know this chemo is designed to kill everything that hasn’t been killed to date, so her counts are most certainly plummeting, despite her feeling pretty well. These are dangerous times as she will be very susceptible to infection. We are holding our breath to see if we can make it though the remainder of DI (Delayed Intensification) without another hospital stay or a life-threatening infection.
I’ve been administering a daily IV chemo called ARA-C to Tanner and she is taking a daily oral chemo (TG) as well. Tomorrow is her last dose of the IV chemo until Thursday, when we will go to clinic. There, they will check her counts and give her another dose of ARA-C. Then we will administer a dose-a-day for three days afterwards. She will finish taking the TG oral chemo in 10 more days and then that is the end of chemo for this phase. The remaining two weeks are for counts recovery as neutrapenia (neutraphils below 1000) is described by the doctor as “inevitable” during this phase. Tanner’s neutraphils on Friday were at 1100, just 100 above what they needed to be to start this last two weeks of treatment, so we expect them to be very low by the end of this week. Scary stuff, to say the least.
So, we’re laying low at the Page house. We’re really not taking her anywhere these days; just trying to make it through to long-term maintenance and, hopefully, a great increase in freedom. We’re even keeping Jake out of school when her counts are low to try to prevent him bringing anything home to her.
I didn’t realize how little actual chemo she had left in this phase until today. The chemo roadmaps they give us are sometimes a little difficult to read and I thought the chemo would last the whole next month, but the last two weeks are reserved for counts recovery so we can then begin Long-Term-Maintenance. I had a moment of disbelief… could this day we’ve been working towards since June be almost here? I want to celebrate, but would seem to be tempting fate. It’s just 10 more days of chemo, but her counts will take a little while to recover so it’s a month-long or more period where she will be very susceptible. It’s a little like a minefield and I feel the tension of making our way through with setting off a bomb.
So, we’ll do what we have done so often during this whole process… we will choke back our fear and take it one day at a time.
Maybe we should just start over and ignore everything I’ve written prior to this tonight. Here’s my new post: Today was a good day.
That’s all we need to know for now.