Monday, January 18, 2010

First day of Chemo

Talitha was in good spirits most the day. She's not very excited to be back in the hospital but we expected as much.

Her new room is in the ICS which stands for Immuno Compromise Services (or something pretty close to that). They use extra precautions in this area because the children are not able to fight infection when their white blood cell count is knocked down.

We learned soon after getting settled that Talitha will likely be here for seven days instead of three because they start with a hard hitting chemotherapy drug called Methotrexate which must be completely out of her system (which can take as long as 3-5 days) before they can proceed with the Cisplatin, Cyclophosphamide, and Etoposide. They were able to give herVincristine at the same time as the Methotrexate.

It took most the day to prepare Talitha's PH levels and urine outputs in order to proceed. The chemotherapy started this evening about 6PM with an injection of Vincristine followed by a 4-hour IV of Methotrexate.

There are 3 chemo induction cycles scheduled. Each ideally will last for 21 days--7 days of chemo injections at the hospital followed by two weeks of recovery at home. Please pray that she may be spared complicating infections and that her white blood cell count will recover quickly so that she can stay as close to the schedule as possible.

Following the 3 induction cycles will be 3 more cycles (duration unknown because it depends on how Talitha responds) called Consolidation. During this period, different chemo drugs will be introduced that knock out the bone marrow requiring the need for Stem Cell Rescue (that's where they inject Talitha with her own stem cells that will have been harvested during cycles 2 and 3 of the Induction period.) Her own stem cells will literally rescue her in the later therapy cycles by building back her bone marrow for the necessary production of white and red blood cells and platelets.

If this is all very confusing, that's because it is all very confusing.

We are trying to learn as fast as we can so that we can be as supportive of Talitha as possible. We also are trying to understand what the new "normal" will be during therapy so we can best support our other five children.

We are so grateful for the kind and loving support our family is recieving. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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