Saturday, February 20, 2010


As we've been receiving more information about the harvest of stem cells that may be happening later next week, I'm starting to understand more of what these chemotherapy induction cycles are really all about.

I looked up the word "induction" in a dictionary and found the following among the definitions: "the act of inducing, bringing about, or causing."

Evidently, the induction phase is significantly about priming Talitha's body to hyper-produce stem cells in order to have sufficient harvest to freeze and store for when the "real" cancer fighting takes place during the consolidation phases. (If this is at all confusing to you, I'm right there with you.) The chemotherapy during induction is intended to drop the blood counts so low that the body has to begin serious production of the basic stem cells that grow into either white blood cells, red blood cells, or platelets depending on what the body signals it most needs.

The consolidation series calls for "high-dose chemotherapy" from drugs--different than what she currently is recieving--that are actually intended to completely ablate (kill) all her bone marrow. (And the hope is that it will have just as devastating an effect on the cancer.)

So, it seems the induction phase is all about weakening cells and prepping for stem cell harvest while the consolidation phase is all about killing cells and then rescuing/replacing the good ones.

(I need to ask a whole lot more questions. In a recent letter I read from Dr. Boyer, the Attending Physician in the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program to Tali's oncologist, Dr. Khatua, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Oncology it said among other highly complicated doctor-speak the following: "The parents [that's Audrey and me] asked appropriate questions, and understood the rationale and our plan to proceed with the research protocol." I guess that's his polite way of saying, "the parents drove me crazy with their endless lists of questions but I survived." Poor Dr. Boyer, he hasn't seen anything yet...)

Talitha is getting very tired as we move into the "tough" week. Your prayers mean everything to her and to us. Thank you for enduring with us.

We love you!

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