Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Toxic tolerances

Another round of "classes" today to prepare us for the three Consolidation cycles, each of which will include Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT).

Talitha will be admitted to the ICS floor at the PCMC this Friday at 9am.

On Friday and Saturday, she'll receive two chemotherapy drugs--Carboplatin and Thiotepa--in high enough doses to eliminate all of her bone marrow. Then she'll have a rest day on Sunday.

Unlike the other chemo drugs, Thiotepa clears the body through the skin so Talitha will be bathed three times a day until Monday (to avoid skin burns from the exiting chemo) at which point she will receive an infusion of her stem cells meant to rescue her by re-populating the bones throughout her body with new bone marrow.

Talitha will be restricted to her hospital room from the time she is admitted on Friday until she is engrafted (i.e. ANC = 500). Engrafting takes a minimum of two weeks but we have been warned to expect three--unless there are even further delays from serious complications.

Tali's heart, liver, and kidneys are still functioning at normal levels. Her hearing is still good although the most recent test results indicate some conductive hearing loss in the lower sound registry due to fluid in the ear. Her hearing remains the highest risk especially from Carboplatin. We feel strongly that Talitha's organs and hearing have been preserved thus far because of the faith and prayers of so many.

Thank you.

Please pray for Talitha's ears that they might continue to hold up even under the heavy chemo doses hitting her this Friday and Saturday.

The information we've received this week really is overwhelming to digest. A certain anxiousness has been building this whole week and there have been plenty of fresh tears. The Lord keeps reassuring us and has helped quiet our fears and trust in Him to see us through this next phase just as He did with the Induction cycles.

So tonight we are feeling more peaceful.

The cancer has been responding well to treatment so far. The tumor is not visable on the most recent brain scan although the hydrocephalus is still just as visable as it was at the end of December.

The number of cancer cells present in the spinal fluid is quite a bit less than in January. We would've preferred that the tumor no longer be putting off seeds into the spinal fluid but we are hopeful that this next phase of treatment will finish the job.

The doctor told us that it would be easy to kill all the cancer in Talitha if they weren't worried about killing everything else in her body. Different parts of the body have different toxic tolerances that create the parameters of how toxic the chemo can be.

One of the first major toxic tolerance barriers you run into when fighting cancer is the bone marrow. But since they now have a bank of Talitha's own stem cells to rescue her with by replacing the bone marrow, they can now go beyond that barrier and fight the cancer more aggressively until they reach the next toxic tolerance barriers--the nearly irreplaceable kidneys, liver, and heart.

We're grateful for a couple more nights of preparation and rest.

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