Chemotherapy begins

Eleanor's first lab results confirmed 88% of her white blood cells were leukemia cells.

At 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 25th, Eleanor was put under anesthesia again this time to install a central line into the superior vena cava of her heart.  This will allow her to receive medicines, fluids, and chemo but also allow her blood to be drawn without any additional "pokes".  Chris and I walked alongside her bed as they rolled her back for surgery no less scared than before knowing the risks of this type of procedure.  She was very curious about where they were taking her asking many questions along the way.  Chris and I were especially nervous knowing that we would have to leave her as soon as we got to the room. Once there we both hugged her, told her we loved her, and explained what was going on and why we had to leave.  She started crying and asking us to stay with her which completely broke our hearts.  The sweet staff comforted her as best they could and explained to us how quickly the anesthesia would take effect and that she would be ok.  We couldn't help but burst into tears as soon as we left the room.  We waited in a large waiting area anxiously watching the screen to see IN RECOVERY appear by her patient number.  About 45 minutes later one of the doctors came out telling us that she had done well and where to meet her.  We walked beside her as they wheeled her back to 813.

There were so many familiar faces in the waiting area, hallway, and beside her door. Family, friends, and church family that have been praying for us and offering their support.  Seeing them all gave us a feeling of comfort but also reminded us of the severity of this situation. Eleanor has LEUKEMIA.  It still hasn't completely sunk in.  

A couple of hours later, the doctors came in to check her central line and discuss her chemo regimen.  There would be 3 different types of chemotherapies used at certain, well calculated times.

-Cytarabine 2x a day for 10 days
-Daunorubicin 1x a day on days 1,3,5
-Etopiside 1x a day on days 1-5

The doctors requested we start chemo immediately.  We agreed.

A new kind of anxiety set in. Chemotherapy- toxins running through my child's body that can kill as much as cure. Chris and I both had many questions. What side effects will she experience? How often will she be nauseated or vomiting?  When will she lose her hair? 

What do we do if this chemo doesn't work?

Our sweet nurse, Danielle, explained how she would get everything started as she put on a protective gown over her scrubs and chemo protective gloves.  Yes, chemo is that toxic.  So toxic, in fact, that Danielle also suggested we wear gloves when touching any of Eleanor's bodily fluids, especially me as it could cause complications with my pregnancy.  Chris and I watched as her first dose of Cytarabine filled her line and ran into her body, so incredibly afraid of what might happen next.  It was 3:00 p.m.  Her Cytarabine ran for an hour, next came the Etopiside, then the Daunorubicin.  3 chemos running back to back attacking everything it could find in her bloodstream.  Because Leukemia is a cancer of the blood it runs through her entire body, not isolated in one place like a tumor.  The thought that my child has cancer ALL over her body is the most sickening feeling.  Once she finished the chemos she was hooked up to fluids to reduce the risk of tumor lysis.  This is where the dying cancer cells release harmful toxins to the bloodstream causing damage to organs.  With Eleanor's high percentage of leukemia cells this was a constant concern throughout this first round.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.