September 12, 2011: Consolidation Underway

by Georgia

I know life is getting a little more “normal” because I am back to my old procrastinating ways! I have about 8 unfinished posts to tackle, a slew of “thank-you” cards to write, a number of house organizing projects, wedding photos to edit (that is the subject of another post!) and a handful of undone errands. I’m happy to say that, for the time being, “wallowing” has been taken off my list. My handy little kitchen chalkboard has even awoken from it’s dormancy to tell me what to do every morning. I can barely contain my enthusiasm for having a looming “To-Do” list again that does not include, “Stop all other activities and be miserable about Elsa’s cancer.”

Notice: No wallowing.

Now for some treatment information since I know that is why most people are here reading.

We are on Day 53 of her cancer treatment.

We had a 9 day delay in starting the next phase of treatment. These delays are normal, but frustrating when all you want to do is get this crap over with. Elsa’s bone marrow was pretty severely depressed after 29 days of the Induction onslaught so it took her awhile to “make counts” in order to start the next phase. Whenever I talk about “making counts,” it means that we are waiting for her ANC (the # that tells us the strength of her immune system) to reach a certain level where it is high enough for the next onslaught. In this case, they wanted her to be above 750 in order to start Consolidation. We had two visits where we went in, prepared for chemo, but they sent us home with a “Sorry, no chemo today.” We called it our “Chemo Vacation,” and you’ve got to love a chemo vacation, even if it is unplanned. Finally, she made counts on Tuesday, September 6th.

We are now on Day 7 of the 2nd phase of treatment called “Consolidation.”

Consolidation is considered one of the easiest phases throughout treatment and is certainly the easiest phase for the next few months. Thus, we are trying to enjoy ourselves heartily before things get ugly again. Here is what the Consolidation schedule looks like:

-Vinchristine IV (into her port) on Day 1
-Methotrexate IT (into her spine) on Days 1, 8, and 15
-Mercaptopurine (oral chemo – also called “6-MP”) by mouth every night for 29 days.

Easy, right!? I know it sounds nuts, but by chemo standards, it really is a breeze. Two of those drugs are known enemies to us (the Vinchristine and Methotrexate) so we are already pretty experienced in dealing with their side effects. She gets sedatives during the spinal taps so those go pretty smoothly now. So far, the 6-MP hasn’t been giving us too many issues except for a pretty marked decrease in her appetite. All in all, except for the baldy head, she doesn’t really look or act sick for the time being.

Working on another post: Consolidation In Pictures. Coming soon!

For now, I leave you with this blurry, but aggressive dose of cuteness:

Just hanging at the Stevensons.