Vega had another blood test last Monday and her counts had recovered so she was cleared to have chemo and continue with Delayed Intensification. To start this part of the block she had to have neutrophils above 0.75 and hers where 0.84. All other bloods were fine, nothing to note there. On Tuesday we were at the Marsden for a very long day but everything went as smooth as it could. She had a lumbar puncture to receive her intrathecal methotrexate, followed by a drip of Cyclophosphamide (Mustard gas’ cousin), which due to its Kidney damaging side effects needs to be administered with a fluid IV over 4 hours. She also had the first of four doses of Cytarabine, aka the bloodkiller, and will be taking 6MP, Mercaptopurine every night at home for the next two weeks. All went well and she was in a good mood throughout the day, spending most of it in the playroom. We also met our consultant and discussed Long Term Maintenance. I think I have mentioned this before, the holy grail of chemotherapy, 12 weekly cycles repeating over and over. Still very much active chemotherapy but much less time intensive as these recent blocks have been. I shall dedicate another blog post to inform you exactly what Long Term Maintenance entails. Most importantly we have a rough date of completion for treatment. Maintenance cycles continue for exactly two years from the start of Escalating Capizzi- Vega started Capizzi in the end of May, 28th to be exact, so the end of all her treatment will be around the 28th May 2014.
Ok, I will let that sink in for a bit…..
With almost two years of this left, if at a hopefully more tolerable level for anyone involved, we are clearly in it for a long haul. I did ask our consultant when Vega would have her next bone marrow extraction to check for levels of cancer cells and was informed that Vega will only have one after the completion of the whole treatment. Until then we shall blind fire her with poison and hope that by the end it would have been enough.
Vega is well though at the moment, even after a week of cytarabines, she is in a good mood, nausea only persisted until Friday, and her appetite, although decreasing, is still good enough to not send me in a spin. I always notice how tolerable it all is when I do not think about why we are having to do all of this in the first place.
We are waiting for the nurses right now, to take bloods, ready for our day at the Marsden again tomorrow. Another lumbar puncture beckons, and more cytarabines. All in all I am quite pleased with our ‘tick off and hopefully never have to do this one again’ list- last week it was the Cyclo and by the end of this week it will be the Cytarabines, next week comes Vega’s last PEG.
And then we shall see if Maintenance really is the Holy Grail of Chemotherapy….