We’re halfway through the 24 week treatment plan!
The short version: 12 more weekly chemo sessions and 20 daily radiation sessions.
Here’s the longer version:
Tomorrow starts week 13, also known as the start of Cycle 5 as well as the begining of radiation.
Wednesday is the day! We’re scheduled to start with lab work (plus a little extra blood testing since it’s the beginning of a cycle -they check some levels at the beginning of each cycle, but fewer things with the 2 blood tests in between).
30 minutes after the blood draw is Joanna’s appointment with her oncologist or PA. That’s followed by chemo – 2 drugs instead of 3!
Once that’s done we’re scheduled to leave the Jimmy Everest Center at Children’s Hospital and drive over to the Stephenson Cancer Center, it’s not far.
Once there, she’ll get radiation session #1 of 20. These are set to be daily in a row (except not the weekend).
We’re excited to be done with one of the chemo drugs (it required all-day hospital admissions, pre-admission covid tests, and post-chemo shots at home)! Having that one of the schedule is great. Yet, the schedule is daunting, as are the likely short and long-term effects of these treatments.
And, all this treatment is happening in facilities with staff that is stretched beyond our imagination. They stay cheerful and helpful, but they are doing lots of extra work due to lots of different reasons. And, having an immunocompromised child in a climate of over-burdened hospitals is scary. Seeing her treatment hospital on a list of ones that ambulances are to divert from is scary.
Things like colds and germs that may not affect the rest of us can be significant for her. One of the shocking instructions we got at the beginning was that a fever = ER visit, with likely 48 hours admission. Not something to look forward to. So, no, we don’t live in fear, but we are living in caution, and doing what we can to keep her as healthy as possible though this. Which ends up resulting in some isolation and loneliness.
So, ready or not, week 13 here we come!