Thursday, September 29, 2011


Sorry its been so long since I've updated I just haven't really felt like it...

Monday I started my new treatment cycle called consolidation one. It's the first step in making sure that they get rid of the .01% of leukemia cells that they didn't get in the first stage of treatment (called induction). That does mean that induction successfully got rid of 99.9% of my leukemia cells which technically means I'm in remission! That sounds more exciting than it actually is. It's exactly what was supposed to happen after induction. Now the hard part is getting rid of the rest of the leukemia and making sure it doesn't come back. That's what's gonna take the longest amount of time and that's what I'll be working on for the next year. But remission is certainly good news and it means I'm on the right track!

Now back to Monday:
-I had my old central line removed and new one put it. The new one doesn't have chords hanging off of it like the old one did which makes it much easier to shower. The new one lays under my skin and once it completely heals, you won't even be able to tell it's there. The only bad part about it is that whenever the need to access it, they have to stick me with a needle, but they did give me a numbing cream that I can put on before I go in for treatment which should make it better.
-After the surgery, I got a new chemo called cytarabine which needed an hour of fluids via IV before hand. The drugs ran for 3 hours and then I also needed another hour of fluids via IV afterwards.
-I also got a blood transfusion because my hemoglobin numbers were down. That also ran for about an hour but they were able to do it while I was getting the chemo.
-Needless to say, Monday was a long day. I got to the hospital around 7:30 AM for the hour-long surgery which didn't actually start until around 12:00 PM and we left the hospital around 8:00 PM. Most of the time was spent waiting for things to actually happen.

-I got to the hospital around 10:30 AM and was immediately sent to the bed area where they give treatments. I was very surprised that they didn't make me wait to get bloods drawn or anything (which they usually do). I was happy to get the day started as quickly as possible.
-The very nice nurse Chris started me on IV fluids which I needed an hour of before getting another new chemo called methotrexate which ran for 4 hours.
-Chris also gave me a chemo called pegaspargase which was two shots: one in each leg. They hurt a lot for like 2 minutes but then I was fine. I also needed to observed for 5 hours after the peg shots to make sure I didn't have a reaction to them. I didn't... 
-The peg shots and the methotrexate started around the same time so I ended up leaving the hospital around 4:00 PM. Not too bad...

-Got to the hospital around 10:00 AM and was again told to go straight to the bed area. yay
-I got Chris again as my nurse (apparently I'm her favorite patient and she requested me :))
-I got the same cytarabine as I did on monday along with the hour of IV fluids before and after.
-The also gave me another chemo called vincristine which is just a 15 second push that I've gotten before.
-Everything didn't really start until 11:00ish so we left the hospital around 4:30 PM. Again, not bad.

As you can see, I've gotten a lot of chemo in the last few days. I feel pretty tired but I'm still not neutropenic and the good news is, I don't have to go back to the hospital until Monday and that's just for blood work. More good news is that my last chemo for the month is next Thursday and its just a quick push of vincristine :) They do say I'll probably have to come in for transfusions and spinal taps and whatnot but we'll play that by year. After this month consolidation 2 starts which I'm assuming will be a repeat of consolidation 1. I also started steroids again after a quick 4-day hiatus. The steroids are actually another form of chemo and I'm on a much higher dose this time so prepare for crazy eating and crazy emotions. woohooo :)

I know this update was very medically-focused so feel free to comment if you have any questions! Also let me know what you want me to write about on my next post! That's all for now. I have some legitimate homework due Monday so that's what I'll be doing this weekend. Happy New Year (for my Jewish readers)! That's all for now!



  1. What about the play-offs? Any predictions?

  2. :) Phillies all the way baby!! A 2009 wold series rematch would be nice. It would be fun to see the Phils whoop some Yankees a** :D

  3. sorry, I somehow accidentally deleted my cousin Jeff's comment, but here it is:

    Your going through a very difficult challenge and storming straight through it like a marine would. I met with grandma and she was telling me how proud she is. We all are.

    I had a few random questions:
    With all the running around and taking different medications, is it easier or harder too fall asleep?
    - The steroids make it hard to sleep sometimes but one of my anti-nausea drugs is also an anti-anxiety drug that makes me go to sleep in seconds.

    What's the weirdest/most random thing that you've seen in a hospital waiting room?
    - It's funny to see mothers (sometimes my own) completely coddling their kids. Its also really sad when you see smaller than small infants hooked up to chemo IVs :(

    You mentioned homework; I need to start review for the mcat's, lemme know you have any science work I can do, I can arrange for a family discount. ;)
    -Haha thanks for the offer!

    p.s. Your ability to write is uncanny, astronomically better than mine.

    Feel better!!!

    Thanks Jeff! <3

  4. Hi Ella,
    I guess there are worse things for a mother to be called than sometimes over-coddling.... But hey, at least I don't follow you into the patient bathroom to turn on the light for you sweetie!
    With love,

  5. GO ELLA! I hope this next month will be a good one. Are you doing anything special for halloween?