Friday, September 18, 2009

September Appointment & Good News!

This morning Israel took Anya to her September appointment for chemo and the preventative antibiotic. Today her port cooperated and she didn't have to have a spinal tap or other painful treatment - so in that regard, it was a great day!

The only difficult part of her visit was how completely hectic and busy it was there. Anya was originally put in a room to have her port accessed for treatment, where she & Israel were settled watching a movie. But because of the excess of patients she had to be relocated to the playroom. This may not seem like a big deal (or it may even seem like a good break) but it was overwhelming for Anya to be with over 10 other sick patients, their beeping IVs, and their families when she's not feeling her best. Guess ya gotta take the good with the bad. BUT we were so pleased to comfort her (and ourselves) with the fact that she only has to return there for chemo treatment ONE MORE TIME!

Because we are so close to the completion of chemo treatment, Anya's nurse educated Israel on Anya's future care. Here is some of the information they received:

  • Anya has her final IV chemo and preventative antibiotic on Oct 16th

  • Oct 23rd will be her LAST DAY of oral chemotherapy

  • Surgery for her port removal will be scheduled at her Oct 16th visit

  • After that she will take an antibiotic 2x daily, 2 days a week for five months to prevent infections that often occur when patients discontinue therapy

  • 6-7 months after she discontinues chemo treatment, she may have a major growth spurt because oftentimes the chemo prevents normal physical growth

Although Anya's last chemo treatment is next month, she will return to the clinic once every month for the next year (and every other month for a year after that) for blood work. Her doctor needs to check her blood often to confirm that she has normal levels of various components in her blood since abnormal results could mean relapse.

AND after that she will have checkups at the "Survive and Thrive" clinic where they will monitor her for possible "late effects" of cancer treatment and provide important resources for her special needs as a survivor. We're not sure how often or for how long she will have checkups there but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

65% of childhood cancer survivors will experience at least one late effect of treatment, but we're hopeful that Anya will be spared this additional trauma. Type of treatment, age, and gender all play major roles in a patient's risk for late effects and based on these risk factors, I would guess that she is at a lower risk risk based on her particular situation and treatment. A couple of the medications she has taken are known to cause certain health conditions, so we do pray for God's mercy and healing touch on her little body - we ask for complete health!

Obviously we're really excited that Anya's chemo treatment is coming to a close. She's such a happy child now, who often feels really well and we can't wait until she's back to 100%!

At this point, Anya is still somewhat nervous about the upcoming changes. She's worried about the "pokes" she'll have to receive every month for blood work since she won't have a port anymore. And the idea of having a surgery (for her port to be removed) has caused her some anxiety. But we trust that as treatment discontinues, and she starts to feel stronger and healthier and as the "pokes" become more routine that she'll be thrilled to be finished.

Hip, hip, hooray....only one more month!!!!