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!!!!


Anonymous said...

It is wonderful to hear that anya is coming to the end of her treatment. I know it has been a long walk for her and her entire family. My prayers are with yall! God is good and still on the throne! Quincy

Christina said...

no late side effects for me! Praying that Anya will be the same. (Oh but I did try to blame my struggle with Math on Chemo - haha)

Gilmore Girls said...

Praise the Lord! I was just thinking the other day - what a big party you should have to celebrate the end of this stage, and the beginning of the new one ... and wishing you were here to do it.
We love you guys!
The Gilmore Girls

Anya said...

Michele, I have wished different times that we could have a big party for Anya there in Chesapeake. Guess we'll just have to celebrate together in spirit. Love you!

Anya said...

And Christina, praise God that you haven't had any late effects. Praying Anya would have this same blessing!

Anya said...

Thank you all for your prayers and kind words...they are so appreciated!

Reuwerfamily said...

Oh Anna, I love reading about all this progress and am amzed at the strength you've all had to endure the length of this. I am amazed at God joining our hearts so that I have such a great resource on so many levels in you. What an aWesome God he is. Love you.

Christina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christina said...

oh the party thing made me want to add - after my last treatment (in Dallas) my parents took me to the reunion tower downtown for lunch. Just, mom, dad, and me. They took me there again when I graduated from high school - just us three again. Very special!

Liz said...

That is all so stinking exciting! Praise God!

Anonymous said...

Go Anya!!

Harry, Lee & Wendy