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Treatment on Thursday

Delayed Intensification started on Thursday and for the most part it went really well. We had to be at the clinic at 8:45 AM, Nathaniel and Rachael both went off to stay with friends for the day because we knew it would be a longer day.

As weird as it sounds, returning to the clinic after a longer break was almost comforting because these people who care for Peyton have become like an extended family. We’ve developed friendships and how can you not come to care for someone who cares so much for your child? They are a wonderful group of caregivers and we are so lucky to have them during Peyton’s treatment. Peyton actually enjoys going to the clinic to see her special friends, even though she knows she’s going to get her “pokeys”.

Thursday, she started off the morning with getting her port accessed. It’s always hard to get her back into the routine after she’s had time away from the clinic, so she wrestles a bit and cries. I have to lay her on the table and lean against her legs so she won’t kick and then hold her shoulders and hands flat so she won’t flail and touch the port area while the needle’s going in. Once it’s in, she calms down instantly, like “oh that wasn’t so bad”, the anticipation of the whole procedure is worse than the actual stick. After she gets all taped up and has her “tubie” on, she’s ready to wait. They pull blood from her once she gets accessed and they send it to be tested immediately to see what her counts are, and once they know that her counts are high enough for treatment they call the pharmacy for her chemo. So, we had a little wait, she was complaining mildly because she was hungry and she’s not allowed to eat or drink anything before she gets a spinal tap.

The spinal tap was pretty smooth, she squirms and wiggles and complains very loudly that “you’re squishing me!!! I can’t breath! You’re squishing me!” Because she has to be in a very precise position and two of us have to practically sit on her to keep her in it long enough for them to get the spinal fluid and to administer the medication. Then she has to lay on her back for half an hour while the meds get where they need to be. As soon as she’s allowed to lay flat I get her snacks going, her new thing is Fig Newtons, and she munched through several packages of them.

She’s talkative and loopy as the sedatives wear off, she’s so funny during that time. She got her dose of Doxorubicin over the course of an hour, she got her Vincristine in about 15 minutes and then we were able to leave. We got home by 1:30 and she laid down for a nap right away. She started her doses of Dexamthasone (the steroid), Zantac (for her stomach), and Lactulose (stool softener) Thursday night and then we add her antibiotic over the weekend.

She goes back in Wednesday and Friday for chemo and we’ll be waiting anxiously to see how she reacts to this new chemo round. Someone asked how long it took for us to see a reaction to the steroids the first time, and I realized that we don’t really know because she was in the hospital for her induction when she started them the first time, and she spent a week on Morphine at the time and it masked some of the side effects. We’ll be watching this pretty closely to know what to expect when she goes through this same cycle again in 4 months.

It was so nice to enjoy the break over the holiday, and now it’s back to the chemo grind. Its hard to take a child who feels so good, looks so good – she’s put on 2 lbs over December all on her own – and who’s blood counts were excellent back so they can give her poison that makes her feel terrible. I just prayed during the drive up to the clinic that we would have the strength to be comforting for her and get through this treatment. She’s been complaining that her stomach hurts and I’m giving her meds to ease any nausea she may develop and her appetite is already waning. It’s excruciating as a parent to watch her decline during these rougher treatments, but we know it’s the only hope for her to have a healthy future.

We’re constant in prayer, that’s our greatest weapon against this cancer.

f.r.o.G…fully relying on God

ps…I title this artistic piece “Living with Picasso”….otherwise known as “But I couldn’t find any paper this big!” My kids, namely Rachael on this one + markers = permanent fun

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