Meeting with Doctor Sullivan from Christchurch

Today at 10:30 we met Doctor Sullivan. He is one of the Paediatric Oncologists from Christchurch. He wanted to meet with us to discuss Bianca's treatment plan over the next little while. He seemed really nice and Bianca really liked him too.

I learned something today, he mentioned that sometimes children like Bianca get infections as a result of the chemo (like a side effect), but it was hard to know whether these kids get infections because of the chemo or if it is because they were just likely to get an infection anyway. He went through Bianca's treatment plan from Day 1 and basically everything about Bianca's leukemia points to a good prognosis. Her age, her response, the number of white blood cells when she was first admitted and so on.

I asked him how long ago we could have known that she had leukemia. A long while ago, long before June this year, we noticed lots of bruises on Bianca's legs. It must have been a good year or so ago. But then we always assumed it was the way she played or it must have happened at daycare and so on. So we never really became worried. Doctor Sullivan said that if at the time we just did a blood test, it probably would not have showed anything (unless if we did a bone marrow test which they wouldn't have done in the first instance anyway). And because it is "Acute" it sort of waits until it is "ready" and then it takes off quickly. So it is good to know that even though we saw all the bruises, it wasn't like we could've done something, but didn't do anything.

I also asked him whether the Cytarabine / Ara-C specifically had to be administered into a plastic gadget going just under the skin. We call the plastic gadget her butterfly. She really hates this one even though it is not an injection into the leg, but I understand the chemo makes it feel like pins and needles when it goes in. And of course she sees the needle and might actually think that it will be an injection into her leg. On our treatment plan it says that it could either go into the central line or into the plastic gadget and whilst one way does not present a higher risk of side effects than the other, he will find out if it is practical (I really hope so).

Overall today was a great day. Bianca was in a wonderful mood, all playful and giggly and it almost felt like the old days, apart from her not having any hair and not being able to run (due to the chemo she gets). Today turned out to be a nice family day. Bianca and Daddy ran through the sprinkler, or rather Daddy did and Bianca thought the water was a bit cold. She did have fun spraying her dad though.

Bianca's counts are high enough so chemo will happen this week. Not long now and then we are done with the Delayed Intensification phase and we will move onto the Standard Maintenance for the remainder of the 2 year period. Tomorrow morning we fly off to Christchurch, Tuesday chemo is scheduled to happen again and then hopefully on Wednesday we are back.

Medicines today:
  • Omeprazole - 1 capsule a day
  • Fluconozole - 10 ml at night


lindai said...

I cannot wait to see how Bianca handles the rest of her treatment. I am so glad you found my blog so I can read along with her and see what we could be up for in the future. Just to know if somethings are normal or not. Praying for Bianca!

Angus said...

Kezia had cytarabine via her central (Hickman) line - and we were taught how to administrate this ourselves at home. (See out post on it).

I can't believe you have to go all the way to Christchurch for a LP. NZ health services seem as f'ed up as ours!

Altho Kezia wasn't diagnosed until the end of May, in retrospect she was already showing symptoms as far back as the begiining of the year ... my first suspicion was when we were given 3 days notice to get her out of here fast ... but the diagnosis was still a shock and I couldn't tell Nanda for an hour and I had myself sobbed and wept as my brother took me to get our chattels before being transferred to RMCH.