So after a busy week, we went into the Jimmy Fund last Tuesday for a bone marrow biopsy and to start Saoirse's next round of chemo, for which she was admitted to Children's for 4 days. This round was new drugs, so we were not sure how she was going to react to it and what kind of side effects she would experience. I think that's the hardest part of her protocol; it changes drugs often, so just when you think you have a post-chemo routine down, you have a new one to learn. This is especially hard with a one year old, because she can't tell you when she's in pain or starting to get nauseous, you just have to go with trial and error. Saoirse handled the chemo quite well. She did end up throwing up a couple of times while we were in the hospital, but she picked herself right up and kept on going. She even had a couple of really good meals, gobbling up food like it was a normal day. After 4 days in the hospital (two drugs for 3 days, and only one of them on the 4th), we went home late friday night. This chemo comes with 12 hours of hydration after the drugs are administered, which is one of the reasons that it is done inpatient (with an hour of premeds, three hours of chemo, and then the 12 hours of hydration, it's a 16 hour process in the end). She was given a lot of anti-nausea drugs during the hospital stay, and the nurses warned us that one of the drugs (cysplatin) is known for delayed onset of nausea. The nurses suggested staying on top of the nausea meds when we got home, and to be aware that it may take longer for her to get back to normal.
Once we got home, we had quite the busy schedule planned for the next few days, which may or may not have been good for Saoirse. The fundraiser basketball tournament that our friends planned was on Saturday morning, and because Saoirse seemed to be feeling quite well, we took her down and ended up having a ball! It was so great to see how many people came out to support us. The tournament was amazing (Saoirse loved watching them play), and it was great to see family and friends that came out for the day. After the fundraiser, we went to see some friends before they moved to Arizona. I have been trying to get down to see them since April when she had her little baby boy, but with all the treatments going on, I had never gotten the chance (even though they live less than 3 miles from Children's). It was great to catch up with them before they left. On the way home, we realized that we were a bit late on one of Saoirse's anti-nausea meds, but it was too late to save the ride home. We spent the whole ride stopping every eight miles or so to sit her up and catch her vomit. The motion of the car just put her over the edge. So we managed to get home, but it was quite the stress full ride. We calmed her down, got her medication into her slowly, and let her stomach settle. Once all the meds settled in, she was back to herself and running around playing. After a couple of days keeping up with her meds, we felt like she was starting to intake more food and drink more and start to get back to normal. We are still staying on top of her meds, but she is definitely feeling more like herself I think.
The other big events of last week included two TV spots on local news channels. Mike has been doing some media marketing of our story to try and help us bring people to some of our fundraisers, and to promote awareness for our diseases. Mike contacted most of the local news stations, and channel 5 and channel 7 both wanted to do spots about our story. It was a bit nerve racking to be interviewed for TV, but in the end it wasn't so bad. All we had to do was share what we are going through, and let them do the rest. Saoirse, of course, stole the show, being cute as ever, signing "thank you" to the camera for the channel 5 news. We eagerly awaited the newscasts, and it was otherworldly to see ourselves on TV. All the nurses came by and told us how wonderful Saoirse was, and we were amazed with the response from complete strangers. We really appreciate the support that has come pouring in since the shows aired, and are surprised that so many people offered up their support and well wishes. I think sometimes I forget how unique our situation really is, as we have become so used to what we are living, and sometimes it takes complete strangers to remind me that it's not every day that two people in the same immediate family battle cancer at the same time.
[If you would like to see the TV interviews click the following links:
Mom, Baby Both Battling Cancer
Special Report - Danvers family battles cancer twice]