For you to understand what’s happening throughout this blog it’s probably a bit easier if we give a little bit of information about Annie’s treatment.
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) is the most common type of childhood Leukaemia and, all being well, requires the least aggressive treatment.
Annie’s treatment is chemotherapy which is made up of a group of drugs used in the treatment of cancer and leukaemia. The combination/frequency of the drugs will change throughout Annie’s protocol (treatment plan). We have been asked quite often “has she had chemo today?” and in short, she’s having chemo every day.
At the moment the basics of her treatment are:-
Bone Marrow Tests
Done under anaesthetic. Annie’s first was on Monday. This is to count the leukaemia cells. After one month of treatment, she will hopefully be in remission.
Again, under anaesthetic. Fluid is taken from between the spine. She had one on Monday and we were pleased to hear that no Leukaemia cells were showing in her spinal fluid at that time. At the same time she was given Intrathecal Methotrexate which is a chemo drug injected into spinal fluid to make sure those Leukaemia cells stay away.
Chemo injection into muscle at top of her leg. Given fortnightly at the moment. Had her first today. A few tears at the time.
Currently given once a week. Chemo drug given intravenously. Had first at the start of the week.
Currently given orally a.m. and p.m. These will cause a lot of the common chemotherapy side effects including the visible ones of hair loss and weight gain that you probably know a little about. Not focusing on side effects at the moment. Cross that bridge when we come to it.
An antibiotic given orally, twice a day, Mondays and Tuesdays at the moment.
There will be others to come and the dosage and frequency will change over the course of Annie’s treatment, sometimes more aggressive, other times less so. On top of all of the above, Annie is currently on a drip 24 hrs a day to flush out her system. She is also on regular doses of pain relief as she has pain in her back and legs and can’t walk as a result.
Final bit of medical info. Annie has had a portacath inserted into her chest. It means that she does not have lines/wires coming out of her when we go home but just a little disc a bit like the top of an animal injection bottle (for all our farming friends) where the hospital just numb the area and then can access lines to give her IV drugs when we come to clinic.
This is as we understand it at the moment. We are not experts and our understanding of chemo is still a bit vague. If we have made any mistakes that you know about, feel free to say so!