Considering the fact that Jemma has Leukemia she is doing as well as can be expected. Her body is responding to the treatment and she is on the long road to recovery. Unfortunately, the treatment she is currently undergoing involves taking lots of different medications which have many side effects. Since the last update Jemma has experienced several of those side effects.
As I mentioned before, her energy level continues to remain steady at a level far below normal. Although we try to go outside every day we don't stay out long and much of the time outdoors is spent sitting on benches. We took a walk over the weekend and passed a playground. I think this was the first time we have ever passed a playground where she did not want to stop.
The rashes she had on her hands and feet still are present, but they are very minimal. Occasionally she complains about her feet hurting when she stands up. These rashes are caused by the chemo which affects nerve endings in the hands and feet.
Today Jemma received two different chemo treatments. As a result of these treatments she complained of a stomach ache and had shaky hands. Stomach aches are a common complaint of recipients of the drug Vin Christine. Luckily they usually only occur on the same day the treatment is given. Shaky hands is a less common side effect, but a known side effect of chemo. It could come and go throughout her treatment.
Today some friends brought dinner. I wasn't sure if Jemma would eat since she had been eating all day, but she managed to squeak in a few more bites. Increased appetite is a very common side effect of steroids. Here is what Jemma ate today:
1 organic hotdog and bun
left over pasta and sauce
home made green juice
pita bread pizza
three tortillas with ground buffalo, tomatoes, spinach and cheese
more home made green juice
I probably forgot a few things. I feel like I have been doing dishes all day. Luckily so many of you have brought food that I haven't had to prepare all of this. I told my husband that I still feel like I am taking care of a family of five at meal time. I'm happy she's eating. Hopefully it will help her to grow a little.
Unfortunately constipation is another common side effect of the Vin Christine she is receiving. As you may have noticed from the list of foods, several of them counteract constipation. In addition to the foods to make her go, she has had a few doses of stool softener. My husband and I have been eating the same foods as Jemma, so although she does need the stool softener, we certainly don't.
Although this is not a side effect, on Friday, day 19, the doctors had a lot of problems with Jemma's catheter. They analyze her blood every two days and use the catheter to extract the blood. Unfortunately when they tried to withdraw blood it wouldn't come out. Two doctors tried and they made Jemma lay in several different positions, but still there was no blood. There are two main reasons this happens. The first is lack of fluid in-take, and the second is a blood clot blocking the tube. First the doctors put a protein liquid into the catheter to try to break-up a possible clot. The plan was to wait for one hour and then try again to extract blood. Luckily it worked.
Now back to the side effects. Everyone knows that loosing hair is a side effect of chemo. Jemma experienced this side effect today. Actually it began yesterday when I was away. Today after she brushed her hair I noticed it was everywhere. So I told her we would cut it off after breakfast.
Wow - That was difficult. I plan to post another update on Jemma this Thursday and will post updates each Monday and Thursday unless something major happens in between. Thank you again for all your support.