Monday, September 17, 2012

Leukemia - How is Jemma? - Day 92

Yahoo! Sunday marked the end of Phase 1B. We are officially done with the first two months of scheduled treatment. It has been about three months since treatment began, so we are slightly behind schedule. I'm just happy we are moving forward.

Now we are on a scheduled two to three week break from chemotherapy. This is not a break from hospital visits. We will go several times per week for Jemma's blood to be checked and for her to receive blood transfusion. In fact we were at the hospital today from 10:00 until 6:00. Jemma needed both a platelet transfusion and a blood transfusion.

During her platelet transfusion she developed a stomach ache. A stomach ache could be a sign of an allergic reaction to the platelets, indigestion, the beginning of a illness or a number of other things. Her transfusion was temporarily stopped, she was given a steroid injection to combat the allergy and 30 minutes later her transfusion resumed. The injection also contained some sort of sedative. After she received it she slept for several hours.

That gave me even more time to knit and worry about her health. I finished a baby hat. When she woke up her stomach ache was gone and she was in a happy mood.

When Jemma walks into a room all heads turn. Just look how she dresses for an overnight hospital stay.

Her overnight hospital stay Saturday night was an adventure in itself. During the day she made a fabric flower completely on her own. It took her about four hours and she was determined to finish it. We read stories, did some workbooks, and she took some wacky pictures with her ipad. (Some of these are actually from an earlier hospital visit.)

She even took a few of the doctors and nurses. Although she did a lot of giggling, she was sure not to talk to them.

After Jemma's chemotherapy Saturday morning she was put on an iv to flush her system. The iv fluid rushed in at the rate of 76 ml/hr. For such a small girl that is like drinking two tall glasses of water per hour. After 8 hours her face was slightly swollen and she gained almost a kilogram (2 pounds). She went through this same procedure at the beginning of phase 1B and it was an experience. I think she peed the bed five or six times that night. When she ran out of dry underwear the night nurse went on a hunt through the hospital to find her some.

This time we came prepared with a full package of pull-ups, several pairs of underwear and dry clothes. She only went through a few pull-ups, but we got very little sleep. I woke her up every hour to use the bathroom.

The next phase of treatment, known as Phase M, should begin around the time the grandma's switch places. (My mom is going home and my mother-in-law is coming.) It involves four overnight stays each about five days long as well as other medical treatments and procedures. Phase M will likely last the entire time my mother-in-law is here.

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