Well, we've put January to bed and made a start on February. The first cycle of oral etoposide is almost behind us (two more days), and so far I can't really tell that Erin is taking chemo. I sure hope the tumor cells can tell. Here are her counts from yesterday:
White Blood Count--3300 (low, but we have seen much worse)
Absolute Neutrophil Count--2200 (still in the normal range)
Hemoglobin--10.9 (still below normal, but trending up)
Platelets--240,000 (still normal, even for a regular person)
These are all numbers we can live with at this point. And frankly, if her hemoglobin ever reached a normal level, I think we would have to push her into training for triathalons or hire her out to dig ditches to burn off the extra energy. She is pretty bouncy even in the below normal range. As for the nonblood effects of this drug, I'm waiting for the other shoe to fall. Erin did have somewhat loose bowels yesterday and felt a little stomachy. Hard to tell if that was treatment related or associated with the three helpings of Tuna Helper she downed after a strenuous soccer practice.
The Hammerheads start their season tomorrow morning at the not-too-unGodly hour of 10:00. We had the full team at practice yesterday, fairly rare in this day of busy family schedules. Erin may be the smallest one on the team, but no one trifles with her. Her ball skills have improved through off-season practice with Davis, her personal trainer, and her intincts are keen, sort of like she understands the game or something. Davis's district season starts tonight against Belton. I hope the coach will quit diddling with the starting line-up. In his search for the perfect combination, I think he has succeeded in undermining the confidence of a few of the players. I'll try to remember that when I'm on the sidelines switching players in and out, looking for chemistry. Although frankly, with our team I am usually more concerned with keeping six players on the field (as I frequently see hands waving at me signaling the need for a break).
Besides soccer, we have some bonuses planned this weekend. Davis leaves at 6:30 tomorrow morning for the state chess championship. We don't think he'll win it all because he has to take a seventh round bye (worth half a point and recorded as a tie) on Sunday to make it back in time for his radio show. Unfortunately, he will be missing a visit from Walter's college chums, Mark and Liz, who I'm sure have numerous embarrassing stories they would willingly relate to Davis about his dear old dad's halcyon days. Maybe we can find a volunteer to drop by and videotape the weekend for his viewing later. Scratch that. I won't allow anyone to capture my soul (or any indiscretions that might occur) on video, even for the sake of informing the young un of his legacy.
What's up next (presuming we survive the weekend)? Next week Erin has a scheduled week of rest with no chemo. On Wednesday afternoon, she and I will drive down to Houston for a quickie check-up. If all is good, Dr. Russell will approve another month of oral etoposide. She will scan in early March (the week before spring break). If things still look good we will continue down the path we're on. If not, we'll take a detour.
One last bit of news for long-time Erin fans: Her top front tooth, kicked out the week after Christmas of 2004, finally made an appearance this week. The shy little bugger cut through the gum just a tad, but relieved Erin of the anxiety that a dentist would have to do the dirty work. Pretty soon she will look like a regular third grade with big 'ol chompers up front.