September 26, 2008
Forget the package tour that includes seven European countries in ten days. Consider Erin's travel special: 44 rounds of chemo in 42 months. What a deal! When you add the 44 cycles since relapse to the seven she had at original diagnosis (leaving out the biologicals, radiation, and vaccines), you have a total of 51 (which happens to be the chemical number of one of my favorite chemicals, Antimony, Sb, and the number of the fire engine on the 70's series "Emergency"). AND IF her platelets get back to a reasonable level by next Thursday, we will have the pleasure of completing the deck with Round 52.
Yesterday we waited around clinic a pretty goodly amount of time, as we say in the South. Luckily, we had some of the Sahm girls to keep us company and provide those little electronic hand held toys (I'm having a brain block about what they are called) for entertainment. I understood part of the hold up was a lean Sigma Six meeting about reducing bottlenecks in the clinic. I have a hint: don't schedule staff meetings with essential staff when you have patients in the lobby waiting for labs and office visits.
Erin looked fine and had gained a pound or two.
HGB 9.2 (low, but fine for Erin)
WBC 5500 (normal)
ANC 3500 (normal)
PLT 27,000 (You still can't hit her, trip her, or stick a knife in her)
To participate in the planned festivities at the end of next week (don't you get a party or something when you play with a full deck?), Erin's platelets will have to climb up to 75,000. That means your job is to think sticky thoughts (platelets "stick" the liquid part of our blood together when we have a cut so that it doesn't all leak out) over the weekend. We'd really start getting uncomfortable to delay the next round, so higher platelets are essential.
This round (starring topotecan and cyclophosphomide) will essentially replay an earlier verse of treatment. We hope that this iteration is equally effective and relatively easy on Erin.
Here's the plan: Erin will have blood counts done on Monday and Wednesday afternoons next week. If Wednesday's numbers look promising, we will drive to Houston early on Thursday and do the office visit/out-patient chemo thing (look for my whining entry that evening on what a long day it was). Erin and I will spend the night in Houston (NOT IN THE HOSPITAL) and probably catch a flick and eat yummies. Friday we will report back to clinic for chemo, then drive back to Bryan, hopefully before rush hour. Erin will have chemo again in Houston on Saturday and Sunday--in-patient, since the clinic closes on the weekend. We may have "in and out" privileges. If the nurse thinks there will be space available on Sunday, we won't have to stay the night. If things get really crowded, we may just have to bunk in, so that we make sure we don't get passed over for a bed for Sunday. Monday will be the final day of the round. Walter will hang with Erin, since it's a teaching day for me. If all goes well they'll be home in the afternoon and ready for a normal remainder of the week.