Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Vincristine and Doxorubicin and Pentamidine, Oh My!

Yesterday morning Julia had a triple dose of drugs for her chemo treatment. One was her regular weekly chemo drug, the second was a new chemo drug, and the third was an antibiotic (drug names in the same order as in the title). We had still been fighting the twice-weekly antibiotic that she's been taking orally and so we opted to get a similar drug intravenously via her chest port. It's needed every three weeks and we squeeze it onto the end of a chemo appointment. She'll continue to take it for a few months after her chemo is completed. It's used to prevent PCP, a type of pneumonia caused by a fungus found in human lungs. When a person's immune system is compromised, like in people with AIDS or undergoing chemotherapy, the pneumonia can develop, while in healthy people it just sits there not causing any harm.

I like reading up on information about the drugs, but try not to dwell on it too much afterward; the potential side effects are scary. It's kind of a given these days though. Radiation treatment increases the chance of stomach and ovarian cancer. Each chemo drug comes with such a litany of fear-inducing side effects it would make those TV commercial drugs blush. And while it's great that Julia's body is handling everything so well, that's not any sort of indication that the treatments are wiping out every last cancer cell. If her body is strong enough to ward off the side effects, who is to say that the cancer cells that were created by that same body aren't on the strong side of things too and able to resist the treatment? Too cynical? Honestly though, I don't dwell on that sort of thing, even if I can't stop my mind from meandering down that path from time to time. I'm a realist who doesn't like surprises, so every outcome I can think of runs through my mind. I'm resigned to the fact that we've got to continue with things as best we can and just hope things turn out on the good side.

Julia stayed home from school after her Monday treatment, but went today and felt decent all day. Mandy had fun at her book club last night and brought home a nice variety of Christmas cookies. After supper tonight we all had a hefty sampling of them (and I might have had a slight sampling before we ate too...).

Julia got a cool gift today - a friend made her couple of super cozy ponchos and hats!