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Monday, December 13, 2010

Clinic Update

Last Wednesday Oscar had an echo cardiogram and his heart was given the all clear to go ahead with treatment. They needed to check his heart before he started one of the chemo's, Doxorubicin, which can cause heart damage. After two doses of this they will check his heart again so he is having another echo on 22nd December.

So today he started the following chemo:
  • Doxorubicin - it destroys cancer cells by interfering with the cancer cells growth cycle. It is administered through his central line and takes about an hour. Possible side effects are nausea/vomiting, hair loss, low blood counts, mouth sores, heart damage, nail damage and the skin may be more sensitive to sunlight.
  • Asparaginase - destroys cancer cells by interfering with their growth. Oscar has had this before and it is administered by a needle into the muscle in his bottom. The needle hurts obviously but the drug itself also stings as it is absorbed into his system. Possible side effects include loss of appetite, abnormal liver and pancreatic function tests, high blood sugar, drowsiness, headache.
  • Vincristine - also destroys cancer cells and Oscar has had it before. It makes him severely constipated no matter how many drugs you give him to help him poo. It is administered through his central line and takes about an hour. Other possible side effects include stomach pain, hair loss, irritation of nerves: numbness and tingling of fingers and toes, muscle weakness, jaw pain and rarely seizures.

He is one week into take the steroid, which is called Dexamethasone, and has not developed high blood pressure. Hooray! It is a hormone similar to hormones made in the body that may kill some cancer cells and increase the effectiveness of other anti-cancer medicines. It is given orally three times a day and is causing us a lot of grief as it stinks and tastes terrible and Oscar will not take it. After much effort getting it in he spits it back at me. I've tried every trick known to man and wasted almost a full bottle just in attempts to get him to tolerate it. We eventually get there but he is strong and I have to force it on him which makes me realise how lucky I am that he has been so good with all the other medications. On top of that it has turned him off taking any of the other medications he has been taking well. So medication time isn't much fun for anyone but aside from that he is doing well.

Friday we go back to clinic just to have one of the above chemo's - asparaginase - then Monday we have the full three listed above, then Thursday just the asparaginase and so on for a few weeks. Clinic is closed on the public holidays and reopens for the new business day with a backlog of treatments so we will adjust his treatment according to when they can do it.

That's all for now. Take care and I'll update again when I can.

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