Thursday, November 06, 2003

An introduction to steroids

Well, we are back from Kendrie's clinic visit today and things went pretty well, all things considered. Her blood counts were good; in fact, her doctor said just looking at the labs from today and nothing else, you would never know she has cancer. You would, however, know it by the side effects of the steroids! Apparently there is a conspiracy between the drug makers and the dairy farmers of America, because for the past week, Kendrie is obsessed with cheese! Grilled cheese sandwiches, cheese slices, macaroni & cheese (by the TRUCKLOAD!) cheese crackers plain, cheese crackers with peanut butter, aaaagh!

I thought with all this eating, she would have put on some weight (average weight gain for a kid her size/age during the first month is between five and ten pounds, per her oncologist). As of today, she's gained only one pound (the entire pound is in her cheeks; they are getting a little roly-poly.) I was concerned that meant next month, when the appetite typically drops off, she wouldn't have as much of a buffer. I offered to sacrifice myself and undergo liposuction to donate extra pounds to her, but I think her oncologist saw through my flimsy scheme, as he was quick to assure me it was ok if she didn't gain any more weight.

We drove up to the clinic and back today, and naturally, hit the 5pm Atlanta rush hour traffic (which lasts approximately 24 hours a day in that city, who are we kidding?) so by the end of the drive, Kendrie had had about enough. We could not get home (and make her a grilled cheese sandwich) fast enough. In fact, for the last hour, I had to climb into the booster seat beside her and buckle my big fat butt in there, just to keep her company. After taking her pm meds, she wound up crying herself to sleep. But, her doctor told me (and I have gotten lots of reassurance from the fantastic "been there, done that" parents from my online support group) that this is all normal and temporary. Only one more week of induction therapy with steroids, then we move on. (at least until it's time to take them again!) Whew!

She was miniscually calmer with the port access today. Baby steps, baby steps, right? We did let her watch an older boy have it done (thank you to 13-yr old Matthew, for agreeing) hoping she would feel better after watching someone else remain calm during the "stick". I think it might have helped a little. She still screamed and had to be held in place, but at least she was no longer thrashing about. We just have to hope that each week it gets better.

And that's what is planned next --- daily oral meds until our next clinic visit, which will be Friday the 14th. She will be on her last day of induction and will have a BMA and LP done. I am hoping she stays calm enough to have it done under general anesthesia. Today's blood pressure was high again, so her doctor said we will have to wait and see.

Hope you all have a great three-day weekend! Thanks for passing our site along to friends and family; we love checking the guestbook and seeing who has signed in. :)

WORST THING ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: Spending four and a half hours in the car driving to my appointment, my port access, listening to Mom ask the doctor so many boring questions, and did I mention spending four and a half hours in the car???

BEST THING ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: I can make any demand for food, at any time, and my parents and Grandma Betty jump up and do it! They are suckers!

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