Saturday, February 07, 2004

Looking at Delayed Intensification

Turning sixteen is a rite of passage in America, at least for those of us who are able to get our drivers licenses and start driving. I think my mom was just sick and tired of hauling me to all my extra-curricular activities, but she was so excited for me to get my license she let me skip first period and drove me there herself. And just as significant as the license, is the “FIRST CAR”. A lucky few are given cars as gifts, many “inherit” their parents’ cars, and some of us buy our own. I was in the third category and had definite ideas about the “ride” I wanted. Unfortunately I also had a budget of only $500 hard-earned babysitting dollars, so the car of which I dreamed, and the car which I got, were two totally different things. I dreamed of a classic Mustang, or maybe a little red sports car; stylish, smooth riding, and the envy of many.

What I got was a 1973 green Maverick with tan shag carpeting and more than its share of dents and dings. No air conditioning, no heat, and no power anything. Pleather seats, that were freezing cold in the winter (no heat) and that would melt the flesh off the backs of your thighs in the summer (no a/c). One winter morning I drove my sister to the orthodontist and fresh out of the shower, her hair froze. This is the same sister who would ask for a ride to school then demand that I park a block away so no one would see her. She nicknamed the car “Speedy” and it stuck. The first time I drove to my boyfriend’s house to take him somewhere, he insisted on wearing his football helmet while he rode in the passenger seat. Whether that was a commentary on my newly acquired driving skills or the car, I don’t know, but it was pretty funny (after I pretended to be annoyed, of course.)

Obviously, when it came to Speedy, there was a lot to be desired in the luxury and amenity department. But you know what? That little car got me where I needed to go. Maybe it wasn’t the smoothest ride in town, or the most beautiful, but with only an occasional battery jump needed, I always made it to my destination. Now, hold on just a minute through the following medical information, and I’m going to segue into an analogy so brilliant, it will be the water-cooler talk of the nation this Monday. (ok, maybe not *that* brilliant, but it’s something new to discuss besides the tiresome Janet Jackson breast-baring episode.)

Kendrie begins her Delayed Intensification phase on Monday, emphasis on “intense”. Its eight weeks of treatment with repeats of some of the earlier drugs, and also some new drugs. Most excitedly, steroids again! Yippee! (I hope the Kraft Mac & Cheese workers are ready to put in their overtime, getting all those little blue boxes delivered to our house.) She’ll begin on Monday, with another spinal tap, plus a bunch of new IV medicines, and the Dex (can’t forget the DEX!) then we go back up to Atlanta on Wednesday for her to receive two chemo S-H-O-T-S (shhhhhh! I don’t even want her to hear me type it out on the keyboard!) There will be oral drugs, IV drugs, drugs in her spinal fluid; heck, *I* even get to give her shots this time around, does the fun never end???

DI is a pretty harsh phase and it’s fairly common for kids to have increased side effects from all these meds. Any hair that has started growing back usually falls out again, kids can feel crappy and achy from the steroids, can have reactions to the shots, fevers, and often suffer low blood counts – which puts them at greater risk for infections and the need for blood and/or platelet transfusions. Of course we’re hoping Kendrie does as well this phase as she has so far, but also trying to prepare ourselves for the possibility of a rough couple of weeks ahead.

(Here comes my brilliant analogy)

You know what’s important, though? The destination, not the ride. Our final goal is a town called “Curesville” and if it takes riding in a beat up 1973 Maverick called “Delayed Intensification” to get us there, so be it. Sure, I’d prefer our ride through childhood be smooth and easy, but for now, it’s not. So, we’ll put up with a few dents and dings along the way, strap on our football helmets, try to avoid the potholes as best we can, and manage our way through the next eight weeks. As long as we arrive, that’s all we care about.

(So that’s the analogy. I’ll concede it wasn’t "brilliant", and settle for “clever”. OK, let’s be honest, if you’re even still reading at this point, then I’m thrilled!)

Thanks so much to Lisa J. of Lorton, VA, the latest person to make her way through the CB List of 100! Those messages cheer up a lot of people! And thanks also to Julie H, of Annandale, VA, my good friend and fellow Survivor addict, for going this week and donating blood. It makes such a huge difference!

Thoughts and prayers going out to the families of Conor Ford and Alex Haigler. These brave boys’ fights touched my heart and this past week it broke a little for each of their families.

Thanks for checking in on Kendrie’s website and thanks especially for signing the guestbook. She gets a real kick out of sitting in my lap and having me read the messages to her, so thanks for taking the time, as often as you’d like!
Best wishes, Kristie



1. Doses of oral medication to date: 243
2. Spinal taps to date: 8
3. IV Chemo to date: 10
4. Shots to date: 2
5. Bone marrow aspirations to date: 5


1. Blood counts stayed high!
2. Finally lost all the weight I gained from the steroids at the beginning!
3. No fevers or infections or ER visits the entire phase!
4. I felt good enough to run around like a hooligan the entire time!

No comments: