Joel's counts have all come up and he can start treatment tomorrow morning. I spoke with Joel's nurse Karen this morning and she said that these setbacks during treatment are more common than not. Actually, they have more concerns if it never happens. If the counts haven't come up in three weeks, then they are concerned and investigate with another bone marrow biopsy. Joel only had to wait an extra week and a half between treatment this time. It is all good... but they really should inform the parents of these facts before hand so we don't sit around worrying.
Counts today were as follows
ANC - .82 (needed to be at least .75 for treatment to start again)
White - 3.1
Hemoglobin - 128
Platelets - 326
Tomorrow will be a long day at the hospital. Joel will start the day by being hooked up to an IV and will be give a dose of Cyclophosphamide as well as some anti nausea medication. He will then be monitored and rehydrated for the following 4 hours. He will then get a dose of Cytarabine (also known as ARAC). Joel will book appointments for the following three days when he will more ARAC. He will pick up his prescription for Mercaptopurine (also known as MP-6), an oral chemo which he will take every night before bed for the next 14 days. That way he can sleep off most of the side effects. He is not allowed to have any dairy from suppertime on as it reacts with the MP-6 and he is not allowed to eat in the evening either as it must be taken on an empty stomach.
Side effects from these drugs are hair loss, nausea, feeling weak and tired, and a drop in blood cell counts.
I am laughing as I write this and look at the title of my post…. no, it really is good news, the chemo reacts with the cancer cells and makes it so they cannot reproduce…. it is a good thing.