I have made it part of my mission to stay positive during the girls’ chemo treatment (that doesn’t mean I haven’t had breakdowns, because let’s be real – they are unavoidable in this situation) but I have tried to keep a level head and attack each obstacle as they come at us. But there is just no other way to put it and I am just going to say it. Round 3 sucks. Not that you can ever truly prepare yourself for chemotherapy treatment because there is a whole host of side effects that could happen at any given time during any given round of chemo; but with 2 rounds under my belt, I felt confident coming into this round. But that’s the way life happens isn’t it? It’s just like the universe to smack you down when you’re just starting to get back up.
The girls began chemo last Wednesday night and the effects were immediate. They quit eating from a bottle right away and the vomiting began. Oh the vomit! On top of that, on Thursday Kenedi began having real difficulties. Scary difficulties. When I got her up at 6 am, she was fussy and I knew from her behavior she was going to spike a fever very soon. Sure enough by mid-morning, her fever hit and cultures were taken. Antibiotics were held off because her counts were so high still. We noticed around noon her breathing was a bit labored. The doctors checked her out and she seemed fine. A few hours later she began retracting when she was breathing which is always worrisome. A chest x-ray was ordered, completed, and clear. Of course this was starting to become a bit confusing and concerning. On top of the labored breathing, retraction and fever, she had a resting heart rate in the 200’s, sometimes 220’s. And this is when she was sleeping! Around 8 pm when we picked her up to do a diaper change, she screamed like I never heard before. Every time we touched her, she would scream and cry. The night team came and checked her out and decided to start her on oxycodone. One of the side effects of one of the chemo drugs is severe bone pain (makes sense since we are killing all their bone marrow L ). Since her chest x-ray was clear and nothing had come from her cultures yet, they chalked everything else up to pain. After starting the oxy, she slept very well. However, it caused her to sleep so well that her O2 level dropped significantly into the low 80’s. Because her stats condintued to decline, she was started on blow by oxygen which is just oxygen blowing toward her direction to help keep her O2 level high enough. During all this, Kendal was doing well (besides the typical vomiting) until she cut a tooth! Boy was she fussy! We started her on Tylenol and she started to feel better.
Saturday I felt we had everything under control and everything was looking up. Sunday afternoon, however, both girls developed a rash. And different looking rashes at that! After a full work up of vitals, and overview of every red spot and bump, it was concluded that again, this is just another joyous side effect from one of the chemo drugs. I was told to just watch them closely and treat them with Benadryl.
This morning was the last dose of chemo for this round. Now the waiting game begins. Waiting for their counts to fall and recover all the while waiting anxiously and praying that they both continue to remain infection free.
Although I have been feeling down during this round, despite all the puke, meds, rashes, toxic chemicals, x-rays, labs and oxygen, the girls as always, continue to fight like rockstars. Even while in pain, Kenedi manages a smile here and there. And Kendal’s constant babbling is music to my ears. That smile and that chatter is why I keep pushing on. Through all the crap, through all the tests, through all the bad days, I keep moving forward. The girls keep moving forward. Because, like I’ve told them a million times, that’s the only option we all have.
xo ~ Abby