Mollie truly amazed me today.
We went to clinic prepared to get a spinal tap and more chemo if her ANC was above 750. Last week her ANC was 500, and Beth (the NP) was skeptical that it would be high enough this week. As it turned out, her ANC was 1330 today. They did a machine count and a manual count just to make sure.
So, she was NPO and had not eaten anything since 9 PM last night. She had an initial finger stick to measure her ANC. Then she got cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) through her port. Then she got a subcutaneous shot of cytarabine (Ara C) in her leg. Then she was sent over to surgery for her spinal tap. After that it was back to clinic for hydration (and finally! some food). We arrived at the clinic at 9:30 AM and Mollie was hooked up to an IV from noon until 5 PM.
Still, she really had a great day. With all of those procedures, she didn't cry one time. Not even for the shot! Thank goodness for Ms. Kym, the child life specialist. She had Mollie making paper snowflakes, playing with stickers, and coloring an Ariel poster. Ms. Kym just "gets" kids and really can make Mollie laugh and enjoy her time in the clinic. Plus, the nurses, aides, and doctors at Children's are so good at what they do, that Mollie is very comfortable with the routines. She was so comfortable, she didn't even need versed to calm her nerves before her spinal tap!
So, long term maintenance (LTM) is within sight! The remainder of the current phase consists of 2 weeks of daily shots and oral chemotherapy. The doctors expect that Mollie's counts (RBCs, platelets, neutrophils) will drop drastically around Dec. 15 and might start to recover by Christmas. I wouldn't be surprised if we end up spending Christmas in the hospital because she spikes a fever or catches a bug.
Once her counts recover (ANC > 750 and platelest >75,000), she will start LTM. During LTM, Mollie will get chemo once per month, steroids 5 days/month, and a spinal tap once every 3 months for about 2 years. Most children go back to normal routines during LTM.
After we got home from the hospital tonight, Mollie continued to feel great! She was dancing around, singing, and playing with some of her new toys (she gets one every time she undergoes a procedure). And after dinner, she gave Lucy a pretend bath and they both were giggling!
A picture is coming... I promise!