Friday, December 28, 2012

Beginning Delayed Intensification (DI)

The dreaded DI or Delayed Intensification.  We have heard for months about this phase of treatment and how awful it is supposed to be. It's two months of very intense Chemotherapy.  It is split into 2 parts, each a month long.  This first month involves 2 Lumbar Punctures, 2 seven day bursts of steroids,  and 4 chemo drugs: Methotrexate, Doxorubicin, Vincristine, and Pegaspargase.  Of course all of these have nasty side effects and we have been given an arsenal to deal with them.  Our options include Ativan, Zofran, Phenergan, Benadryl, and Kytril for nausea and vomiting.  In addition, Austin takes Zantac twice a day and Septra on Mondays and Tuesdays.  

Austin's meds.  The ones on the left are taken daily.  The ones on the right are as needed for nausea and vomiting.

Our calendar for part one of Delayed Intensification
We made the trip back to Primary's for the first lumbar puncture and chemo.  This is the first time Austin was supposed to get Doxorubicin, or the "red devil" as it is nicknamed because it is bright red.  A possible side effect is heart damage that can be life threatening (that makes me feel so good!) so before the first dose, Austin had to get an Echocardiogram (an ultrasound of the heart), and an EKG that tests the heart's electrical activity.  Austin didn't love the Echo because the technician had to push pretty hard to get a good picture through Austin's port site.  The EKG was quick and painless.  The results of both were good so Austin was given the ok to get the red devil.
Getting an Echocardiogram

Time for an EKG

After the tests we headed up to the clinic to be seen by the Oncologist, have some blood work drawn, and get the low down on DI.  Then we went down to the RTU for Austin's Lumbar Puncture.  Usually Austin doesn't have any problem with the meds they give him and he wakes up hungry and sleepy but happy.  This time he woke up with a nasty headache and he was very grumpy.  He wanted to go home but we had to go back up to the clinic for his chemo.  He came around with an xbox game and some teasing by the nurse.  

Watching TV while waiting for his Lumbar Puncture

Playing the Ipad before his LP

Fighting the medicine--playing until the last second
Dr. Eldridge listening to Austin's heart

Have I grown?

Laughing with Dr. Eldridge

Playing with Sarah, the Child Life Specialist (she has a cold)

Getting chemo and playing a game--Austin
 prefer's a stuffed animal over a pillow.
Austin got the Vincristine and the "red devil" and finally we were free to go home.  We stocked up on Austin's prescriptions before we left and headed back to Grandma's.  We have to stay in town until the 31st when we have to return to Primary's for the dose of Pegaspargase.  This drug can sometimes cause anaphylactic shock so they have to monitor him real close after they give it (again, making me feel good!).  

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