Leukemia = treatment
Treatment= chemo therapy and radiation
Chemo and Radiation= Low counts, compromised immune system, loss of executive functioning, loss of hair, shortening of tendons, issues with weight gain, problems in the sun, mood swings due to steroids, anxiety, higher risk of "secondary cancers........
End of Treatment=relief, more anxiety, getting back to life as it once was, sort of. Graduation for Junior High, Graduation from Holy Names with honors, Admission into 9 of 11 colleges, freshman year, first summer, return to college, RELAPSE.
Relapse 57 months post treatment = Life flight from Spokane to Seattle, deeply colored chemo to achieve remission, 36 hours home then 25 days back in the hospital, Remission
Remission= one round of intensification, 6 days of methotrexate and a couple of other things, a couple of weeks off, etoposide and some other stuff over 5 days,
Remission and intensification= international bone marrow search.
No Match= Double Cord Blood search
Double Cord blood transplant=longer stay in the hospital, successful engraftment, baby cells that have a lot to learn, long slow road back to health, 100 or so blood transfusions of some sort, low platelets for a long long time, lots of steroids, high blood sugar and need for insulin, weird purple hands, weird blood pressure, weird hormone issues, loss of fertility, BK virus (bladder/kidney), need for lots of pain meds....... eventual release.
Release= almost multiple, daily appointments for the first 100 days. Lots of med checks, lots of scans, blood draws, lots of changes, lots of "ummmmm, everyone is different. GVH flairs
GVH= ickie oily oral meds, lots more steroids
Steroids= so many things I could not even guess. Some very obvious, some very deep dark and scary.
Steroids and other stuff=blood clots.
Blood clots= more time with Chef Walter's food and lovenox.
Lovenox=(was supposed to be in pill form in 2005) two shots a day and blood draws a couple of times a week, then only every other week or so and huge, huge bruises and nose bleeds and lots of bleeding stuff.
FINAL SIDE AFFECT = RETURN TO A NORMAL LIFE. We hope anyway.