We’re back in Boston for the first of two scheduled cycles of “consolidation,” which involves an initial high dose of IV chemo, two spinal taps with chemo, and continuous (5 day) low-dose chemotherapy. This may sound awful but it’s actually somewhat lighter than the previous two cycles, although it involves new drugs (one is called cytarabine or Ara-C, which I’ve spoken about to some of you and will someday blog about for its irony).
Soren was awesome for his spinal procedure this morning, in which we applied our knowledge from past sessions: a bit more sedation and more immediate anti-nausea drugs made for a happier boy. Still, he didn’t eat much and stayed in jammies for most of the day. Thank goodness that the Princeton v. Santa Clara water polo game was televised tonight on ESPNU and gave us something to look forward to. Mom was so proud to hear that her boy was screaming at the television about lazy defense and poor shot selection.
Everyone here on 6 North at Boston Children’s says “Soren looks great and is doing amazingly well” …these are the facts. We parents, and occasionally his medical team, then include the subtext: “…for a young boy undergoing high-dose multidrug chemotherapy.” All signs are pointing to his potential to undergo just one more of these cycles next month, provided his scan at the end of this month is as promising as they hope. At the very least we can say, for now, the bumps are gone.
We can also easily say that Soren is handling this treatment a heck of a lot better than we are. He doesn’t feel well? Ok, a little anti-nausea medicine, a little pain medicine, a vanilla milkshake….problem solved! Even better: college football or the Red Sox on TV? We should all be so lucky.
I’m afraid here that my own knowledge doesn’t help. Treating childhood cancer is not like adult cancers (with their own unique approach): it is necessarily aggressive, the drugs are ugly, and quite literally are the same ones discovered by the founders of this institution (Farber himself for methotrexate) 50-60 years ago, well before the biological basis of these cancers were even imagined! Yet the statistics are well in our favor and his doctors are extraordinary. Each day at a time.
So we’ll hope that the next few days here go as well as today or better and we’ll head home Thursday night. A visit would be welcome if we’re in good form, so stay tuned. We’ll conclude with a pic of our defiant boy’s last soccer practice, along with one of his biggest fan: