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Showing posts from February, 2012

The second cycle

Two weeks ago, Asa had his second dose of chemotherapy. So far, the second cycle has been much easier than the first. We’ve managed to stay at home except for short visits to hospital, and we've largely succeeded in controlling Asa's discomfort.
Part of the reason for this is that we’ve been giving him potassium supplements to head off hypokalaemia, whereas the first time around it was several days before we began using potassium. But a bigger reason is that the dosage of the most potent of the drugs he is on – Vincristine – has been halved.
Halving the dosage of this drug is a big deal, because our most immediate challenge is managing the side-effects of the chemo drugs.
In the first cycle that meant trying to distract him from pain.This time it's mainly meant trying to get him to eat.

Expecting that Asa might have difficulty feeding, we had a naso-gastric tube inserted just a couple of days after the second dose of chemo.The tube is useful not only for topping him up with …
Today is day 20 of Asa's first round of chemotherapy.  I last wrote on day 4, and since then we've had some ups and downs.  

For about 5 days Asa was very distressed and uncomfortable, and could be distracted from the discomfort only fleetingly.  His appetite was faltering, and then dropped off almost to nothing.  For two or three days following he was limp, too weak at one point even to roll over in bed.  When he was left to himself, he'd either sleep or stare blankly at whatever was before his eyes.  When he was moved, he'd feel pain, and protest.

A couple of days in to the distress and discomfort, we took Asa into hospital to get him checked out.  Paracetamol, even at the highest doses recommended for infants, wasn't having any effect; we imagined we might be sent home with some more powerful painkillers.

As it happened, we were in hospital for the following week.  Admitted with hypokalaemia (low potassium), he was immediately hooked up to a potassium drip, and…