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First Round of Chemotherapy! 7/8/2013

Sorry our updates are coming more slowly now!  Life can get so busy even when things are almost normal.  It is hard to believe that 6 weeks have passed since we completed Travis’ Proton Radiation Treatment and he was able to just be a kid again without focusing on his cancer treatment (other than weekly lab work and his post-radiation MRI).  Life almost seemed normal!


We started the preparation for our first round of Chemotherapy on Wednesday, 7/3, with a doctor’s appointment to check Travis’ lab work and complete the hospital check-in paperwork.  All of his counts looked good so we received the green light to start on Friday, 7/5.  We were able to spend a fun 4th of July with friends, Martine, Tiernan and Olivia and Bessie, Scott and Zachary.  We had a great meal and had so much fun catching up with everyone.  The kids were having so much fun playing on the Wii, they did not want to drive over to see the fireworks.  So, we ended up watching the La Costa and part of the Aviara fireworks from our backyard.  It was a great 4th of July and we are now ready for the next part of our journey!


We checked in to the hospital at 9am on Friday, 7/5, and went straight to our room since all of the paperwork and labs had been completed on Wednesday.  The entire second floor is dedicated to Hematology/Oncology so all of the staff are used to dealing with mainly cancer patients.  They accessed Travis’ port and started him on fluids prior to starting the chemo.  With Chemotherapy, it is very important that the body continuously flushes out the system so that although they want the toxins to enter the body to do their job, they also want them to leave as soon as possible.  We had a lot of staff (Child Life Specialist, Social Worker, and Entertainment Room Volunteers) stop by to introduce themselves and let us know all of the options to help pass the time.  Even though we came prepared with games, movies, Kindle and laptop, it was nice to know there are so many things to do.  Travis and Tyler started out with the PS3 cart they brought to our room and played a couple of games for a while.  Then after lunch, we moved on to the Jason Bourne series of movies (Identity, Supremacy, Ultimatum and Legacy) to help pass the time.  We ended up watching the first one for a couple hours and then Travis was ready for a nap.  So, Tony and Tyler drove home to let Cisco out and take him on a long walk before heading back down to the hospital a couple hours later.  When they returned, we watched the second movie and then watched the US Men’s National Soccer Team crush Guatemala here in San Diego, 6-0.  Go USA!  For the Chemotherapy treatment on Day 1, they did the Vincristine push first which took about 10 minutes and then followed by CISplatin over a 6 hour period all afternoon.  We are familiar with Vincristine since that is what Travis was receiving weekly along with his Proton therapy in Houston.  But, CISplatin is supposed to be the more toxic of the medications in our regimen so we will have to play it by ear and see how everything will affect him.  Travis was feeling pretty good at bed time so Tony and Tyler left to go home around 10pm.  Overall, it was a good first day!


On Saturday, Tony and Tyler slept in a little and then got up to take Cisco on a long walk before heading down to the hospital.  Aunt Karen’s package arrived so they brought the goodies with them for Travis.  We spent most of the afternoon watching the last two movies in our Bourne marathon.  Travis received the Day 2 treatment of Cyclophosphamide (aka Cytoxan) around 4pm and he experienced some waves of nausea throughout the day.  We spent most of the day combining the various anti-nausea medications (Zofran, Phenergan, Ativan) to help control his discomfort.  Lynne and Tyler left to go home around 5pm and Tony and Travis watched some more soccer and TV in the evening before bed.


On Sunday, Lynne and Tyler went to church and then Lynne dropped Tyler off at home so that he could spend the day with Scott and Zachary going to play laser tag, the beach and then out for pizza for dinner.  Thanks you guys…Tyler had a great time!  Lynne stopped by her doctor’s office on the way down to the hospital.  As it turns out, she is now allergic to penicillin which was in the anti-biotic she was taking for a sinus infection over the last couple of weeks. Who knew!  Travis had a bit more nausea throughout the day and we did our best to control his discomfort.  So far, he has managed to avoid vomiting, which is great, but he has that underlying upset stomach feeling.  He rested and napped a lot through the day and his appetite was not great but he managed to nibble off and on which is good too.  We were able to give him a bath in the afternoon which perked him up and made him feel somewhat better.  Travis received the Day 3 treatment of Cyclophosphamide (aka Cytoxan) around 4pm.  That was the last treatment during our hospital stay so we are hoping the nausea settles down as the chemo flushes through his body which can take several more days.  As part of the treatment regimen, on Day 4 through Day 14, we will have to give Travis shots at home of Filgrastim, which is supposed to help stimulate the bone marrow generation of neutrophils (white blood cells used in our immune systems).  So to be trained on how to do it, they brought in a kit and an orange to practice with.  Then after we graduated from the orange, they said we could practice on each other with saline solution.  Needless to say, Lynne was the shot giver, and Tony was the shot receiver.  Go figure!  In the end, there was no additional medical attention needed and everything went off without a hitch.  It was good for Travis to see how small the needle was and that there was no pain from the injection.  Tony headed home around 9:30pm and Travis slept well overnight.


In order for Travis to go home, the goal for Monday is to make sure he can handle his nausea with only oral medications since he will not have an IV at home.  In addition, he will need to be able to completely hydrate himself on his own so that he can continue to flush his system as the chemo works its way out of his body.


We are scheduled for his Vincristine boost on Day 8 which will occur on Friday, 7/12.  This will be an outpatient treatment and they will check his lab work to keep an eye on his counts.  Hopefully we are going home today!



Tony and Lynne


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