The Countdown

Kate recovering in the hospital after her bone marrow biopsy confirming that she was in remission, September 16, 2013.
Kate recovering in the hospital after her bone marrow biopsy confirming that she was in remission, September 16, 2013.

I cannot believe we are here. (No, really…I cannot believe it.)  Today, we are celebrating the ONE YEAR anniversary of Kate’s remission. (!!)  It also begins the one year countdown until the end of treatment. END OF TREATMENT, PEOPLE! (I hear Dr. D groaning at me…she doesn’t like for me to get ahead of myself.) But still, how could we NOT celebrate this day???

Kate’s treatment protocol began with a 32 day cycle called the induction phase (also known as “might as well rip your heart out and eat it just for pleasure” phase.) At the end of that 32 days, they re-tested her bone marrow to see how many leukemia cells was left. Doctors were looking for less than 5% visible cells. Kate’s revealed that she had ZERO. Induction did exactly as it was intended…it forced her into remission and she would spend the next 2 years fighting to remain there. Doctors told us on September 16th of last year that we had begun an unofficial countdown of two years. And here we are…with one year left.

Nothing changes…nothing decreases the amount of chemo she’ll get overall. In fact, she’s at 150% of the dose for both 6mp and methotrexate (she handles chemo well so they push her as hard as her body will tolerate.) At this point in time,  however, she is at the max dose her protocol will allow, so unless she grows several inches and many pounds in a year, we don’t expect many chemo bumps. The only thing that would change this next year is any illness or infection that causes her a chemo delay (so pretty please, NO to that, mmkay?)

Here’s what our countdown breaks down to:

  • 12 months (celebrated with a decorated paper chain that she’ll get to tear off each month!)
  • 17 cycles with 17 more port accesses for doses of Vincristine
  • 52 more doses of Methotrexate (35 will be thigh shots; 17 will be through her port)
  • 35 finger poke CBCs (our clinic staff’s ears are happy to hear this)
  • 170 more doses of Dexamethasone (this is her steroid; broken out by 2 doses a day for 5 days for 17 more cycles)
  • 244 more doses of 6mp (daily for 14 days for 17 more cycles PLUS the 6 days left of this current cycle)
  • 3 more spinal taps
  • 1 more (possible) bone marrow biopsy

The next year will be very different from the last year where the chemo and accesses and nastiness was just endless. And breaking down these numbers feels much more manageable to me than it’s ever felt before. (Remind me I said that in March.)

So, September 16, 2015….we’re comin’ for you! Katie, we love you so much. We are SO proud of you. I just cannot say it enough.

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