Tuesday, November 24, 1987

Day 43

Chemotherapy – VM-26 and Ara-C

Spinal tap – intrathecal chemotherapy – Methotrexate, Hydrocortisone, Cytosine Arabinoside (Ara-C)

Labs – CBC, CSF

Weekly visits to the Cross Cancer Institute begin.

Jason begins his weekly follow up at the CCI. Every week for 2 1/2 years Jason and I would spend one day at this cancer facility. Some weeks we would go for two days. And when Jason received 2400 cGy rads of cranial radiation we went for 12 days straight with weekends off.

At that time there was no dedicated children’s hospital. Children with cancer were often admitted and diagnosed at the U of A Hospital on the unit that specialized in Pediatrics. Children who required chemotherapy for several days were admitted to the U of A Hospital for treatment. For chemotherapy treatments that could be given in one day children were required to go to the Cross Cancer Institute (CCI). The Pediatric Oncology Outpatient Clinic was located at the CCI.

Thursday, November 26, 1987

Day 45

Chemotherapy – VM-26 and Ara-C Labs – CBC

Outpatient clinic days were booked early in the morning.

Routine: check in at front desk, go to Peds Clinic and pick up lab requisition, go to lab for a finger poke, get a prize, wipe away the tears, go back to Peds Clinic and wait with other scared parents for your turn. There was a playroom for the kids to play in. Very helpful. Jason would be called for his physical exam. By this time an hour or two has passed and his blood counts are back so they can determine if his neutrophil count is high enough to receive chemotherapy.

On this day counts are good, so we go upstairs to the adult outpatient clinic and Jason’s Broviac catheter is connected to an intravenous line that will deliver two types of chemotherapy. It takes a few hours and we don’t leave the Cross Cancer Institute until 4:00 in the afternoon.

Jason starts vomiting on the drive home and I have garbage bags beside him to collect the vomit as I drive the car. Sometimes there just aren’t enough garbage bags and puke happens all over the car.

There is nothing quite like the chemo vomiting I witnessed. It’s not like Flu vomiting it has a life of its own. From the moment Jason started to vomit at around 4:10 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. he would wretch and puke every 20 – 30 minutes.

We had a king size Ikea family bed. When Jason and I got home from the clinic we would go straight to the big bed. I was emotionally and physically exhausted, on one side of me was my 4 year old son Brandon playing with his trucks and cars and on the other side of me was my 2 year old son Jason puking in the pail we referred to as the puke pail. It was our family time.

Tuesday, December 1, 1987

Day 50

Chemotherapy – VM-26 and Ara-C Labs – CBC


copyright Sheila Ethier 2014