Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Day 1, 2 & 3 in 2North: the BMT unit

First I will tell you that despite being sick, Brianna is doing well. She is not tolerating the radiation well, but she is a trooper and the docs have prescribed some medications that should help with the nausea. They say she is doing great, which is always a relief to hear. Secondly, Happy Valentine's Day to you all.

Our first day was spent getting labs, another chest x-ray and making sure her lung shields fit. To do this, she was put in the radiation chamber with two pieces of thick lead that are shaped like her lungs. They are screwed to an acrylic block and then hung from a harness in front of her chest. They took an x-ray to be sure they covered her lungs and then they drew two black outlines on her chest and back to be used as guides during the radiation.

After that, we decided to have lunch outside, since they told us that once she steps foot in her room, she would not be able to leave. Her ANC (absolute neutrophil count) - or infection-fighting part of her blood - was 100. For most of us it's above 1,000, and when it gets below 500, you're at risk of infection. Below 200 and you're at risk of infection from your body's own bacterias. Brianna's has been below 500 for the past three months! So enjoying some outdoor time before being confined for 50 days was a nice beginning to her treatment.

My husband met us for lunch, helped us unload the car and talked to the doctors about her care. It took three trips! And, we didn't even fill the room. They are pretty large - thankfully - and we have a nice big window that looks out at a garden patio with blooming azaeleas and a small tree ready to bud and then beyond onto the city of Palo Alto. I will try to post some photos of her room and what she looks like in her radiation treatment area. But, we kissed him good-bye and settled in.

So after starting her on every medication known to man, and having half of the hospital's staff parade through our room, we ended day one pretty uneventfully. All the departments come by to tell us what they do and how it will help with her treatment. It's a necessity for us, but can be very tiring meeting and listening to all of them.

Day 2 started with a 7:30 am appointment for her first radiation treatment. About an hour after, Brianna got her first twinges of nausea and couldn't keep her breakfast down. It was the same story for her lunch and dinner, both of which were minimal because she didn't feel like eating. And, several more departments stopped by, which added to Brianna's and my fatigue. Thankfully, she slept well, even though the nurses have to come in and take her vital signs every four hours.

Today, Brianna woke up feeling pretty good. But, once she began her radiation treatments, the nausea and vomiting started again. Poor thing has only eaten a half a bagel all day! She's been given some other medications to hopefully help make her feel a bit better and they should kick in tonight. The good news is she's more than half over with the radiation! She's pretty pooped for today and knows it won't get easier tomorrow. I've given her lots of back rubs which seem to settle her stomach and nerves. John is coming by to celebrate Valentine's Day with us and drop off some items we forgot (can you believe my cell phone charger and the laptop charger!?), so we plan on having a nice quiet evening together in our room.

Thank you for your prayers! They are helping!! Blessings....Iva

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