It has been a long week for Julia. Five days of six-hour chemo treatments, leaving her with an upset stomach and feeling quite tired. Through it all Julia keeps smiling – and keeps us smiling. We were able to control most of the nausea with the usual combination of drugs (a Scopatch, Zofran, Atavan and Benadryl). Each morning, Julia still got sick by the time we arrived at clinic. Carrying her “bucket”, we rushed to get to Julia’s chair and hook up the Zofran to her port; giving her relief, but not until after the bucket was put to use.
By Friday, we decided to not eat breakfast before leaving for clinic. Thinking the car ride was adding to Julia’s nausea, we thought we would try to have her wait to eat breakfast. This wasn’t the easiest thing to do, but it worked and Friday was a “bucket-free” day.
Through everything Julia continues to stay positive and keep the clinic staff entertained. Part of treatment days are spent watching a movie and napping, but the rest of Julia’s days are spent making Halloween decorations for the treatment room doors and singing her favorite songs.
On Friday, Julia started the day with giving Dr. Julie a big belated birthday hug and singing “Happy Birthday”. After watching “Tangled” and resting for a bit, she decided to start some arts and crafts with Terry (the child life specialist). Julia began to make stick puppets (a pumpkin, a turkey, a girl dressed as a princess) and a sign for the upcoming puppet show. The sign directed everyone to the show and told them the admission was “1 cent”. After making a miniature stage to give as a prize for the first spectator and a sign for “No Flash Photography”, Julia and Terry practiced the play. They set up a stage to hide behind and Julia distributed tickets with the money collected going to “CHOP to help the children”. Everyone gathered round and Julia told the crowd – “Thank you for coming to my puppet show. No flash photography. Save the applause till the end”. Julia proceeded to tell the story of the girl going to the pumpkin patch while Terry helped to move the characters. It was a wonderful show, making everyone smile. I never thought I would wish I had a video camera at a chemo clinic.
Julia’s blood counts were checked on Friday and her red blood cell count is at 8.8. She needs to have a count of 10 to have radiation treatments. We will head back to clinic on Monday morning so Julia can have a transfusion before heading into the city for her radiation appointment. Radiation is scheduled for every afternoon for the next 4 weeks. The hope is that Julia will get to go to school on most days, but there will be days when she will also need to go to clinic for blood counts.