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    Thursday, March 13, 2008

    Delayed Intensification

    So, Cole's delayed intensification began today. I've never looked less forward to something in my life.

    Here's a very good write up my mom did that will walk you through the stages of delayed intensification:

    Thursday, March 13th, Cole begins an 8 week arm of his treatment known as delayed intensification . This is a very intense portion of his treatment where he will be getting 8 different forms of chemo. Three of them he has never had before, and two he has had only once. Here's how the next three weeks will look starting Thursday, 3/13;
    1. 21 days of steroids by mouth twice a day
    2. Starting Thursday, 3/13, he will get two of the drugs, vincristine (IV) and doxarubicin (IV) - new -, once a week for three weeks.
    3. On Thursday, 3/13, he will have a spinal tap where they will place methotrexate into his spinal fluid.
    4. Either Sunday, 3/16, Monday, 3/17, or Tuesday, 3/18, he will get PEG asparaginase (IV) - had 1 time.
    Staring Thursday, April 3rd, he will have one week off.
    On April 10th, he will begin a two week period where he will get;
    1. A spinal tap on 4/10 with methotrexate placed in his spinal fluid.
    2. A one time dose of cyclophospamide (IV) - new - on 4/10
    3. 14 days of Thioguanine (by mouth) - new -
    4. Cytarabine (IV) - had 1 time - on 4/10 thru 4/13 and 4/17 thru 4/20
    Starting Thursday, April 24th, Cole will have a two week break!! Whew.


    I think the thing that I fear the most about all of this is that Cole will return to the zombie he was during induction. I've been savoring the past week. Cole, while challenging as any normal 2 year old is, has been delightful to be around. His personality is developing daily and some of the things he comes up with are awesome.

    For example, Cole loves Backyardigans. If you haven't seen them, I highly recommend them. Backyardigans all end the same, with one of the casts bellies rumbling for food, at which point one of the others will suggest, "Let's head to my house, we're having X." And off they all go. In a recent episode Tyrone suggested that they have sushi. At this point, I told Cole, "Sushi is my favorite food."

    Fast forward to today, 5:45 am, we're watching the same Backyardigans episode (you have to watch them multiple times to pick up all of the nuances, you see...). When Tyrone suggests sushi, Cole looks at me and says, "Sushi is my favorite food!" To which I responded, "It's my favorite food, too!" He reacted with a mixture of self-satisfied shock and glee. It was quite literally too cute for words.

    It's little things like this that I'm afraid that delayed intensification will take from us, even if it is only for a time. I just pray that there's no return of zombie-dom. With everything else that's going to be going on, not losing his personality completely would be a blessing.

    But, in the long run, I have to be grateful for delayed intensification. Grateful. That's really, really hard. I want to hate it all with everything I have. But, I can't. It's saving his life.

    12 comments:

    Eric and Lindsay said...

    We will be praying for you all for the next few weeks. Hopefully Cole will tolerate it all okay and he will occasionally give you a glimmer of his normal self.

    Langston-Family said...

    Cole is an amazing kid and he has equally amazing parents. We're taking a deep breath with you and praying that the next eight weeks fly by. We love you guys!

    ncbeau said...

    Thank you for expressing yourself so honestly. It will help me focus prayers for your family. I met Cole on several occasions while visting my daughter, Nicole Baller, so the Grandmother prayers for Cole flow easily - healing & strength of every kind so that he will grow into a teenager who can bug his parents about borrowing the car.
    Beau Simcoe from Wilmington,NC

    Mom to 3 girls said...

    Praying, praying, praying that Cole tolerates this phase well. And remember, you DID get your boy back! So if the drugs temporarily mask that sweet personality, remember the last few weeks and know he will bounce back. It does stink that to heal him you have to poison him first, huh? I heard another mom say that whose child was fighting cancer and I've never forgotten it. And just so you know, that same little girl is a happy, healthy 7 year old today! Praying you see the rainbows that God provides in the coming weeks. We love you! Shelley and family

    Michael.Rollins said...

    Thanks for the encouragement, guys. It means a lot, let me tell you.

    Ingrid said...

    Thoughts to you and your family. I am following with special interest as my almost 24 month old will start delayed intensification on April 13. He, too, was a zombie during induction. It was horrible. Now, he's walking again and has lots of spirit. I dread the unknown when it comes to chemo... So, thanks for keeping this blog.

    Michael.Rollins said...

    Ingrid, our prayers are with you. I would just like to say that Delayed Intensification was nowhere near as bad as we imagined it would be at that time. Cole did not return to zombie-dom and he has never lost his personality like he did the first time in induction.

    We are in our final year of treatment, now, and life is almost as normal as I believe it would be without cancer. Sure, there are some things that are tough, but by and large we have coped and are able to handle the day-in-day-out.

    So, take heart. DI is tough, it's not easy, but once your done you're into maintenance (assuming you don't have to repeat DI). Set your sites there. It's not exactly the promised land, but maintenance is much easier than either induction or DI.

    Michael.Rollins said...

    Thanks for the encouragement, guys. It means a lot, let me tell you.

    ncbeau said...

    Thank you for expressing yourself so honestly. It will help me focus prayers for your family. I met Cole on several occasions while visting my daughter, Nicole Baller, so the Grandmother prayers for Cole flow easily - healing & strength of every kind so that he will grow into a teenager who can bug his parents about borrowing the car.
    Beau Simcoe from Wilmington,NC

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