Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam
Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam

Monday, January 05, 2004

Cycle 1, Day -4: School Starts, Chemo Begins :-(

I wake at 6 am, go down 2 floors to the parent bathroom and have a quick shower, get dressed, and wait for Doug to arrive at the hospital with Sean. Steven requested that I stay with him for his first night at the hospital and Sean requested that I accompany him to school for his first day.

Doug and I switch positions and I drive Sean to his first day at a Catholic school in Memphis. We had to purchase a uniform for him on the Friday of Steven's surgery, and the woman who owns the uniform store allowed us to order over the phone with a credit card, then drove our purchase over to the hospital so we wouldn't have to leave Steven. The woman also called us the next day at Target House to find out if the clothes fit, offering to bring over new sizes if there was a problem, so that Sean would be ready for his first day.

Sean was very apprehensive, at first asking that I would stay with him all day. After the all-school meeting in the gym before school, his teacher takes his hand and asks him if he would like to go up to his class. I ask Sean if its OK if I leave and he nods, giving me permission.

I take off back to the hospital, trying to arrive in time for the start of Steven's chemo. He gets started around 9am. His first chemo drug is vincristine, followed by amifostine (not chemo, this drug mitigates the negative effects of cisplatin), then cisplatin. Cisplatin almost always causes high-frequency hearing loss, by killing off the fine hairs in the ear.

The cisplatin takes 6 hours to infuse. He does pretty well for the first couple of hours, then starts to feel badly. He starts vomiting around 3pm and generally feels terrible. The vomiting continues into the next day, despite doses of ativan, zofran, and benadryl for nausea.

Doug picks up Sean from school. Sean has made friends with another boy who also started Monday, and has decided that although he misses school in San Diego very much, he is OK with school in Memphis.

- Kathleen

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