Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sorafatastrophe, or the 4th Worst Day Ever

For the month of May, in honor of brain tumor and NF awareness month (so convenient to have them at the same time!), I am trying to tell our family's story of living through both. I hope that by the end folks have a sense what brain tumors and NF can do to a family, why and how we can work for better treatments (and maybe a cure!), and why we should always, always hope.

We've almost made it! thank God, this has been way less fun than I anticipated.

May 28

From Caringbridge (and sorry, these recent ones mostly are. I just have nothing in me to elaborate much further).

Hey, all.

Tumor Battle 2012 has commenced

At 6 a.m. G swallowed her 3 pills and started smiting her tumors. She was pretty upbeat about it once she realized she could swallow all 3 at once. Then she & Dave went out to get First Day of Chemo Bagels.

This led to a cheerful bopping about singing of “first day of chemo bagel…la la la la la …wooo!”


Please pray that the side effects are too yikes. I am going to stay at school after my classes until the end of the day just in case she needs me. This is my plan for the near future. I’m also hoping I can then keep most of my schoolwork to school, and leave home to home.

At least she was really perky when she left today.

There is some relief in starting, I guess.

I didn’t sleep at all, I knew I had to be up by 6, so…I kept waking up and waking up and waking up all night. Then one of the pills dropped on the floor when I was opening the bottle, and the dang thing rolled…the sight of me & Dave crawling around the kitchen floor searching for the tiny investigational drug that was so hard to get and likely is not supposed to be dropped onto a kitchen floor and lost ON THE FIRST DAY! Ack. Dave eventually found it…

Dose 2 will be around 5:30 today…G can’t eat for 2 hours before or 1 hour after, so that might be tricky, but …Game Face is Now On.

Here we go…



Game Face On...Tumor Battle 2012 Begins
and if this teaching thing doesn't work out,
I am going to start a motivational t-shirt business

And so it was.

We got into the routine of it pretty quickly, this Sorafenib thing. I got pretty good at explaining it to people, this trial drug. We bought G all sorts of soft shoes since Sorafenib can be hard on the hands and feet. Weird, right? G hated the fast after snack in the afternoon, the odd timing of meals AROUND chemo. I felt constantly on edge of “don’t forget!!”

Rosie had a stable scan, we had many epic trips to Philly…and G slogged through. She tolerated the medicine really well,mostly. She was so tired, but generally ok.

Until the President’s Day session at Camp Sunshine.

She just wasn’t herself, she was refusing food, falling asleep randomly (like to the point where she was scaring the other bt moms.)

BT NOTE: If you are freaking out other brain tumor parents with your brain tumor kid, you know you are in Deep, Deep Yikes.

We nearly went to CHOP over it, but then G perked up a bit. But generally she was so tired. Her feet hurt. Her limbs cramped. She was exhausted, and just sad. She would lie in bed and worry in the mornings, instead of getting up to go chat with Grandma next door.

Reading through these entries on Caringbridge hurts my brain so badly.

G is still struggling with fatigue—I have come to understand that weekends are just sleepy times for her, she pretty much lay in a heap all day; the last 2 days her feet have been more sore…I can’t SEE why, I believe that they hurt more, but there’s no new blisters I can see. Her ears are a mess…I didn’t realize how bad they were because of her hair, but eek…they are like peely reptile ears. My poor G. Lotion does seem to help. Sorafenibed again!

That said, we were talking about NF the other night, a little friend from our slide show above just started chemo this week, the same one G started with back in ’04…so the girls had questions, and I apparently have some level of PTSD. Urp. But Rosie wanted to know about NF1 and NF2, which was worse…trying to explain genetic variability to a 9 year old is a bit tricky…finally I got to “some people have NF badly and some have it not so badly”. G piped up, “I don’t have a very bad case.” Rosie jumped right in, “I hardly have it at all!”

Genna has multifocal diffuse inoperable brain tumors, a vp shunt, vision impairment, learning challenges, and she’s on her 4th chemo protocol. Even my sweet Rosie, who has not needed treatment, has 2 tumors in her head.

You can’t really have only a little NF.

While I managed to just kind of smile and nod, I was struck by how that moment reflects who my G is, particularly. She is so mighty. She just takes whatever comes…sometimes with fear, reluctance, and sorrow, but she takes it and keeps on going. She is so mighty…and Rosie wants to be mighty too, and I can see she is growing into that, and I pray she is spared what G has had to endure

And then it was Holy Thursday, and time to scan…and we left for CHOP so early, and got G in…

And everything, every single hope died that day--not for the first time, but anew.

Thursday, April 5, 2012 8:59 PM CDT

Hi, all.

Today’s final score: tumors 10 billion, sorafenib zero.

G’s scan was a lot worse.

Like, even WE were kind of shocked…

So we regroup, we plan, we start again. And we beg God. We beg for mercy. We beg for what so many other parents have begged for their bt kids.

G said to me today, before we saw the doc, “Mom, I told God whatever He wanted to do was ok, if I have to stay over, or start another chemo, it is what it is”. And I took her hand and told her she was so brave…that I knew she was scared, but she was doing what she had to do, and that meant she was so brave. I told her I was so proud of her.

We have to wait 4 weeks for the Sorafenib to get out of her system…and then we will begin again, if I have my way it will be on the day that marks 4 weeks or just after…the beast has to know that we are not going down without a fight.

G took it pretty well, MUCH better than in December. She was pleased to not have to do chemo at dinnertime anymore, she asked if she could just get a port and get it over with…but no. She knows we will have a plan, likely some cocktail involving avastin.

As we drove to CHOP at 5 am, we marveled at how gigantic the moon was, so big and white…then gradually yellowing, until it slipped beyond the horizon…and I realized that song is right. The darkest hour really IS just before dawn.

All I can do now is pray for dawn.

Thank you all for praying for us. Thanks for all who texted G with jokes, pictures, random chitchat…that makes her smile. And come hell or high water, I need her to smile. She was smiling at the end of the day, our long talk with Dr. B got G some one on one time with the child life specialist, Megan. They were playing cards when I retrieved her. “That was so fun, mom,” she said…

I may or may not go on facebook tonight, to see everyone so sad is like knives in my heart, and my heart is already broken today. But thank you. I also learned I get wickedly carsick if I text in the passenger seat for 2.5 hours. Ergh. And tomorrow I can’t eat, so this should be interesting. Good Friday my fat fanny.

I knew this was coming, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

We were devastated. Our priest referred to the “economy of words” this past Sunday, and on Holy Thursday, 2012, the economy of words simply could not describe our brokenness, our fear, our despair. Sorafenib didn’t just fail. It was a catastrophe. We have never seen that speed of tumor growth, and I hope we never do again. It was horrifying, those scans.  Horrifying doesn't begin to describe it.

Our poor G…

No comments:

Post a Comment