Sunday, May 13, 2007

Treatment, Part I

Some of you have asked for really detailed information on Ben's treatment. I had hoped to scan some of the protocols and just post them, but I don't know if I can do it or not. I will eventually post a lot of detailed information on exactly what drugs are being used and when, but for now let me give a little overview.

Chemotherapy is a pretty intensive thing. Ben is getting the stuff that kills the cancer cells, plus stuff that controls the side effects of the stuff that kills the cancer cells, and probably some other stuff too. In addition, he is having his blood and urine tested very frequently so the doctors can monitor the progress of his treatment.

In order to allow this treatment without sticking Ben with needles ten million times a day, Ben was fitted with a "PICC" line. "PICC" stands for peripherally inserted central catheter. Basically it is a semi-permanent IV which runs from his left bicep into the superior vena cava. They can draw blood out of it, put IV drugs into it, and give blood or platelets through it. Pretty cool stuff. He'll have it for a long time, I think for like a year. It bugs him, but it's a lot better than shots and blood draws all the time.

So far, everything is going very well with his treatment. The "induction" phase of chemotherapy lasts for 5 weeks. I'll give some details of the treatment later.

Right now, Nicole and I are taking turns staying overnight in the hospital with Ben while the other one goes home with David. David is still going to school and we are trying hard to keep his schedule as intact as we can.

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