Tuesday marked the beginning of Emily’s interim Maintenance phase. While any progress brings a sense of relief as it moves us closer to the end of treatment, this particular phase of treatment is probably the most frightening we have faced thus far.
Over the next few months, Emily will receive a chemotherapy drug called Methotrexate. She receives a standard dose directly to her spinal fluid and a high dose through her Broviac (the High-dose is 250 times larger than the normal dose). High-dose Methotrexate is extremely poisonous and comes with a long list of risks and side-effects. The drug attacks fast-forming cells in the body and will compromise Emily’s mucus membranes along her GI tract.
High-dose Methotrexate is so toxic to the body that after the initial 24-hour push, a “rescue”, or antidote, is administered to immediately begin counteracting the effects of the drug and rescue normal cells. The rescue won’t make the drug completely non-toxic but without it, Emily’s entire body would be impacted and she would be extremely sick.
Due to the risks involved and the need for monitoring as the rescue attempts to flush the Methotrexate from Emily’s body, she will stay in the hospital for at least 4 days each time the drug is administered. In between each treatment, she will get at least one week off to rest. Emily is scheduled to receive four such treatments and if all goes well, she could be done in two months. However, she will have to make counts (platelets, ANC, etc) each time before beginning a new treatment and this could prolong the length of the phase.
As you can probably imagine, the next few months are going to be incredibly difficult for Emily and the entire Love family. With Emily and Christina spending so much time at the hospital, the older children are in greater need of childcare, love, and support. Aunt Gaby is managing a babysitting list and the meal train continues to help support the family as they are spread thin. Hospitalization also means a greater burden on finances as the family has to get to and from the hospital, pay for parking, and help provide food for Christina while she cares for Emily. A great deal of patience and flexibility is also mandatory to get through this phase as the schedule may be constantly changing and it will be difficult for the family to plan around these hospitalizations.
The greatest burden by far though will be facing the fear of the hardest chemotherapy yet. Monday night was full of anxiety as Emily’s parents prepared for the beginning of the first treatment, knowing they would soon have to trust the medical staff as they put poison into their young child. Only God can provide a peace to handle what lies ahead. On Facebook Tuesday morning, Jason reminded us of this, saying, “Lets remember that God is always with us, even in pain his love is there.”
Please join us in praying for God’s peace, healing, and love over the entire Love family. Each of their hearts is burdened by the challenges that lie ahead and each could use a great big Hug from God through all of us. We know that Emily is in God’s more-than capable hands. Praise the Lord for the peace and comfort that comes through faith in Him!