I’m sure I’ll update this post a few times (scroll to the bottom), as I know more side effects will be coming. But over the past few days the chemotherapy side effects began for Keira.
First, was the loss of appetite. She started veering away from solid foods and only wanted milk.
Then it was diarrhea. Ugh.
And while I learned that chemotherapy does not effect children with as much nausea and vomiting as adults because their skulls aren’t yet fully formed so there is less pressure building up in the brain, the vomiting began nonetheless. It only happened once on Monday, twice on Tuesday but on Wednesday…woah. I went through 8 outfits for her, 2 for me and lost count of how many times she threw up (at its worst it was 6x in one hour). She couldn’t keep milk or her meds down. Finally they gave her anti-nausea medication and it helped SO much. She was fine after that and they have given her that each day now.
I know mucositis can worsen (which is what is partially causing loss of appetite) but sores can begin to form in her mouth that cause pain. This generally happens when neutrophils (the most common type of white blood cell) hit zero. She was at 600 yesterday but down to 200 today so they think in the next day or two we can expect to hit zero and will probably need to feed her through the IV.
And, of course, the most well-known side effect of hair loss is yet to come. I hope it doesn’t but she has so little hair now that I’m sure it’ll grow back in no time.
Weight loss can also sometimes be an issue but despite all the puking she remains stable. When we first arrived to Italy in August she weighed 9.99kg and got up to 10.76 kg before this extended hospital stay. In the past week she has gone down to 10.1kg (then yoyoed throughout the week) and is up to 10.91kg as of yesterday.
And all of that aside, she continues to be in great spirits! The puking doesn’t even bother her and she goes right back to smiling and playing. Such a trooper! We are so grateful she is such a strong baby girl!
I’ll continue to update this post as things change but so far not bad!
UPDATE 11/10/2020: Keira has had a rough few days. The mucositis worsened causing some bad pain in her throat and she is still unable to eat or drink. Even swallowing saliva hurts her. So she is on pain meds for that and is getting calories added to her electrolytes to ensure she gets the proper nutrients. She also continued puking and gagging so she is on anti-nausea meds as well.
Her hemoglobin levels dropped within the past day so she needed a blood transfusion. And this was also the first day her hair began to fall out. 🥺 She doesn’t have too much to begin with though so hopefully it will all come back quickly.
The pain in her throat seems to be the worst part. And she is not even interested in playing and just wants to be held by Mom every waking moment (which is fine by me)! While her constant smiles are now few and far between the nurses and I still manage to get a few out of her each day. 😊