Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chemo Appetite

You know your cancer patient is struggling with poor appetite when you find this:

Don't recognize it? That's because this is the smallest cup of ice cream ever sold. Ben & Jerry's sells these only to United States Marines, because no one else has the self discipline to be satisfied with such a small amount of ice cream. Tiny little girls can buy them also, but will usually cry if they don't get two. Even though it is Maggie's favorite flavor, she couldn't finish it. Add this to a parade of similarly unfinished snacks and meals and you get the picture. It is hard not to have a small Parent Freak-out.

The suppressed appetite isn't the worst, though. For the last week Maggie kept almost nothing down. Not rice, toast, crackers or even more than about 2 ounces of water at a time. This is doubly worrisome, as a poor reaction to the chemotherapy can require a slowing of the schedule or reduction of dosage. This affects prognosis. One of the reasons Lance Armstrong did so well with his cancer was his spectacular fitness. His doctors could just hammer him with powerful chemo agents in high doses. His body recovered and the cancer was destroyed.

During our clinic visit yesterday Dr. B~ explained that it probably wasn't the chemo that made Maggie so sick this week. It was probably some other illness. Life goes on, he said. Just because she has cancer doesn't mean she won't catch other illnesses. He further explained: Maggie received 250 units of Methotrexate. Kids with bone cancer get upwards of 12,000 units at a time.

12,000 units...

My little prayer today: Thank You for keeping us mindful that no matter how bad it seems to be, many others have it far worse.

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