She was able to start this stage after a 3 week delay, which made it 5 weeks in total, since her last dose of chemo. We ended up spending most of this stage in hospital, due to line and viral infections. We also had news, that a very small percentage of the leukaemia cells had come back, we had to wait for this stage to finish, and they’d check again to see if any further treatment would be needed. Pleased to say, that this stage did its job, and she didn’t need extra treatment.
Here is a breakdown of Hannah’s third intensive stage of treatment:
Mercaptopurine (oral) – Daily, for 14 consecutive days.
Methotrexate – 24 hour infusion, days 1 and 8.
Cytarabine (high dose) – 3 hour infusions, twice daily, for 4 days, day 15, 16, 22 and 23.
Asparaginase – Once, 1 hour infusion.
Intrathecal chemotherapy (into spinal fluid):
Prednisolone – Twice, day 2 and 9.
On day 1, she had another bone marrow aspirate, to check if she was in forced remission. The day after the methotrexate infusion had finished, she needed all of the toxicity flushed out of her with a medication called leucovorin. With the high dose cytarabine, she needed eye drops every 2 hours during the day, and every 4 hours through the night. There were also multiple additional drugs she had to take alongside these, some to prevent infection, side effects and allergic reactions, others to treat infections whenever they appeared.