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Brain Damage post Chemo

Chemotherapy comes with risks…potentially life threatening risks.

Determining whether the necessity of treatment outweighs the risks is the big question.

With our situation, Jesse’s white blood cell count (WBC) was 116,000 upon diagnosis.  The hematology/oncology physicians explained the urgency of starting his chemotherapy treatment because the normal range is only 4,000. The potential side effects of each medication were reviewed with us but at that point all I cared about was immediately saving Jesse’s life.  We agreed to move forward with the proposed National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) treatment plan for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).  Soon after, an additional test result came back informing us that not only did Jesse have Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia but also positive Philadelphia Chromosome.  The odds of his survival rate instantly went from 90% to only 45%….whew!

Consequently, we opted to start his 1st IV chemo regimen (5-days) on December 8, 2011 at Hurley Medical Center.  There were many common side effects from this treatment…nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, headaches, dehydration, weight loss and hair loss.  A less common side effect he endured was a blood clot on his brain which caused two intense seizures in one day.

Jesse’s 2nd chemo regimen (5-days) was given on January 11, 2012 at Hurley Medical Center.

His 3rd chemo regimen (3-days) was given on January 31, 2012 at Hurley Medical Center but resulted in renal failure causing chemo toxicity.  During that time, I started noticing unusual behaviors.  Jesse appeared to be in a fog with slurred speech, complaints of double-vision, delayed verbal responses and decreased motor skills. I knew something was so wrong…

On February 7, 2012,  Jesse was transported in UofM’s Survival Flight helicopter from Hurley Medical Center in Flint to UofM, Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor.  This horrible event added a significant dimension to the gravity of our fight and it was at Mott that the enormous battle began.

Jesse & Mom - Feb 25, 2012