When the chemotherapy first started, we were told to expect at least four cycles, followed by surgery, followed by two more cycles. It seemed such a long time. We were already so exhausted and we knew this would not change while Dexter was undergoing treatment for cancer... but, we knew we would make it through.
We knew the risks associated with the type of chemo we chose for him – a high chance of secondary cancer developing with the longer exposure to one of the chemo drugs, as opposed to permanent hearing loss associated with the general chemo used for Hepatoblastoma.
But he responded so well after the first round – even the Oncologists were amazed. His alpha fetoprotein levels (tumour markers) were dropping. An average infant Dexter’s age has a level under 8. His were 126,000. After round one, it went to 6000. The day round two of chemotherapy started, it was at 4500. At the end of round two, it went to 2400. And it is currently at 412. The tumour is shrinking – dramatically shrinking. It is becoming harder to feel. And he is feeling better. He is happy; he doesn’t sleep as often as he did pre-cancer; he is active.
He had his tests again – kidney, hearing and CT scan. We had two full days at the hospital. They were big days – we were physically and emotionally tired, from the driving and the waiting and waiting and waiting...
His levels have decreased and yes, the tumour has shrunk, but not enough. He needs at least another round of chemo before they will operate on him.
The third round of chemotherapy is due to start on Thursday.
Our Little Man is getting there - but it's a long, tiring, scary and difficult road.