Category: Recovery

Intrathecal Chemotherapy Side Effects

Yesterday, Mama Pham had a very bad reaction to the Intrathecal Chemotherapy (IT) done at St. Joseph’s Hospital by Dr. Joseph Tison.  She had two rounds of IT done in the past at City of Hope with little issues. This time, she had a painful sensation at the bottom of her spine that caused her to have body spasm for about two hours.  Dr. Tison by once she developed the reactions, but said he did not know the cause and stated he had never seen that kind of reaction in the patient.  He was unfamiliar with the chemotherapy drug (Methotrexate) that he injected in her. My mom had a similar tingling sensation in the past, but it only lasted about 10 minutes.  The nurses and I triaged the situation and concluded that it probably was just an irritated nerve. We hypothesized that the liquid that was injected irritated a nerve and caused the tingling.  This meant that as the liquid slowly dispersed through the Central Nervous System, the tingling and irritation would go away.  After about two hours, the tingling did indeed go away and my mom was completely fine. I do not know for sure if the irritated nerve was the actual issue, but the series of events seem to lead to that. I was very thankful for good, knowledgeable, experienced nurses that day!

The next intrathecal chemo will happen about 4 – 6 weeks from now. We will have it done at City of Hope for continuity and quality of care.

Happy Day 100!

Today is Day 100 post-transplant for Mama Pham! Just in time for Mother’s Day. Day 100 is the day when a patient can reduce the amount of doctor visits and lab work from twice a week to once a week. They can also start seeing their local oncologists. I will greatly miss the care from Dr. Salhotra and the City of Hope team. However, I seeing a doctor closer to home will help with Mama Pham’s spirits. She will still go to see Dr. Salhotra once a month at City of Hope in Duarte, CA. Her weekly visits, however, will be locally with Dr. Mummaneni at St. Joseph’s in Orange County.

Hooray for Day 100! Her taste buds have not returned, she is still on a neutropenic diet and is still week, but is definitely in a much better state than Day 0!

Ocean Therapy

After spending most of our time just driving between home and the hospital, I decided it was time for some ocean therapy on a beautiful day. Completely covered from head to toe, sunblock on any exposed skin and sporting a mask, we went to Corona del Mar and took a little stroll down the empty tree-lined streets and along the cliff side.