Month: April 2014

Quiet, Uneventful

Things have been a bit quiet and uneventful the past week, which is awesome. My mom had regular, twice weekly check-ups at City of Hope and everything looks good. Her complete blood count is acceptable and she feels well. She is still underweight and not eating as she should, but that will slowly get better over time. Here’s to more quite, uneventful periods. No infections, no nausea, no danger.


The stent outpatient surgery went well today. We left the house at 5:00am to make it to City of Hope by 6:00am.  The whole procedure includes anesthesiology with Dr. Hum and then the cystoscopy and stent replacement with Dr. Yuh.  The actual stent replacement only takes about 15 minutes.  While they were there, the checked out the size of the kidney stones.  She has a 2cm kidney stone that is mainly composed of calcium.  We are not sure the source of the kidney stones, but think they may be a result of the chemo. They will probably need to do an invasive surgery to get it out.  There are different methods to remove stones, but since hers is so large and hard, the surgery will be more involved.  For now, the stent will do and we will revisit the topic in 4 months!

Upcoming Events – Lumbar Puncture + Stent Replacement!

Mama Pham is doing well so far. She is still a bit underweight since her taste buds have not returned and she has occasional nausea. We are trying to make sure she eats with shakes and soups (My, Pho, Hu Tieu!). She is hanging in there and some days are better than others.

Next week, we have a CNS Prophylaxis (lumbar puncture with chemo), which is chemo into the spine (also known as intrathecal chemotherapy), as a preventative measure. Cancer cells can get into the Central Nervous System, but chemo drugs cannot, so they have to inject it this way.  Mama Pham will have 6 of these injections total.  Each time, she gets about 2 tablespoons (need to insert actual mL) of chemo (I think it is methotrexate, need to verify).

Mama Pham will also have a stent replacement to make sure her kidneys continue to properly filter all the meds we put into her body.  It is too soon to blast out the kidney stones so we will keep the stent in there until her platelets and WBC counts are better.  We think the kidney stones maybe have been caused by earlier doses of chemotherapy.  We don’t know for sure.

Right now, her blood counts are:

  • ANC: 1.2 (Low), considered neutropenic
  • WBC:  3.4
  • Hemoglobin: 8.7 (Low), transfusion optional if patient is tired
  • Platelets: 26 (Low), be careful of bleeding.

She will need a platelet transfusion before the lumbar puncture.