13. 8/1/2013 - Defiant after diagnosis.
"You really don't want to have cancer, but if you have to have it, this is the kind to have." This thought ran through my mind constantly after meeting with the oncology team and receiving Hattie's official diagnosis: stage 1 botryoid rhabdomyosarcoma. The ultrasound, CT, MRI, and PET scans in conjunction with blood tests and bone marrow tests showed that the cancer did not spread past the initial tumor site. The historical cure rate of this type of cancer caught this early was about 95%. We knew we were in for a really long journey but this news was really reassuring.
The treatment plan would consist of 52 weeks of a standard "VAC" chemotherapy protocol typically used for sarcoma patients. VAC stood for the three drugs she would be getting - Vincristine, Actinomycin-D and Cyclophosphamide. VAC is administered in a three-week cycle, with all three drugs given the first week and just the "V" given the second and third weeks. Then repeat. We would only need to go in for one day of treatment each week.
After a few cycles, Hattie would be checked out under anesthesia and we hoped to drop the larger dose down to two drugs after the first four cycles. She would be getting regular blood tests to monitor her blood counts and she would need to be admitted into the hospital if the counts dropped too low. We also discussed radiation and radical surgery treatments that would be used if chemo proved ineffective. That would become a big conversation in the future, but for the moment we were very hopeful chemo would be enough.
The first chemo appointment would take place the next week and we decided to stay overnight to have some help going over the full protocol. We headed home after an exhaustive meeting. Dad thought it would be a great idea to try to get Hattie to eat broccoli by mixing it with cheese. She ate the cheese and threw the broccoli on the floor.