Unfortunately, it only takes a few days to see the effects of the meds. Her whole body becomes weak and sickly and she gets really tired. Our biggest challenge is that her vocabulary is not big enough to tell us if she's nauseated or in pain. When Abigail went through this phase she started to shake. It took a trip to the hospital to determine that Abigail's shaking was due to pain. I was devastated that she had to go through that. Consequently, we often give meds to Tasha now even if we just suspect she might be in pain.
We have known going into this phase that it is 'the scary one'. When Abigail was starting her DI (as it's referred to in the Clinic) they sat us down and explained that if she were to die, it would be likely in this phase. This is because chemo is strong and dumb at the same time. It just kills everything--including her immunity. We slowly watch as her ability to fight back is taken away and just hope that she isn't exposed to anything that would make her sick. Unfortunately, our twins are 5 & 6 out of 7 kids. How do you avoid germs? Prior to the start of this phase I decided to be proactive. I spoke with our wonderful elementary school principal and all of my kids' teachers. We set up a plan to pull our kids out of school around the time that Natasha's numbers would dip. They will do their schoolwork at home for a few weeks. It seems extreme but if missing 3 weeks of school would help keep your sister safe, most kids would be willing to make the sacrifice ;) I also made a PowerPoint presentation that I took in to the 3 younger classes and explained in simple terms what Leukemia was and how chemo worked. Much of the presentation focused on germs and hand washing. After that, all we could do was hold our breath and hope for the best!