Since that test in May, Caroline has endured 2 month-long stays for high-dose chemo, 2 stem cell transplants, and 20 Proton Radiation treatments. It appears that all the treatment hasn't helped reduce the cancer in her little body. The positive that we're trying to hang onto: her cancer didn't get worse, and there aren't any new areas of concern.
Caroline's oncology team is confident that we should remain "on the course," so she was admitted for Round 1 (of 6 total) of Immunotherapy late this afternoon. We're expecting this round to keep us inpatient through Saturday. The next 6 months will be the final phase of the standard Neuroblastoma treatment protocol, and we are hopeful that these rounds will kill off the remaining cancer cells in her body.
Immunotherapy is a type of medicine that helps a patient's immune system recognize and destroy cancer cells. There are many different types of Immunotherapy...Caroline will be receiving infusions that are tailored to High-Risk Neuroblastoma. We've been told (and have witnessed from the sidelines) that this phase of treatment is often the hardest part of the entire treatment protocol, for both the patient and family. We will (again) be in and out of the hospital over the next 6 months - separated as a family and witnessing Caroline's body battle this monster. The potential side effects are immediate and severe; they include: high fever, rash, excruciating nerve pain, potential organ complications, low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, swelling, breathing complications, allergic reactions, diarrhea, infection and vomiting. It's going to be a really tough experience, but her medical team at Vanderbilt are preparing to do their best to stay in front of the pain and other side effects. Caroline already started taking nerve pain medication a few days ago, in preparation of the Immunotherapy infusion, and will also be on a PCA Dilaudid pump while she is inpatient (among other things).
We can't express enough how thankful we are to have such a supportive group of people around us. Thank you for following along on our journey; many times your prayers are what's holding us up and pushing us through.
Holding onto hope,
The Lantz Family