Phase 3 started on July 11th 2016 and things are going great till now. This phase has chemos on Day 1, 2, 11, 21, 22, 31, and 41. As the chemos as essentially 10 days apart our thinking is she will not drop her counts too low and feel beaten; there is enough time between the chemos for her body to fight back the side effects and not have a cumulative effect. This is still in theory, we’ll see what the next 1.5 months will bring.
Day 1 of this phase included a intrathecal chemo, which is basically guiding a needle into the spinal column and injecting chemo into the spinal fluid. This is to prevent the cancer to reach the spinal column and then the nervous system. Phases 2 had 4 of these for 4 straight weeks and that was a bad month for Rachana. This phase has intrathecal chemo only on days 1 and 31. The procedure on day 1 went pretty smooth as we had asked for the physician to do it rather than a resident or fellow, given our bad experience in Phase 2. By mid week Rachana was feeling fit enough to drive and go shopping.
The doctor also recommended they remove the PICC line from her arm and start giving the rest of the chemos using the port in her chest. Rachana was not in favor of this because using the PICC line is painless as they screw the IV line to the end of her PICC line, but using the port involves putting a needle into the port in her chest. The doctor explained that the PICC line can become infected much more quickly than the port and so it’s better to remove it soon. So, on Friday they removed her PICC line. Here is a video of it’s removal. It’s not gory but still weird to see a pipe coming out an arm. When inside her arm, this pipe ended at a large artery near her heart. Ya, crazy science!