Elifsu will undergo chemo treatment here in The Netherlands.
It consists of 6 blocks of treatments; each block consists of 2 treatments, starting with N5, then followed by N6. In between treatments there is a 21-day recovery period at home, during which her immune system will be reduced to zero as a result of the chemo. This means she is susceptible to everything. During this phase a team of home care professionals will administer neupogen, which ups her levels of white blood cells, a very painful ordeal to Elifsu as the thick fluid stings a lot.
Elifsu has undergone five out of six of these blocks of treatments. Three times she has had to return to the hospital as she experienced high fever. In these cases no risk can be taken and antibiotics have to be given as a precaution. Luckily Elifsu has time and again proven she is a very strong girl, regaining her strength in time before the next treatment, even though these chemo treatments are very heavy as they are.
Harvesting stem cells
Because chemo treatments destroy these, Elifsu’s stem cells have to be harvested from the bone marrow. This treatment was no easy feat either as the doctors found it difficult to find the exact spots in her small body to insert the very complicated (dialysis-like) machine. I have to say that I am amazed at what the medical world has developed these days, it is quite impressive. After the chemo these stem cells were be brought back into her marrow again.
We are now going into the last cycle, so again the stem cells have to be removed and after this last and very heavy chemo, as they are now targeting the last invisible cells, put back again. Judging by the experience of other patients here at oncology, this will be the worst block, often IC is involved too. After this it’s on to radiation treatment…