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10:12am A quick update on our car situation--the "other party" (as our insurance adjuster calls them) has accepted responsibility (I'm sure a visit from the police had something to do with that) and their insurance will cover the repairs and rental car costs while the car is being fixed. Susan will drop off the Honda on Monday when she goes in to work.

But here's the real reason why I'm posting: we picked up some refills for Sophie's medicines yesterday and I realized that we are rapidly coming to the end of all this. 72 more days of treatment, to be exact. To be even more exact, that means Sophie will be taking 3.35 grams of mercaptopurine (6MP), 125 milligrams of methotrexate, 60 milligrams of dexamethosone, plus three more doses of vincristine and another dose of methotrexate (intrathecally, in her spinal fluid). That doesn't count the antibiotics, antihistamines, anti-nausea and other various and sundry drugs that she takes to deal with the side effects. Speaking of side effects, just to put all these drugs in perspective, here are the possible side effects for all these drugs:

decreased ability to fight off infection
personality changes
poor wound healing
stomach upset
high blood sugar
high blood pressure
inflammation of the pancreas
abnormal levels of salts in the body
bleeding in the stomach and intestines
inflammation of the stomach
stomach ache
muscle weakness
breakdown of the bone at the end of the femur
slowed growth
decreased bone density
stomach ulcer
vision disturbance or loss of vision
decrease in the number of red and white blood cells and platelets
loss of appetite
mouth sores
life-threatening allergic reaction
increased liver function
scarring of liver tissue
darkening of the skin
red, itchy rash
scarring of lung tissue
second tumors or cancer
high levels of liver enzymes in the blood
sensitivity to sunlight
increased risk of sunburn
learning disability
sense of not feeling well
blurred vision
peeling, redness, and tenderness of skin
hair loss
kidney damage
damage to nerve tissue
decreased reflexes
inability to speak
lung damage
liver damage
bone and tissue damage
thinning of nerve fiber resulting in difficulty with loss of memory, concentration, balance, and walking
partial paralysis
inflammation of the heart
fluid build-up around the heart
increasingly poor nervous system function
stiff neck
irritation of tissues in the brain/spinal cord
loss of deep tendon reflexes
jaw pain
abdominal pain
absent intestinal activity resulting in blockage
drooping eyelid
double vision
difficulty seeing at night
hoarseness or difficulty speaking
abnormal hormone function
too much or too little urine

This morning, Sophie told me that other kids at school take medicine (at school) and she wondered why she doesn't take her medicine at school. Well, I told her that the medicine she takes is very, very strong medicine to keep the leukemia away and that mommy and daddy want to be sure that she takes the medicine like she's supposed to. Of course, part of it is that we want to control the handling of these drugs and want to watch Sophie take them ourselves.

I, for one, have taken for granted how everyday Sophie's treatment has become. It has been a blessing, to be sure, but it has also been a way for us (me) to deny the seriousness of the treatment. As I look forward to this final march of 72 days, I look back at what we've been through. I remember that the first time I read through that list of possible side effects (those listed above are strictly for the drugs that Sophie is/will be taking right now--not the ones she has taken and won't be taking again), I was just devastated and wanted nothing more to do with any of it. Thankfully, we have seen only some of these side effects (and, granted, some are very rare), but my gosh, Sophie has been through a lot! We all have.