2:45 PM (Central time): Sophie had a good trip to Lubbock yesterday for her monthly checkup. Her blood values were good, and there were no problems with her physical exam (still no reflexes, but the doctor said that can take up to a year). During the drive to Lubbock, she claimed she would not be afraid, and in fact she left her blankie in the car when Randall went to park. When the needle appeared, though, she started to get upset and a second nurse had to come in to help hold her still. Afterward, she said the needle hurt this time (to which I replied that she got upset BEFORE the needle touched her!).
We spent some time talking with the doctor to clarify our follow-up schedule for the next few years. She confirmed what I was assuming: Monthly visits for the first year post-treatment; every two months in the second year; every three months in the third year; every six months in the fourth year; and every six-twelve months every year after that. She said the likelihood of relapse really goes down after the second year post-treatment, and by that time she would be considered "cured." I also asked her about longer term considerations, including secondary cancers and long-term side effects. She said most secondary cancers happen much later post-treatment, usually after ten years, but that she doesn't expect Sophie is at high risk for secondary cancers. She didn't take the chemotherapy drugs that are consistently associated with secondary cancers, and she didn't have radiation as part of her treatment. As far as long-term side effects (other than the cognitive delays we already knew about), one of the chemotherapy medicines she took is associated with heart problems, so she will have echocardiograms every five year to be compared against the baseline reading they did early in her treatment. All in all, a very positive visit.
Speaking of cognitive delays, we will be meeting with the psychologist who did Sophie's cognitive testing in December to discuss the cryptic results we received. I am looking forward to an English translation of some of that jargon.