Treatment and side effects
The next steps were like a whirlwind. We needed a biopsy to confirm the cancer first, delayed as Phoebe developed chickenpox. We went to our local hospital to treat her with antivirals intravenously to get rid of it. We didn’t even realise we would have to stay in hospital as we thought she’d just get an injection or medicine. We were totally unprepared.
We bought her a doctor’s kit after this experience and it has become her favourite toy. She constantly re-enacts various procedures she has had. One of her dollies even got a wiggly stuck on her by a community visiting nurse.
A few days after the spots scabbed over, we had the biopsy and a portacath put in under her skin so she could be easily accessed. The constant cannulas put into her hands and feet had left her scared of medical staff. We called it the mushroom as it protruded out from under her skin, and with a bit of local anaesthetic ‘magic cream’, the process of blood tests and chemotherapy was made significantly less stressful for her.
The day before her first pre-operative chemotherapy to shrink the tumour, I gave birth to her baby sister Zoe a week early. Her daddy stayed a few hours and then went off in the early hours to take her with her grandma to her first chemotherapy. The new baby developed pneumonia and was in special care at the start.
Phoebe wasn’t feeling well with the side effects although she wasn’t sick as she had taken drugs to stop it. Her throat became sore and her voice went hoarse – it was heartbreaking to hear her on the phone. I was stuck on a maternity ward for five days unable to comfort her. She also totally lost her appetite and was lethargic.