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The Red Devil-Day 7, DI

July 8, 2009


Hey folks. It is an anthracycline ANTIBIOTIC. But, that being said, it is used for blood cancers, as well as, some other carcinomas and sarcomas. It works to prevent  cell growth by preventing DNA replication. So, no replication >>>no new cells—healthy ones & cancer ones.

Oddly, it comes from dirt. Why a researcher thinking about cancer would say, “Let’s check out the dirt for cancer killing properties,” is anyone’s guess.  And, not only that, but two different teams were developing the same idea. So, the name daunorubicin was born of  French and Italian influences. From what I understand, this type of antibiotic (the anthracyclines), was developed much earlier, like 1939, but like all science, needed some tweaking before it could be used. This drug works fantastically except for one little thing—

the fatal cardiac toxicity.  Yup folks, that means that those who take this drug could die from  the side effects.

Yup, that means that Isa’s heart could be irreparably damaged.  So much so, that she dies. Great. Love that. Remember that during Day 1, DI we went for an echocardiogram, (EKG) to measure her heart. That test gives the docs a baseline to compare how the dastardly medicine  has affected her. Supposedly the drug dexrazoxane works to counter-act the side effects, but from what I understand it only works when the doxo leaks out of the vessel and kills the surrounding tissue.

…but because the chemotherapy kills heart muscle cells as a side effect, survivors can experience an improperly beating left ventricle, congestive heart failure, or arrhythmias that can cause sudden death. One study estimated that, even 25 years after they were treated, their risk of dying from heart disease is more than eight times normal. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur when using Doxorubicin:

Just one of the many things we have to deal with.

Just one of the many things we have to deal with.

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); chest or back pain; fainting; fast heartbeat; headache; loose or bloody stools; pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site; rectal bleeding or irritation; redness, pain, swelling, peeling, tingling, or blistering of the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet; serious infection (eg, fever, chills, cough, sore throat); shortness of breath; sores in the mouth or on the lips; sudden irregular heartbeat; sudden weight gain; swelling of the ankles; tightness in the chest and throat; unusual bruising or bleeding.

Even though any good cancer parent is watching for sickness and so forth a BIG no, no is being around anyone who has just received a LIVE vaccine. We think of these occurring with young children of course, but sometimes adults get vaccines and do not consider them dangerous. Ask everyone about their history before handling your child.

Examples of live attenuated vaccines include:

  1. Measles vaccine (as found in the MMR vaccine)
  2. Mumps vaccine (MMR vaccine)
  3. Rubella (German measles) vaccine ( MMR vaccine)
  4. Oral polio vaccine (OPV)
  5. Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine

One other important thing to remember is that secondary to the cancer being treated, this drug can cause AML, another leukemia.

Once again, as we examine the medicines more closely, we realize that the treatment is just as dangerous as the disease.

Today, Isa received a massage with some nice smelling essential oils. Who here doesn’t want one of those?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 9, 2009 10:35 pm

    Hi, thanks for celebrating with me today SITStah!

    Melamine is safe and have been used in kitchenware and dinnerware for ages now. As with anything, heat kinds of messes things up so it’s best not to microwave in those containing melamine or any plastic product for that matter. The mess in China, it was poor judgment on those involved and a learning curve for all of us in testing safety limits of any processed chemicals.

    Corelle plates are your best bet both for durability and safety. It’s light and can withstand most drops by kids. I have been using Corelle since the 1980s and still amazed by it. My Shadow Iris is 12 years old, and is going through 3 kids now. At $50 for most 16-pc sets or about $3 per open stock, it’s a great buy!

    Hope that helped…

  2. July 9, 2009 5:51 pm

    *puts fingers in ears* LA!LA!LA!

    If I can’t hear you, then Alyson isn’t in danger of this.

    Sigh. I knew most of what you wrote but dirt? Didn’t know that. So the researcher sees a cancer kid in the play area eating dirt. *Poof* that kid does better. Hey! Let’s research dirt!

    Too weird. I must need more sleep.

    • cheflucien permalink
      July 9, 2009 6:36 pm

      I know strange that is where daunorubicin comes from, doxo is the purely synthetic version.

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