Today was much better. Izzy was more comfortable, and we got an official diagnosis and treatment plan. The full diagnosis is Pre-T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. The "Pre-T-Cell" part is referring to the immune system cells that seem to be most affected. The Acute Lymphobalstic Leukemia is usually condensed in to the acronym ALL. The two main buckets of leukemia are ALL and AML. The treatment is less intense for ALL, and it is the most common type of cancer found in children. You can find more information on her type of cancer at the National Cancer Institute site here and/or at curesearch.org. Below is a picture with Izzy's oncologist Dr. Connelly. You can see that she is in good hands. :)
She starts chemotherapy tonight. Her treatment will last for 2 1/2 years. The first 6 months will be the most intense followed by two years of maintenance therapies. We were happy to be told by the doctors that most of the chemo she'll receive in the first 6 months will be outpatient--meaning that she won't have to be admitted to the hospital for them. However, during these 6 months she could be admitted for other reasons such as a fever (possible sign of infection) or for her protection.
Chemotherapy works by destroying cells that multiply and grow quickly. Unfortunately, this destruction of fast-growing cells is not targeted to just cancerous cells. Other cells usually affected are hair, bone marrow and intestinal. This is where most of the side effects come from such as the loss of hair, low red and white blood cell counts (fatigue and risk of infection) and mouth sores. We can expect that Izzy will begin experiencing degrees of these side effects in the next few days.
Izzy will be in the hospital for approximately 5 more days depending on how her body does with the chemotherapy. She has received lots of great support items in the hospital, especially visits from her sisters. And she is wicked excited about going to Chuck E. Cheese when she gets out of the hospital.