The chemotherapy used for round 1 was called Idarubicin. It was a dark orange colour and administered from a syringe into my picc line. I had 4 doses of Idarubicin in total, one on the day I was diagnosed and then a 48 hour gap between the final 3 doses. I had these whilst in hospital for a month along with 10 ATRA tablets a day for the entire month. The ATRA tablets matured my immature leukaemia cells, and are probably the reason I’m still here today.
The side effects from this round of chemotherapy were intense, I felt permanently exhausted, nausea, an agonizingly sore mouth, severe migraines, bowel issues, along with a nonexistent immune system, several infections, and I also developed differentiation syndrome from the ATRA tablets.
For this round of treatment I had another 4 doses of Idarubicin, but this time they were on consecutive days and the treatment was completed as an outpatient. It was a relief to be released from hospital on the 6th of March and definitely a relief to find out that they didn’t have to admit me again for the treatment. I also had 14 days of ATRA tablets with the chemotherapy too.
This time the side effects were more manageable as the doasage of Idarubicin was much less than last time, but the headaches from the ATRA were much worse.
The chemotherapy used this time was called Mitoxantrone, this was definitely the hardest round of chemotherapy. It was bright blue and I had 5 doses over 5 days, along with, you guessed it, another 14 days of ATRA tablets!
The side effects during this round were similar to my first round, I felt so exhausted and incredibly nauseous. I ended up with febrile neutropenia and a serious e coli infection. I was admitted back to hospital for just over a week and pumped with a lot of different antibiotics to try and clear the virus.
My final round of chemotherapy was just 1 single dose of Idarubicin with 14 days of ATRA. It took a long time for my blood counts to recover enough for the the last dose but eventually they did! I had it on the 11th of July 2019, 5 months and 5 days after my diagnosis.