Christopher Court - Chemo begins

Chemo begins

The thought of chemo therapy was almost worse than the radiation.  At clinic there were so many children who had lost their hair, were very thin, tired and listless and everyone wondered if this would be in Chris' future.  Dr. Phillips decided Chris should be put on three chemo drugs, Temozolomide, Bevacizumab and Irinotecan.  The first of these, Temozolomide (Temodar) was taken in capsule form; the capsule was yellow and black and Chris referred to them as the Bumble Bee pills (referring to the yellow and black car in the Transformers movie, not the insect).  This drug is designed to damage the DNA and trigger the death of tumor cells.  The second drug, Bevacizumab (Avastin), inhibits the growth of blood vessels (all blood vessels) but because tumors grow rapidly, it impedes their growth the most.  This drug could be particularly dangerous if Chris were to be injured as the normal healing process would be suppressed.  The third drug, Irinotecan, is another drug that interferes with the DNA in tumor cells, but it also has a lot of side effects - more on those later.

Chris was to take Temodar on days 1-5 of a 28 day cycle and the Avastin and Irinotecan would be administered on day 1 and day 14.  Avastin and Irinotecan are both liquids administered intravenously over several hours and so this would require spending one day every two weeks down at CHOP.  When asked how long Chris would have to take these drugs for, the answer was "For as long as he can tolerate them, or until they appear not to be doing anything beneficial".  It was explained that he might be on them for up to two years.

To go along with the three primary drugs there would also be a whole selection of other drugs to control the side effects.  Chris' mom would now begin carrying a mini pharmacy everywhere they went.