Conditioning therapy

High dose chemotherapy


Aidan had to wear a face mask on his way from his isolation room to the radiation therapy lab

These photos were taken on the monitors that the Doctors use to monitor Aidan while the radiation machine was "shooting"




While there is a chemotherapy protocol that provides the basis for the chemotherapy drugs used in the conditioning period, there is as always medical opinion as to how that baseline of drugs is to be "tailor-made" to each patients particular situation and condition. At diagnosis Aidan had blast cells in his spinal fluid as well as blood so his conditioning therapy was particularly intense. Aidan had a combination of drugs all given intraveneously over four days.

Total body irradiation (TBI)

In the midst of this stressful and worrying experience, this part of the treatment was particuarly worrying. When you aren't used to talking about nuclear medicine, the terms used (and the side effects) made us feel how devistatingly toxic this treatment is.

In lay-mans terms gamma waves are "shot" at the site of the cancer, in our case, the entire body. In order for the radiation to penetrate the body evenly (which is needed in order to control the dose and ensure extremities aren't burnt) the patients body must be packed into a "slab". Little bean bags and pouches of gel are placed around the body to create the square "slab". The packing takes about 30 minutes before the treatment begins.

Given that the packing takes so long, and because (as you can see from the pictures) it is a claustrophobic experience, treatment is often given under a general anaesthetic. Aidan had to have six doses of TBI over three days. At the end of the third day he was given his life saving transplant.