Just when you think life is on “easy street”, a swift reminder comes that you’re not. Today’s entry was going to be a quick, “yay, six months from today is last chemo day,” but atlas I have more to write.
Last Tuesday after visiting a friend in the hospital with her little six month old, I arrived home only to turn around an hour later taking Andy to the ER with a fever. Seriously, couldn’t this have been better coordinated? I know gas is only a bit over $2/gallon now which is much nicer than the over $4/gallon is was when we were driving back and forth daily, but still! We quickly got out of our jammies, packed our bags, and headed South, praying that it didn’t mean an overnighter. In the ER we found his hemoglobin had dropped to 5, which is extremely low, and his ANC was zero. He was given IV antibiotics and we were sent up to our beloved 4th floor for the duration of our stay.
The next morning (Wednesday), when the on-call oncologist visited him, she was concerned his ANC was still zero and started talking about having a bone marrow biopsy if it didn’t come up “soon”. Not sure what soon was or why she was even talking about this already because his labs had only been run twelve hours prior and we gave him his medicine before we knew he had a fever. It was his big night of the week too with 10 methotrexate tabs and 2.5 6MP tabs. None the less, the words bone marrow biopsy set my heart into a panic. I don’t even want to think about things going sour with his treatment at this point. I just can’t go there, but honestly my mind did. We’re so close to the end and to think all this junk was for naught. He was in good spirits, but continued to have fevers on and off during the day and, what was even more concerning was, he had no symptoms of anything underlying (i.e. no cough, cold, etc.).
Thankfully the next morning (Thursday), his ANC was up to 50 when they checked his blood. Fifty – that is something and I was happy to see his bone marrow was doing something and trying to churn out white cells. His hemoglobin was up as well, but that was pretty artificial since he had a double transfusion the day before. Platelets were up slightly too, so that was all encouraging and the doctor was happy enough with it. His fevers subsided by afternoon too, which was comforting.
By Friday he was on the up and up. His regular oncologist was on the floor now doing the on-call rotation and said he thought Andy was good to go home. All his labs were trending up and now his ANC was 190. Sure enough tho, that night Andy got another fever at home. After a call to the doctor, he wanted him to have some Tylenol and for us to check on him at 2am to see if he had a fever again. He was great at 2 am and in the morning as well.
With his temp down Saturday, we thought maybe we’d finally gotten over the hurdle. We had an impromptu birthday party for our friends who are in the hospital with their baby. Their oldest son was turning six, so we joined them for a little party complete with a parade of decorated wagons around the hospital, dinner, and ice cream. Unfortunately right before we were leaving, Andy felt warm. I called our poor doctor again and since Andy was on the 4th floor for the party, he had us skip the ER and just go on the floor to have his labs drawn and more IV antibiotics. It took a few hours to get it all done, but thankfully we were able to go home. His ANC was up to 770 and his platelets and hemoglobin were also up a bit more too. All in all, great news, but still we want this dang fever to go away and stay away.
Yesterday (Sunday), we skipped church in an effort to recover from our crazy week, but mostly to make sure Andy (or anyone else) didn’t get sick. We can’t afford for any of us to get sick, but especially not him. We need him to really have a good chance to recover and build back up before they restart his chemo. The original plan was to wait until his appointment on the 20th, however with his ANC already above the 750 threshold, his doctor said they’d be in touch as to possibly restarting his at-home meds later in the week. He did have another low-grade fever last night, but it didn’t meet the requirements of calling in, thankfully.
Today he’s been “normal” all day, so we’re thankful for that. He has a spot on his arm that is suspect of something. Googling pictures it looks like it could be ringworm (where in the world did that come from??). I’m treating it as such and keeping it covered. It’s a little smaller than a dime. It was about a pencil eraser in diameter in the hospital, but both nurses that looked at it didn’t know what to make of it and we never thought to show the doctor. I told him about it yesterday during our phone consult and he wasn’t worried about it and said use OTC antifungal. Thankfully it’s not bigger today and Dr. Google did say that could cause a fever, tho his doctor said he didn’t think so. I’m honestly grasping at anything here. I just want to be done with this. My heart is so weary sometimes. We’ve come so far and I don’t want to go back. Doing my best to trust God and know He knows the future.
We deeply appreciate your prayers for Andy to get well and to stay well. We want him to finish out his last six months strongly and to have no hiccups along the way. We are already planning his “last day of chemo” party for July 12 and we want it to be a huge celebration of all that he has overcome and always (well almost) with a smile on his face. We know God has this, but your prayers for him are comfort to our family. Continuing to pray it’s the Lord’s will to cure Andy of his cancer and for the Lord to get all the glory for it. Clinging to this verse today…
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” ~ 1 Peter 5:7