If it’s not one thing, it’s a dozen. Monday’s appointment was Andy’s last chemo until he starts maintenance. That was really exciting for us because we finally feel like the end of the super hard stuff is really near. Unfortunately, Andy’s appointment turned into six hours because his hemoglobin and platelets were both low again and he needed transfusions of both on top of his chemo and AT3 infusions. It worked out okay because we were there until 7pm and didn’t have to deal with rush hour traffic which I always like. His labs on Monday also indicated he had no anc/immunity which puts him in a very fragile state and is extra vulnerable to getting sick over something as simple as a hangnail because he has no ability to fight off any infection. It can only go up from here, right?
Fast forward to yesterday morning (Wednesday), I was excited we had no appointments and the day was really our oyster. Tuesday he had to have blood drawn in Vancouver at 1pm, but yesterday was a day full of possibilities. To embrace the day, the kids and I gathered around the kitchen table to make cute little candy houses out of graham crackers. It was quite amusing how difficult it was to keep them together while we waited for the royal icing to harden, but the kids and I persevered and were rewarded with some adorable Christmas cheer. I’ll share some pictures of our creations soon.
Even tho we had a bit of fun and normalcy yesterday, Andy complained early in the day about his left index finger hurting him. Upon inspection, there was nothing but a little scab the size of a dot on his finger and it was red and slightly swollen. I offered a band-aid and figured it was just a little owie he acquired somewhere along the road of life. He continued to complain about his finger throughout the day, but it looked no different to me, still red and a touch swollen. Around dinner time he wanted me to read him a story, so we cozied up in daddy’s chair to read the Velveteen Rabbit. When I was done reading, his ear brushed the side of my face and felt hot. Of course I immediately took his temp and it was 100.6 – ugg, two of those in 12 hours and we have to take him to the hospital. We waited until daddy got home from work to retake it and it was 101.9 – hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to Randall we go.
We got to the hospital about 9pm and it was like lightening getting everything going. I later found out that they are supposed to begin antibiotics within 30 minutes of a neutropenic patient’s arrival, so the clock was ticking the minute we walked through the door. They did a CBC when he arrived and his anc was still zero last night and his platelets were down to 19, so he got another platelet transfusion around midnight. His finger looks more swollen to me today and his doctor peeked at it this morning. It could very well be the culprit of his fever since he has no ability to fight anything off. She told me this morning that the Ara-C he had a few weeks ago can suppress counts for weeks, so it’s hard to say how long it will stay this low. She said kids usually bounce back quickly after the first round, which he had in June, but now his bone marrow is extremely tired and it’s harder to recover very quickly (hence the name “Delayed Intensification”). It literally could be weeks before his immunity rebounds.
So for now, he will be residing at Camp Randall for a few days and is on IV antibiotics, one type is every 8 hours and one type is every 6 hours; both are broad-spectrum and will treat a multitude of things and hopefully whatever is ailing him. His doctor said this morning that usually at the 24-hour mark is when you’ll start to see improvement, but they also drew a blood culture and something could grow in that anywhere between the 24 to 48 hour mark, but of course nothing may show up at all. Today he will also get his next dose of AT3 since that was already on the books in his treatment plan.
I was reminded by his doctor this morning that we are “so close”. Yes so close indeed, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are all getting so weary battling all these ailments on top of cancer. AT3 infusions and blood thinners to control his clotting, extra lab draws to check is blood consistency, platelet transfusions, red cell transfusions, low anc, fever….it seems like the list just goes on and on. I pray that through all these trials Andy and our family is facing, that those we come in contact with will see the light of Jesus reflecting from us. That this dreaded illness will only bring glory to God. Will you please lift up Andy in prayer? Praying specifically they can find the cause of his fever and are able to treat it swiftly so he can go home. For his finger to feel better and the swelling to go down. Also for his anc, that his body will recover so he can not be in such a vulnerable position. Please also be praying for Andy’s siblings. They are in such a tough spot too as they trying to juggle the crazy schedule we have. I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to go home in a few days. He is still battling the fever and just had another dose of Tylenol to bring it back it down. On a bright note, Andy got a visit from the therapy dog, Bailey, today. She was a sweet golden lab with a gentle and calm disposition. Her “mama” was just as lovely and it was a bright spot in our rather dismal day.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33