Thursday, April 14, 2011

Highs & Lows

In many ways, the visit to clinic yesterday was a strong reminder to us of the reality and of the many highs and lows we have experienced as a family since Colin's diagnosis. Today we are experiencing one of those low moments.

Colin was scheduled for his quarterly lumbar puncture and chemo infusion. These visits are typically stressful, but this one was even more so as we anxiously awaited the status of Colin's ANC counts. As his ANC count has been low for the past couple of weeks we were hopeful his counts had rebounded and he could resume standard daily treatment.

Colin did very well getting ready for clinic. Upon arrival, he was accessed pretty quickly, blood was drawn, he began receiving his IV chemo and the numbing cream was placed on his back. All without skipping a beat or any fuss. We began playing in the infusion room while the numbing cream had a chance to kick in. Then, two Doctors came to our station and closed the curtain. We looked at each other with a blank stare and got an instant pit in our stomach as this was very unusual.

The Doctor explained that Colin's ANC count (600) remains below the threshold (750) necessary to safely administer his daily chemo dose at home. They explained that we should continue to hold the chemo and come back next week for a recheck on his counts. If his counts remain low, based on his treatment protocol, they will then perform a bone marrow aspirate to test his marrow and rule out any indication of a relapse. So, we wait until next week and pray that Colin's counts have improved enough to cancel the need to perform this test.

However, as a positive sign, they do not think there is an issue as all else looks good, and Colin's count will rebound in time. For example, they indicated that the daily chemo (6MP) is known to cause a low ANC as some children metabolize this drug much differently than others. Colin's daily dose was recently increased and it may be too strong. The Doctor requested an extra blood sample to test how Colin metabolizes 6MP. Or, it could simply be that his body needs a break and needs a little more time to rebound. So we wait until next week...

Colin did receive the lumbar puncture and IV infusion and did very well. After he had recuperated we played at the activity table. As we looked around we noticed many new faces and we witnessed a pretty young girl preparing for a trip to Boston which we can only assume is for a transplant. This was another reminder about the cancer world and how precious health really is.

Luckily, our visit did end on a good note, we were able to take part in a family photo shoot sponsored by Flashes of Hope, a fantastic organization of professional photographers that donate their time to capture lasting memories for families to treasure.

This will be a long week so please bare with us and our emotions. Thank you for all the voicemails, text messages, emails and facebook posts. It's days like this that we pull our energy from each and every one of you. Thanks for all your love and support.

No comments: