Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Another day at the clinic
We spent another full day at the clinic yesterday. We went in to get his blood counts and have a check-up with the doctor. When the nurse came in to get some blood out of his PICC line, it wasn't working. Then she told me she was afraid this would happen.... I guess when the guy changed the dressing on it last Friday, they tested it right after and were unable to get any blood return. The guy should've taken the dressing back off then and fixed it but he didn't, he just left. Granted, Carter's not the easiest patient to do a dressing change on, what with all the kicking and screaming, but still! So they had to call someone from the PICC team to come in yesterday and fix it. Carter was not a happy camper. But they got it fixed and were able to get it working again. His blood counts are still low, which is expected. White blood cell count is 1400 with an ANC count of 100. Hemoglobin was 7 and platelets were 29,000. Since those two numbers were pretty low, he received another blood transfusion yesterday. Every time they do a blood transfusion, they have to re-check his blood type and make sure he hasn't built up any anti-bodies from the other transfusions. Then they have to order the blood (that sounds so weird.... order blood?) from the blood bank and then we have to wait for it. That takes about an hour and half. Then the actual transfusion takes 3 hours. Then we have to wait another 30 minutes when it's finished to make sure that he doesn't have a reaction. That's a lot of time just sitting around. Good thing they have a tv. I think we're gonna need to invest in a portable dvd player, because if there's nothing satisfactory on tv, we're just out of luck. Anyways, after all that, we finally got to come back home. Carter was exhausted after the long day. At bed time, he kept telling Jude, "Be quiet so I can sleep!" I've never heard anything close to that escape his lips! He must've been very tired!
Usually after a blood transfusion, the energy level is up and they're feeling pretty good. I was excited for that today. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of his medicines is joint pain and he's feeling it something fierce in his knee. He spent most of the morning crying and trying to limp around. After that, he gave up on the walking and I've been carrying him around all day. About every ten minutes he informs me that his knee STILL hurts. I called the doctor to see if there's anything I can do for him and there's not. Poor little boy :( I wish so badly that I could take this away from him. It just breaks my heart to see him going through it all. He's such a brave boy and I've been so impressed with his maturity and strength. If any 3-year-old can do this, it's Carter.
In case you're wondering, here's how the treatment works. This first month, called "induction", the chemotherapy is supposed to kill all traces of cancerous cells in his blood. These leukemic cells grow quickly and start pushing out all the healthy cells. So once those cells are all gone, then there is room for new healthy cells to grow. So after this first month, he SHOULD be in a "remission" of sorts. But that's not the end of chemotherapy. Not even close. The rest of the treatment over the next 3 years is designed to "seek and destroy" any cancerous cells that still remain in the blood, bone marrow, spinal fluid, tissues, etc. I think I got all that right :) My brain is kinda overloaded with information so I might have left something out or got something a little wrong, but you get the general idea.