We took Carter in for his first clinic visit yesterday. They first took his blood pressure, temperature, weight, height, etc. Then the nurse came in to take some blood. We got the blood counts back just a few minutes later. His white blood cell count is 500 with an ANC count (basically the "functional infection-fighting" white blood cells) of 0. Which is expected at this stage. The doctor told us that he's expecting us to call this weekend and tell him Carter has a fever. If that happens, we'll be readmitted to the hospital for at least two days. He's also expecting Carter to start getting mouth sores from the medicines and he gave me a special mouthwash for him to use. After getting checked out by the doctor, we went over to the "tv rooms" (I don't think that's the official name) so Carter could get his meds. First they gave him an anti-nausea medicine, followed by two chemotherapy drugs. After that, they had to change the dressing on his PCC line. The PCC line is in his arm and it's threaded up through a vein into a larger vein near his heart. It lasts for months but will soon be replaced with a "port". It's the same idea, but instead of coming out his arm, it's just under the skin in his chest. Kind of hard to explain, but he'll have that for the duration of his treatment which will be three years. Anyways, they have to change the dressing on his PCC line every week. HE HATES IT!!!! He has to be held down because once they take the old dressing off, it could easily be pulled out of his arm. Then they would have to sedate him to put a new one in. It takes about 3-5 minutes to complete the task and he cries the whole time and yells for them to "Let go of me! Stop doing that! I want you to stop! Leave me alone!" It's hard to be there for that. After that was done, we got to come back home. Next week, he'll probably need another blood transfusion. They're also going to do another bone marrow aspiration next week.
It's getting harder to know what to tell him about all this. He asked me several times yesterday, "So, do you think I'm not sick anymore?" Ugh. What do you say to your sweet 3 1/2 year old who has leukemia when he asks you something like that?!?! And how do you not break down crying right there?? But, I held myself together somehow and told him that he's mostly better but that part of his blood is still sick and so we'll have to keep giving him medicine and taking him to the doctor for a long time so he can get better. But you will get better.
He likes to eat cheetos right after he takes his "yucky medicine" to get rid of the taste in his mouth. I think we'll be good on cheetos for a while :)