As scheduled, we went to Syracuse for Michael's fourth treatment yesterday. First, we saw Dr. Kennedy, who Jeff and I really like. She's very caring and actively involved with us in Michael's care. She definitely stays on top of things. (She reminds me of Michael's pediatrician, Dr. Swan, who we love so much.) I have to say, she gave us a little scare though.
She asked us if Dr. Korones had mentioned an infection that chemo children are very vulnerable to (which he hadn't). She went on to tell us it is a terrible infection that is very difficult to treat since the child's immune system is already compromised from the chemo. She said that the bacteria usually settle in the lungs and cause severe pneumonia and that the children usually wind up in ICU on a ventilator. For a minute we thought she saw some sign of the infection in Michael !! But what she was telling us is that children on chemo should be on antibiotics for the entire time. And she noticed Dr. Korones had made notes about it in Michael's records but hadn't given us a prescription. Whew !! So, now Michael has to take an antibiotic twice a day, 2 days a week.
Michael had the same great nurses as last week and they remembered his socks. Michael's Aunt Denise and cousin James live in Alaska and sent him a couple of boxes of goodies from there. Included were a whole bunch of socks that say "Alaska" and are bright colors with pictures of things such as moose and bears. Michael loves wearing them and has enough to wear a different pair every day. The nurses told him that they can't wait until next week to see the next pair.
Michael was out of sorts yesterday. He was disappointed that he had to miss a sledding party at school to go for his treatment. He was also really apprehensive and cried when they were accessing his port for some reason but once they were done, he was a little better. Dr. Kennedy looked at his blood and thought his counts looked awfully low so we had to wait for the official results from the lab to see if he could receive his chemo. Everything came back okay and they we able to start the treatment.
Michael wanted to go to the waiting room and play with the toys instead of just sitting in his little cubicle (I can't say that I blame him) so that is what we did. He had a lot of fun with a big bucket of Legos. But, after he received his Benadryl (which makes him sleepy) we coaxed him back to his room and we took the Legos with us.
We put in a new Disney movie Michael received called 'Snow Buddies'. It was just released this week and a good friend of ours, Kathy, bought it for Michael to watch during his treatment. Kathy is one of the most caring and considerate people you could ever hope to meet and we are fortunate to have her in our life. She volunteers at her local library and has story hour for the kids once a month. She always brings Michael whatever craft she has for the kids and he loves doing them.
When the Benadryl started working, Michael got very tired but fought going to sleep so he got a little difficult to deal with and a little whiny. Also, the unit officially closes at 4:30 pm so the Child Life Specialists came and took the Legos back and he didn't like that. It was after 5 pm when we left the hospital and Michael said he was hungry so we stopped and had some dinner. Then he feel asleep in the car and we were able to just put him to bed when we got home.
So far Michael is feeling good. (Jeff & I thought he got awfully pale during his treatment this week.) He is eating scrambled eggs for breakfast and his appetite seems better than last week. For the next 2 weeks, Michael only has to receive the Vincristine. That is the drug that is pushed not dripped so it will only take a couple of minutes. It also doesn't cause the nausea so he won't have to have the 4 anti-nausea drugs. It is the drug that is dependent on good blood counts though so hopefully they won't go down any more this week. I will keep everyone posted. Keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers, JoAnne.