Rolling silently past the nurses' station, I tried to stealthily sneak my little man and his bright turquoise IV pole out of 4N for a brief prison break.
"Where are y'all headed?"
"Ummm [insert pregnant, awkward pause with visible blushing here], just around."
"Cool! Next meds start at 4, so head this way for those."
I picked up the pace before they changed their minds. Rex and I headed to the outdoor bench area which sits near the 4N entry. I decided we both needed some vitamin D. I was still reeling by not being asked to continue to hold the little guy hostage until his counts increased. I felt sort of bad for being so sneaky. I've been told stealth is not my strong suit.
We pushed the IV cart through the heavy "no exit" door to the outdoor area. Rex and I squinted as the sun initially rendered us blind. It had been a while since we ventured outdoors. The sun warmed our skin, Rex started sweating, and he pointed towards the "no exit", entry door and looked at me pointedly. So, after our 3 minute escape outside, we headed back in, and we slowly walked the rectangular path around the floor. When I started losing feeling in my fingertips on the Rex side and had run over my toes with the IV cart roughly 10 times on the opposite side, I elected to head back to 422. By this point, Rex was nice and cool, and I had broken into a full, panting sweat. People passing by began looking more and more alarmed by how winded I appeared.
Earlier in the afternoon, we met with the nutritionist from the clinic. She has seen us several times over the course of the past few weeks, and she was checking in to see how Rex was eating. Surprisingly, she indicated that a minimal diet of bananas and Pirates Booty would not cover all of his growing boy, nutritional needs. Dang. She suggested we order an appetite stimulant from the pharmacy to see if it helps re-spark his palate towards a broader scope of foods. He'll start this medication tonight around 8, and it will be a twice daily dosage.
The oncologist met with us this afternoon, as well, and she reviewed Rex's progress. I'm trying very hard to understand the details of each component of his blood work, how it affects his health +/-, and what markers or parameters we search for in the daily reports.
Rex's ANC remains at 0 today, which is typical following chemo. When your ANC is low like this (very low is under 250), you're considered neutropenic. Per the Mayo Clinic, neutropenia may be defined as "an abnormally low count of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that helps fight off infections, particularly those caused by bacteria and fungi".
His WBC (white blood cells) are at 0.3 (for reference, he was 6.9 on the second day of receiving chemo). His RBC (red blood cells) are at 3.7. His hemoglobin level is up today (woo hoo!) from his transfusion yesterday. It is 10.2 today, and it was 8.4 yesterday. Lastly, his platelets dropped today to 51 (they were 101 Monday and 71 Tuesday). The platelets are the last numbers to rise, typically.
WIth all of these levels taken into consideration, the doctor factored in his broviac site skin response and elected to revert to the earlier antibiotic he received Monday - Tuesday. Vancomycin is defined by me as the drugs which cause my baby to swell up like a toad and get red in the face. With that being said, I can take that in stride if it helps him remain healthy and aids in his counts rising. He was pre-medicated with Benadryl and the Vanco started 30 minutes afterwords. So far, so good. Hopefully getting ahead of the reaction by administering proactive anti-histamines will reduce the side effects encountered Monday and Tuesday.
So, that's what we know as of 5:59 PM this lovely Wednesday evening.
Rex enjoyed several things today - a leisurely wagon ride, where he waved like he was on a parade float to all who passed by; copious quantities of Pirates Booty whenever requested; a better view of the healing garden from our room thanks to the feng shui, 422 apartment remodel; and an exciting escape from solitary confinement. If that's not good livin', who knows what is. Have a fabulous evening, and thank you for your continued love, support, positivity, encouragement, and prayers. #REXSTRONG
"You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough." - Mae West