We just arrived back home after a long, but good, day at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. We are praising God for a good MRI report! The doctor said there was no sign of the tumor returning or of any other problems. She was very pleased with what she saw.
We did have a little bit of a scare with Hannah’s blood counts. They put in an IV when they did the MRI because they had to use a contrast dye for that procedure. They first tried to put it in her arm, but that vein quickly blew, and they ended up putting it in the back of her hand. They left it in so that it could be used for the blood draw which we knew would be coming later on. Well, when they tried to draw blood through that IV later on, it was really a struggle. It took forever, and they had to keep flushing the IV with saline to get it to work right. Anyway, when the doctor came in with the results of the bloodwork, she told us to get ready for a platelet infusion, because her platelet count had dropped from 60,000 last week to 9,000 today! After we explained to her about the problems they had had getting the blood drawn, she decided that maybe it was a bad sample, so she ordered another one. By this time, the IV had been removed, so they stuck Hannah two more times (unsuccessfully) in an attempt to get a vein, and finally did a finger stick and got enough blood drop-by-drop to do another platelet count. Thankfully, this time it was at 62,000, so no transfusion of platelets was necessary!
They also gave Hannah a breathing treatment while we were there today. This also caught us a bit off guard, because she has not had any respiratory problems at all. They explained to us that when a person’s blood counts are low, they are at especially high risk for a particular kind of pneumonia, and this was an antibiotic treatment to ward off any possible infection. She will have this type of treatment once a month for the duration of her chemotherapy program.
Today we found out a little bit more about the future of Hannah’s treatment program. Once her platelet count gets high enough (a minimum of 75,000) she will start back on her chemo drug, and she will take it for five consecutive days, then have 28 days off, then five days on, 28 days off, etc. At least, that is the plan. The doctor explained that if her counts drop again, she’ll have to have more than 28 days off in between treatments. She will have to have ten of these five-day chemo treatments, so she said we could figure on about a year’s worth of treatments ahead. When she took the chemo drug before, it was at a strength of 160 mg per day…now it will be at a strength of 340 mg per day. She assured us that it should not cause hair loss or too many other side effects, other than problems with blood counts, so Hannah’s blood will be monitored closely.
Even though Hannah has a lot ahead of her, we feel that we reached a major milestone today by having a clean MRI report. Once again, we are so thankful to God for carrying us to this point, and know that He will complete the good work He has started in Hannah. And we are so thankful to all of you who read these email updates, for being so faithful to uphold us in prayer before Him.
God is good, all the time!
Jill & Brad