We’ve had quite an adventure in the last week. Every day brings something different. Which is true in life, but in this simplified version of life we’re living here, we notice the little changes a bit more. Chloe’s white cell counts dropped to zero about a week ago. And with it, dropped her energy and her appetite. This is to be expected. Because when your blood is not normal, you just don’t feel well. She’s still eating, just not as voraciously as she was before her counts dropped. She developed fevers on Wednesday. This is the day that Craig and Jordan arrived for a 10 day visit. She went from having a grand time on St. Patrick’s Day the day before (which included setting leprechaun traps, frolicking with volunteers, and showing off cartwheels in the hall), to lying in bed not feeling very well the next day. Of course fever is never fun for Craig and I, either. It could potentially signify a dangerous blood infection, or it could be fairly benign. When you don’t have any white blood cells to fight foreign bodies, your body does what it can- which is spike a fever- to attempt to resist germs or fight infection. One of the oncologists told me that most of the time, they do not know the cause of the fevers, but that they are indeed expected when the counts drop. Nevertheless, they put her on 2 antibiotics. After 48 hours her blood cultures came back negative (which means, there was not a dangerous blood infection brewing), so they took her off one of the antibiotics. She will remain on the other antibiotic until her counts recover.
That same day, country music legend Garth Brooks paid a visit to the hosptial. They made a grand reception and party out of it, because he had dontated money to the new Teen Center on the 2nd floor. Chloe didn’t feel like joining the party (which was a blessing actually b/c I it is risky for her to be in a crowd of people anyway), but I went down and waited out a chance to catch a gimpse of the superstar. I managed to get within just a few people of him, and took a fairly decent cell phone photo (no zoom lens or anything!).
Within 48 hours of the onset of fever, it disappeared, just like that. She started to feel a lot better. Friday afternoon as I was walking into our unit with a buddy of mine, we couldn’t help but notice a huge man in a Broncos jersey at the hand washing station. I took note of the number on his jersey so that I could do some research. How exciting it was to see a Bronco up close and personal! Much to our delight, Chloe and I soon found out that he was making the rounds to all of the rooms on the unit! We awaited our turn excitedly and nervously. Ben Garland, #63, was very nice, and truly embodied the spirit of service. Chloe got an autograph and also I took her photo with him. I knew that the Broncos are contracted wtih the other pediatric hospital in town, so I asked him what prompted his visit. “He was driving by,” he says, “and I had my jersey in my car”. How cool!!! It turns out he is a Colorado native, and Air Force Academy gratuate. During the off season he serves at a National Guard base very near here. We were thrilled to have gotten a visit from him! He couldn’t get over how positive Chloe’s attitude was. He said she was by far the cheeriest kid he had visited on her unit that afternoon.
On Saturday, Craig, Jordan and I went up to Boulder, to get adjusted by one of our favorite chiropractors, Jay, and to enjoy Boulder for a while. We had a great time. Meanwhile, Chloe had a picnic lunch outside on the hospital grounds with several nurses! Part of why we got to enjoy ourselves in Boulder so much was because we knew that Chloe was being well cared for in our absence. Jordan actually did get one special visit into her room, on Thursday. I let him stay in there with her for hours until the nurse said it was time for him to go. Since then, the logistics of us seeing each other are tricky, because either Craig or myself needs to be with Jordan at all times. But we are all handling the juggling act as best we can.
Last night we welcomed Craig’s sister Maribeth to the scene; she drove in from Oregon. She was beyond thrilled to get to see and hug her neice and nephew after a long two day drive. We will be having some fun with her this week!
And lastly, but not leastly, we got some promising blood test results this morning. The early indicators that the counts are starting to recover are already showing up! And her platelets have been slowly rising for the past 3 days, which is a really good sign. It still might be several days (or a week- who knows!) before we see the ANC start to climb, but for now we are happy to be seeing some signs of recovery! It feels like it is happening sooner than last time.
Happy Spring to Everybody!
Steph and Family