Monday, June 25, 2007

Stomach Pain & a Fever but doing OK

Today, unexpectedly, we had to take Max to the hospital at Lehigh Valley because of some abdominal pain. It started Sunday night with him complaining on and off that his tummy hurt and then complaining enough at dinner so that he didn't eat. Then, though, he said he did feel well enough to eat some cherry cobbler for dessert so we didn't believe the pain too much. This morning, however, he didn't eat breakfast and he ALWAYS eats breakfast so we figured something more might be wrong. I took Gwendolyn to school and then headed out to Lehigh Valley with Max while Tracy called them from home to see where we had to go. It turned out that they could take him at the normal clinic office so we went there and saw most of the normal crew. Max complained of a lot of pain on the way in and by the time we got there he was running a fever of 102.1. They got him an IV and into a dark and quiet room while they waited for blood work to come back.

His counts are mostly normal with his ANC count having jumped back up to 2,000 but that is probably because of his fever. The rest of the blood work that they ran came back normal but he also had an ultra sound of his abdomen to see if anything visible was wrong. We're waiting for the reading on that now and assuming it is also normal he'll get the shots he was supposed to get tomorrow but they're going to wait until Wednesday for chemo because they want him 48 hours without a fever before giving another dose.

We got the radiologist reading and everything in his abdomen was fine. He got his shots and then we headed home. When we left he still had a fever of about 102 but they had ruled out pretty much everything except for abdominal pain being caused by the chemo or by stress. It may be the Max suffers more internal stress than we thought and it is finally catching up with him or it could be that the chemo took a while to affect his stomach and that caught up with. Either cause should be cured by the Zantac. The fever could be related or could be viral but it is not the result of an infection.

Right before dinner we gave Max his Bactrim, some Tylenol and the first dose of Zantac. He promptly threw them all up in a yellowish mess laced with pink. He didn't seem too trouble by that but obviously hadn't gotten any medicine so we waited half an hour then gave him the Zantac. That stayed down and half an hour later he got some Tylenol. His fever appears to have broken and he said that his pain was gone before he went to bed. We didn't bother with the Bactrim because the antibiotic that he got at the hospital will cover him for 24 hours against nearly everything anyway. Tomorrow morning he'll get Zantac and Bactrim and, if he feels well enough, will go to school. Wednesday Tracy will take him back to Lehigh Valley for chemo; it kind of works because that is only a half day of school.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Lehigh Valley

Sorry for not getting an update out last week but all is well. Last week's appointment was uneventful for Max and Tracy. This weeks appointment also went well but there was a somewhat large crowd this week so the appointment took longer than normal (and not because of talking about Bon Jovi's newest album). Max's neutrophil count is a little low at 858 with a normal range between 1,500 and 8,000. If the count next week is below 750 then chemo will be skipped for that week. We won't know until after the blood test but Max needs his monthly shots anyway so the trip won't be a 'waste'. I get to take him next week because Tracy will be attending Gwendolyn's end of the year party at school.

I've managed to nail down his schedule for follow up appointments in Philadelphia the week of July 9 so that he and will be there Monday, July 9 for an MRI and an endocrinology appointment. We'll return Thursday, July 12 to get the results of the MRI, have his eyes checked and figure out what is next at a meeting with his oncologist at the end of it all. If things are going well we'll probably get him setup for surgery to have a port put in place after he gets back from Block Island.

As a quick note, I got a chance to talk to Max the other night about what he thinks of his visits to Lehigh Valley. He told me that while sometimes he gets a little nervous about the needles that it is always okay in the end and really likes going there. I asked him if the shots hurt and he told me that he doesn't even feel them anymore (we do use a lot of numbing cream to help with that). He said that sometimes the needles in his hand hurt but not for very long. Tonight he told me that there is no pain in his hands. He did get a Ariel tattoo on his hand so it was impossible to tell if there was any bruising.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Sleepless in Flanders (in the morning anyway)

Today went well. Max continues to have trouble staying asleep after about 4:00 am and is, obviously, quite tired during the day. It is now something he recognizes as a problem but seem incapable of dealing with. Review of the trial medicine with the doctors simply confirmed that most medicine is geared towards A) getting you to sleep or B) keeping you asleep if you sleep restlessly. Max doesn't suffer from any of that as he goes to bed quite well between 8 and 9 pm each day and sleeps soundly until 4 or 5 am most days. There have been single days where he has slept until 6 or even 7 but those are few and far between. Unfortunately what it all boils down to is that we've stopped the medicine and Max will likely continue to rise very early. Hopefully he'll continue to stay out of trouble but now that I've written it down I expect a flood in the house shortly (hopefully not worse).

In addition to Max's sleep issues he started to complain yesterday about a pain in arm/wrist when he was in occupational therapy at school. Tracy talked to the doctor today about it and they've decided to wait a week to see if it continues and is likely caused by the chemo or this is just some passing thing. If it is stemming from the chemo there are a couple different medicines that could be used to stop the pain but they would, oddly enough, make him sleepy so he'd still get up at the same time but be drowsy during the day. Hopefully this pain does not continue but we'll see.

Max's labs from last week aren't all back so it will be another week before we know if his hormones from puberty are still be adequately suppressed. Since there aren't any physical signs we expect good news on those labs.

In other news, Gwendolyn's softball team has made the playoffs and originally had a game scheduled for tonight but that has been postponed until Thursday because of the threat of a storm. Hopefully playing after school will suit them well as at their final game on Saturday they got creamed because the game the started at 9:00 am and the girls weren't really awake until after it was all over.

In case you noticed that Max's blog is still lacking pictures I'm patiently waiting at my spot in the queue of things on Tracy's list. I've heard a rumor that I'm next but that source wasn't very reliable (Olivia says "yes" to a lot questions and consistently answers "10" to any math question).