Friday, December 25, 2009

Counting Days

The tracking of days has taken on a new format...
As you know, the nurse brings in Brandon's blood numbers in the morning and writes them on the white board in his room. She also writes down the day #.

Today we are Day 9 - nine days from Day 1 of the chemo treatment.
The day numbers, they tell us, become more significant as the treatment progresses (Day 10-20 are tough due to side effects, about Day 25 we should see his blood returning to normal, Day 30-35 they repeat the bone marrow biopsy to check how successful this cycle of chemo has been...

Dec 25 numbers

Hgb - 79
Plts - 16
WBC - 0.2

Just a reminder of the normal ranges (thanks to my numbers-focused friend Tom):

Hgb - 140-180 (hemoglobin, oxygen travelling through his body)
Plts - 150-400 (clotting factor)
WBC - 4-11 (fight infection)

The goal of the chemo is to get the WBC number to zero.
The other numbers are low because the chemo impacts everything....so he is getting Hgb and Platelet transfusions as required to bring those up.

His immune system is now non-existent, so he is also on continuous antibiotics.

Unfortunately the side effects are beginning to show:
- rash on his body
- swollen burning hands that will probably peel
- sores in his throat that will probably spread through his digestive tract