Friday, October 12, 2007

We're Home

Feeling better, so we get to go home. It is surprising how grateful we can be to be home again! Although the hospital is a good place to receive medical care, it is not a good place to get sleep. I was too tired in the hospital to keep you up to date with the details but can now recap our experience over the last 5 days. Here is a quick review of the blood counts so you understand what I am talking about.
ANC = Neutrophils=Germ fighting cells
Hemoglobin (hgb) = Red Blood Cells
Platlets = Body's clotting ability
Bone marrow - Where these cells are made
The chemotherapy that Kate has been getting over the last 2 months has completely wiped out her counts - thus the need for a blood tranfusion last Thursday and platlet transfusion on Monday. After those 2 transfusions Kate's hgb was 11.8 and platlets were 147 which are nearly in the normal ranges. Her ANC was 70 which is very low as anything under 500 is considered immunocompromised. So this is why we ended up in the hospital when Kate developed a fever. The protocol is to give IV antibiotics until they grow the blood cultures and determine whether the fever is from a bacterial infection or a virus.
When we first arrived, our attending doctor told us that we would have to wait until after 48 hours of negative blood cultures and signs that her blood counts were recovering before we could be discharged. On Tuesday her ANC went down to 60 and hgb and platlets dropped too. On Wednesday the counts looked better with an ANC of 110 but still dropping hgb and platlets. We were hopeful that yesterday her counts would improve but they all dropped again and her ANC was 60, hgb 8.8 and platlets of 68. The fact that these counts were not increasing meant that her bone marrow hadn't recovered yet and wasn't producing the cells as needed. So, based on our conversation with the inpatient physician we were prepared to have to stay for at least another day or two.
We were so happy when the inpatient physician came in and told us that he had discussed the case with our regular oncologist, Dr. Keller, who thought that it would be ok if we went home despite the poor counts. Kate's fever was gone, she was looking great and we were just waiting to see improved numbers. His thought was that it could be a week or more before her counts improved and that we could do that at home. The one downside is that if she gets a fever we will be back in the hospital for another admission. Chant with me - no fever, high counts, no fever, high counts...
We will be going back to the clinic on Monday for repeat counts and to see if we will need any transfusions by then. For now, Kate is doing great. She is smiley, her spirits are up as usual and she has a lot more energy than you would expect for a girl with a hemoglobin of 8.8.
We are headed to Camp Sunshine Family Weekend today and tomorrow and are really looking forward to it. This is a camp for children with cancer and for their families. There is a physician on site and it is an hour outside of Atlanta so we should be safe should Kate develop any fever or other complication. We'll post some pictures when we get back!


Shauna said...

I'm so glad to hear that she is home, I have been thinking about her all week. I subbed at the school on Tuesday and Wednesday for Tyren's class the other third grade classes all wanted to know why I let Tyren shave his hair (of course his homeroom 3rd grade class all knew becasue he proudly told them why) so I explained to them why he did it and of course I am crying and the kids are looking at me like I am a little looney. But I want you to know that we love you very much and we are always thinking of you! Love you Kate and Jackson and Ava you kids are the greatest!

Angela said...

no fever, high counts, no fever, high counts..
lots of love


No fever, high fever, high counts.

Glad you're able to go to camp sunshine. Hope all goes well. The connection should be good for all. HAVE FUN!

Kasey said...

Glad to hear Kate's spirits are up and she gets to enjoy Camp Sunshine. Have fun!

The Hatch Family said...

Yeah!!! Have a great time at Camp Sunshine...can't wait to see the pictures!

We love you guys!

worthens said...


angela said...

our tnt team sent well wishes to Kate and the whole family! They were excited about the trip to Camp Sunshine. much love
A & W

Simple Thingz said...

I'm so glad she is home. I'm sure it makes her feel more at ease with "her stuff" around and just being able to be in her own bed with her family around. She has the best attitude and biggest smiles !!