Do you ever get the feeling that things that have occurred recently actually happened ages ago? Kirk and I were just talking about how it felt like it's been a long time since the big girls left for Regina - and it had only been just a few hours. That's the way it feels with the latest development, too.
Kol had a blood test on Wednesday before his chemo treatment. It showed that Kol's white blood count (WBC) is now low. It's not unexpected; we had been told this would probably happen. The chemo attacks all fast-growing cells - hair, blood, fingernails, and cancer cells. Radiation is damaging to the bone marrow, which produces blood cells. As a result, there is less blood, and the body is not able to replace the blood as quickly as it normally would do. A low blood count means that Kol is more susceptible to infections; his body is not able to fight off bacteria or viruses he may come in contact with. If he does get sick, a mild cold virus could become serious very quickly. Now we need to start being careful about taking him out in public. He needs to avoid malls, Walmart, and places where there will be large groups of people in small areas.
As a result of the low WBC, there have been some changes to the treatment plan. Kol now needs to go in for daily blood tests. We need to go to the Cancer Center at least 2 hours before his radiation treatment each day in order to have blood drawn. It seems he got his PICC line inserted just in time. Another bonus is that we won't be needing to flush the PICC line ourselves as much; it will be flushed after the blood sample is taken. The chemo went ahead as planned, but instead of radiation treatments to both Kol's head and spine, as they had been doing, they are only treating his head now. He had 3 more head and spine treatments scheduled, and then they would have started with the 'boost' to the brain on next Monday (July 26). They started with the boost portion of the plan on Wednesday. The hope is that the bones in Kol's spine will be able to recover and start doing their job. If Kol's counts are high enough, they may do the final 3 treatments after the 16 boost treatments are done.
Even with the low blood counts, Kol seems healthy, and he is doing well. His appetite has been better this week, the anti-nausea he's been taking has been doing a great job, and Kol's energy level is back up. It feels like we have our son back. I think I mentioned once before how Kol had changed in the months before his surgery. He had been withdrawing, and was more reserved than he had been. The change was gradual, but looking back, it's easy to see the changes in him. He had lost his 'sparkle'. It's been wonderful to see him blossom over the last few weeks - and I've really noticed the changes now that the 3 girls have been away. He is more active, he's been telling jokes and being goofy again. He seems so much more mature since his surgery, and he is capable of having a serious conversation, and making cool connections like he used to do. It is such a gift.
Kol was devastated yesterday when the nurse told us about the blood count, and that it was now time to start avoiding public places. He was so excited about going to the library. She then said that the library probably would be okay if he took some precautions - the count wasn't dangerously low yet, and the library isn't usually crowded like the mall could be. I wish I had a picture of Kol's face then. It was truly priceless. We went to the Frances Morrison library and spent almost 90 minutes there. Kol borrowed 23 books, and has already read 5 of them. My boy is back. I am so thankful for that.