Gunner’s last phase of chemo – Delayed Intensification 2 began this past Tuesday (January 6). We arrived at the clinic super early to check counts. Thankfully they were well above the necessary ANC of 750 needed. We were given the green light to proceed. He received Vincristine and Methotrexate through his port. Then we transferred to the hospital for his lumbar puncture. In the OR, his oncologist injects chemo(methotrexate) into his spine. Gunner woke up in a good mood from the procedure and we made the two hour drive home.
Wednesday morning Gunner surprised me with his energy. He was willing to run a few errands. Definitely not the norm the day after a procedure. His normal agenda is to keep the couch warm as he lays with a blankie playing video games. I jumped at the chance to get him out of the house, stretch his legs, and cross a few items off my to-do list.
We made a few stops. Then, while shopping at Target, I heard several people coughing, sneezing, and sniffling. I immediately questioned my decision to take him out of our safety net at home. We paid for our things and quickly headed to the truck. All the while my mind is racing, thinking about what could happen if he gets sick. I began berating myself and finally had to calm down a bit. On the way home I wanted to get some food to eat for lunch. Gunner isn’t a big breakfast person but I hoped he would eat a good lunch. He refused any fast food. He doesn’t get junky fast food often. This was a special treat. And still… “No momma, I’m not hungry much.” That night…Wednesday evening, I made his favorite dinner and he ate only a bite.
Thursday morning he woke up cranky and refused food all day. Later that evening I noticed he felt warm. I checked his temperature. It was 100.7 and hovered there for an hour. I made the call to his oncologist and was instructed to drive him to the ER in Austin. Upon our arrival as I was backing into my parking space. Gunner started vomiting uncontrollably. We walked into the ER and they took us to a room immediately. They are amazing at Dell Children’s Hospital at keeping him away from rooms/people that would be dangerous to his compromised immune system.
In the ER his fever had came down but he continued getting sick. A swab for influenza and RSV came back negative. We were admitted for Gunner to receive antibiotics through his port and saline for hydration. The following day Gunner continued getting sick through the morning. By afternoon he was feeling much better and able to keep liquid down. For dinner he ate a small amount of food. I was happy as anything is better than nothing! There has been some talk of prescribing appetite stimulants and last resort a feeding tube if he continues to not eat and lose weight. I’m praying that isn’t needed.
The next morning started out the same as the previous. It’s horrific to watch your child dry heave after not eating for days. I want so badly to take his suffering away.
After rechecking his counts. The Dr. realized his hemoglobin was low. His ANC or absolute neutrophil count is only 290. Gunner has no white blood cells(immune system) in his body to fight off an impending infection. The blood transfusion should perk him up. Hopefully the transfusion will also help with his appetite. I suspect since his fever is gone… once he can keep liquids down then we will be released from the hospital.
The remainder of Gunner’s last phase of chemo until we reach the maintenance phase calls for Vincristine & Methotexate through his port every ten days. A lumbar puncture on Day 30 to place chemo(Methotrexate) in his spine will be the last one until maintenance. The end of frontline treatment is in sight. His oncologist has promised maintenance will be much easier on Gunner. We will be able to start doing some of the things our family loves …. like traveling, playing outdoors, and Gunner can return to school. We are so close.
Please continue to pray for our son! If you feel lead to help with travel and medical expenses, you can make a direct donation on the #TeamGunner GoFundMe page. Thank you for your love and support!