It’s been awhile since I’ve updated about Gunner’s battle with leukemia. In my last post I shared about Gunner’s head shaving party(read that post here) in anticipation of starting his next 8 week phase of chemo treatments. We arrived at clinic ready to get started. Gunner’s labs were drawn. Dr.Wells walks in with his lab results and told us Gunner’s counts were to low to proceed with chemo. Gunner’s ANC or absolute neutrophil count which show the amount of white blood cells in the body with the ability to fight off infection. Gunner’s ANC needed to be 750 to start the next chemo and his was only 670. Dr. Wells told us to come back to the clinic in 3 days and assured us Gunner’s counts would be up. We returned 3 days later only to discover Gunner’s counts had fallen to 620. Dr. Wells was positive they would rebound in a week. We returned a week later only to learn his ANC count was exactly the SAME. My mind was reeling, my eyes welled up with tears. My initial reaction was FEAR…. fear that without starting chemo we were opening the door for the leukemia cells to return. Gunner and I left the office that day with instructions to return in a week.
During this time Gunner was feeling like a million bucks…his words not mine. He was completely off of all meds, even his preventative antibiotic for pneumonia he takes three times per week. We played, went for walks, and just enjoyed our time together as a family. His hair even grew back!
We returned to the clinic on September 11 and received the wonderful news we had hoped to hear. Counts were in the perfect range where they should be to start Interim Maintenance! The first day of Interim Maintenance is also the starting day for his countdown to completing his three years of treatment. Gunner will receive chemo until September 11, 2017. Hearing this news was a double edged sword. We NEEDED to start but 2017 is so far away….. I will tackle those feelings in another post.
The pharmacy at clinic prepared his chemo to start the next phase of treatment ~ Interim Maintenance which consists of two different chemotherapy treatments, Vincristine & Methotrexate. Gunner will receive I.V. Vincristine & Methotrexate administered through his port on days Day 1, 11,21,31,& 41. On day 31 Gunner would need day surgery. His surgery consists of anesthesia being administered. Then once he is asleep, Methotrexate is placed into his spine. Leukemia cells are stubborn and love to hide in bony areas of the body. This lumbar puncture is necessary to ensure Gunner doesn’t relapse.
As Gunner’s nurse Velly, shown in the first picture above, prepared his line to start Methotrexate I asked about reactions etc… Velly got about 2 words out once she started pushing his Methotrexate through his line before Gunner got sick everywhere. She looked at me and said “Well I started to tell you most kids don’t get nauseous with Methotrexate until the 2nd or 3rd dose, but obviously that isn’t the case with Gunner.” He was so embarrassed because we were out in the infusion room with other kids receiving their chemo. Thankfully, I had packed another outfit in my bag. The nurses were impressed and said I had Gunner cleaned up and in a fresh outfit faster than a Nascar pitstop. He said he felt better but still insisted on holding a bucket while he received the rest of his chemo.
Interim Maintenance went a lot better than I anticipated once Gunner was able to receive the chemo he needs to keep the leukemia cells from returning. He kept himself entertained with electronics at clinic and only felt yucky for a day or two after his treatments. With 10 days between our visits, he had a ton more good days than bad days. At this point in our journey I’m so thankful for the good days! Good days are a glimpse into the regular life we had just months ago.
Share with me what your favorite thing is to do on your good days?
If you feel lead to help with Gunner’s medical and travel expenses click here to donate to the #TeamGunner GoFundMe page. We appreciate your love, prayers, and support as Gunner battles to kick leukemia’s butt!