William and I expected to be in the hospital this week for Elliott to begin the Interim Maintenance Phase of his treatment, but we ended up coming in a little earlier than expected. Fortunately Elliott is doing well and we should hopefully go home tomorrow.
Elliott spiked a fever of 102 on Sunday evening. Fever is our only indication that Elliott may have an infection, so we were told from Day 1 to expect that he will have fevers and have to be admitted to immediately begin treating with antibiotics to help fight any potential infections. Elliott felt warm all weekend, but did not have a fever until Sunday night. We took his temperature about 3 or 4 times waiting in between readings to make sure it was not just an outlier. After a call to the oncologist, he told us to bring him in so they could start him on antibiotics. His fever went down within a few hours and after filling up on IV fluids, getting a blood transfusion to bring up his red blood cell count, and several doses of antibiotics, he seems to be doing much better.
The phase that just ended, the consolidation phase, had several straight days of chemo and while the chemo does its job to fight off any leukemia cells, it kills everything else in the process, so it took a toll on his blood counts. One of the main numbers we monitor is his absolute neutrophil count (ANC), which measures the amount of white bloods cells that fight infections. In general, if his ANC is 500-1,000, he is at moderate risk for infection. Below 500 puts him at high risk for infection. Elliott's ANC level apparently went all the way to 0! That essentially meant he had no immune system or no blood cells to help fight any infections. It came up to 100, but they are hoping it will come up a little more before they send us back home to Elliott's bubble. :-) This is not uncommon in leukemia patients, and as I mentioned earlier, he has gained back some energy and is doing much better.
Fortunately we have help to balance out work, hospital, and the kids. My mom took Laurel for the week so she can continue her routine, and our nanny, Rachel, has been staying with Elliott during the day while William and I are at work. Rachel has been with us for a month now and is awesome with taking care of Elliott during the day. Elliott quickly adjusted to having Rachel around and is very comfortable with her, so it gives us great peace of mind while we are away at work. While here is the hospital, William and I have been swapping out spending the night with Elliott. Thank goodness for an Aero Mattress!! It makes the sleeping arrangements a bit more comfortable. Tonight it my night, so I had a free moment to make a quick post while Elliott is sleeping. But... I may actually take advantage of a moment to go to bed at a decent hour. We anticipate being able to go home tomorrow, but we'll be back next week to hopefully start the next phase of chemo. Unfortunately it requires 4 hospitalizations for 2-4 days at a time while he receives a high dose of methotrexate, so we'll keep our bags packed.
Thanks again for your prayers and support!