Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A little scare.

On Thursday of this past week, Piper and I took Watts to his first post-treatment follow-up appointment. These appointments are monthly and include labs, vitals, a visit with his doctor, and a port-flush (until he has port-removal surgery which will happen in a couple months).

It was a long wait for the appointment, thanks to the busyness of the clinic, but the time with the doctor went smoothly. Side note: Our cute little guy is only 7% in height and 23% for weight. These numbers will probably start changing a lot in the months to come off-treatment.

I left before we got the lab results back because I wasn't worried. He had only been off treatment a couple of weeks and he looked great, I remembering thinking to myself.

The doctor called about an hour after we got home and had concern in his voice. Watts' platelets had dropped to a 44. He told me that there were two possibilities in his mind: Watts had relapsed or the test was in error. Having the platelets drop is frequently a first sign of relapse, he said. He wanted us in at 7:45am the next morning to recheck Watts' labs but he had scheduled a bone marrow biopsy for him in the event that the labs came back the same. The bone marrow biopsy would check for relapse. We were to bring him in NPO (no food or drink) and we were to stay until we got the new lab results.

In all honesty, time seemed to stand still for the next few hours. We wanted to be so hopeful, so confidant that it was just a faulty test result, but I couldn't help but remember how confidant everyone was in the early days that Watts didn't even have cancer. And he did. And a doctor having concern in his voice is unnerving to cancer parents' hearts.

I laid on the floor of Watts' room that night and prayed the 23rd Psalm over Watts as I do many nights: The Lord is Watts' shepherd; he shall not want. He makes him lie down in green pastures. He leads him beside still waters. He restores Watts' soul... Even though he may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Watts will fear no evil, for you are with him...  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow Watts all the days of his life, and he shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

We arrived early to our appointment and were hugged by teary-eyed nurses. One of our sweet nurses whispered that she had been up all night praying for Watts. The doctor himself came early to be in the room when Watts' labs were redrawn and sent to the lab.

And then we waited. We walked around for a bit, but then ended up back in our little room, nervously making small talk and just waiting. Everything felt like it hinged on the door opening and those first few words from the doctor.

Dr McLean opened the door after a few more moments and had a glorious smile on his face. Platelets were normal. The tube of blood must have had a teeny tiny clot in it– one that our nurse and the lab technician couldn't see– which had absorbed all of Watts' platelets and gave us a false read. Watts had not relapsed.

There were hugs all around in the clinic and some more teary eyes.

Watts has not relapsed. We were shaken, but we were not destroyed. Even if he had relapsed, we would not be destroyed, I believe, His faithfulness and goodness would carry us as it always has, but what a joy it is to write that all is well. Thank you for your continued prayers for our boy and for our hearts as we walk this road and fight to choose hope every day.

[Unrelated to the faulty lab results, we stayed for a few hours for an IVIG transfusion to boost Watts' antibodies. We thought he might have been ready to not need these transfusions anymore, but it looks like it might be a couple months before his immune system starts showing signs of recovering. All of this is very normal and to be expected. We stayed for a few hours, the boys napped, and then we went home! No more labs for a month. Wohoo!]

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