Clinic Visit #50 – Unexpected
April 5, 2011
Tanner has been coughing for what seems like months. She does have a “habit cough,” which is just what it sounds like, a habit. But, she has also struggled with viruses or allergies or something that has caused congestion and extra coughing. She took antibiotics for two weeks last month for a sinus infection and we thought we had it licked, but this weekend, she started coughing again with a vengeance.
When she woke up yesterday morning, she wasn’t coughing and I thought maybe it had been allergies and sent her to school, but got an email from the teacher saying she had coughed all day and it didn’t sound like her regular cough.
We got up this morning, dropped Jake off at school and Tanner and I headed into clinic to check it out. When we got there, the doctor couldn’t see us until later in the afternoon, so we trekked back home and came back again later with Jake in tow.
Thankfully, her lungs and ears were clear, so they just suspect a virus of some kind, but when her counts came back, her total white cell count had dropped by 2/3 from just two weeks before and her hemoglobin was down lower than it has been in almost a year. The machine count did not pick up any neutraphils at all, which can either be a mistake or mean her neutraphils are wiped out. Neutraphils are the big infection fighting white cells and without them, you have no real immune system. They’re doing a hand count on her neutraphils and as of yet, haven’t gotten the results yet. So, we held her chemo tonight, just in case and have holed up in the house assuming the worst for now.
I checked Tanner’s lab results for the past year and half and her white cells haven’t been down to 1,000 in more than a year. When they were that low, her neutraphil count was 130… severely neutrapenic. So, it doesn’t look promising.
She hasn’t been neutrapenic in such a long time. We’re really lucky we’ve had such a good run, really. But, it does mean she can’t go to school or anywhere, really, until her counts go back up. No real contact with anyone unnecessarily. No fruits and vegetables that can’t be peeled. No fresh flowers in the house. There’s more, but I honestly can’t remember… it’s been that long. I’ll have to read my handbook from the hospital to be sure we’re not doing anything stupid.
Anyway, hopefully, the virus will pass without any other infection and her counts will come back up without the chemo to suppress them. But, it would not surprise me if she got a fever and we had to go back. Sigh.
I’ll post again tomorrow when we know for sure. Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with this parting photo of Tanner and Erin Stryker who was Tanner’s Wish Coordinator for our Make a Wish trip to Disney last year. Erin has become a dear friend and she never ceases to amaze me with her dedication to helping others. In addition to volunteering for Make-A-Wish, she also runs marathons for Team in Training, the LLS’ fundraiser. She came to the Light the Night Awards with us last week and the picture is of she and Tanner standing on the famous “circle” at the Grand Ole Opry, where the event was held. Tanner about fainted when we told her Taylor Swift had stood on that circle many times before. “What about Dolly Parton?” she asked, wide-eyed. “Yes, Dolly Parton too.” Priceless.