Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Rocky Start To The Final Stretch

When I last updated, I told you all that this week would be Carter's FINAL week of radiation. Unfortunately, this week got off to a rocky start and things have changed a bit.

Carter has managed five full weeks of radiation without ever being sedated. For some reason, he requested to be put to sleep on Monday but there was no one available to perform the sedation, so Monday's treatment was a bust. When they arrived for radiation on Tuesday, sedation was available but Carter's blood pressure was too high and his oxygen levels too low to be able to safely put him to sleep. So, again - a bust.

Carter has, among many other side effects of his various treatments, been suffering from severe congestion. This is the reason his oxygen levels were so low - he was unable to get sufficient airflow due to the large buildup of phlegm in his throat and chest. The doctors took him over to the ER so that he could have this addressed and start receiving breathing treatments. He was admitted to the hospital yesterday morning (Fairfax INOVA, where he receives his daily radiation).

After running some routine blood tests, it was determined that Carter's blood cell count and his platelets were VERY low, so he was set up for a blood transfusion. They transfused the red blood cells last night and waited to recheck the platelets this morning. They went ahead and transfused the platelets today. They have also found that he has a bacterial infection in his blood. The doctors said that you and I also have bacterial infections in our blood from time to time, but that we're never aware of it because our white blood cells automatically correct the imbalance. Unfortunately, Carter's white blood cells decided to take an unscheduled leave of absence and weren't there to help the little guy out. So, he is taking a drug called Neupogen which will boost his body's ability to produce large quantities of white blood cells.

Even though they cannot do a deep suction to help Carter's congestion for the risk of bleeding, he is breathing much better than he has in quite some time. He hasn't had a breathing treatment since 6:30am this morning. Courtney told me this afternoon that he looks better today than he has in about two weeks!

The doctors and nurses in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) are shocked that Carter hadn't been admitted earlier. The family is lucky to have made it this far in the treatment process. According to the staff in the PICU, many children spend the majority of their treatment time in the hospital. Just goes to show you how strong willed CarterMan really is!

He is supposed to be moved from the PICU into a "normal" room within the next 24hrs or so. Courtney and family have requested many prayers and know that so many have already been answered. Had Carter not asked to be sedated on Monday, they would not have known of the other issues going on. So, for that, I am thankful!! Carter will remain in the hospital until at least Sunday. I will update as soon as I know more.