I hesitated with the title of this post because I think this may be a recurring theme throughout this next year of treatment.
On Saturday, Drew had his first of what will probably be many blood transfusions.
While chemotherapy destroys rapidly dividing cancer cells, it unfortunately also destroys rapidly dividing healthy cells as well. It effects the lining of the GI tract and hair follicles which is why it can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and hair loss. It also effects the rapidly dividing blood cell lines which include the red blood cells, platelets and neutrophils (specific infection fighting white blood cells). When the red blood cells and hemoglobin (a protein that helps the blood carry oxygen) are low, a transfusion of packed red blood cells can be given to replace them. When platelets (cell fragments whose main function is to form a clot to prevent prolonged bleeding) are low, a platelet transfusion can be given. As far as the neutrophils go, a medication is given by injection after each round of chemo to help stimulate the growth of neutrophils, but it just takes time for the body to actually respond on it's own.
Yesterday he received a platelet transfusion. He has been without a fever all day yesterday and today and is finally starting to feel better. We got up and went to the play room a lot today.
Now we are just waiting for his neutrophil count to start to come up and hopefully we can go home tomorrow.