Mediport surgery went very well last week. Aiden was quite the trooper as he bounced around the surgery schedule that morning and much of the afternoon. Once he finally entered the operating room it was nearing 3 o’clock. Surgery was quick and Aiden’s surgeon, Dr. Stephen Kim, did a wonderful job. He removed the dysfunctional port and delicately inserted a well-working replacement. The new port is now just under the skin on the upper right side of his body. A blood culture was drawn in recovery to assess Aiden’s blood counts and thankfully the port worked perfectly.
Following surgery, Aiden received chemotherapy in the hospital. Originally, Aiden was going to be given this treatment at the clinic, but, due to the surgical delays, Dr. Patrick Chang, Aiden’s oncologist, arranged for chemo while we were in the recovery room. Aiden received a quick IV push of Vincristine and we were promptly discharged. Over the next couple of days Aiden was prescribed Tylenol every 4 to 6 hours for pain. After the first day, he was doing so well that we did not need to continue the Tylenol schedule on day two!
The Tuesday following Memorial Day, Aiden and I ventured to the Children’s National Outpatient Clinic for his chemotherapy treatment. Blood was drawn upon arrival to get all of his counts and make sure he was healthy enough for chemo. Aiden’s ANC (Absolute Nurtophil Count) is a calculation that helps assess his infection-fighting ability. If his ANC is too low, he is at a high risk for infection so he will not receive chemotherapy. Aiden’s ANC was 2,200, which was high enough for treatment. Since we are in week two of the new treatment plan (technically week 4 of the overall chemotherapy roadmap) he gets Vincristine and Irinotecan on day one and Irinotecan each day following through Saturday.
Aiden did very well on days one and two of treatment this week! He really enjoyed his trips to the clinic and especially loved watching all of the fish swim around the huge aquarium lining the back wall in the infusion room. On day three Aiden began to get a little fussy. Irinotecan is known to cause gastrointestinal upset and Aiden is beginning to feel the cumulative effects of the chemotherapy. He is not eating as well as usual and has lost about a pound since arriving home from the hospital. This is completely normal as Aiden is still transitioning from his hospital schedule. Much of his aversion to eating can be contributed to his chemo regimen this week. He is feeling nauseous (or so we deduce given the indications) so Chris and I are administering anti-nausea medication to help combat his queasiness and ward off vomiting – though it has not helped in all instances.
During chemotherapy and 48 hours after treatment it is imperative that Aiden’s diapers are changed every two hours. These drugs are excreted in urine and other bodily fluids which can burn the skin if left unattended. In addition to frequent diaper changes, Aiden is getting various medications around the clock and eating every three hours. Though we are all quite tired (actually the term exhausted sums it up better), we are starting to structure a routine and things are beginning to feel a bit more “normal” each and every day.
Aiden has actually started to meet many of his development milestones. We were prepared for him to be behind as he was in the hospital for almost a month, but our little “Iron Aiden” is determined and not letting anything hold him back. He has found his feet and loves playing with them every chance he gets. Even more exciting, Aiden is almost sitting up unassisted for extended periods of time! He is such a big boy and loves babbling to anyone who will listen – especially all of the nurses; After all, Aiden is quite the charmer. Aiden has also entered the wonderful world of teething. He prefers his hand to any pacifier and most things go right in his mouth. By the looks of his gums, a tooth or two may pop through very soon!
Chris and I continue to do what we can to focus on all the positive little things which happen each and every day. We find our strength through prayer, support from family and friends and by just looking at our sweet boy. Thank you all for reading the blog. I hope to get entries out a little more quickly moving forward! Please keep Aiden in your prayers.
All our love,
Leslie and Chris