Where oh where did the time go? Round seven of chemo began June 1st and I haven’t blogged about one single day of it! Things have been busy here at the Robinson household. Summer and summer break are in full swing and we have enjoyed doing a little here and there as Sam feels up to it.
Round Seven began very well with Sam’s counts beginning higher than they ever had been at 1400! Hello!!!! That is amazing for him and we haven’t seen them that high in months! Sam completed the hospital portion of his round like a trooper and spent plenty of time on the laptop, playing games, watching tv and catching some zzzz’s while he was stuck in bed. Upon beginning the round, however, his hemoglobin numbers were a bit low and it was decided that Sam would receive another blood transfusion before he left the hospital. This was new for him. Sam has received blood many times before, but usually during week three of his chemo cycle.
Sam when home with five days worth of fluids and did very well that first week or so. But soon he began to vomit… quite a bit more than he usually does. And after getting sick 19 times in five days and talking with the nurses and doctors many times down at clinic, it was decided that Sam would benefit from receiving some additional fluids to help rehydrate him. When we arrived at clinic, Sam’s labs were taken and we were escorted into the infusion room to begin receiving fluids for a couple of hours. This usually perks him up a bit. When the lab results returned, we learned that his ANC level (infection fighting ability) had dropped from 1400 when we began round 7, to 200….a new low for him. This meant Sam was neutropenic and therefore had to be on lockdown at home to protect him from getting sick. Lots of hand washing and hand sanitizer followed for awhile to make sure that Sam didn’t catch anything while his immune system tried to rebound. He was very bummed to have to stay inside while the summer fun continued on without him. He was also very bummed, and even cried a little bit, that he had to go home with his port needle inserted into his chest and receive an additional five days of fluids and home. Sam HATES his port needle. HATE may even be an understatement. He feels like he cannot do anything while it is in and moves about the house like an 88 year old man when it is in. But after five days of fluids and lots of rest, he was feeling so much better. Because his counts had gotten so low, Riley wanted to be sure that they were headed in the right direction as he began to feel better, so we made lots of trips downtown to have his counts checked. Slowly, they began to rise…first 200, then 440 and then 800. Still quite low, but they were slowly improving. Again, we were told to take precautions to help protect him from getting sick or getting a fever.
The rest of the round when pretty smoothly. Sam has been able to enjoy a bit of playtime with friends and a little swimming. Sam loves to swim, but has been a little hesitant to do so, saying his upper body strength is not near what it used to be and doesn’t feel that comfy in the water. He’s been spending quite a bit of time in the shallow end! We have also bought him some swimmys to help build his confidence in the water, although he has elected not to try them out yet. Sam also decided to try to ride his bike during this round! This is HUGE for him, since he has had balance issues since beginning his chemo. During Sam’s weekly physical therapy sessions, balance is one exercise they work on. And knowing that Sam is only able to stand on one foot for four seconds, it scared me a bit when he decided to try to ride his bike and balance on two wheels while rolling on pavement. :) I asked him if he would like for me to put on his training wheels during his first time out, and he said, “Nope. I can do it without!” So with me a nervous wreck running behind him holding the back of his bike seat, he took off down the street. Once he steadied the wheel, I slowly removed my hand and off he went! He was doing it!!!!! I could not believe it. I got teary eyed watching him ride wobbly down the street with a huge smile on his face. ”Are you proud of me, Mom?” he asked. ”I’m proud of myself!” Ughhhhh! You have no idea Sam how proud I am of you! Not just because you were able to ride your bike, but for so many other reasons. :)
On a side note, our family pet, our 12 year old Boxer, Champ, is not doing very well. A few months ago we noticed a lump on his hip and then a growth on the top of his foot. After taking him to the vet and running some tests, it was determined that our dog has cancer. We have not used the “C” word when describing Champ’s growth with the kids. Doctors had said this will be the end of him and we do not want to associate that just because you have “cancer” you die, although Jack and Sam are fully aware that some fall to this terrible disease, and have even been reminded of that a few times this year, unfortunately. But during this last week, Champ’s foot has gotten worse and after yet another trip to the vet, it is time for us to make a very hard decision. It is heart wrenching to have to make such a horrible decision. Jere and I are struggling with when would be a good time to take him in, and I’ve decided that there will never be a “good” time.
So, that’s it. Round seven completed. Today we will go to Riley in about two hours to begin Sam’s last round of chemotherapy-Round 8. He knows this is his last round and you can tell his demeanor has changed as he knows the end is near. I’m making it a goal to write all I can about his last round and blog often. We will see how that goes! His last round. I can’t believe it. And sometimes I have a hard time saying “this is your last round” thinking it is bad luck to say it is his last round. I pray that it is. That is all we can do.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Thank you for all of your love and prayers as we begin this last round. We love you all so, so much!
Erica, Jere, Jack and Sam