Yesterday afternoon, I received a phone call.
It was from Ian’s nurse.
They get “their own” nurses, oncology kids at Children’s. Did you know that? She’s our point-man, our go-to person, at the clinic. And she’s great at what she does.
She missed a detail yesterday, but, really, it wasn’t her fault. I mean, she wasn’t expecting it, so she wasn’t looking for it.
For some crazy, unknown reason, our local clinic resent Ian’s labs from 4 weeks ago. She naturally thought they were his most recent results.
His white count was 34,000.
That’s not good, not good at all.
Normal range for white blood count is 5,000-10,500, or something like that, depending on the source you read. Over 15,000 is concerning, and evidence of the body fighting an infection.
Over 30,000 indicates a rather significant infection. An infection from which Ian was exhibiting no symptoms. No fevers, no aches, no pains.
A white count of over 30,000 can also indicate Leukemia.
White count numbers in Leukemia can get much, much higher than that, and they often do…
Leukemia is a potential “rare side effect” of radiation and also of some of the chemotherapy agents that Ian has been receiving, which makes it a distinct possibility.
Ian’s nurse rattled off the numbers, and then proceeded to ask me how Ian was feeling, with concern in her voice.
I’ve read what seems like it must be nearly everything there is to read about Ian’s cancer treatment. Even though she didn’t come out and say “There’s a possibility that Ian has developed Leukemia…”, I knew it was a possibility.
I was certain he was not brewing some nasty infection.
What other explanation could there be?
A clerical error.
I asked her to double-check, because we hadn’t been to the lab on Tuesday, the date the print-out listed. At first, it didn’t seem odd, because the results don’t always make it to Children’s the same day… But after a second glance, his nurse noticed that they have sent the results on 8/21, but they had resent the results from his labs on 7/26. Weird. Why? Nobody knows…
But 34,000 is still 34,000. Right?
Earlier that week in July, Ian’s white count had bottomed out. He had virtually no functioning immune system, and was at a serious risk of infection. He was also scheduled to head to Camp-Mak-A-Dream at the end of the week.
Crowded airports, small planes packed like a can of sardines? Petri dishes, virus & bacteria brewing petri dishes.
So, Ian had received 3 doses of a drug, GCSF, meant to stimulate production of white blood cells. It was the first time he had received it, and in usual Ian fashion, he overreacted to hit. His white count shot way past normal, but it was only temporary.
And it wasn’t an infection.
And it wasn’t Leukemia.
Thank You, Lord!
I admit it, I was worried sick.
I was trying so hard to trust Him, no matter what. And I did. I do.
But I was scared.
And today, I’m just so thankful.
I’ll update when we know what this week’s actual numbers are…