Thursday, October 5, 2006

October 5th - 10th: The Blood Drive

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 06, 2006 11:23 PM, PDT

Parent's Note:

No significant news to report so this entry will be brief.

Keith enjoyed another quiet day at home and caught up on some schoolwork as well as other scholarly pursuits... It was such a quiet day in fact that I considered not posting a journal entry tonight.

About the only excitement to report was that a physician came to our house early in the day to draw a blood sample, run an ekg and some other tests. Keith had absolutely no problem with these little procedures... what a kid.

Ok, well actually it wasn't him getting poked this time it was me (routine - not an ermergency!). It was one of those rare times in the last two months that someone else that was getting stuck in the arm and prodded, and not him. When I showed Keith the small band-aid on my arm and told him how it stung to get all of those adhesive dots off my chest and legs he smiled wryly and gave me one of those little “you-can't-even-begin-to-know-what-I've-been-through -and-by-the-way-you’re-too-old-to-qualify-for-courage- beads” kind of looks.

I was reminded again, as any parent that has had to deal similarly with a child's suffering knows, that there is nothing you wouldn’t do or give to ease your child’s pain and anxiety. And still you can’t avoid sometimes feeling completely and utterly helpless.

Of course he was right although I admit feeling some kind of odd solidarity now, as though we are officially consecrated as blood brothers in this long fight together.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 07, 2006 10:43 PM, PDT

Parent’s Note:

Keith’s cap is 6-0

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 08, 2006 09:31 PM, PDT

Parent’s Note:

Sixty days since Keith was first admitted and our ordeal began (I counted). In one sense it seems like forever ago and in another it seems like only yesterday we were living a care-free existence. We seem to be caught up in a spinning time blur.

Keith continues to feel well with no nausea but his energy level and his appetite have begun to fade a bit recently (although he did just consume a thick Double Rainbow chocolate malt). We fully expect that when the next lab results come back Keith will be issued an invitation to show up at the day clinic to receive some more grade-A red blood cells. He looks a bit Casper-ish right now and if Halloween were rescheduled for tonight he wouldn’t need to add too much face make-up to complete his ghoul costume.

So basically Keith laid low this weekend, working a bit on some of his homework, catching up on Food Network programming and spending a great deal of time behind the controller of his Game Cube, all the time sidling around the house in his bathrobe.

In an odd twist of fate, it may be possible that if he does receive a transfusion on Tuesday, it would happen on the same day as the blood drive at Wagner Ranch School where 90 or so people have generously signed up, rolling up their collective sleeves in Keith’s honor.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 09, 2006 09:22 PM, PDT

Parent’s Note:

Whenever we get a chance to trumpet good news we do. So this was a day of good news on many counts:

1) Despite yesterday’s predictions to the contrary, Keith really felt good today and buddied around with his neighborhood pals. He really enjoyed having some face-to-face time with humans in his age range for a change after spending most of the last two weeks confined to the company of family, medical professionals and Kirby. Generally he was high-spirited and ate pretty well too. Good news!

2) Keith’s lab panel was returned today and as we expected he was low in several categories including red blood cells and platelets but not to the point where he needs to show up in the morning at the clinic to receive a boost. While he is definitely borderline and could still need to take care of this later this week, he is off the hook for now. We will keep giving him his daily dose of G-CSF and maybe he won’t need any intervention. Also, his ANC level is climbing again, now nearing the 3000 mark, so mask-free outings are approved. Good news!

3) Keith’s grandparents, Annie and Don, arrive mid-afternoon on Tuesday from Michigan. Keith is really looking forward to seeing them again (and visa versa). They will spend the next two weeks with us and that will be a great help, especially starting next week when Keith is scheduled for the next course of chemo at Children’s. Good news!

4) The Make-a-Wish Foundation called today to let us know that upon official review by the official decision-makers Keith’s wish to go to the Great Barrier Reef was officially granted! We had been preparing Keith to make a second choice knowing that this wish might not be possible because of his age, but they apparently made an exception for Keith to travel internationally – their stated policy is that the patient must be 12 years old. And of course Keith will need to be deemed medically able by his doctor(s), but they gave the nod to the idea. The smile on Keith’s face envisioning his possible first nose-to-nose underwater encounter with a giant grouper was priceless. Good news!

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2006 11:02 PM, PDT

“It was fun to see all of my friends at Wagner Ranch school today” Keith

Parent’s Note:

This was a big day. The blood drive at Wagner Ranch seemed to be a great success. So many people came together to both organize and donate that it took us by complete surprise. Of course it was a great honor to see such a large turnout in support of Keith and all of the donations will surely help stock the local blood bank for the many others in addition to Keith who need it. Thanks to Jeanie and all of the many volunteers who organized this event and to Wagner Ranch for generously offering their facilities, disrupting their normal activities for the day. Sorry I wasn’t around for the entire drive to thank everyone who participated. I’ll confess, it was my first time as a donor and now I realize how important it is to give if you can.

Later, Keith and Josie visited Wagner Ranch. It was Keith’s first time back to his school since summer break and he was able to say hi to all of his friends and help paint a sea-life mural that his class is working on. I understand that Trevor serenaded his classmates playing the “Charge!” tune with his trumpet followed by his classmates yelling “Go Keith!” Very cool.

Annie and Don arrived after a long and arduous trip from Grand Rapids, surviving a canceled flight and missed connection. To top it off we made them take an airport shuttle from SFO instead of picking them up. How’s that for hospitality?

Looking ahead, Keith has another CT scan set up for Thursday. This time it sounds like they are going to make him drink that nasty contrast fluid. That should be fun…

Ok, I’m tired and don’t feel like proofing what I’ve written – I’m using the missing pint of blood as my excuse.

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