Abby's Journey

We'd like to invite you to read Abby's Journey from the beginning. We hope that her story may help a family who is facing the same battle with DIPG. We are praying for a cure and are praying for every child who is diagnosed with cancer.

This is Abby's story.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Maegan explains Abby's blood work!!

Jon has asked me to update and educate those who don’t understand all the aspects of Abby’s blood work. I will do my best and hopefully give the right information and not confuse you. Every Thursday Abby has her blood drawn and tested to see where her levels are. The things tested that I know most about are her white blood cells (WBC), red blood cells, platelets, neutrophils, and ANC. She is tested for many more things but these are the things we need to focus on for the present time. Now, let me explain some of these to you and give you some of the counts. The numbers given to me by the doctors are in whole numbers so a count of 406 is actually 406,000.
Her white blood cells are infection fighters in her body. As this level decreases her immune system also goes down and it’s easier and more likely for her to get sick. If they start going up it’s a possible sign that she is getting an infection. On her first blood draw, Aug 19, 2010, her WBC were 13.8. About a month later on Sept 23, 2010, her WBC was 6.5. On Oct 15, 2010, the count was 3.6. Her most recent blood test on Nov 11, 2010, showed a count of 1.5.
Her neutrophils are the big leaders in her white blood cells to fight an infection. Aug 19th the count was 72, Sept 23rd the count was 71, Oct 15th it was 67, and on Nov 11th I think it was 52.
If you take her WBC and her neutrophils and do some math equation you get her ANC or average neutrophil count. On Aug 19th this was 9,936. On Sept 23rd it was 4,615. Oct 15th it was 2,412 and on Nov 11th it was 840. We just found out that if her ANC gets below 500 than we will have to take her off the chemo until that ANC gets back to at least 1,000. If she continues to take her chemo and be below 500 it could turn her body toxic and we really don’t want that. If she has to go off the chemo her blood will be tested 2 times a week until her body can replenish itself.
Platelets are what help your blood to clot. This is what her chemo drug affects more than anything as far as blood goes. On Aug 19th her level was 426, Sept 23rd was 227, Oct 15th was 169, and Nov 11th was 70. If her platelets get down to like 10 then a platelets infusion will be given. If her count gets below 50 however she will have to stop the chemo until the level is back up to 100. The same protocol for blood work as the ANC will be done in this case.
Right now we are most concerned for her platelet and ANC counts to stay above those levels. If she comes off the chemo because these levels get too low she will get back on the chemo as soon as the levels get back to where they want them to be. As you can see her WBC is going down and so we have taken extra precautions to try and keep Abby has healthy as possible. She’s been very understanding about not getting to go to Wal-Mart and not going to church. It makes it a little harder to keep her healthy with the cold and flu season creeping. I don’t want her to live in a bubble but also don’t want to see her back at the hospital for an illness we could’ve avoided. It’s a fine line, I’m learning. Even with her blood levels dropping she is still a very active little girl and it hasn’t gotten her down. We are happy to see the weight decreasing since she has been off her steroids. Still a lot more progress to be made until she’s back where she was when all this started. We don’t mind though, I love to kiss those cheeks!
Hopefully I didn’t confuse you and now maybe you will know more specifically what to pray about for our Abby. We deeply appreciate all the prayers and still need them as she continues to kick butt!! We love each of you and pray for you as well. Good night to all!

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2 Timothy 1:7

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.