Two nights ago, Caemon had the tiniest of blips on his white blood cells. Since his conditioning, his white cell count, along with his neutrophils and other forms of white blood cells, have shown up on his readouts as < 0.1, or, in other words, pretty much nothing. That’s what the conditioning chemo is meant to do. It obliterates the marrow and all these cells so that the new marrow can take over. The blip a couple of nights ago brought his white blood count (WBC) to a meager 0.2, but it was just a blip. It was an indication that things might be percolating, or perhaps that there was something there that could do some percolating. Yesterday, the count came right back down to 0.1, but it had been nice to think about.
Yesterday, the medical team came in smiling for the first time since we’ve been here, really, but not about the blip. When they entered, our boy was standing on the bed holding onto me and talking–well, protesting their entry, actually, and demanding I not talk about him–but it was talking they hadn’t heard. They were beaming, and pleased his liver numbers were decreasing, that he hadn’t had a fever in nearly a day, and that he was up and had the energy to be surly and objectionable. I was too, for as challenging as a cranky crocodile can be, it’s better than a lethargic, apathetic, constantly sleeping crocodile. A crabby croc is one with fight.
Last night, Caemon needed blood and platelets, had a bit of a fever, and was having some pain that prevented him from swallowing again. The need for blood certainly wasn’t unexpected, as he receives blood products every day, but seeing him in pain again and seeing him start to retain fluid again bothered us. His practitioners had it under control, though, so I left to get some sleep, leaving Jodi to stand watch over the boy. He had a restless night. Neither of them slept well.
Perhaps growing cells makes it harder to sleep. This morning, our son had both neutrophils and white blood cells show up on his complete blood count (CBC). His neutrophil count was 40. His WBC was 0.3. While these are still just tiny jumps, they are cells that will grow into an immune system in Caemon’s body. They are his first signs of recovery. A little more good news came in the form of lower liver numbers–the lowest they have been in some time. I cannot begin to explain the sort of hope this fosters in me.
We still have a long road ahead of us, and we can’t know until we’re on the other side of this whether we have found the darkest of the dark days or not yet, but in this moment, those sparks and flares sure do look like traces of dawn.