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A Week of Testing

This week brought a week of tests for Julia. On Monday, Julia had a blood test to check her counts. In addition, she had the first of a series of tests to monitor her hearing. One of the side effects of Carboplatin is hearing loss. Julia will have many tests while getting this chemo to watch for any change in her hearing. Monday’s blood work brought a lower platelet count of 53, along with lower hemoglobin and ANC (660). Dr. Stern explained that we will need to continue to monitor Julia counts. In week 2 post chemo, the Neulasta will wear off and with that Julia’s counts could continue to drop. So back to clinic on Wednesday we will go.

Wednesday brought another blood test. Unfortunately, Julia’s veins were not cooperating with the first “stick” and her vein collapsed. Moy, one of the nurses at the clinic, was brought in to help. With another “stick”, this time in Julia’s right arm, a vein was found. Julia was so strong and never cried – breathing through the needle poke and making sure the nurses all knew what to do. Julia’s platelets dropped to 23, but her other counts began to rise. Dr. Julie (Stern) explained that the protocol for getting platelets was a count of 10. So back to clinic on Friday we will go.

Again on Friday, Julia’s veins continued to play hide and see with the needles. With the first try, the vein seemed to retreat as the needle came towards it. Slowly the needle was moved in and out, trying to coax the vein to come a little closer, but only a small amount of blood come down the line into the vial. Hoping to have enough of a sample, the blood was quickly taken to the lab. Unfortunately, there was a clot in the sample and they were not able to use it. Another arm and another nurse, Laurie, tried to find a good vein. Again Julia’s vein retreated, but with some probing, Laurie was able to get the blood to flow into the vial. Through all the poking and prodding, Julia sat still, remaining calm, her strength spreading to each of us – the nurses trying to minimize the pain that comes with repeated blood draws and a mother comforting her child by holding her during each test in hopes to bare the pain.

Julia’s platelets continued to drop and are now at 20, but her ANC is higher at 1700. Dr. Stern decided to wait until next Wednesday to check Julia’s counts again. This is the day Julia is scheduled to start chemo. Her platelets need to be at 75 before they will be able to give Julia the next round. If her platelets don’t rebound enough, they will postpone chemo until Monday. For the next 4 days, we need make sure Julia is safe at play (no mokey pars, trampolines, etc) and watch for any signs of dropping counts (bruising, nosebleeds, etc.).

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