Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Count von Count

July 4, 2007

Erin had monthly clinic last Thursday and passed with flying colors. Her height and weight were proportional, and Dr. Parr couldn't turn up anything worrisome (this mom could tell that Erin was feeling very well, partly from her vigor, but also from the fresh crop of inch-and-a-half-long hair that has filled in the spaces between her longer hairs that the ravages of last winter's serial illnesses left). On Monday she started her last cycle of etoposide. Pending stable scans and doctor recommendations next week, she will switch to cyclophosphomide tablets. We hope to continue getting good results for many more months.

We waited until Monday afternoon to get the results of her blood labs:

WBC: 3600 (a little low, but not dangerous; mainly she has a lagging lymphocyte count, which makes her a bit more vulnerable to viruses.)
ANC: 1900 (low normal; okay ability to protect against bacterial infection)
HGB: 11.3 (low normal, good enough to spark Erin's engine)
PLT: 330 (just where it needs to be)

The chemistries were also pretty good, though I suspect Heidi Russell will have something to say about her elevated BUN (31, when 7-18 is the normal range; this is something we watch because of the celebrex). Her AST and ALT (measuring liver function) continue to hover above normal, indicating (my interpretation) the constant irritation of treatment and its effects. Her sodium, glucose, and bilirubin were a shade low as well, but we haven't received a call from Houston with instructions or admonitions, so I guess we'll check them again next week and ignore them until then.

Other than the clinic appointment Erin is just doing the usual stuff. She has fit horseback riding in between the rain twice since we returned from DC, had a piano lesson, and wiled away an afternoon painting pottery with Carpenter's Kids from church. Katie Lockett spent the day and night on Friday, and they used much of their time together to don costumes and plan and put on shows. Mary Beth and Rachel (twin granddaughters of our next door neighbors and infamous kicker-outers of Erin's front tooth) arrived yesterday for a few days. We are all waiting (some not so patiently) for the Tjoelkers to get back from their vacation. We misted Adam's slugs for them while they were gone, but given our sorry stewardship of the Tjoelker's triops last summer, we'd like to have our friends back before we let them down again. Besides, Nico and Adam will need a couple of down days before we nab them for the scanarama next Monday and Tuesday.

I read a post today on the ACOR (American Cancer Online Resource) neuroblastoma site from my friend Angela Thomas (see her blog for her daughter Christi) who was updating the group about the progress Dr. John Maris of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was making with the tumor cell line he grew from Christi's tumor (at the Thomas's request he named it FU-NB-06). He is studying it to see what made it so aggressive after it acted so gently and cooperatively for so long. This type of research is definitely interesting to me, because it might provide answers for us as well, since Erin's tumor (so far) has been compliant and indolent, but we know has the potential to turn on a dime.

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