First, the update from the clinic:
A simple day today. Got there at 7:00. Out by 9:20. No complications.
Harrison received IT (spinal) metholtrexate and vincristine through his port. They drew blood and did a bone marrow aspiration. They are always looking for bad cells, and hoping not to find any. His chest is sore from the two weeks of having his port continually accessed, so the accessing this morning hurt more than usual. He still took it like a champ, but is still hurting a little.
White cells – 1.7 (norm is 4.5-13)
Hemoglobin – 8.3 (norm is 11.5-15.5 – they will transfuse at less than 8.0)
Platelets – 247 (norm is 150-440, so this great)
ANC – .4 (norm is 2.0-7.5 – though the norm for him will be 1-2 during chemo).
This last number is indicative of neutropenia (less than .5) and means his is HIGHLY subject to infection. He basically has almost no cells that fight infection. He’ll live somewhat in a bubble for a week to see if they improve. But, to kill the bad neutrophils, you have to kill the good as well. Sticks, but that’s life for the next three-plus years for him.
Now, the fun stuff.
You may know that Orange is the color for Leukemia awareness. I didn’t know until I joined the fraternity of Parents of Cancer Kids, so I won’t be offended if this the first you’ve heard of it.
Each Tuesday, the day Harrison is receiving chemo, his school (North Raleigh Christian Academy) has “Orange Out,” as a way to encourage Harrison, Blakely, and Lachlan. A large number of students and teachers wear orange and the school prays specifically for Harrison and our family. What an encouragement!
Today the school had a pep rally to highlight all of the winter sports, in anticipation of the boys’ basketball team’s conference championship game tonight. Although Harrison is neutropenic we allowed him to go, he just couldn’t sit with his class. He was bummed that he couldn’t sit with his class, but was excited just to be there.
Imagine how touching it was when the fourth grade began chanting, “HARR-I-SON, HARR-I-SON!”, then the entire school joined in. Ginger and I just lost it. Harrison took it in stride, a little embarrassed by the attention he is getting. For a kid who is the life of the party, he’s still a little shy.
When it came time for the “spirit stick” each grade did their best to out-cheer the other grades. They were all awesome.
But when it came time for the fourth graders, we were touched when all the seniors ran across the gym to join Harrison’s class. You should have heard how loud they all were! It was incredible.
So when the cheerleaders announced that the fourth grade won, Coach Cook (the emcee) called Harrison out to accept the award on behalf of his classmates.
We have been so touched by the parents, students, teachers, and administrators at North Raleigh Christian Academy. They have time and again blessed us in tangible and intangible ways. When we drop the older kids off at school on Tuesday and see the sea of orange, we are reminded of how much our friends at NRCA love our little boy. That love has translated into prayers, cards, gifts, and other acts of kindness. I honestly do not know how people survive this without the Lord and his people.
I’m reminded that this is what the Body of Christ does, not just for one another but for all those whose lives are ravaged by the effects of living in the wilderness. The Gospel announces a better Kingdom, and the Church lives that Kingdom out to proclaim the promise of God’s salvation. I wish it wasn’t because of Harrison’s cancer that we see the Gospel demonstrated, but our entire family prays that our hell will help others see the Gospel of Jesus.
Psalm 30 is one of the readings our church is reflecting on this week. If you read it, you’ll see what it came at a perfect time in the year for our family.