Harrison has his penultimate clinic visit for frontline treatment, the weekly part of his three year treatment protocol. Following next week’s visit, in-clinic chemo will only be administered once per month. That phase is called Long Term Maintenance, and we simply cannot wait to get there. Although the road ahead is still incredibly long and treacherous, Harrison will be able to return to school and most normal activities.
Because Harrison is not being sedated today, our appointment at the clinic is not until 10 AM. It beats having to be there before 7, but makes for a long day.
Harrison is scheduled for a quick splash of Vincristine, a nasty drug made from (get this) periwinkle. Go figure. It usually causes some joint pain, but hasn’t been too severe in Harrison’s case.
The petechiae is a clear sign of extremely low platelets so we’re probably looking at a transfusion. Fortunately, that only takes about 30 minutes once the platelets arrive. There is a chance they will not transfuse platelets today, we’ll just have to see how low the are when we get there.
Unfortunately, if platelets are that low then his red blood count will probably be low as well. Anything below an 8 will require a transfusion, which generally takes 3-4 hours and comes with some risk of allergic reaction.
Harrison’s had dozens of transfusion of blood, platelets, and plasma over the last seven months, and our gratitude to those who donate blood goes far beyond words. Without these transfusions Harrison, and the thousands of others fighting leukemia, would quickly die. Every time you give blood you really are saving a life.
This past school year both Harrison’s school, North Raleigh Christian Academy, and my alma mater, Mary G. Montgomery High School, held blood drives. In each instance the schools honored Harrison and other kids who are fighting cancer. My aunt Joyce even turned out to donate for the very first time in her life. What a hero!
If you have never given blood, or haven’t given lately, please consider donating. If possible, even consider putting together a blood drive. Check with the American Red Cross for how to sponsor a blood drive at your school, church, or place of business. It doesn’t take much to become a hero to a child fighting cancer.
Thanks for all of your continued prayers, messages, and encouragement. Harrison continues to fight with every fiber of his being. His brother and sister continue to be his constant companions and partners in his struggle. And you are partners together with us in this journey. My prayer is that our partnership can grow to help other kids and families in their fight.