Nicholas finished treatment on 11/18/2010. He will continue to go for blood work for the next 3 years. He is still in remission.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Shannon Family - We're Home

Yes, we were able to come today. Greg and Nick arrived around 5pm and Nick is very happy to be home. Tom and Nick started laughing together, they really missed each other. Now that we are all educated, his ANC was 357 before he left the hospital. The fever has been gone for over 48 hours and Nick has even walked a little. The good news is that he is back to himself again and making jokes and most of all SMILING. We are going to enjoy the weekend and probably take him to CBS Scene Restaurant.... which is now his favorite place.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Trip to the Hospital

Hi everyone, this is Aunt Christa. Just a quick update and a little information. Nick and Karen went to the hospital today because Nick had a fever and was Neutropenic. From reading other blogs about kids going through the same thing, I found a little information to pass on about the ANC count and what it means to be neutropenic. What is ANC? It stands for Absolute Neutrophil Count. It is not a White Blood Cell count, but is the concentration of neutrophils in the while blood cell count. ANC equals the Total WBC count multiplied by the total percentage of neutrophils (segs plus bands). So you can have a high White Blood Cell count, but a low ANC, it's rare but it is possible. Nick's Chemotherapy is immuno-suppressive, The 6MP and Methotrexate lower the immune system by suppressing the bone marrow from making things such as White Blood Cells. When any of us gets a virus or bacterial infection, our ANC gets lower, but if you are on Chemo it can drop to dangerous levels, aka Neutropenia. That is what can happen to Nick. The BIG worry in all of this is if he were to get something like Strep or something bacterial, and if his anc were lower than 500, you can have real issues, including a risk of death. That's why he needs to be in a ER with a fever, when he is neutropenic, so they can start IV anti-biotics immediately. ANC fluctuates a lot because they are constantly trying to control it's range with the chemo, while dealing with external forces such as virus. ANC is the main diagnostic value for Lymphomas and many types of Leukemia.
Keep your prayers going for Nick. He had a blood transfusion and is feeling a lot better this evening. He even managed to get on toontown and play with cousin Joey for a while.
Aunt Christa

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Shannon Family - Counts are low today

Hi All,
As Amy posted previously, we took the family into Boston for the St. Patrick's Day Parade. Nick had been talking about it all week. He was looking forward to it, but was also very tired and in pain that day. Nick did tell me today, that he like the storm troopers and the horses smelled really bad. He plugged his nose while telling me the had a good time. He looked very cute bundled up and sunglasses on, when it was 60 degrees out. As long as he was warm... he does not complain.
Today at clinic, Nick was great. He did not cry for his port to be accessed or the shot in the leg. Yep, he took the shot like a big kid. That was the good news of the day. The bad news is that his counts are real low. We are borderline for a blood transfusion and on fever watch. There are a couple of reasons for the low counts: 1. He just had a high dose of chemo last week and it drops his counts, 2. His body could be fighting off a virus or 3. All of the above. We will keep a close eye on him this week and hopefully he can rebound quickly and no hospital visits.

White Blood Cell (WBC): 1.1 (Normal 5.0-15.0)
Red Blood Cell (RBC): 8.6 (Normal 10.5-13.5)
Platelets (PLTS): 62 (Normal 150-400)
APC Number: 143 -- Not good

Nick has been in a lot of pain this weekend. We expected the pain 5 days after the chemo and steroids, but it never gets easier watching your child dealing with it. He will take the pain medicine after a while. The doctor has a little concern about his bone density and the effect of the drugs. He can barely walk today because of the soreness and pain. They are thinking of doing an MRI on his legs in the upcoming weeks to make sure everything is okay. More to come. We are going home now...... another shot down.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Love Family - We all headed into papa's for the Annual South boston St. patrick's Day parade. Everyone had a great time. I never know if the adults or kids have more fun, but we all get to celebrate togther. Nick made it to the parade and seemed to enjoy watching it. Here is a picture of the Star Wars characters that march in the parade. The kids had fun collecting the 'beads' and candy that was tossed along the parade.

Tomorrow Nick will be going to clinic for another shot and blood counts. Nick is about half way through this phase of treatment which is getting very difficult. Nick is feeling the side affects of the shots and chemo but he is a trooper!!! Karen will update everyone this week on clinic. We thank everyone again for the meals and support they have provided to the Shannon's. Aunt Amy