Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sick Girl. Worried Mom. Devoted Dog.

When Sarah and I walked into the doctor’s office yesterday, I had the kind of niggling concern in the back of my mind that every cancer mom deals with when her child gets sick.

One of Sarah's main symptoms when she was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma was extreme paleness and, the past few mornings, Sarah’s face and lips have been so white it looked as though she could pass out on the spot. Also, she’d had that strange, out-of-the-blue fever last Thursday night which never came back; in fact, instead of going high again, her temp dropped to 94.6 yesterday. (Another symptom at diagnosis was fevers that would come and go.)

So that worried me, too. However, I wanted to be able to express my cancer mom concerns to the doctor without getting into a big long discussion that might worry Sarah.

After he had finished examining her he said, “The paleness and the odd temperature variations do concern me. Does she have any other medical problems?”

I replied, “Well, she is a cancer survivor.” And then I tried to think of how to express my worry without alerting Sarah. I finally added in a casual tone, “One of her original symptoms at diagnosis was extreme paleness.”

That’s all I said.

But thankfully, this doctor's years of wisdom and experience had given him the gift of a sixth sense for moms trying to keep certain information from younger ears. He caught my eye, nodded, and let me know immediately he understood what I was saying.

Then he stood and said nonchalantly, “Let me just go check on something.”

Two minutes later his nurse appeared in the doorway with her blood drawing equipment. Since a blood draw isn’t usually part of a child’s cold/flu check up, I was reassured that the doctor had read my S.O.S. loud and clear.

A few minutes later, he returned and said the preliminary blood work was back and everything looked good. He said that the white blood count and the neutrophil count wouldn’t be back until the next day and then added, “If the neutrophil count is off, well, then we’ll start looking in a different direction.”

Which was diplomatic doctor-speak for, “At that point, cancer would definitely be on our radar.”

Throughout the entire conversation, Sarah (who is usually very tuned in to doctor-speak) never had a clue as to what we were talking about and so thankfully, her little heart was spared any needless worries.

The doctor said he thought her main issue right now is a Type B flu which is not as severe as Type A but can still produce odd symptoms, like the body being unable to regulate its temperature.

Sarah did a little better throughout the evening but then last night she had a bad reaction to some medication. Her heart was racing, she was anxious and emotional, she hallucinated, she was shaky and her body temp dropped way low again.

I called the doctor as soon as his office opened and the first thing he told me was that the rest of her blood work had come back and everything was perfectly and wonderfully normal. (Big sigh of relief.)

As for the other symptoms (it was a 24-hour medication she reacted to) he said she would just have to wait it out; as long as her heart rate didn’t get over 130 (the highest it went was 120) she wouldn’t need to be brought back in.

And so let me just sum up this whole medical missive by saying that Snowy has had a busy morning nursing his girl . . .


. . . and praying for her, too.


There is no Giver of Comfort any better than our resident canine nurse.


And today he’ll have his work cut out for him.


But he’s good with that.

29 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Anonymous said...

I am thankful the bloodwork came back normal but so sorry she is not well yet.
My daughter had a B strain a couple years ago (even though she had the vaccine) and her fever came and went. They did swab and verify it was this. Did they swab Sarah?
Praying this is her last sick day and she is on the mend. Jill-FL

Melanie said...

I'm so sorry to hear that Sarah is sick. I will keep her in my prayers! What a sweet boy Snowy is staying right by her side.

jmckemie said...

Praise God for normal bloodwork! Praying that she, and you!, are feeling much better real soon. I know several peole who got flu shots this season but have recently devloped the same strain that they were vaccinated against. Cannot wait for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

Praying for you all. So glad the blood work was normal. Love you.


MaryH said...

Thank God the blood work came back okay - frankly, I was a bit concerned yesterday myself - you seem to have found a very wise and caring doctor - and THANK GOD for Nurse Snowy - I don't think I have ever seen a more dedicated dog when it comes to nursing someone back to health - still praying and thinking about all of you. Rest, Sarah - you look so sad, I don't like that at all. Get better, very, very soon

Bridgette said...

Just coming to check on Sarah and so relieved that all bloodwork is normal!!! Hope she will be well soon!

Jessica Kramasz said...

I'm so glad the bloodwork came back normal. I hope she feels better soon.

Unknown said...

That picture of Snowy "praying" made me smile. I am so sorry that Sarah is under the weather but so happy it is the Flu. You know what I mean!!!

Lyndsay said...

I'm sorry Sarah is feeling so poorly, but ohmygoodness I'm thankful the bloodwork was normal.

Rachel said...

Oh poor Sarah - but really relieved to hear blood work was normal. Will pray that she feels better soon! :(

Guerrina said...

Great news on the bloodwork and praying you both recover soon!

Anonymous said...

My heart just dropped when you mentioned paleness and fever (high and then low). I am thrilled to hear that there is nothing to worry about in that respect. Thank G-d! I hope that Sarah gets to feeing better and doesn't have to miss too much school. In today's picture are any indication as to how she is feeling it looks like she will be home again tomorrow, Wednesday? At this point can you call the school and request work from last Friday and all of this week and just be done with it? That way she can take it easy, recover, not expose herself to everything else going around and stay caught up while she is at it. Since of course she has such a great teacher at home.

As a teacher, with what I think it A LOT of experience who is also on Medical Disability I have completely changed my thoughts about home schooling. I will even go as far as to say, that if I ever have kids (it's not likely) I would probably consider home schooling. And to take that even farther, I wish I had been home schooled. There, I said it, and meant it. Hope you all get to feeling better. How many days until The College Dude (TCD) will be back home? Love you guys!

Marshmallow Woman said...

Hooray for the bloodwork! I am sure tomorrow Miss Sarah will feel better.


Anonymous said...

With a caring (though a tad hirsute) nurse that Snowy, Sarah will be back to herself in NO time! When I get feeling puny sometimes, I wish I had Nurse Snowy nearby!! Get well Sarah! Jojy

Jan said...

I have to admit, I was getting a bit worried there, myself. Glad to hear that the blood work was normal.

Maybe it was getting her bangs cut off? ;)

Now on to the other three R's: Rest, Rover (or Snowy, as the case may be), Recovery!

Jan Reuther

LizW said...

I cannot imagine the agony of your wait for the blood work news, nor your joy at knowing she really does just have the flu! As I said before, MN is full of flu right now, so there are lots of folks feeling crummy like Sarah is feeling. Patience is the answer, I am told. Good thing Snowy is such a great nurse. Hope you are feeling better, Becky.

MeLaNiE said...

Praying she gets better quick and praising God that the blood work was normal!

Linda R. said...

So thankful that Sarah's labs came back normal. Becky, do you think a while back when you were worried about how she was feeling, maybe she was showing the first signs of this flu or whatever it is? Will certainly pray she feels better fast! In the meantime she has Dr. Snowy to care for her (and of course Mom and Dad!).

Love, hugs and ladybugs....

Anonymous said...

Its been a while since I have been able to stop by and then even longer since I've left a comment
:( but, I could not not leave a comment about how much i LOVE Sarah's new updated HC with BANGS!! My oldest daughter (25 - who happens to be a hair-stylest by trade) just cut herself some bangs, too and I love them on her just as much! Sarah looks adoreable!

In addition, when I started to read the posts about Sarah, her symptoms and your concern, I was so happy that I was behind in reading your posts so that I could go right on to the next one- and then to the next where you had to doctors results and not have to go through the worry with you. However, even though I may not be able to check on the Smith Family as often as I would like AND not leave a comment as often as I should, I DO - - ALWAYS mention Sarah and your entire family in my daily prayers!

I love your bathroom remodel and I thought my husband was the only man/person to do projects where he is really concentrating with his tounge out! He will be thrilled when I tell him I have found a "brother from another mother" for him!!

Well, it is time for me to go back outdoors and continue to deal with the 13.9" of snow dumped on os Sunday/Monday! Take Care, Becky!
Deb M

Anonymous said...

Oh my...my heart dropped also...So happy to continue reading and see that her bloodwork came back normal. Will be praying for Sarah and her mama...Hoping the nasty flu bugs that we have all seen this winter are on their way out!
Many blessings!

Anonymous said...

I hope Sarah is feeling better today. I've heard that the crud is really hitting hard in area schools. She has a wonderful caregiver in Snowy:)

Cindy in VA

Karen C said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen C said...

Glad it's just a "normal" sick for Sarah. You can always tell when a child does not feel well ... it's all in the eyes. I did hear from someone at work that there is a strain of flu going around that is the same one that was around in the 1970's, so those not exposed to it (the younger generations) are having a harder flu season. Hope Snowy has held up his job well!

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