Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A false positive. WHEW~!

What a crazy week this has been, and it's only Wednesday.  As I mentioned, Ty was running a fever on Monday.  His white blood cell count was elevated, specifically his ANC which is usually more indicative of a bacterial "bug" rather than a virus that might be causing the fever.  Given we were on a plane home from Mexico on Sunday, if there was something in the air it would certainly make sense that Ty would catch it given his poor, broken down immune system.

So, of course, I brought him into the city for cultures and an exam on Monday afternoon.  He was given a broad anti-biotic that is geared toward a wide range of bacteria, and we went home.  It was a long day spent in traffic and in between the busy hospital walls.  Ty was a trooper.  

The next day (Tuesday), we had to return for his chemo infusion (Avastin - which he gets every two weeks).  He was 100% better.  No fever for over 24 hours, he was feeling great except for a small bout of diarreah.  I was warned the day before that he would probably have symptoms in his digestive system if he was fighting any sort of bacteria in his system.  The cultures, which were drawn 24 hours before, had so far been clear (meaning, nothing grew back on the blood samples) so no one suspected that he might have an infection in his bloodstream.  Another long day at the hospital -- the 3 - 4 hour drive round-trip was a bit more exhausting the second time around -- but we had some nice quiet time together, we shared a lot of smiles and jokes, we read books and played games while waiting in the hospital and it was a pretty good day regardless.  We kept the needles in his mediport overnight so the only real torture for Ty was having them removed at the end of the day.  The nurse was great, she did it super fast and careful, and after a few tears we were on our way.

This morning our phone rings at 7AM.  Immediately, I know it must be his cultures.  He has an infection, doesn't he?  The familiar accent of the German fellow on the other end of the line didn't even have to continue to explain... I know the drill.  I waited to talk to our trusted nurse practitioner to get an idea of what to expect before leaving so I could prepare.  No surprise to us, she said a 72-hour hospital stay was most likely in our future.  No Thanksgiving again this year. 

Lou and I spent the morning packing up for a hospital stay.  We called our families and "cancelled" Thanksgiving.  We figured out where Gavin would be staying and packed up all of his essentials.  It was depressing, but still we were/are thankful.  Thankful that Ty was feeling well despite the positive culture.  Thankful that he hadn't had a fever for almost 48 hours (a very good sign when fighting infection).  Obviously, most thankful that his hospital stay wasn't tumor-related.  My boy is still cancer-free which is way better than his prognosis was last Thanksgiving.  Not a single oncologist would have believed Ty would even be with us this Thankgiving.  So yes, we are beyond Thankful.

I don't typically mind the drive into the city.  After living there for almost a decade, I am very comfortable there and often have thoughts of what it would be like if we never left for the burbs.  There is so much that I miss about it.  What a great life I had there.  Not as good as it is now, thanks to my amazing children, but still... it was great.  Anyway, my point is that on the contrary, today I absolutely dreaded going into the city.  The Wednesday before Thanksgiving?!?!  The absolute WORST day travel day of the year?!?!  The good news is, I was lucky enough to make both a traffic-laden trip INTO the city, as well as a traffic-laden trip HOME today.  Let me explain :)

It takes time for bacteria to grow on cultures.  And even more time for the lab to figure out exactly what kind of bacteria is growing.  At the time we were called, the team saw both "rods" and "cones" growing, which is likely indicative of a staph infection.  As some of you might remember, Ty has a very, very complicated history of several very serious staph infections in both his bloodstream (MSSA) and his CSF (MSSA, MRSA, Candida - not a staph but still!, etc).  So, we don't want to take any chances with this.  However, by the time we arrived at the hospital the infectious disease team was able to better identify the type of staph that was growing, and it turns out that it was not nearly as serious as the bacteria we have dealt with before.  In fact, they felt that it was most likely a contaminated sample because the type of bacteria they found usually sits on the skin and is very rarely found in the bloodstream. 

Long story short, we were given a pass to go home.  At least until tomorrow.  They drew more cultures today and they will be monitored.  If anything grows on the new cultures over the next 24, 48 or 72 hours, we will have to return... but Lou and I were happy to take our chances and we smiled in traffic the whole way home.  NO! Thanksgiving will NOT be cancelled this year :)  Tomorrow I will post a list of the things I am most thankful for.  I will try not to bore you too much, but I think you know it will be a very long one.  It's been a long day and I think I am actually going to fall fast asleep the second my heads hits the pillow.  Which is right about now... the wine helps :) 

PS - topping my "thanks" list tomorrow will be all of you, and your neverending prayers. Love you all so much.



  1. Such great news. Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Hope Ty eats a lot of turkey bacon ;)

  2. Tears of Thankfullness!! So happy for you all. I thank God everyday for Ty's health and strength. Enjoy your Thanksgiving and thank you for helping me appreciate mine so much more! Love and prayers!

    Brooke, Eric, Emily and Owen <3

  3. Ty's name will come up at my table this year.
    A real Thansgiving this year
    God Bless

  4. yaaaaaaay!!! Awesome.. Have a great Thanksgiving!

  5. XO to TY & the whole family! So excited you get to spend a nice day with family instead of back in the hospital! Hope you have a blessed day!