T+179

A shorter time since my last update. Seth’s health appears to be going from strength to strength and we are slowly getting used to our cheeky, energetic 5 year old that we have never before seen!

First haircut since he lost it all with chemo. It wasn't really all that long, just messy. So we had it tidied up!

First haircut since he lost it all with chemo. It wasn’t really all that long, just messy. So we had it tidied up!

Things are still going in the right direction, albeit slowly. A couple of weeks ago they took the bloods for the Thymus check and the numbers are still not enough to give a conclusive result. However, there does appear to be a few more ‘mature’ T cells. So were hoping that this is a sign that things are changing, slowly! Also he has grown FINALLY! 6 or 7cm since January.

He is now eating pretty well. He has three meals a day, small portions but he finishes them. We are currently encouraging him to try different things, especially things with a sauce. This is often met with some anxiety from Seth and he often takes a break from the table, but then returns and finishes the meal. The last few days he has come on leaps and bounds with this. The best way we can get him to eat – is by getting him to cook it with us. This week he has made us Lasagne and Pizza.

In himself he is ready to go to school and be with other children. He is under stimulated at home. We try our best but it’s the same home everyday. We get him out in the garden and to the local park when it is empty. But it’s not the same as being surrounded by your peers and stimulated 7 hours a day 5 days a week. Hopefully, his cells will come up soon and he can go back to school in January. He will be going to a new school and restarting reception year because he has missed so much.

Also, just as Seth was going into isolation, what seems like a long time ago. I posted that we did not have a family picture, and a member of staff took one of the 4 of us in a room at the hospital. It’s not the most flattering family picture. But it is all we had and at the time we were not sure we would get the opportunity to take another.

The only family photo we had.

The only family photo we had.

So, Hugo had a cake smash photo shoot booked for his first birthday. The photographer kindly let us use this session to get some family pictures. We love them!

(photo credit: rebecca jayne photography)

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At the moment he is having bloods taken every other week to monitor his full blood count, liver, kidney function, potassium, magnesium, white blood cells etc and so far things are pretty stable. He is currently on less medication that he has been on since he was 6 months old! Also once a week I give him an infusion into his legs (subcutaneously) of anti-bodies. Known as IVIG.

In other news…… Seth was the winner of the Northamptonshire Pride Award for Courage. Unfortunately, he was unable to attend the award ceremony himself due to isolation. However, his daddy got an evening out at the awards and collected it on his behalf.

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The Bubble Foundation, which has given so much to children like Seth has launched a campaign this week. Asking people to posts pictures of they #bubblesforthebubble. In our opinion the Bubble Foundation enabled Seth to have ECP treatment for the 12 months before his transplant, they provided Hugo and me with accommodation throughout Seth’s time in hospital so that we didn’t have to live 4 hours away. They do this for ALL families on the ward. They fund important research to help save the lives of children just like Seth. Here are Seth and Hugo with their #bubblesforthebubble.

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Today: T+9

So since my post yesterday there have been a few changes…….

Seth was on the CPAP machine again for 12 hours over night as part of the SCARF research.

He had the most settled night he has had in a while, and today has been maintaining his oxygen level WITHOUT the need for additional oxygen! He has been breathing a lot easier and his chest sounds better. Hooray! Towards the end of the day he did start to breathe a bit harder and needed additional oxygen when asleep. But its an improvement.

His cheeky little character is also coming back a bit and we sat on the floor to play paw patrol again today, although he again tired very quickly. He is just so determined not to be sick!

His hands remain sore but we are now only going to change the dressing every other day, and they have doubled the amount of pain relief he gets when he has a bolus. So that should help him a little with the pain. In addition he has been referred back to the tissue viability team who will know how best to dress the hands and ensure he is getting pain relief.

Fluid wise Seth is still retaining fluids, his genitals are less swollen, but he is puffy on his face and legs, and his belly is very distended at the moment. The doctors are continuing to monitor this closely and treating it with diuretics when necessary as well as giving him the minimal amount of fluid.

Being on the intensive care ward is stressful for Nik and I, and is creating some frustration and conflicting feeling (it may be that we are crazy BMT parents scared at leaving our safe little bubble!). Seth is doing well with the CPAP support and it seems to be helping him to improve. But we also feel like we may be compromising his safety in terms of infection. The nursing staff on intensive care are not BMT nurses and so work differently and have a different understanding to isolation nursing. So having Seth on the ward is a learning curve for them, but he is still not receiving the protective care he would receive on his normal ward. The strict isolation rules seem to not apply as much here, but if he needs it he needs it right? This may be fine and not an issue, but 9 days post transplant Seth is as vulnerable as it gets and we are worried.

Tomorrow we are going to speak with the relevant people to confirm what is absolutely necessary to protect Seth so that we can ensure that is happening. It may be that we are more cautious than needs be and he is already getting the level of protective nursing that he requires. At the minute Nik and I are feeling more stressed than we have throughout this process so we need to clarify and understand and then consider our options. As removing him from the research and back to his ward may be detrimental to his breathing and could lead him to need to be in intensive care, which would not change anything anyway.

Now….about that magic…….

It looks like engraftment has begun, he has some lymphocyte numbers coming up in his blood. At the moment that means nothing as they need to check further to see what is going on. But hopefully it is the sign that the magic is home and beginning to settle. This is good – it what he needs, but it may cause him to go backwards again before he starts improving. The new cells might go to all the areas we have problems at the moment and cause further inflammation trying to fix things.

So today was a good day…..tomorrow who knows were still taking it day by day.

Day 0 – transplant day 

Another step closer to Seth being able to come home. 

Today Seth has been ok. He’s been sick a few times but he’s remained temperature free. However he has tested positive for the HHV6, although at a low level. 

So we spent the day waiting for the cells to be manipulated and made ready for Seth. This includes a lot of maths making sure that the right number of the right cells are given. At 5.30pm the cells went up and the infusion started. 

As they came in to give the drug Seth got upset and a bit scared as he didn’t know what was going to happen. But within a few minutes of it running he was sat on his bed watching Mr Bean cartoons and colouring in!!!

   

 

So what now?

Well Seth’s journey is far from over. The effects of the chemo will get worse and continue for another 2 weeks. In addition the new cells have to find their home and start work, hopefully without causing problems. 

So the major first step to recovery has started, it may bring complications but we still have to take it day by day