Nick and I were in Birmingham yesterday (Wednesday, 9/21) for another checkup, chemo, and IVIG.
Nick’s blood pressure was high when his vital signs were checked upon arrival. It was rechecked a few times prior to the doctor coming into the exam room. Nick’s blood pressure stayed up.
The doctor decided that since Nick has not been on the high dose steroids for about 17 days, the increase in Nick’s blood pressure is likely due to the long term stress of everything going on within Nick’s body: the continued large doses of steroids, chemo, etc..
The doctor decided to consult with kidney specialists before putting Nick on any medication to bring the blood pressure under control.
Why? Well, the answer the doctor gave me is they know more about that than he does. I have some other thoughts that MAY (Read that this next stuff is simply my thoughts/fears. Nothing has been confirmed. This is simply from what I know or suspect.) also be involved with the oncologist’s decision to bring in yet another specialist.
When Nick was a baby, the chemo that he received for the liver cancer caused kidney damage. The damage was not severe enough to warrant any dialysis or further treatment. Over the years, Nick’s kidney function stabilized and we really didn’t have to pay as close attention to things.
When Nick had his colon surgery in 2005 and had all of the post surgery complications, we found out that Nick’s kidney’s were more fragile than anyone (even the doctors) realized. Nick went into what is medically known as Acute Renal Failure. In English, this basically means that Nick’s kidney’s had stopped functioning properly. With medical intervention, the doctors were able to pull him out of that. (Acute basically means that it just happened that one time.)
Since that time, we have been very careful with Nick’s kidneys. Nick has had to drink lots of water every day to help keep his kidneys flushed out and to stay properly hydrated.
All that being said, my thoughts/fears are that the oncologist has called in the kidney specialists because Nick’s kidneys may be showing signs of stress again. High blood pressure is a symptom of kidney problems. Since Nick already has documented kidney damage and one episode of acute renal failure, it is a logical concern that something could be going on that needs attention.
The oncologist did not say this, but based on what I know, this is a very valid concern.
Please, please pray over this. Nick developing kidney problems, due to all of the stress on his body as he has grown up, has been a fear for 16 years.
Nick began taking the blood pressure medication last night. When we go back to clinic in the morning (Friday, 9/23) if his blood pressure isn’t better, the dose will be doubled.
Nick will also be evaluated by the kidney specialists in three weeks. I don’t know anything further than that at this time.
I’m trying really hard not to borrow trouble. Nick and Kacie don’t know exactly how deep my concerns/fears run. I explained to both of them that sometimes when people are on chemo for a long time, all of the medicines and steroids can cause problems with blood pressure. All of that is true and it is what happened with Keith. That’s all they need to know for now.
Onto the rest...
Nick received the “old” chemo and IVIG yesterday. Nick did very well with it. Once the IV fluids were going and the Benadryl kicked in, Nick’s blood pressure stabilized and stayed within normal range.
We will go back into clinic tomorrow (Friday, 9/23) for the “new” chemo. Please pray for no reaction.
I mentioned that we will be seeing the kidney specialists in three weeks on October 13. That is also the same day Nick will have another set of CT scans done. On the Monday of that week (Oct 10), Nick will have PET scans done here in Huntsville.
Also on October 13, Nick will have another checkup with the oncologist, as well as chemo and IVIG.
That is going to be a crazy, busy, stress-filled week!
The only other thing that I can think of right this minute about our visit yesterday is the oncologist mentioned that he isn’t sure how many more doses of the “new” chemo he will give Nick. Nick’s lymphocyte count (the
part of the white blood cells this chemo affects) has decreased dramatically. I think the doctor said Nick has less than 20% of normal. It may even be lower than that. The cells will come back eventually, but in the mean time it is that portion of immunity that is lost.
I know this is a lot of information to digest. I haven’t really digested it all myself. I wanted to get this part out before we go back tomorrow so you all will know how to pray.
Thank you continuing to cover us in prayer. Please continue to pray as the Lord leads!
Trying to remain...
In His Grip,