Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Day +21: Brianna's Strength Continues

Brianna continues to cough and struggle with the infection in her lung, but she is a fighter! She is determined to move about and stretch, even though she doesn't feel like it, and to use her incentives barometer, despite the pain. (The incentives barometer measures how deep of a breath you can take by blowing into a tube and raising a floating disk. It also helps expand the lungs, something her right lung needs!)

The doctors are narrowing in on what is causing the problem in her lung. Yesterday, Brianna had a bronchoscopy with lavage, which is not a fancy parisian bath, but is a bath of sorts . A small scope, or camera, was manuevered up her nose and down into her lung. She was sedated so she really didn't feel anything. I was able to stay in the room with her and watch the whole procedure. A very good and funny respiratory pulmonologist Dr. Cornfield made Brianna feel comfortable about the process and what the goal was - to squirt saline into her lung and then suction it out in hopes of collecting some of the infectious cells now residing there. The procedure went very smoothly and Brianna was great! A little sedation can go a long way in making you feel no pain and remember little. But the doctors were confident they got some of the targeted cells.

While I was watching, the nurse was asked if I was okay and if I would faint. There was no way I was going to leave and be given the opportunity to see the culprit behind my daughter's misery! Her poor lung has what looks like a big, gooey booger clogging one of her lung's passageways. I watched the saline being flushed in and then it being suctioned. The staff was really great with her and did a fantastic job. The samples were taken to the lab where they are put into cultures to see if anything grows. Twenty hours later, nothing has come up positive, but it could take as along as two weeks.

The best news so far is that her white blood count has risen to 0.9! Normal is 4.0 - 11. She's getting there! And, the more good news is the infection fighting part of her white blood cells, her Abolute Neutrophil Count or ANC, is 800!! It hasn't been that high in six months or more!! (Remember when it's below 500 your at high risk for infection, and when it's below 200 your body can't fight its own bacteria. Normal is 1.8 - 8.0.) So this is the best news yet!!

With a higher white count, we're hoping her body is beginning to get the upper hand on her infection. Her spriits were brightened even more when she was told she can wear a mask in the hall and go to the unit's outdoor patio and take off her mask and walk around outside!! Isn't that great? ALso, she was so excited to hear that when her ANC is above 1,000, she can have fresh fruits and veggies again! Yeah!!!! And, she can start going to school again here at the hospital - wearing a mask of course.

So we're hoping that each day brings us closer to her getting over this infection and her new marrow making more and more white blood cells and increasing her ANC to help in the fight. Thankfully, we're on an upswing on our journey.

1 comment:

Kitty Forseth said...

Dear Iva, Brianna and family,

I am reading your blog and just tearing up.. you are all so strong, especially Brianna. Please know that you are in our prayers daily.

It is WONDERFUL that Brianna will be able to go outside! Our weather is simply gorgeous right now. I imagine that some sunshine on her face will feel pretty amazing :).

I will continue to pray for an answer to Brianna's infection and pain. How awful that must be for you, Iva.. to feel so helpless.

Love you.. take care,