Thursday, January 1, 2009

Medical Update

Isabella has medically been doing fine since this weekend. She had gotten a couple of transfusions and has felt much better since. Her platelets had fallen to 4 (no, that is not a typo). As the medical people reading this gasp, I'll explain that normal is 150-400. Platelets help clot blood. When they fall below 10, you can spontaneously hemorrhage. As an OB, we get a little nervous when platelets fall below 100, and start to really freak out when they fall down below 50. So you can imagine my reaction when the oncology fellow came in and told me hers were 4 one morning and was asking about any nosebleeds. As the platelets were being brought up, I stood her up to go to the bathroom and of course her nose started gushing. She was also pretty anemic - as the blood started dripping, you could see a spot of red, with a ring of water around it soaked into the clothes. It turned out her hemoglobin was 6! (Normal is 11.) Her neutrophil count bottomed out in the 70's, and is now back up into the hundreds. ("Neutropenic" is under 1000, and at <500 you are severely susceptible to infection.) She'll be on precautions for a while, but we've been lucky that no one in the family has gotten sick, and we've become very good at washing our hands all the time.

We are starting to see a lot of hairs on her pillow the last 2 mornings. A lot of people have asked what she thinks about losing her hair. A couple of days ago I sat down with her and told her that because of her chemo, her hair was going to fall out. Her response was a very matter of fact, "I know." I guess kids do overhear more than you realize. She told me she'd have to wear some hats so people don't see her bald spot. I told her she can show people her bald spot if she wants and doesn't have to wear a hat, but she seems to want to. The social worker came in to talk about some hair pieces that fit under hats for chemo kids, but I declined it because I don't want her to feel like she should be ashamed of being bald. My mother also had a good point: when was the last time a 5 year old looked in the mirror? (Besides to see how green her tongue was after eating a popsicle!) She's not at an age where she's particularly self-conscious about her looks, which I think is a very good thing.


  1. May the new year bring Isabella health--The Lord's blessings are with her and your family. Keep your faith strong--and remember there are many people praying for Isabella's speedy recovery. God bless Isabella!

  2. We still follow-up Isabella's progress and I make sure that she's always mentioned in our prayers at church and home.

    As grandparents to 2 very young grandkids (4 1/2 and 1 1/2) we can just imagine the turmoil and suffering of the entire family. Nevertheless, we do believe that God is taking care of Isbella.

    Give our love to your mom, Fely. We miss her too. Wishing the whole family a healthy 2009.

    Lito and Annie Beltran (mom's fishing buddies).


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