Oh and another thing…

T+316

So it appears that my posts are like buses! You wait for ages and then two in one week! I realised that I missed out a few things in the last blog that I had wanted to talk about and also an update on Herbie is probably a good idea too. On Thursday I woke to a small face staring down at me  and a voice saying  “I want to go back to school, I feel better now.” We had agreed he wouldn’t go back despite him feeling back to normal but he was having none of it. Dressed for school and insistent how could we say no?  So normal service resumed. I went to the supermarket to get a few things and suddenly felt quite anxious that I was unable to get a signal on my phone. What if the school needed me? What if he got unwell? What if? I needn’t have worried. When I arrived at school at 11.55am he was there, beaming and full of beans. I had a full dissection of his morning and as he sat on the sofa drinking his chocolate milk and eating pretzels he piped up with ‘it’s Thursday isn’t it? Yippee! Fish and chip day!” I was so happy 🙂

Friday was a half day at school for the younger two, ending with an Easter bonnet/Hat parade. Herbie enjoyed creating his hat with big sister Lily and wore it with pride. The day just got better and better with a lovely bag of sweet treats from best buddies Lily & Sam in his draw and then he was chosen as star of the week which meant he got to bring the class bear home for the holidays. I thought he might burst with happiness!

My little Easter Bunny
My little Easter Bunny

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We went back at 1pm for the parade and Herbie ran back into his classroom. He came out moments later leading his class , as star of the week, in the parade. His happiness evident. What a great end to his term! Today he has been totally on form, eating, drinking, playing & happy.

In other news, the BBC Documentary series about Great Ormond Street is closer to airing which means things are stepping up a gear. Catey and Hiral arrived with our footage. We haven’t seen the entire episode as we are not allowed to see the other featured children. As you can imagine we are also not allowed to talk about what is in the programme but I can say two things. I needed tissues to watch it and we are very happy with our representation. I hope that it will be watched by many ( I will post as soon as I know the exact air date) and  that it will encourage people to join the Bone Marrow Donor register and potentially save the life of somebody that finds themselves in a life threatening situation. I also hope that the immunology and BMT teams will be seen for the amazing work they do and the difficult decisions that they are faced with. Parents are hoping that they have every answer but with most PIDS things aren’t that simple. This can be frustrating for the parents but also equally frustrating for the medical teams whose sole purpose is to save lives. So many PIDS are newly discovered, extremely rare and outcomes are hard to predict. The GOSH publicity department have been in touch with us about publicity surrounding the episode. It’s going to be an exciting and strange time.

Herbie asked me about the blog today. He said “if you email the blog to my doctors then they wouldn’t need to see me anymore because they could just read how I am ” It made me laugh that he sees life so simply when his is often so complicated. One thing I have noticed is that memories of transplant are already fading and selective for him. He remembers some things so clearly and fondly. Certain nurses, special times when he got to do something fun. I’m so happy that he is forgetting the less happy times. The only thing he often remembers with a grimace is the weekly NPA “it was every Monday and I HATED IT!”

So we are ready to enjoy the Easter break, despite two days in the JR next week for IVIG therapy and Pamidronate and then the following week a day in London at GOSH. Let’s hope things are back on the straight and narrow for a while.  ( but don’t hold your breath 😉)

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Up, down and all around

T+312

So I’ m sure that  it’s been way too long since I lasted posted and for those of you who don’t actually see me regularly or know what has been happening I’m sorry for the lack of communication.

From November 2014 to a few weeks ago we have had a wonderfully settled period post transplant and I  (probably naively) thought the corner was well and truly turned and that Herbie was over  ‘the worst’.

Our last GOSH appointment was 4 weeks ago and at that point we were weaning the prednisolone (steroid) down to 5mg  a day instead of 5mg twice a day and it had gone really well with no repeat performances of the yoyoing in and out of the JR like last time.  We discussed the next step with Waseem and he was keen to keep the steroid in place whilst we removed the ciclosporin (the other immune suppressant)  and so we  had a plan to leave the steroid at 5mg for one more week and then begin a wean of 0.05mls a week of ciclosporin. This would mean that on our return to GOSH in 6 weeks time Herbie would finally be ciclosporin free! I was so excited at this prospect. Finally his T cell reconstitution might actually get a boost. Waseem told us to watch Herbie’s skin closely for signs of GVHD but everyone was happy that it looked pretty fab right now and that his revoltingly large wart/verruca on his foot was completely gone without treatment.

It was funny to see Dr Johannes Truck from the JR in our GOSH appointment, it’s not the first time that our hospitals have merged and it’s great that they work so closely. Sadly Herbie was a tad rude (overfamiliar really ) and whilst doing his trademark pointing from eyes to Dr,he said ‘Don’t even think about it Truck!” Which although the Dr’s smirked sparked a reprimand from Dan & I, we were so embarrassed ! The positive appointment continued right to the end with Waseem sharing a joke with Herbie and Herbie telling him that he wanted to go to school for longer than an hour and a half each day! A plan was formulated.

Herbie returned to school the following day and stayed until lunch time, he was thrilled! He didn’t seem at all tired by the extra hours. He was able to participate in the Mother’s Day concert and although he had his gammaplex infusion on World Book Day he went to the hospital dressed as Shaun the Sheep!

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Then two weeks ago he said his tummy hurt and he seemed to be eating less and less. Remember that this was the boy who literally was eating as soon as his eyes opened! Now he just couldn’t face food before 11.30-12! The drop in steroids seemed the likely culprit initially but then his stools started to be more frequent and looser and then he started being sick.  We held our breath. School reported a tummy bug in school so we assumed it was this. The sickness wasn’t much and after two episodes he managed 49 hours vomit free meaning he could return to school but we gave him an extra 24 hours to be safe. He returned to school and the following day was sick again.  Throughout this time  we had continued with the ciclosporin wean but suddenly I noticed that his last loose stools were green…this all pointed to gut GVHD. I called GOSH for advice. His temperature had been up but not above 37.9 so no automatic admission. Waseem advised we returned the ciclosporin to it’s original 0.35ml  dose and held the steroid at 5mg until our next appointment. Cultures were to be taken from the line if his temp went about 37.5.  Things settled quickly and we felt reassured by GOSH’s instruction. The symptoms settled quite quickly and all that I had left to concern me was that he appeared to be breathing quickly and getting breathless

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Last Thursday Morag came to do a ciclosporin level and repeated bloods and did cultures as we were concerned about his breathing and despite the thermometer saying 37.2 he felt warm. We went to see the ID team at the JR for a once over for peace of mind. A thorough check up revealed nothing untoward and after a few swabs etc taken from his throat we were sent home with instructions to call if anything got worse. His bloods came back unremarkable , his CRP was 62 which, as the doctor pointed out, was one of the lowest CRP results they have ever had for Herbie!  The normal range is 0-5, so clearly something was going on. The plan was to repeat it on Monday to see if it was on it’s way up or down! All virology came back negative as did cultures.  As usual Herb keeps us guessing!

The weekend went well. Herbie began to show an interest in eating again, not loads but some! He was able to attend my uncle’s 80th birthday party and he danced and had a great time. He didn’t get to bed until midnight! Sunday was a lazy day for us all but Herb was able to eat a meal and things looked promising that we were on the mend x

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Monday I kept him from school as his immunity was low and had taken a hit from whatever had been going on this past week. Our immunology nurse had said this was a good idea. He was very perky all day though  and I assumed he  would go back to school Tuesday or Wednesday. So this morning when he woke and I could tell he was warm I was so miserable ! Again he was 37.9 but never went over 38. He said his tummy and head hurt. After an hour he was 37.5 but his head still hurt so he had calpol and perked up no end, asking to visit my mum and dad for bacon sandwiches and hula hoops! He did eat the crisps and had a mouthful or two of bacon but the appetite is still very much subdued. His CRP came back at 10 from yesterday so on it’s way down. Perhaps his body is just struggling to kick this virus or maybe the GVHD is simmering?

The  good news is that we had his parent consultation at school and his teacher is pleased with his progress saying he’s not behind at all. She is thrilled that he is back and is only sad he can’t stay longer.  The feeling is mutual! He has loved being back , doing the normal things, making Mother’s Day cards and reading books and doing homework! Here is his Mother’s Day card!

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So he will probably not return to school this week. There will be a two week Easter break and hopefully the viruses will be less, his immunity will improve and we can continue on to his 1st rebirth day on May 16th in a positive zone.