4:50 pm: Happy Thanksgiving! We are so thankful that Harvey is home and healthy today. We didn’t know if we would have our boy home for Thanksgiving this year. On Wednesday, Nov. 16th, Harvey needed a blood transfusion after his hemoglobin took a nose dive. He had become tired, nauseous, and uncomfortable from the (perhaps most difficult round so far of) chemotherapy. Then, on Friday, Nov. 18th, he received a final round of chemotherapy to close out the delayed intensification stage of cancer treatment. His bloodwork revealed that he’s still dangerously immunocompromised with an ANC reading of only 60. An ANC of 1,500 is considered the lowest normal value, 750 is the minimum needed to continue his cancer treatment (which is on hold for now), and anything below 200 often leads to hospitalization. Thankfully, Harv has shown no signs of illness or infection and was allowed to return home. It’s a miracle that he’s remained healthy during this stage of treatment. His body has been unable to fight off anything for weeks at a time. His next blood draw is tomorrow and we’re anxiously awaiting it, hoping for signs of a strengthened immune system. As the delayed intensification stage of treatment is ending, we enthusiastically say goodbye (hopefully forever) to the chemo drug tioguanine, also called “6TG”, which really took a toll on our fighter this round. When Harvey’s immune system recovers (ANC is at 750 or higher), he will begin his next round of treatment: Interim maintenance 2. This could occur as soon as Monday, Nov. 28th. We’ll post here when we learn more.
While Harvey has remained healthy, some of us have not. Lindsey, Hattie, and Henry have been camping out at grandma & grandpa’s house as Hattie has been fighting off a nasty strain of the influenza A virus. Hattie & Lindsey have not returned home since November 1st (when they left for Hattie’s surprise trip to Florida). We can’t wait to have them back home! We’re still likely days away from being reunited as her symptoms continue today. I’ve (dad) had a bit of a cold/sinus infection and have been keeping my distance (as much as possible) and my mask on around Harvey. We’ve been worried and weary the past few weeks, but all signs point to better days just ahead.
Today, on Thanksgiving, there are things we are most grateful for as we continue Harvey’s journey fighting ph-like b-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Number one is the simple blessing of our little warrior being alive and with us this Thanksgiving.
We’re also so thankful for the excellent care Harvey has received from Children’s Minnesota including Dr. Miller, nurse practitioners, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, child life staff, as well as all the clinic and hospital staff. We couldn’t have done this without their hard work, wisdom, support, and dedication. They bring Harvey some joy and allow him to be a kid as he fights for his life. They all make such a difference in the world.
Pediatric cancer treatment is exhausting, there is no way around it. Even when things are going well, it’s still one of the hardest journeys we’ve known. We have slowly adjusted to our life as a childhood cancer family. Trying to stay positive can be very difficult some days as it feels like we’re living on another planet as life goes on all around us. We have been incredibly humbled and found strength in all the amazing acts of kindness and generosity that our family, friends, and colleagues have shown us this year since Harvey was diagnosed on March 18, 2022. We are embracing all the love and support that has been sent our way. We have truly been moved beyond words. Thank you all so much for all the thoughts and prayers for our sweet Harvey.
Please know that when we look back on all of this, our experience as a family and how Harvey fought the hardest battle of his life, we will remember all the kindness and the difference that you all made for us on this journey.
With so much gratitude and love,
The Goldades 💙 ❤️ ❤️ 💙 💙