Saturday, July 26, 2014

That was the week that was

It was the last week before school starts again. It was also pretty much a dead loss. Rob caught a virus, and his hyped-up immune system decided to go full nuclear option. Fever, shakes, sweats, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, inflamed spleen, throwing up - you name the symptom, he had it. This culminated in a nine hour day spent in the ER, because we couldn't keep the hydration up with the fluid loss. They put in 2 1/2 litres of fluid, which is probably the biggest reason for why he felt better, but while he was there they also ran him through a massive series of tests, because they really didn't want to think that this was just some random virus. So there was blood and urine analysis, a mono test, strep test, chest X-ray (in case of pneumonia), CT scan (in case his adrenal gland had ruptured), and then when they discovered his bilirubin was elevated (which made his urine an amazing shade of neon orange), a set of liver function tests.

The upshot of all this? He had a virus, his immune system freaked out, and then the dehydration spiral got him. They sent him home rehydrated with an anti-nausea pill and some pain-killers (after much back and forth with Vanderbilt about which drugs won't interfere with the trial protocol).

We did find out two interesting things though.

#1 - Rob has a benign condition called Gilbert's Syndrome. It apparently causes his liver to produce excess amounts of bilirubin when stressed (E.g. - when he has an infection and is dehydrated). It's otherwise harmless, but does make him a little yellow when he's sick, and occasionally scare ER workers.

#2 - The CT scan showed that in the three weeks since his last CT, the adrenal tumor has increased from 2.8cm to 3.3cm. The doctor at the ER was very unhappy about this, but when he called in Dr. Rez, our local oncologist, Dr. Rez was very nearly giddy with excitement (for his own personal levels of giddy - he's a really lovely person, but not exactly highly excitable). According to Dr. Rez, it is basically impossible that the tumor could have started growing that fast, which means the tumor is inflamed - which means that Rob's immune system has found it and started attacking it. He's quite adamant that it's the best possible sign, and that we should start seeing shrinkage within the next couple of months. (Please, please, please let him be right!)

Anyway at this point, Rob is feeling better, if still easily exhausted. The first day of school is Thursday, and Rob's next infusion is Wednesday, which gives us Monday and Tuesday to get all the school supplies, hair cuts, and generally get things ready to go for school. Gonna be a close one!

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