Thursday, October 6, 2011

Needles, Blood, and Sharps Collectors

Since this last hospital stay of Mason's, a few things have changed. Since it took his body over three weeks to get his counts up (and pushed back the rest of his cycles so far), they're taking it as a sign that his body is starting to have a hard time fighting by itself. I totally agree with this, since I can see it in his actions every day. Such a sad thing to see. :( So from the day after he got out of the hospital, until the day before his last cycle of chemo (Jan./Feb. 2012), he needs to have a daily shot of Neupogen. Yep. Every day until he's done.

The Neupogen will help stimulate the growth of white blood cells, and hopefully help to keep his body as healthy as possible. The shots are given pretty much like insulin shots are (in the thigh, bum, or stomach areas), only they haven't developed a cool little pen-looking thing to do them with. They come in skinny little needle-topped syringes, and we administer them here at home each night. Luckily, our Home Healthcare facility here in Orem prefers to send them out to us with the Neupogen pre-filled, so I don't have to do any filling...because I hear it's kind of tricky.

Aside from the terror I feel from being the one who is poking my own son with a needle, it isn't too bad. We're working on it with Mason, since he has a huge fear of pain (and rightfully so; he's had so much of it this past year). I'm not using the numbing cream for it, because it works to numb the shot, but doesn't go deep enough to numb the pain from the Neupogen being pushed into his muscle (or whatever tissue it gets pushed into...I'm pretty sure it's his muscle). We tried using it the first time, but he still felt a lot of pain. I made the decision not to use it for his shots anymore, because I don't want him associating the fact that he still feels pain in his leg, with thinking that the numbing cream doesn't work...because then we would be ten steps back from how awesomely unafraid he is now whenever he is accessed. At this point, he just sits still and doesn't have a care in the world whenever he is accessed. He trusts that it isn't going to hurt. I'd hate to ruin that.

Along with this, Mason also has to have his blood counts checked twice each week now, instead of once. Luckily, our insurance just changed their policies, and they now cover blood work that is done by Home Healthcare. This is SUCH a blessing, because this wasn't covered before (seriously, this policy JUST changed), and I can't imagine having to drive up to Salt Lake twice each week. Yeah, we went up there daily for the six weeks Mason was doing radiation, but that practically killed our car...and I really don't want to be going that often, again.

So now, a nurse from Home Healthcare comes to our house twice each week, accesses his port, and then takes his blood sample to the hospital. Easy as that. It takes like ten minutes, max.

Because of all this, I am now the owner of boxes full of port accessing kits, tubes of Heparin and two different kinds of saline (who knew there were different kids of saline?), gloves, and some other port supplies. And we also now have a nifty little sharps container, which sounds kind of disgusting, but it feels real legit to have one for some reason. Mason even says I can "be [his] doctor now!" ;)

That's all the updates I have, but here is a picture of Mason I took today (since I have been terrible, and haven't posted any pictures of him in forever). This after school, and right before the nurse came to draw his blood. The shaggy one is Cappie, the new puppy Latu got, and he's Mason's little friend (yes, his eyes are two different colors). They both fell asleep like that, but I couldn't get a picture without waking Cappie. Can you see the chubby cheeks on Mason? And his hair? This kid is eating like crazy! :)


  1. oh i miss you guys! i wish i could give mason a big hug and tell him how proud of him I am! And you too, Pene! You're such a great mama. Seriously, i can't imagine a better person to be taking care of Mason. Love you two!

  2. Pene - thanks so much for keeping us all updated on everything. I love knowing the little things - like that you have a sharps container in your house. =) You are doing so awesome, I am so proud of you and little Masie. Love that little kid - and I haven't even seen him in a couple of years! Please let us know if there is anything we can do, I know we're far away, but we're always available if we can help some way.

    Love you and your family!