Alex’s white blood cell count was 688 – his blood was like treacle and his brain was being starved of oxygen. A normal white cell count is between about 4 and 11 so Alex’s count was huge.
He had a CT scan which showed many areas of brain damage. He needed to have chemotherapy straight away and the only place the haematologist could insert the tubes was into Alex’s heel. It was the only part of his body which would respond.
Over the next couple of days, doctors remained very concerned about Alex’s health. He was sent for an MRI scan which showed lots of blood clots on his brain. We were told that our son’s chances of survival were less than 5%. If he did survive, the chances of him not being severely disabled were even less. We were also advised that if there were any relatives that we wanted to see Alex, then it was best to phone them straight away.
Alex was experiencing huge problems with his blood pressure and heart rate – they believed that this was due to the pressure in his brain being so raised. He then had a bolt inserted in his brain so that the Doctors could monitor the pressure accurately and treat him accordingly.
At one point, his left pupil blew and staff were very concerned that the pressure was spreading down to his brain stem – if this happened, then it would be even more likely that we would have to say goodbye to our precious little boy. Miraculously, over the next 10 days, Alex started to show slight signs of improvement and they started to reduce his medication. After two weeks, Alex woke from his coma and removed his ventilator himself.
After a few more days monitoring and an allergic reaction to some of the medication, we were transferred on to the Children’s Oncology Ward. Alex’s treatment is due to finish in July 2013. There are days when we forget that Alex is unwell – then there are days which are still really hard. He was admitted to hospital just before Christmas 2011 with a very high temperature and a possible infection – luckily he was OK but the worry is always there.