Jacob has been diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia, feel free to google this. It is a very rare blood condition, where your bone marrow does not generate Red Blood Cells(Hemoglobin), White Blood Cells(fight infection), and Platelets(clotting). Fortunately, at the time of this writing(1/5/2018) we have several treatment options available and the medical world has made tremendous strides in treating. We'll detail those as part of Journal Updates.
We feel truly blessed to meet so many tremendous people in the medical field that have dedicated their lives to helping others. These journal entries will only highlight those experiences.
Jacob has been extremely positive and accepting of this situation. His attitude is contagious, he puts all those around him at ease with calmness and his sense of humor. On day 2 in the Hospital, it was a Sunday and Jacob and I were watching football on TV. Jacob said to me "Hey Dad, Just like a normal Sunday, eating Chicken Fingers, Watching Football, and receiving a blood transfusions."
On November 10, 2017, Jacob's Mother Leah took Jacob and his 2 brothers John and Lucas to a routine annual Doctor's visit. At that time, Leah mentioned to the Doctor that Jacob was complaining of shortness of breath and feeling tired more than usual. The Doctor said, he looked great, but it couldn't hurt to take a blood sample to see if anything was going on.
On Saturday November 11, the very next day, we receive a phone call to go immediately to the Emergency Room at Upper Chesapeake Hospital. The person on the phone said Jacob's blood work came back and his levels are dangerously low of White Blood Cells, Red Blood Cells, and Platelets. Jacob was just returning from a visit at his brother's college and we said, "Get in the car, we're going to the Hospital". Jacob's response... "What the heck".
Once at the Emergency Room, they take blood samples from Jacob and after several hours of waiting they tell us they are transporting Jacob to the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. The Doctor at Upper Chesapeake mentions the low blood levels and says this could be cancer or a virus. From there, we head to the ER in UMMC and we then spend the next 4 days in that hospital.
On Monday November 13, the Doctor's performed a Bone Marrow Biopsy to determine what was the cause of Jacob's low blood counts. In addition to the Biopsy, he had received 4 blood transfusions to raise his Hemogloban. Hemogloban is how we get Oxygen, Jacob's counts were down to 4, normal levels are around 15. Jacob also received Platelets, which caused a very strong negative allergic reaction.
On Wed, November 15, we received initial results of the Bone Marrow Biopsy, which eliminated Leukemia and it was mentioned at this time that he most likely had Aplastic Anemia. Jacob's bone marrow would be shipped to Cincinnati where they would determine if this was a Hereditary condition or something that happened to him. We had been reading ourselves during this time and had determined that a cure exists. There are a few options; immune suppression therapy or a bone marrow transplant. The best case scenario would be for a sibling who had an exact HLA Type match. We were sent home.
Jacob has been going to University of Maryland Medical Center for almost 2 months now, he typically goes twice a week. He has received 6 Blood Transfusions and 6 Transfusions of Platelets. Jacob has become very in tune with his body, he can tell when he needs a transfusion and we get the blood results and have become quite astute at reading the levels.