Sunday, 4 March 2012

Oscar and "The Big Machine"

I've got quite a lot to say about the past number of days, but I'll do my best to keep it brief!  Overall, it's a huge 'thumbs up' right now from #TeamOscar... 

On Wednesday, we were allowed out of hospital for the day, Daddy got a half day from work, and we spent it doing all Oscar's favourite things!  We had McDonalds for lunch, went to the beach (which he had been asking to do every day for over a week), played on the swings/slide/see-saw, pizza for dinner at Davina and Dermot's new house, and went back into hospital at bedtime, fast asleep.  It was a great day.  Of course the highlight was Oscar seeing his little sister Izzie, they hugged until they toppled over, and sat watching cartoons together holding hands!  So sweet.
On Thursday morning, Oscar's blood counts were good enough to attempt harvesting his stem cells, so it was a very busy day.  He went to theatre to get the plastic tube inserted into a vein in his groin, and while he was there his bone marrow test was repeated to make sure the sample was significant enough to give a conclusive answer as to whether or not his bone is now disease free.  Oscar's stem cells were to be harvested using the peripheral blood stem cell harvesting procedure, which removes stem cells from your blood. We were introduced to "The Big Machine", which was connected to Oscar via tubes to his groin.  His blood ran through this machine which separated all the components of it using a centrifuge, and his stem cells were collected.  We told him "The Big Machine" was collecting his "magic juice" which would help to get him better, to which his response was "I don't like The Big Machine.  It's annoying me.  AND it's got no eyes."  So funny, I love Oscar's thought processes! 
He got a bit anxious during the time it took to do this, but that was probably more to do with the fact he had been to theatre and already been through quite a lot that day, never mind being put through the harvesting procedure.  It had to be repeated again to collect more on Friday, and he took it all in his stride, as only Oscar does.  He watched tv and DVDs using his headphones to block out the noise, and played Hungry Hippos.  I will never tire of saying how proud he makes us, the way he responds to the tough procedures he is being put through! 

A *special thanks* goes to the lovely ladies who were responsible for Oscar's stem cell harvest, the way they managed the whole process and aimed to make it as comfortable and stress-free as possible for Oscar was fantastic.  It was also obvious that there were a lot of people working behind the scenes to coordinate the harvesting procedure and make it all possible, so a big thanks to all of you too!  On another "first" for Oscar, he was the first little boy in NI to use this new upgraded version of this blood separation machine, and thankfully it was a great success!  Oscar will have to have more stem cells collected at some stage to make sure he has enough to help him recover quickly once he goes through his high dose chemo stage, but next time these cells will be removed directly from his bone marrow using a needle in theatre.

On Friday evening the tube in his groin was removed, and it actually shocked us how large and rigid this was, and the way it was crudely sewn into him with lots of black thread!  Poor little Oscar, you would never ever know that he is uncomfortable or in pain, he has such a high pain threshold and a sweet nature.  Once this was removed and the doctors were satisfied he wasn't at risk of heavy bleeding from this site, we were allowed to go home!  First night at home in nearly 3 weeks, we were so happy to have our little family back together.  We spent Saturday at the beach (again!), this time we took Oscar to Helens Bay, which he described as a "rubbish beach" as the waves were too loud and there were no swings!  Looks like Loughshore is definitely his beach of choice!

Today Oscar went outside on his motorbike, and generally had a lot of fun.  He is eating so well, and most like the real Oscar that we have seen since this whole nightmare began.  His fun nature is back, and his mischievous side, and nothing makes us happier than seeing him ask for food and finish a large plate of something.  We need to build up his strength as much as possible for whatever lies ahead, we should know by the end of this week what comes next.  The options are an extra 2 cycles of harsh chemo, surgery, or high dose chemo.  Here's hoping our little hero will take it all in his stride whichever it is!


  1. Martina Miskelly4 March 2012 at 21:50

    Oscar keep fighting you are in our thoughts in prayers.

  2. glad u've had some nice family time. Oscar's an amazing little boy, an absolute credit 2 u both. good luck 4 the next stage.

  3. Great to see Oscar enjoying himself!! Rodney; I hope you are staying clear of the Happy Meals on Wednesday kid... Get well soon Oscar, Aidy and Cathy.

  4. Ah Oscar sounds like such an adorable wee man! Keep up the great work Oscar :) u are making ur mum & dad soo proud x love and best wishes frm Kiera,Darren&Family xxx