This odd looking wibbly sphere with its three strawberries and popping candy in the middle is a neutrophil. The point of a neutrophil is to fly around your bloodstream attacking nasties who don’t belong there.
The normal amount of neutrophils for a child of Kip’s age is between 1.5-7.5×10³/µL, which we would usually simplify by referring to the numbers at the front (avoiding the maths and symbols after).
These little cells are at the heart of Kip’s leukaemia; he wasn’t making them properly and didn’t have enough healthy ones. Since he had the radiotherapy and intensive chemotherapy about a month ago, he hasn’t had any neutrophils at all.
This is why he has been so vulnerable to infection, why we remain isolated and have to adhere to strict rules on hygiene in the hospital.
He got the donated stem cells a little over three weeks ago and last Tuesday you may recall he had a little boost of medication called GCSF to try and persuade the new stem cells to start producing neutrophils.
Today was the crunch; if there had been no sign of neutrophils by today then it might have meant the transplant had failed.
So it was very good news to hear this morning that his neutrophil count, having been a stubborn ZERO for weeks, had now reached the lofty peaks of 0.1!
In short, it looks like his new bone marrow might be working.
It’s still very early days, but when good news is in such short supply, we’ll celebrate where we can!