Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Update 9-27

Thank you all for your prayers during the last couple of weeks. Your calls and e-mails letting us know you love us and are praying for us are such an encouragement. Fred is doing well. His surgery was suppose to be two hours but it ended up being close to four. As the doctor told me "everything was  mess in there." Because of all the scar tissue and herniated disc that was "all over" the doctor said that there ended up being a tear in the dura, but he stitched up the dural tear real tight before there was any leaking cerebral spinal fluid. Because of the tear Fred had to either lay flat or stand up straight, no sitting for the first couple of days. Even so, it was a huge praise that there were no complications and no leakage of fluid b/c of the tear. It could have been a real set back.
  Fred is continuing to do well, he has a back brace that he wears when he gets up for more than a trip to the bathroom and he stays in bed most of the rest of the day getting up only to walk around the house for his exercise. Yesterday we took a quick outing to the christian book store and Barnes and Noble to look for Fred an audio book. But the 30 min excursion was too much and we realized he isn't quite up to all that yet.
  And on to Brian... His scan results from last week revealed that he has a lesion on his left femur. That changes his diagnosis from single system to multisystem. We do not know what this means as far as treatment as we have not met with the oncologist and don't until next week. What we did find out was that the lesion was there in April of 2010. The radiologist went back and looked at Brian's old scans from April of 2010 and saw why he missed the lesion. Apparently the image was not clear because Brian didn't sit still. Now, having the new images from last week, Sept 14 2011, and going back to compare to the April 2010 he was able to recognize and make out the lesion and determined that it is not new, it has been there and it has not changed in size. So many thoughts go through my mind when I hear that. Number one, honestly, a bit of frustration that they didn't get a good image in April of '10. If you remember those are the scans that helped make the determination that Brian was "good to go" and cleared to have his port removed after completing his first round of chemo. If you didn't get a good image, do it a second time!!!! Anyway, thought number two is "well, that explains why the almost immediate reccurrence. We never dealt with the disease complelety. It didn't 'come back' it was never gone." Thought number three would be that praise the Lord the lesion has not grown or spread in the last year and a half. That's a good sign.
  We will keep you updated as we learn more and move forward with Brian's treatment. Thank you for your continued prayers and love for our family.
 On a totally random side note, I have always like medical shows and the like. A month ago or so I was watching some of my episodes of Mystery Diagnosis that were recorded on my DVR. There is an episode titled The Lady that Saw Pink (Season 7 episode 8 originally aired Aug 17, 2009). One of the story's from that episode highlights a case of a little girl with LCH. I cannot even begin to describe to you what I was thinking and feeling as I watched a TV show called MYSTERY DIAGNOSIS that featured my child's illness. If you look it up and find it airing soon you should watch it. It really explains Brian's illness well.

Friday, September 16, 2011

More Surgery (not for Brian)

Brian had a complete skeletal survey or scan on Wednesday along with his bloodwork for chemo the next day (The scan/survey are different and I always forget which one is which. I'm not sure which one he had.). The next day (Thursday, yesterday) at chemo we got the results of the skeletal survey/scan and received his chemo. As always after chemo, he is now on steroids for the next five days. While the appointment was not bad, it wasn't all that reassuring. There were some findings from the scan, but we are still letting all of that sit with us for a few days. I'll blog about that later, but today we are up early and headed to the hospital for Fred a spinal fusion. Fred will be having his third back surgery this AM and he is thrilled to be getting a fusion. On Wednesday, his birthday, he had his pre op appointment and he has been trying to finish up some loose ends at work before being out for a while.Throw in a school day for me and the kids, ballet and guitar lessons, me getting sick and you can see it's been a busy week. We are very grateful that God in His good providence, love and mercy had already laid the plans for this week. Fred's mom is here to celebrate Fred's birthday. Fred's surgery, not scheduled for another week, got moved up on Tuesday to this week. With her here we have not had to worry about our children (or me making meals.)  It's been wonderful!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pray for Brian

Our little Brian is really thinking about chemo and all he goes through. We've recently had a dear friend diagnosed with Cancer. We've had lots of conversations and prayers about cancer, chemo, doctors visits and death in our house lately. Brian's sweet little heart is sad that our dear friend would possibly have to go through chemo. He says things like, "Let's pray that Ms. ******* doesn't have to do chemo. I don't like it. I don't want her to do it and I don't want to do it either." Every single night he prays that when he is six he will not have to have chemo. It is really sad, because he used to pray for "when I am five" and now that he is five he knows he still has chemo every three weeks through next March. So, every evening for his prayer request he will say "I know I will probably have to always have my port and a butterfly, but I want to pray that maybe when I am six I don't have to to do chemo anymore."

Please pray for our Brian Robert and that he would be through with all of this in March. Here's how it works: We complete his roadmap for treatment and then watch Brian for a year. (still frequently having scans and his port flushed during that year, but no chemo) If Brian does not have a recurrence of symptoms then he is considered in remission and treated. If he has a recurrence then we start a new round of drugs to try and find the combination of drugs that work of him.
       That is what we are doing right now.As you remember Brian started chemo in Sept 09 and finished in April of 10. Unfortunately he started showing symptoms in July/Aug '10 and had a biopsy in Sept '10 that confirmed LCH and that we "hadn't gotten it." That is when we started chemo round two and mixed up the meds to try a new combination. After his induction period of the first six weeks (which includes weekly chemo and daily steroids) we switched to to new drugs in Dec 10. However, before we were able to start the new drugs Brian had three weeks of nothing because his counts were too low for chemo. During this time he started presenting symptoms again. From Dec'10- March'11 his symptoms didn't go away and we felt the new drugs he was on were not sufficient. The doctor said that the drugs Brian was taking weren't working b/c they are for Leukemia patients in remission, Brian started taking them while he had symptoms. So, we went back to our original chemo drugs/steroid combo with a modified induction period (4 weeks of weekly instead of six) and changed the steroid back to his original one that has less negative side effects. We know this combination of drugs works for Brian's symptoms, but idea is that we would give him a year on the drugs rather than six months. Maybe this will "get it". So, we go to the hospital every three weeks, on Tuesday for bloodwork and Wednesday for chemo through March '12. Then we wait and see how Brian's body is doing. If he has clear scans and is not presenting symptoms for one year (from March '12-March '13) than we are done!!! Please pray that this would be it and we are finished with treatment in March. We know that God is faithful and HE will sustain us and give us the grace to walk through anything, but the cry of our hearts is that we be finished with chemo. Please pray with us for little Brian Robert.