Thursday, May 9, 2013

No more chemo, no more cancer!

We got the call today that there are no signs of cancer in Joey's bone marrow or spinal fluid.  This means the chemo did it's job and no more should be necessary - we won the battle!  He'll continue with monthly check-ups and blood draws for the next year.  Over time, the check-ups will become less frequent.

I don't think it has completely sunk in yet that this is really over.  I'll never forget the feelings of those first few days; such a wild emotional ride.  The initial shock and fear was almost unbearable, but then things slowly came into focus, and I became very determined and ready to fight. But now here we are, with it part of our past.  Joey was 4 then, and now he's 7.  He doesn't remember life with no chemo in it, so this is all new for him. 

The day he was diagnosed, he was very, very sick.  His hemoglobin (which carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body) was 3.9.  The bottom of normal is about 12, so his entire body was critically deprived of oxygen.  His organs were swollen and not fully functioning; his heart was pumping as hard as it could. I know very well that Joey's cancer was extremely deadly. I also know that, because of the effort spent on research and development of treatments, he had a great chance of beating it.  If we lived in a different time or in a different country, it may have been a different story.   

I'm very thankful for the new people in our lives - some do all they can to support families like ours and some  also know the pain and fear of childhood cancer.  I know how it feels to have to fight for the life of my child, and I have a special bond with parents who also know.  It's not something that can be understood without experiencing it. 

I'm also thankful for old friends who stood by us, prayed for us, made sure Katherine's life was as uninterrupted as possible, cleaned my house... I could go on and on about the support we received. I was really bad about keeping track of everything and sending out thank-you's afterwards. If you are one of them, please know that we are truly grateful! 

Most of all, I'm thankful for God being here through it all and giving us peace and strength to make it through without falling apart.  Many people would ask why God would even allow Joey (or anyone else) to get cancer in the first place.  My response is that bad things exist in our world because of man's sin.  This doesn't mean that Joey was being punished, but it means that we humans experience pain because the world, as a whole, is full of sin.  However, God never leaves His children as they experience the pain that comes with this world.  We could spend hours discussing this topic, but I'll leave it at that for now.

I have always kept track of what Joey has endured... here is the updated list:
4 hospital admissions
3 ER visits
140 Visits to Dr Rosen
4 surgeries
3 bone marrow aspirations
17 spinal taps
6 blood transfusions
1 platelet transfusion
11 x-rays
2 CT scans
160 CBC's (80 finger pokes)
1 MRI
3 EKG's
2 Electrocardiograms
108 days of steroids
104 rounds of chemo drugs (different types, including 672 MTX pills & 53 MTX Shots)
910 6MP chemo pills
15 port accesses




Saturday, April 27, 2013

2013 Man & Woman of the Year Grand Finale

We were invited to attend the grand finale again this year.  Joey got to go on stage when they announced Cole as the Boy of the Year. Joey loves Cole, so it was extra special for him.  It was fun to get dressed up and go out.





Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

Belt Testing

Another round of belt testing for Tae Kwon Do.  To go much further, she'll need to start sparring and going to tournaments.  Unfortunately, she really doesn't like to spar, so I'm not sure how much further she'll go.



Thursday, April 18, 2013

Expert Night

Every year, the gifted class creates "expert" projects and then shows them off to the parents for an evening.  Katherine's topic was Chess.



Saturday, April 13, 2013

Camp Quality Fundraiser

Joey got to hand out finishing metals at and adventure race in El Dorado.  A portion of the entry fees are going to Camp Quality!  




Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Last Chemo Shot!!!

Joey had his very last chemo shot on his dad's birthday!  We brought the whole family for it - even let Katherine get out of school.

Here is the plan now:  He'll take his daily chemo pill for one more week, and then NO MORE CHEMO!  He'll continue to get his finger poke for labs each week. In 3-4 weeks, we'll go to the hospital for a bone marrow aspiration to make sure there are no more cancer cells.  If that's clear, he'll be done!  His body will take about 6 months to return to normal so he still can't get his vaccinations and will keep taking the antibiotic.  He'll start seeing Dr. Rosen once each month and have his blood checked once a month for the first year.  They'll take out his port some time this summer.

When we first started this, we were given a weekly roadmap - it was for 130 weeks of treatment.  I kept track every week of where we were, and now all of those weeks are complete!  It seems a little strange, but it's certainly a blessing!