Wednesday, August 31, 2011

08/26/11 The Basic Diagnosis

“Not cool.”  Can you hear Gru from Despicable Me? (ok, most addicting movie ever, you must watch it!)  I did not enjoy seeing my son put under anesthesia the first time, and this second time is after I had the night shift (only a few hours of sleep at a time), Rachel is with us and super charged (think, every tube is a toy), and let’s just say 36 hrs is my max!  So, Adam is drunk again. He is getting his metatap in his chest to replace the IV and some chemo to the spine. This may sound harsh, unloving, cruel, and an awful thing to do as a mother, but “peace out.” We hear he’s out and everyting is good, but Josh is going alone to recovery to wait for him to wake up.  I have hit my wall. Rachel and I are outta here.
But let’s talk Leukemia for a minute.  What is going on in Adam’s little boy body?  Technically he has Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia.  Acute = Fast. I mentioned they were surprised we caught it so quick? This baby moves fast, and we were on top of it (that’s right Goliath, nice try though).  Lymphocytic = the type of cell involved. There are three main parts of blood, right? I’m by no means a biologist, so grain of salt here, but you got your basic red & white blood cells and your platelets. Adam’s were ALL low.  Now if they were all high, we’d be talking a different type of (fatal) leukemia.  Low is very treatable.  Leukemia = cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Ew, I said cancer.   Moment of silence, first time I am admitting my son has cancer. -------
Ok, recovered.  So, basically Adam has these little blast cells that are killing all the good cells.  So, we need to get rid of them.  We use a million things to do this, yes, chemo is one of them.  Radiation is not!  Marrow transplant, not needed!  Yeay for these things. So, the initial treatment is called “induction.” This will be the first month and during this time, we will kill these things off.  Poof! Be gone!  Therapies include big worded things like “doxorubicin,” “asparaginase,” “vincristine,” (these are intraveneous) “steroid,” “stool softener (?),” (by mouth), and “methotrexate,” “cytarabine” (by injection into the spinal fluid. The last two are done under anesthesia. The first three will be via a metaport put in his chest. Others will be fluids or pills ingested a few times daily. 
After the first month we continue treatments for three years to make sure the blasts stay away.  Common side effects include hair loss, irritability, ravenous appetite, jaw pain, constipation, nausea, and weak immune system (at times). Others we need to be a little worried about are increased blood pressure, pancreatitis, chills/hot flashes, mouth sores, and infections.  These are all completely treatable and will be closely monitored after our first round of therapies.  Unfortunately, if the second list appear, we’re here longer.  So, new prayer request: everything goes perfectly!
There are some long term things to watch for, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. 95% cure rate.  Forever.  And considering Adam had relatively low % when he came in, I am bumping that to 97% J

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