Monday, June 7, 2010

Eating Chocolate

Chocolate cures a lot for mothers and fathers!

Neuroblastoma-Sounds like a Star Wars character, so it seems like an appropriate name/diagnosis for William's tumor.

We received word this morning during morning rounds that the cell were identified as a neuroblastoma and the diagnosis was confirmed by a pathologist at LA children's hospital. Additional specimens have been sent out to test for genetic markers, (unsure if they mean of the tumor or of William himself) which will be used to create his chemo plan.

Evidently, one of the things puzzling for the doctors is how well he is doing. He shows very few expected symptoms. We truly attribute this to the fasting and many prayers made in our behalf.

We will pow wow with the team of oncologists to be flooded with information at 2 PM today. They will explain in full detail their findings and what the plan of action is going forward.

We have been asked to refrain from googling, due to the flood of incorrect and anecdotal information on the internet, but they did suggest if we couldn't resist. We resisted...until this morning. And it felt good.

Here's the gist of what that website says:

Neuroblastoma is a solid tumor or cancer. It occurs in the developing cells of the sympathetic nervous system, called neuroblasts. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for involuntary actions of the body, such as blushing, increasing heart rate, and dilating the pupils of the eye. The majority of tumors (65%) are located above the kidney. However, tumors can begin anywhere in the body. Other common sites are the chest, neck or pelvis. The disease often spreads from its "primary" location to the bone marrow, bones or lymph nodes. In fact, in many cases the disease has already spread at the time of diagnosis.

There are approximately 650 new cases of neuroblastoma diagnosed in the US annually. Neuroblastoma is the most common solid tumor outside of the brain in children. Most children are diagnosed as toddlers, but neuroblastoma can present in infants and older teenagers as well.

What causes neuroblastoma? Many researchers believe that neuroblastomas develop when normal neuroblasts (the immature cells of the sympathetic nervous system) fail to mature into nerve cells. Instead, they continue to grow and divide uncontrollably, leading to the growth of a mass of cancerous cells, or a tumor.

Researchers have started to identify mistakes, or "mutations", that occur in genetic material – the DNA – of neuroblastoma cells, but have yet to figure out exactly why those mutations happen in the first place. Many scientists believe that neuroblastoma and other childhood cancers are caused by a random mutation or mistake that happen during cell division.

We'll have heaps of knowledge in a few hours, but until then, we're eating chocolate!


  1. Enjoy your chocolate! Glad you have a bit of info today. We love you so much! Give Will a big hug from us! Hope you're doing well and love you dearly.

  2. i'm so glad you're eating chocoalte. it always helps me :)
    we'll keep praying and fasting and fasting and praying.

  3. I'm sure it's nice to finally have a diagnosis so you can move forward with treatment. Knowledge is power! Chocolate is a must in times like these...and any time for that matter. If your supply runs low, let me know, and I'll bring some to replenish!

    Hugs to you!

  4. I'm glad they're beginning to give you more answers so you can begin moving forward. Neuroblastoma does indeed sound like a bad guy from Star Wars. But in the end of the Star Wars saga, it certainly isn't the bad guys who prevail. William may have a battle to fight, but he's gonna win!!!

  5. Dear Ryan and Julie,
    This is Julianne Smoot, Paige's sister. I agree with the above comments - knowledge is power!! Your sweet family has been in our every prayer. Sending lots of LOVE from Orange County. XO Julianne

  6. Yea for an answer! Yea for chocolate! Yippee for both! Down w/ the neurodoohicky!

  7. Glad you finally have an answer and begin to move forward with treatment! Thinking of you guys!!

  8. So appreciate your willingness and open-ness in sharing this moment of your lives with us. You are teaching us many good, but oh ... so hard lessons (the ones we would all prefer to skip over -- wishing you could skip this one too). Our hearts and prayers continue to be ever with you all. Got to love those theraphy dogs! From Cheyenne...

  9. I sure hope the meeting went well and you learned exactly what you are up against so you can know what battle you're up against. And behind you are so many, rallying and praying in your behalf! Loves to you all!

  10. So glad that you finally have an official diagnosis. And so amazed at your strength in waiting. You're always in our thoughts and prayers....

    Keep fighting, William!!

  11. Ryan & Julie:
    I'm stuggling to type this through my sobbing. My heart aches for your sweet William- and for you guys as parents. It must be so painful to watch him go through this and have no control. You sound so strong and amazing in your posts. We will pray for you. We love you! Stay strong and rely on the Lord. Keep posting info when you can- we will be following his progress and praying for his recovery.
    Audrey & Brady Cox