Friday, July 2, 2010

Pins and NEEDLES

We're HOME!

William finished his 2nd batch of chemo yesterday afternoon (Thurs.) and they let us go home without staying overnight since I felt comfortable managing his pain and nausea. So we bolted for the getaway car!

I feels sooooo good to be home. With Clark, Cameron, Nathan, and Soren not here, the house has been so quiet and lonely when Ryan or I have come home late at night. The house really feels more like a home with William back in it. We were all amazingly tired last night so we all crawled into our bed, snuggled, watched a couple of taped episodes of America's Got Talent, and ate homemade banana bread. We had some funny and tender conversations.

William: Wiggling in bed trying to get comfortable, asks, "Will you hold me?"
Me: "Of course. Are you in pain? Do you feel like throwing up?"
William: "No, I just love you so much!"
Me: My hearts starts melting and I squeeze him tighter.
William: "That hurts, Mom!"

William: "I think I'm really glad I got cancer."
Me: Puzzled, "Why?"
William: "Because now I have a DS and a Wii. You would have NEVER let me have those without cancer!"

We received the preliminary results from the bone marrow aspiration. The cancer cells in his marrow have dropped from 90% to 20%. Great news! The cancer seems to be responding to the treatment so far. His abdomen has shrunk and he is no longer taking any blood pressure medicine which means the tumor is putting less stress on the kidneys. He will have another CT scan, Echo-cardiogram, and EKG in a couple weeks to compare the tumor size and monitor his heart function.

Now for the continued roller coaster ride! William is scheduled for a bone marrow harvest July 12th. For this to occur, the bone marrow/stem cells must be free of cancer cells. While his aspiration showed great improvement, the number must be 0%. The tricky part is that the bone marrow aspiration was done before the 2nd round of chemo started in order to chart progress with each cycle. (He'll have one before the start of each round of chemo.) BUT, since the cells were so responsive the first round, there is a reasonable chance that the second round of chemo wiped out the rest so he could have clean bone marrow. BUT, due to the painful nature of an aspiration (think big hollow needle being pushed through each side of the pelvis and into the marrow), another one won't be done until right before we start round 3. So, the results have been sent to UCSF to make the final decisions. They could go ahead and do it, hoping it's clear--they'll test the stem cells they harvest for cancer presence and have to re-do it later if cancer is found. Or they could decide to wait until they know for sure and we'll shoot for after the 3 round of chemo. BUT, because it is another holiday weekend, we probably won't know until Tuesday! AHHHH! What is with our luck or lack of it with needing answers over holiday weekends? I wonder what test result we'll be waiting for over Labor Day weekend?

For now, we'll keep preparing for the harvest. I will give William daily shots (needles not drinks) of Neupogen which forces the stem cells out of the bone marrow and into his bloodstream. (Stem cells are only found in bone marrow). See Ryan's post on June 26th, Burgers, Shakes, and Bone Marrow for a harvest refresher. Isn't that amazing? The whole process is fascinating to me and that people come up with these things!


  1. Wow -- it's all so confusing, I don't know how you keep track of everything! Thank heavens all of this has been figured out by experts so William can benefit from their knowledge. I'm thrilled to hear that his cancer is responding so well to the chemo. That's at least one answer to prayers! Glad you can spend this holiday weekend at HOME, and it's nice to hear that William is looking at the bright side (i.e. Wii/DS) of things! Good training, Mom and Dad! ;-) Much love to you all...

  2. What a sweet tender conversation! I love that moment so special... thanks for sharing. So happy to hear that the cancer is responding to the treatment well.

  3. There's no place like home,
    There's no place like home,
    There's no place like home,
    There's no place like home with your own bed, banana bread and a Wii.
    Lucky boy, despite the cancer.
    We love you all so much--
    Mom and Dad

  4. We are so grateful for the hopeful news. William is in our every prayer -- Peter's included.


  5. I called Dan last night after we talked and told him the story of how happy Will is to have cancer; we had a really good laugh. Even with all he has to deal with each day, he is the same old happy boy we love. James was really happy to hear that William is home- so he can get help on his Wii issues.

  6. William is sure a sweet, tender-hearted boy. And, wow, what a great ability to see the positives in the situation! We're glad you're home and happy to hear of the great progress the chemo has made so far. Here's hoping for 0% at his next aspiration!