Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Clorox and Kidneys and a Few Things in Between

William is neutropenic. Big star on your forehead if you remember that vocabulary word. I am on constant hand washing alert, especially since it appears that two boys have the sniffles. Can hand washing truly become habit forming with children? I have my doubts. But I can hope, right? My twins kind of caught on today by entering the car after school and automatically dispensing hand sanitizer without being asked. It was great! Then they kept going and made sure all germs were killed off their belly and chest too. The bottle was emptied. I just love school germs! (please read very sarcastically). I am also very thankful for Clorox wipes. Love them! (not read sarcastically). I have no idea how much protection they provide, but my peace of mind is worth it! I'm hoping William has allergies. He's sniffling a bit, but hasn't had a fever which would indicate his body is fighting bacteria or a virus. Also, according to William's latest blood counts, he will probably be getting a blood transfusion on Thursday when we report back to the clinic for blood counts again. Yay---because that will hopefully help him recover and prepare for surgery. Boo---because that means a long day at the hospital. (almost forgot--1.5 lb. weight gain since last Thursday. Three cheers, yelps, screams, whatever! Hooray!)

William had his CT scan today. I wish the results were instantaneous, but how else would I develop the virtue of patience? From this scan, we hope to have a more accurate idea of how the tumor has responded to the chemo. The obvious hope is that it is still shrinking. I know I'm a bit obsessively consumed with my son's weight gain, but it made my heart happy as he lay on the CT scanner and I could see his ribs jut out and then a sharp fall in the belly area with no tumor bulge! Today I was happy with a scrawny son! Ryan and I will sit down with the doctors on Thursday to go over the scan results and the progress made from the previous scans. We will also begin to discuss surgery in more concrete and definite terms (hopefully). We'd love to set a date for surgery too, but I think that is a far-fetched aspiration since surgery is at least a week or so away. Oh, that we could actually know something definite more than a week in advance.

William had a renal scan a few weeks ago to check out his current kidney function. This is, in part, due to the aggressive nature of his chemo that can have adverse effects on the kidneys and because his left kidney is involved with the primary tumor mass. The tumor surrounds the renal vessels that feed the kidneys and at diagnosis that kidney had no function. As of the recent scan results, his right kidney (good one) is carrying most of the load, but the left kidney (bad one) seems to have regained some function. It is small, but it is something. It is unclear if he will get to keep it, but that will be the surgeon's call during surgery as he assesses the complexity of the removal of the primary tumor mass. I don't really care if he gets to keep the kidney or not at this point, I am just grateful for the miracle that the regained function signifies the tumor has shrunk.

We feel very blessed and grateful for all your prayers and grateful to a Heavenly Father who hears and answers those prayers.


  1. Neutropenic is a word my family learned VERY well when Natalie had her cancer. (But Nattie also had no siblings, so it wasn't quite as scary as it must be for you, Julie.) And I also recall how terrific she felt after receiving blood. Amazing how much it helped her! (That and platelets.)

    And the scans...ugh! How did we hate thee? Let me count the ways! It was horrible to wait for those scan results. And on top of that you have William's upcoming surgery. I'm so sorry you have all of that on your plate!!

    I would love to be of any help to you, Julie, when you're at UCSF for the stem cell transplant. PLEASE let me know if/when there's anything I can do! Until then, you have my prayers AND those of my family. I think of you all every day!!

  2. Julie,
    We're thinking of you, Ryan, William, and all your boys and praying for you every day. Thank you for keeping the blog going so we can know a little bit about how you're doing. We rejoice in the good news (hooray for 1.5 pounds!) and pray for more. Hugs to you all!
    Love, Becca, Mike, and Zimmer cousins

  3. "but how else would I develop the virtue of patience" lol! you are a tropper julie, and so funny. thank you for this blog.

  4. love you jules! keep up the good work!! xoxoxo we're sayin' em for you all!!

  5. Good news! Hooray for Will and his resilient little body. Horray for the twins and their antibodies!