Friday, March 18, 2011

Pictures are worth a thousand words....really

The wait at the pharmacy was too much!

This photo depicts exactly what the past 48 hours have been like for Christian. We were in hospital until yesterday late afternoon for his large chemo dose. And it was a day filled with upset tummies, a sore head, an unwanted poke and a long wait at the pharmacy! Until recently Christian has been apart of a study at the Children’s hospital.  The study was looking at introducing a different drug into the chemotherapy regime in hopes of preventing more cases of relapses. The drug has proven effective in children whose cancer developed a resistance or returned for unknown reasons. However in order for him to be a part of the study he would have had to begin his radiation treatments this past week. After taking him for his initial appointment with his radiation oncologist and having his ‘set up’ scan (meaning they create the boundaries for which the radiation must hit) completed, it was determined that it was too dangerous for Christian to have his radiation at his current tumor size. If we would have went forward the radiation would have all but destroyed his right kidney, part of his liver, some of his intestines and his vertebrae from his thoracic spine down into his pelvis. In my meager understanding of tumor radiation I know that the radiation has to hit every single ounce of the tumor plus any body tissue that it is touching. If you leave a portion of the tumor un-radiated it will begin to develop a resistance to the treatment just as a bug can develop a resistance to certain antibiotics

Long story short - we are now on the protocol that all children with this type of cancer receive.  This means that they had to up the doses on one of his chemo drugs and it has made him quite tired and sick. The worst part of Christian’s treatment are the drugs he must take in order to protect his body from the chemo and the side effects of the chemo.  For 7-10 days post chemo we have to give him a dose of drug, which helps him to not “Nader” (that one is for you Tracey!) too long.  In other words it helps boost his immune system so that he is not in the 'danger zone' for getting sick for an extended period of time.  Unfortunately the needle hurts, and the drug hurts and the side effects of the drug give him bone pain and make him tired. And Chris and my hearts break eveyrtime we have to do it to him. Basically it sucks. Crazy that something that can make him so miserable could in essence save his life.

And once again the resiliency of children is made very clear to me, as I type I can hear Christian downstairs squealing in joy as he beats his Papa Norm in a game of Wii bowling.  Something’s in life are just too fun to let how you feel beat you down. Go gettem’ Christian!

So we are waiting for our next CT scan which will hopefully show us that the tumor is small enough that they can go ahead with his radiation without having to perform a surgery to remove the remaining tumor.  The tumor was so big in the beginning (about the size of a grapefruit in width but shaped more like a football) that by the time it shrinks down - all the matter in the middle will hopefully be dead as a result of a lack of blood supply. I hope this isn’t too much information – but these are questions that I had so perhaps you have them too.  So for the next four weeks we plug away at our chemo and pray that the tumor keeps shrinking and radiation will begin in April.   

It is amazing the number of ways that God has graced us over the past two months. Random people offering prayer, time, money whatever they can do to help.  And I don’t think that most of these people will ever realize what an impact it has had on our family. I don’t have the words to describe it.  Our next-door neighbour whom I have only spoken with a handful of times showed up at our door shortly after Christian was diagnosed and handed over this bible verse (all laminated and everything!)  Chris and I have leaned on its truth more than once.

Philippians 4:6-7
Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.

A Fathers hand 

1 comment:

  1. What you might think is "too much information", I see as complete, unhindered honesty. And thank you for it. I'm praying -- praying that the bad side effects will be minimal; that the effectiveness of Christian's treatments will be huge and for God's peace, mercy and grace to be on you all. I am praying for and expecting total healing in Christian's body and for the cancer to be gone once and for all. Be blessed today, Megan.
    Nancy F.