Another date… Happy RE-Birthday Nathan…

Dates like these are and will be embedded in our minds forever, they never leave they 20170406_212513just hang around; mind you some of these dates are ones to be celebrated then others are far from that. This date in particular was a bittersweet date for us, Nathan didn’t have a full match donor and as a last resort Dad had to step in as a partial match, a HAPLO transplant they call it, a risky transplant with a 50/50 chance; we knew that but options were not there for our son, this was ultimately his best chance for survival and beating this 2nd cancer. Nathan did great with the transplant and it was a huge success with 100% donor engraftment and although we knew it would be a long road I can honestly tell you no one expected to be facing this day without our amazing, beautiful, and brave son.

Sadly the cancer was too aggressive and came back DSC_0061with a vengeance, this mind you after the Dr.s set off “a nuclear bomb” inside our son. When your fighting a beast like this you give it everything you possibly can and push forward fighting everyday, hour, minute, and second; and that what each and every one of us did including his treating Drs.

Today I set aside time to be very thankful we had the opportunity we had to20170227_141421 give this possibility to Nathan, a second chance at life or maybe a 3rd, or 4th; honestly he’d been through so much but something Nathan did through it all that we fall back on all the time is and this with knowing he was fighting for his life, to survive time and time again over and over was he lived. Nathan took every opportunity to “LIVE” to succeed, learn, and move forward from helping others to doing things Nathan wanted to do, hiking, sports, laughing, pranking, and learning; he loved to learn. So this day I will look back with excitement, that we had the opportunity but also sorrow because he’s not here to celebrate his day, his 2nd birthday’s anniversary… I always wanted an April baby and I got one even if it was for a short time… I got one <3 YOU!!!  #forever16 #foreverwithus

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Tough Roads (Osteo x2 and t-MDS/Leukemia)

nathanIt’s been some time since an update and I truly apologize to all but it has been pretty rough this last month for Nathan and my time has been few and far between being able to update. So many think because Nathan has had his transplant and is home that all is said and done and everything is fine…it’s not fine; not for Nathan nor anyone else going through anything like this; the days are trying and can be extremely difficult, the side effects, the problems, complications and so on can be trying and relentless, not just for my son but for anyone then add the fact that even know he’s home he’s on isolation; that means the only way he can see anyone inside or out is with a mask, imagine wearing a mask to walk out your front door to say hello to someone and no one really being able to come to visit you…life alone and stuck in time it seems.

Nathan, about a month ago developed a rash on his body and it was a very itchy rash, I know immediately what it was and was not happy at ll to see it with the exception of knowing to see a minor bit of this could be a good thing for Nathan as far as beating this  t-MDS, leukemia; the rash was/is GvHD, Graft vs. host Disease, it’s a rejection rash, something Nathan was at high risk of because of the Haplo transplant and not having the match he truly needed for transplant. Drs prescribed steroid creams along with topical ointments but it just got worse and kept spreading so they had to start Nathan on prednisone to try and get it under control, low dose at first but eventually had to increase it, we started to see it taking effect finally and the GvHD seemed to be responding to this treatment. All’s great right? nope, because what the steroids do for transplant patients can be horrible, I’m not talking the hunger, moods, swelling; I’m talking how they break your system down even more and leave you at the mercy of viral infections and anything else lurking around the the system that wants to come out and rake havoc on you/Nathan…AND that’s exactly what happened; of course!

Nathan began having pain when he would use the bathroom, naturally one would think a UTI, but no it’s not that simple in this world. When your a child you get viruses like all kids do and many you never know you have because at some point every child don’t feel well and then they do and you just don’t know why, well many of those viruses stay in your system like a tag for the body to remember it was there, and it works kinda like an immunity to that virus s you don’t get it again; when your a transplant patient they give you meds to suppress your immune system as to help prevent rejection, those meds are immunosuppressants, hence the reason you need to be on isolation and away from specific things, germs, viruses, molds , and etc. So lets add steroids to that mix, what do steroids do? lower your immune system as well and adds the risks of getting sick and that’s exactly how it went too. When Nathan was younger as many children do he had a virus, that virus along with many tagged in his system so the Drs at least knew it was there to watch for it, anyways the prednisone opened the door for them to come through and one did just that; it’s called the BK poloyoma virus, normally under normal circumstances this would show up and one just doesn’t feel well for a day or two and done, in Nathan’s world it comes back in a different way, it comes back as BKV and usually tags along with it of course HC (Hemorrhagic Cystitis). This is extremely painful and very uncomfortable to endure for anyone let alone a child, a child that’s already been trough hell and back. There is no treatment for this, but to treat the symptoms and ride the course it takes you which is endless days and nights of non stop pain ( won’t go into details, please tap the link and read about it). Want to see a very strong person who has endured so much and done it with amazing attitude and endurance break down and be at the end of their rope?! experience someone going through this, pain meds truly don’t touch this; it’s something you have to just endure; it makes me angry, sad, and every emotion you can imagine runs through you watching your child endure so much and you cannot help them, the fear of him starting to bleed out uncontrollably is real and completely sucks. Nathan can’t have most meds that others can have for pain so that don’t help his situation he can only use certain ones and then the side effects of those on top of whats already a true living hell for anyone especially a kid..I can honestly say his world just suck right now and I’m helpless to it in being able to help him.

Nothing will start getting better until we can get rid of the steroids treating his rejection issue, and that needed to be under control first, and that seems to be where we are at this point, very carefully taking away the prednisone so the body can try to fight the BKV w/HC…this has been the last month for Nathan a living hell, one more thing to endure to survive childhood cancer, it’s been 6 1/2 years of fighting, enduring, and accepting what life keeps dishing out to him; that’s almost half his life now and in the mix of all this he’s working endlessly trying to complete his 10th grade work so he can move onto 11th grade where he absolutely deserves to be…

HATS OFF TO THIS KIDDO… HE JUST KEEPS PUSHING FORWARD REGARDLESS 18618129_10209522195711790_1499877916_o (1)WHAT LIFE KEEPS DISHING OUT TO HIM

Thank you to ALL who continue to keep Nathan in thoughts and prayers…

#myultimatewarriorx3 #kickincancer #cantkeephimdown #nathansstory

 

** ALL PHOTOS, VIDEOS, AND ETC. ARE PROPERTY OF NATHAN’S STORY INC. MAY NOT BE DUPLICATED OR USED WITHOUT PERMISSION OF NATHAN’S STORY INC. PERMISSION WITH THE EXCEPTION OF SHARING THE STORY AS WHOLE  AS SHARED ABOVE …IN DOING SO CAN BRING LEGAL ACTION

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1st POST TRANSPLANT BMB RESULTS

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Nathan had his first bone marrow biopsy post transplant 2 weeks ago and the results are in…these results show where Nathans cancer the t-MDS and the Leukemia stand in his system as of now; there will definitely be MORE biopsies done as time goegraphics-thumbs-220297s but as for today….

NATHAN’S TESTS SHOW….

.

.NO BLOOD CANCER,  

NO: t-MDS or LEUKEMIA….NONE  “0” !!!!!!!

WE CANNOT TELL YOU HOW OVER JOYED WE ARE WITH THIS NEWS, YES A LONG WAYS STILL TO RECOVER AND MORE TESTS TO COME BUT THIS… THIS IS…JUST THE BEGINNING OF GREAT THINGS TO COME <3

THANK YOU ALL WHO CONTINUE TO KEEP NATHAN AND MY FAMILY ON THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS…PLEASE KEEP THEM GOING BECAUSE IT’S NOT A PERMANENT THING YET BUT THE BEGINNING OF THE RIGHT TRACK

<3   #myultimatewarriorx3 #kickincancer #cancersux

 

 

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Nathan update…

Well it’s been almost a month now since Nathan has come home and it’s long and grueling…Nathan is on full isolation even at home with regular visits to the transplant clinic; meaning still no living and enjoying life like a normal teen should be BUT he’s home and that alone is a relief and we are extremely grateful for. The isolation process remains in effect for 100 days post transplant and Nathan is nearing his 60 day mark next week, we have a ways to go yet.

Nathan is doing well with recovery from his transplant, the transplant was deemed a success as far as the transfer of the donor(his Dad) to recipient, how it has effected the actual cancer we still do not know, there is a BMB scheduled to check in on that. Labs have  maintained well until just recently when he needed a good pump up of Red cells, so that alone is great news; his ANC is fantastic but unlike our situation when Nathan was being treated for osteosarcoma(bone cancer), his ANC (Absolute neutrophil count) numbers after the BMT can be deceiving; in the transplant world it tells us the cells are growing and doing well but as far as his immunity, not the case; he has none due to being on immune compressing medications to help avoid rejection and GvHD (Graft vs. Host disease), something very high risk with a Haplo Transplant; which is what Nathan had due to not being able to find a matched donor.

Nathan is working hard on getting his remainder of school work pumped out so he can continue onto the 11th grade as he should, while anxiously awaiting for some of the restrictions to lift so he can enjoy some fun activities, as he should be.

Thank you everyone for so many wonderful words of encouragement and thoughtful prayers for Nathan and the rest of my family. God Bless!!!!

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Day -1 into Day 0 – aka: Transplant Day

We’ve been through day -1 and day 0 since I last updated…

Long story short… day -1 was a day of rest for Nathan, no chemo’s or anything like that and I managed to get him out into the healing gardens for some great sunshine and fresh air. As the day went you could tell he was nervous about what was to come but we all did pretty good I think keeping him busy with the help of PT and OT and few others his mind was focused on many things.

Nathan had his marrow donation donated by his Dad, since there was no match for Nathan we did a Haplotype bone marrow transplant. This type of transplant gave Nathan the best chance to kick this, there are some extra risks with this type of process but Nathan waited months for a donor and had no luck the Drs found a treatment that yes put Nathans cancer into remission but it was a temporary thing and because of that Nathan went into transplant in the best condition he possibly could. Nathan’s Dad admitted in the OR Thursday morning prepared to donate, the Drs where thrilled with the amount of cells they were able to harvest from Dad; 2 liters of cells via. bone marrow aspiration. This was sent to be processed which took all day to do for several reasons, 1 being quantity and another being they are 2 different blood types. Nathan received his transplant finally at 9:21pm April 6th, it ended at 9:57pm. Nathan did well with the feed but had some issues that were not abnormal right after and later through the night. Nathan’s vitals were very active going from high to low and setting off the bells and whistles all night long BUT they both did GREAT.

Dad is home and recouping and Nathan is waiting for the grafting process to begin. There is still more to his process before he can just let it all happen, Nathan needs to have an IVIG infusion and then back onto more chemo, the IVIG is part of the process but the chemo is because Dad and son are different blood types and they need to wipe out the donated T cells so Nathan can receive better and will lessen the severity of grafts vs. host disease, which everyone is at risk of getting in these cases but Nathan’s case and type of transplant raises his chances.

As I sit and type the update, Nathan is sleeping and has been all day Nathan spiked a fever last night which came down today and then right back up and above. The concern is of course infection, but it is also expected to happen with a transplant (your putting foreign matter into his body and it’s responding). Nathan’s counts are falling now and he’s beginning to have chemo effect with his body as well. All in all though Dr says he’s doing well.

Thank you to everyone for keeping my son and family in constant prayers; this is only the beginning of this process, Nathan has a ways to go yet and the days can get much worse before they get better.

 

Thank you and God Bless!!!!

#myultimatewarriorx3

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Pre – Transplant: t-MDS (AML/Leukemia)

Nathan admitted into the hospital directly after surgery for his central lines on Wednesday, there were some complications feeding his lines in, Dr. tried the left side first, where his original lines were placed in 2010, and had no success so moving onto the right side with some complication’s along the way as well, he was able to feed the lines in successfully. Nathan had mild muscle discomfort but with the help of heat packs and a small amount of meds he has almost completely bounced back. Thursday Nathan received his first round of chemo of Bulsaulfan, to begin the bone marrow transplant process, they call these the “minus“ days, leading up to “the” day. Nathan’s received this chemo (Bulsaulfan), every 6hrs, round the clock; he would have it brought in hooked up and it would run for 2hrs, every day for 4 days. During this time he did well, he maintained himself with minimal side effect, nausea and mild fatigue. His central line dressing though is creating havoc as it did before and with this time Nathan’s system being pushed to a greater extreme this is a problem as he needs a sealed and protected site where his central lines exit his chest to prevent infection. His skin has already reacted to the adhesives and it’s creating a contact dermatitis type reaction which we are all being very cautious as as we cannot have it completely breaking down going into transplant on Thursday and the recovery afterwards, so it’s a meeting of the minds to keep it in sync.

Today is day 5 in, (-3) today, Nathan started his second chemo, Cyclophosphamide he will receive this for 2 days at 2hr infusions each along with round the clock medication that called, Mesna; it’s a rescue med to protect his organs from damage due to receiving the Cyclophosphamide chemo. This particular chemo is much stronger and will wipe Nathan out very quickly, and has. It’s been 2 hours since his chemo stopped running and he’s already felt nausea with in ½ hour and much fatigue, he is currently sleeping as I write this.

*Day:  -2

So as life would have it, my update didn’t make it out as planned and we continued into Nathan’s evening with a very sick kiddo into the night and if that wasn’t bad enough for him it triggered a migraine on top of it all, making the vomiting much worse. Today he is feeling much better, thankfully; but again he is hooked up and receiving chemo as I’m re-updating my update.

Nathan is feeling the nervousness of all this especially this second chemo and how he knows it’s going to knock him down and then of course “The transplant” along with the recovery. His spirits are good and he’s determined to kick this, and beat cancers butt and get back to life and everything he loves and enjoys.

Thank you to ALL for so many great words of encouragement and positive thoughts and the many many prayers being said for Nathan and my family… God Bless!

 

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WE have a timeline and a DONOR

 

It has been very busy since I last updated for Nathan and my family…

Nathan had completed his first round of “maintenance chemo” and did rather well considering it all, with mild chemo effects from what we’re use to, thankful for that most definitely, then he took some time off from treatment to recover only to begin another round with extended chemo from one and adding another treatment to it known as an “antibody” and now recovering from that infusion with an unsure as to using the remainder part of his cocktail. Nathan’s dx is a rare and complicated one yes people get MDS but senior citizens get MDS not children let alone it being a therapy induced dx with markers proving it to be even more rare and aggressive; difference between t-MDS and t-AML is literally a number of blasts in his cells/marrow; his treatments are that of t-AML because unlike the seniors who get this dx naturally and can live with it Nathan’s is not as such and will become full blown t-AML and that my friends is exactly what the Drs are hoping to prevent with his chemo cocktails. Nathan started his 2nd regiment with the injections, 3 at a time of chemo in his “fatty” tissue; yes exactly anyone that knows Nathan he has none of that and that’s just another problem he had is weight issues; needless to say Nathan is a very sore monkey right now black and blue all over but like the warrior he is he held in there and finished up. He then moved onto his infusion with the antibody (Mylotarg, GO); all went well till Nathan was done and about 55 mins later his body decided it didn’t like it and of course he reacted to it; I don’t need to go into all the details of his reaction but will say it wasn’t pleasant, was very scary moment for ALL, but thank God we were in the hospital at the time and the teams where able to counter it safely and Nathan is ok and doing great now. Antibodies are just that; foreign substance fusing through your body looking for what it’s suppose to attack and kill, hence the reaction; it is not uncommon for a reaction tis the reason we had him admitted for it, Nathan has proven all to many times he’s not the common side effect kiddo and we know to take the extra precautions with him, he likes to get those really odd 1 in a million side effects to his meds, hence his second cancer dx.

The Dr changed things around for Nathan so he could celebrate his 16th birthday; yup that’s right I said 16, so many of you have watched our lil boy grow these last 6yrs-4mos; from 9 to 16 and in those years he’s been to hell and back several times and this ride isn’t gonna be any different maybe even more challenging for us all involved. Which brings me to the title of this post “WE have a timeline” Many of you are aware the difficulties we’ve had trying to find a donor for Nathan; there was no one donor match for our boy in the USA so the Drs put him on the international registry and he tagged 3 immediately all of which did not pan out then with much excitement a new donor, new to the registry even, popped up and gave us a lot of hope, we do not know whether or not he was our match we needed but unfortunately there was a problem(don’t know exactly what) but this particular donor could not donate for one year, and that just don’t fit in our timeline…we’ve had a back up plan through this and that’s exactly where we are going to go…When we all typed to check our match with Nathan his Dad came up as a possibility, through more testing and typing his markers are high enough with being 1/2 of Nathan’s biological genetic make-up that we can use him as the donor; so YES I”M SAYING WE HAVE OUR DONOR; the Drs where truly hoping to find that 10/10 match for Nathan but that just didn’t happen in our case…we are extremely excited but also nervous and definitely scared as a bone marrow transplant (BMT) is no easy task for anyone let alone a child whose body and organs have been through the wringer not 1x but 2x with osteosarcoma (bone cancer) and then adding to it, his maintenance chemo’s are taking their toll as well. There will be a lot of testing going on with my family between Nathan having/needing more tests, particularly organs and another bone marrow biopsy (BMB) and his father needing a lot of tests to donate as well..please keep them both close in prayers as they prep for this, as you can expect this adds to the nervousness of the situation; although over joyed/estatic to be able to be his donor, this I can imagine is also some added nervousness/pressure for Dad…I will have 2 of my most cherished hearts going at one time…

Thank you to all for the thoughts and prayers…

God bless!!!!

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