It Continues On… “ENDLESS”

Novenber 24, 2017

Nathan had some great months in between my last update, he got back on the ice for Sled hockey, Dr pulled his line so he could attend classes with his friends; all was going well, slow but well as it should be for a now 16 year old who has battled cancer for 7 years/3 times and 2 different types of cancers; one would have thought that was the way it should happen, after all that including a Haplo BMT, and a successful one at that with 100% donor(Dad) cells, you’d think whewww it’s over, road to recovery; nice and easy does it and let that kiddo live some life as he should…

Not how it happens in the real world, the world of childhood cancer tends to throw more curve balls then a game of baseball. Nathan’s labs fell pretty suddenly 3 weeks, oppps now 4 weeks ago and naturally everything was going to plan with him and his Haplo, no one expected a relapse; Nathan had all the indicators of no relapse except the labs, he has all donor cells, active GvHD of several forms, and the last BMB there was 0 blasts seen; so as it went Nathan’s labs were not making a come back, so of course a BMB was scheduled and as it would turn out…

Nathan’s t-MDS/Leukemia has made itself known again…

As we looked at our 7 year anniversary in all this, original admission/dx Nov 18, 2010 and Nathan receiving his very first dose chemo on Nov 25, 2010 (was Thanksgiving Day then) we were hearing those words again. words no one, not anyone should have to hear one time let alone now for the 4th “YOUR SON HAS CANCER”  heartbroken, devastated, and NUMB is just a few feelings you have when you hear those words, some get angry, I honestly just don’t have the energy right now for anger nor much else for that matter right now.

Nathan’s situation is rare and unique, of course it couldn’t just be a easy fix, it’s very complicated, we are waiting for test result that are still out on the marrow right now with hopes that he don’t have all the markers he had prior to complicate things even more, there’s not really a treatment out there for Nathan, the transplant was his chance for a cure, but unfortunately the chemo in the process didn’t work well enough and sleeper cells were able to hide away. Nathan is not fully recovered from the transplant yet so his marrow is still in a weak state, which may cause some difficulties. We don’t have a plan of action yet as said above we need to get all the results back from his biopsies first…

I’ve written this post and posted/removed it many times in these past few days, but it’s just not changing the fact that Nathan, more then any other time is truly in the fight for his life. I’m asking you to please keep Nathan in prayers, he needs a miracle and I have to say I do believe in Miracles…

Thank you so much and God Bless!!!!

Nathan’s Mom, Dad and Brother

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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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Maintenance Chemo

As many know Nathan has been on a maintenance chemo schedule with hopes to halt the growth and progression of his cancer. The first was infused through an LP procedure and then he went onto chemo injections that he had to go to the hospital everyday for which consisted of 3 injections of chemo each time and then onto the chemo administered at home every day…he did well with these all considering what he’s experienced in the past, the big problems is chills, fatigue, nausea, and of course his blood counts. He ended last week with a BMB which we shared that there was no new growth/maturing in Nathan’s cancer cells and YES that’s fantastic news but in the same breath Nathans cancer cells did not decrease in % at all they stayed the same, the Drs where hoping to see a decrease to benefit/aide Nathan in this battle. As I explained before there are many Drs involved in conference with Nathan’s case as it’s not common, but pretty rare…concerns are high in controlling it still and Nathan will be going back onto more rounds of chemo, with added meds/chemo’s everyone was hoping that by now Nathan would be in the transplant process. The added meds are still being determined as the results we have now are only preliminary results and Drs are waiting for the actual full results before making any decisions. Nathan’s body has been through a lot of chemo’s in these last 6yrs, and not just regular doses but HIGH DOSES of chemo’s and his organs took some major hardship during his second battle with osteosarcoma, that we have to be aware and cautious of that while treating in this maintenance course; if things are to hard they can create organ failure and Nathan’s transplant will be put off. We cannot emphasize enough how badly he NEEDS this transplant it is his only chance of beating this.

As far as the donors are concerned…Nathan did not match anyone in the states(other then his dad being a partial), they had to reach out to the international registry for him and found 3 matches, the 1st donor who is going through all the process is still on the possible list, 2nd donor is not on the registry any more so he’s out and the 3rd has responded and is going through the process of testing now, once his results come back the Drs can make a better decision as to where to go from here.

Nathan is hanging in there he has good/bad days and days of just being here feeling like junk, his nausea has been a bugger these last days and that creates another problem for him; eating, Nathan needs to keep eating to maintain and prepare for transplant,as he goes through that process his body will be put to extreme limits and he will need a lot of strength before hand to push through it all. Although we are anxious to get our boy into transplant to save him we are not anxious about it at all with what he will endure, it will be a very trying and difficult time/experience, and it honestly totally scares the hell out of us.

I cannot deny I’ve been a bad about pushing him to do his school work as i honestly sit and look at him and think i just can’t make that fight right now, I just want to enjoy his company and laughs while he’s in the mood, so yes he’s gotten behind a bit and those that know me…that is not a thing I ever let happen but one thing I know is every laugh I share with him through these days of worry and concern along with much fear is vital, not only for me but for Nathan as well.

We will have another meeting later this week and find out our new direction with this all, I ask you all to please keep Nathan and my family in your prayers…

Thank you and God bless!!!

 

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Little updates from our week…

1/25/2017…This week Nathan started his maintenance chemo to keep the cancer cells under control, he’s had to report to the oncology clinic every day this week to receive his chemo injections…it ended up that it wasn’t just one Chemo injection a day it’s 3, so far this week he’s received 9 chemo injections with 6 more to go ending on Friday then he starts an oral chemo…These injections have not been a joy at all to him as he already had body aches and these cause bad muscle pain, nausea, fatigue, min. hair effects, and low counts.  After receiving his shots yesterday in his legs he broke out with sight rashes and with bad itching…can I tell ya hes about beat…As a parent who has to watch and stand by this all, convince your child he wants to get up, travel and receive more chemo (injections) that will make him feel worse just sux because neither one of us wants to be doing this BUT you have too :/ It’s draining!!!

1/29/2017…Yesterday, Nathan started a new maintenance chemo after receiving total of 15 chemo injections last week of the first…It appears there has been slight change in his cellular growth but not enough to change his present status, Thank you Lord!!! I cannot express how important it is to keep this controlled for Nathan and his transplant. This new chemo is not a pleasant one either , it is in low dose but that don’t stop the ill junky feelings you get from it at all. Nathan is loosing weight already, not that he can afford it to begin with as he just leveled off from all his unfortunate events last year but the way I understand it is it’s not his fault it’s from his body trying to deal with the cancer, the cancer is in his blood and marrow and with his body trying to respond it’s using all his calories he’s eating so we’ve had to add to his diet with supplements to add more calories, needless to say he’s not thrilled but he has a amazing dietitian who knows how to work with kids in a way they can handle it, as much as it’s possible anyways, then you add his stomach issue he has already to this all and…well nothing, you can’t do anything; you just have to hang on.

~~Summary of this new diagnosis battle/where we are~~

It’s been almost 2mos now of all this going on… To come out with a secondary cancer for my son; a 2x fighter of OS with “spots” in his lungs and it’s caused by the chemo treatments…as of last marrow biopsies he was still t-MDS.

Today was the first time I was going over my sons medical with another medical professional and had to say he has leukemia…this is so un frekin believable I am just sickened, honestly i’m not sure what I am just have that numb feeling about me again… A second cancer caused by his first and second cancer treatments with osteosarcoma… he started on chemo 2wks ago with an infusion through his LP and then onto a maintenance plan to try and control the cell growth trying to keep it in the MDS stage and prevent the t_AML; they where able to track the chemos that caused it to 2 of those that were used in his treatments 1 from his original MAP and 1 from the relapse in his lungs; so of course it can’t just stop there those flags have shown his t-MDS to be very rare and yup it continues…very aggressive! There has been cell growth since all the findings and he gets bone marrow biopsies pretty regularly now to track it.

My family all tested to be a match and our older son was not nor was I but Dad is a good back up donor; they found 3 perfect matched in the National Registry and only 1 has responded to start the process and all are out of the country to boot…He’s getting a big genetic work up to try and at least see if he’s pre-dispositioned for this or if it’s all just another bad deck of cards being delt.

So as we’re signing away for our now 15yr old son to get back into chemo what are we reading??? YES it carries a risk for yet ANOTHER cancer (lymphoma) oh AND it can kick in his OS: oh of course its “RARE” but he has fallen into that 3rd column endlessly, why should we not be really concerned?! GOOD GRIEF!!!!! So until we can get his transplant on schedule we do maintenance chemo’s with hopes to control this damn stuff…My son at age 9 dx with OS relapse at 12 with metastaic bi-lateral lung and now 15 with leukemia(T-MDS)…Silver lining????? it’s not full blown t-AML…things seriously need to change 🙁

Thank you everyone for all your great words of encouragement and prayers, please keep them coming, we need a donor match, a full match to give Nathan the best possible chance of beating this…

Mom <3

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Turn of Event’s – Lap 3

Thank you everyone for all your kind words, words of encouragement to Nathan and your prayers…
It has been a very busy week; Nathan was admitted into the hospital late Saturday evening for a fever and bad chills, the concerns with the fever for Nathan where because he very low blood counts, the fever represented a possible infection, this kinda of stay we are very familiar with from the last 2 cancer battles.

Thankfully the blood cultures showed no growth for infection, but the thought is the cancer is the cause of the fevers, as Nathan runs a low grade fever, chills, and gets winded every evening, we need to watch how high the fever gets as with not having an immune system there is always a chance for an infection to find its way.

Through the course of our stay more results came back for Nathan and there are even more concerns: Nathan has a rare diagnosis and on top of that it’s been determined to be aggressive. Nathan’s Dr’s have been in communication with Dr’s across the country consulting, there are many voices going into his treatment to give him the best care they can and chance to kick it’s butt, his specific diagnosis is just not common in children and with it showing it’s aggressive that adds to the complexity as well. The Dr’s have repeated the bone marrow biopsies and also did an LP, along with that LP he received an infusion of chemo through the access, they need to make sure the cancer cells have not matured and entered the spinal fluid. This brought us into the chemo world much sooner then we had anticipated, so of course preparation instead of having time was done quickly. Since the new information has come to light, the Dr’s have had to come up with a new plan to get Nathan to transplant as long as these last marrow biopsies show the t-MDS has not matured.

Nathan is doing the best he can; naturally he has his times of fear, sadness, and concern and others he’s plotting and planning just how to prank his nurses when he is inpatient again and for the transplant stay; that’s our Nathan!

We are home again for now and waiting for news of his test results so we can get this path paved and on the way. Please keep Nathan and my family in your prayers, this is gonna be a very different battle for him and our family to go through but we will do this…

NATHAN IS A FIGHTER; AN ULTIMATE WARRIOR!!!!!
Thank you all and God bless!

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