Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Round 3

It has been such a long time since we last updated the blog. We have posted the emails below that we sent out to some back in July, and continue the story in this entry. So much has happened since our lives changed in June, so many miracles so much love!

On the 16th of August Will and Vicky headed down to San Francisco a day early for the 3rd round of Chemo to have a PET scan. It was a great day. After the scan they headed down to the ocean near the Cliff House and the historic Sutro Baths. Will expended most of his energy throwing rocks into the ocean while his proud and content mother cheered him on. There was really nothing noteworthy, but that made it all the more special. It was a “regular” day at the ocean. We ate a nice Mexican dinner in the parking lot over looking the ocean and the setting sun. What a nice memory.

Tuesday morning we were told the miraculous news that the scans showed no signs of tumors. How could this be? And yet, who are we to doubt the miracles that we had been praying for so hard and for so long? We were amazed! The scan showed a completely clear chest and abdomen. We were informed that although they call this complete remission (CR), they still continue on with the treatments. Two more rounds of Chemo and then radiation. We were told that it is their experience that the cancer returns unless they finish up the treatments. We believe this is because although there is no evidence of tumors, there are still living cancer cells which they are not able to see. These cells continue to develop unless treatment continues. Some day scientists will figure out how to see down to the cellular level with their tests. The doctors showed us the differences between the first and second PET scans. It is remarkable. We had forgotten how full of tumors he was at the beginning. It was actually far worse than we remembered. The doctors made us a CD of the two scans lest we forget how advanced Will’s disease really was.

Will has now finished up his 3rd round of Chemo. It seems Will takes longer to recover from the chemo with each successive cycle. This one was his hardest round to date. He felt much weaker and much more nauseous than before. He was also having extreme headaches. We called the nurse and told her that he really hadn’t been out of his room for about a week. She immediately ordered lab tests and told us he really should be rebounding by that point. His blood tests showed his numbers dropped very low this round. To put this into perspective, healthy blood has white blood cell counts of about 9000. After the prior two rounds of chemo, Will’s white blood cell counts were about 500. This renders him nutropenic -- unable to fight off infection. After this third round of chemo, his count was at 100. As a result, the doctors immediately called Will back to the clinic for a blood transfusion last Friday.

We had been warned several times that a transfusion was not only a possibility, but a probability. This made it so very much easier to deal with. Although it is disconcerting to think that some stranger’s blood is put into your child’s body, we had been assured the blood supply is very clean these days and the odds of contracting a serious illness are somewhere around 1 in 6 million. Notwithstanding that, we were still very worried. As the transfusion began, a comfort came upon us. We felt assured clean, life-giving blood had been delivered to our son. With that came an indescribable gratitude for the person who had donated that blood and had given our son the gift of their strength. It was a spiritual experience. Will felt better, stronger, almost immediately. Another miracle in a series of continuing miracles! By Monday Will’s white blood cell counts were back up to 1,700.

Modern medicine really is incredible. The advances of science in our lifetime is truly another of our great miracles. The fact that they are able to find exactly what types of chemicals kill this particular cancer is amazing, brilliant men and women dedicating their lives to the cure. There is no doubt in our minds that there has been divine intervention in these advances. The doctors had expected to see Will at least in partial remission by now because the chemo is just that good at eradicating the tumors and most patients react very swiftly. Will’s miracle is that there is very little scar tissue. With the advanced stage of his disease, they had expected to see much worse. They compared the tumors to a coral reef. At one point they are living, but when the coral dies it leaves behind it’s skeleton. This is what they had expected to see with Will. However, in the scans the doctors were surprised and elated to see that his scaring is very minimal. We attribute this to Will’s miracle; the countless number of people who have joined their faith and prayers with ours, who have fasted for him and sent their positive thoughts his way. We know that you have blessed our lives by giving of yourself for our son. We thank you. We feel particularly grateful to God for hearing the prayers of so many and showering us with miracles and blessings. It has been a very long summer but we are so thankful we have been able to learn so much through this trial. Thank you for lifting us up through the long months with all you have done. We are, after all, the hands the Lord uses to bless the lives of His children.

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