Thursday, April 30, 2009

On a personal note

Rudy & I are doing well. We were obviously completely shocked when we got this news. We have always commented on what healthy kids we have. We have truly felt all of your prayers and the presence of God in a very real way. We have accepted the situation and are happy that we have gotten a lot of information and plan of action. The hardest thing is to see our sweet little boy suffering so much. He is just so sick. We want to be able to help him, but we can't.

Showing Improvement

Grant is having a very good day today. He has gotten out of bed and played with some of the wonderful things all of you have sent him. He is smiling and laughing. He is still in some pain. He has a pretty bad cough that upsets him and his throat hurts. He is having some stomach issues too, so they are going to have to test him for a bacteria. He will be in isolation until the test results come back negative. We can have visitors but not if you have been sick and everyone just has to wash their hands when they come in and go out.

The first leg...

Wow, where do we start? First, we just want to thank everyone for the overwhelming show of support and all of your prayers. We can feel the presence of God always!

I guess this story begins last Monday (4/20/09). Grant had 3 "unexplainable" fainting spells. He seemed to be very clumsy and very sensitive to pain. We took him to his pediatrician on Wed. and he acted completely normal. Then on Friday (4/24/09) he started running a temperature. We began a Tylenol regimen trying to get him well enough for his birthday party on Sat. He was so excited about it. He did go and did very well, especially considering what we know now. He played for about 2 hours and then he crashed. He never really recovered from that point. He ran fever and became very achy all weekend. By Sunday evening, he was very miserable. I took him to the pediatrician first thing Monday morning. They immediately commented on his breathing and how pale he looked. The took a blood sample and then another. The pediatrician then came in and referred us to Cook Children's hospital. His white and red blood cell counts were very low. Rudy came and got us (b/c most of you know how well I handle medical situations) and we went straight to the hospital. We checked in there about 10:30 a.m. and they ran some more tests and took a chest x-ray. The ER doctor came and told us that Grant would be admitted to the hospital for further testing. Once we were moved to the hematology/oncology unit around 3:30, we were able to speak to the oncologist. At that time, we learned that we were most likely dealing with leukemia. They gave Grant 2 blood transfusions that night. The next morning, they did a procedure to extract a bone marrow sample for more testing. After that, the doctor was able to confirm the leukemia diagnosis and tell us that it was the ALL strain of leukemia. We got a plan of action and began right away. He had surgery yesterday to place a port in his chest to be used for future chemo treatments. They also took another bone marrow sample and did a spinal tap to test for leukemia and administer the first chemo treatment. He did very well, but took a long time waking up from the anesthesia. He got two more treatments of chemo last night and has had another one this morning. He is doing well and has been sitting up and talking this morning. He asked for Trent and wanted to go outside. He is going to take a nap now.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Now faith is being sure of what you hope for, and certain of what you can not see.
Heb. 11.1
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in Children

Key Points
  • ALL is the most common and most easily treated form of Leukemia
  • Doctors feel that Grant's treatment will be sucessful
  • He will be undergoing treatment for 3 years
  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a cancer of the white blood cells, the cells in the body that normally fight infections.
  • In ALL, the abnormal cells may collect in the brain or spinal cord, also called the central nervous system (CNS).
  • In cancers such as leukemia that appear throughout the body during their earliest stages, screening does not appear to be useful. Rather, children with any symptoms that suggest the possibility of ALL should be seen by their physician.

1. What is acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)?

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a cancer of the white blood cells, the cells in the body that normally fight infections. There are two main types of white blood cells-lymphoid cells and myeloid cells. ALL affects lymphoid cells.

Leukemia cells are abnormal cells that cannot do what normal blood cells do. The abnormal cells are immature white blood cells that cannot help the body fight infections. For this reason, children with ALL often get infections and have fevers.

ALL is also called acute lymphocytic leukemia. It is the most common leukemia in children.

2. What are the symptoms of ALL?

Like all blood cells, leukemia cells travel through the body. Depending on the number of abnormal cells and where these cells collect, patients with leukemia may have a number of symptoms. Children with ALL frequently have low amounts of healthy red blood cells and platelets. As a result, there are not enough red blood cells to carry oxygen through the body. With this condition, called anemia, patients may look pale and feel weak and tired. When there are not enough platelets, patients bleed and bruise easily.

Some of the common symptoms of ALL include:
• Fever;
• Fatigue;
• Frequent infections;
• Swollen or tender lymph nodes, liver, or spleen;
• Paleness or pallor;
• Easy bleeding or bruising;
• Tiny red spots (called
petechiae) under the skin; and/or
• Bone or joint pain.