Thursday, December 29, 2011

Round 4 of Chemo

Now that's something to celebrate! Case was happy too. His awesome Nurse Ginny decked out his room with sweet baby toys!

We are so thrilled to be on the downward slope. We just got home today from a 3-day cycle, and so far, so good. We are really hoping that Case doesn't feel as bad as he did last round.

On Tuesday, January 10th we have a CT Scan and MRI. This will be the first time we will see the progress that the chemo is making since we started. Again, we are having a love/hate relationship: we are excited to see what kind of shrinkage there is, but we are also so scared to maybe discover no change at all.

We are assuming that there is some shrinkage because he is acting so much better. When he's not recuperating from chemo, he's our sweet happy baby again. He liver lab tests are also improving with each test (remember that his liver was failing due to the tumor literally blocking all of its drainage ducts). So we have hopes and we just keep praying and praying!

Some people have asked for specific things to pray for. So if you are one of those, here is what we pray for: 1) that the chemo will shrink the tumor so that it can be removed by surgery, 2) that we will know how to help him cope with what he is experiencing, 3) that he will find comfort, and 4) that the cancer won't come back!!

We would like to continually thank everyone for their wonderful generosity, prayers, and love!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Everyone! Our chemo rounds have been good to us and let us squeeze in some great holiday celebrating with a happy, normal Case. It has been such a blessing! We were able to get together with Emily's extended family on Christmas Eve, which we haven't done since Case was diagnosed. This is us on Christmas Eve, with the boys in their cute matching Christmas pajamas (thank you Jeanne!).

Case was so truly happy that night! He was giddy, like he knew what the night meant. I had to include this picture to show off his awesome Santa-style diapers!!

His happiness made mama's heart as happy as could be!

We even squeezed in a quick trip to see Santa (fortunately, for our new germ phobias, no one else was there. Phew!) We discovered on the outing that Graydon likes to tell everyone about Case. One of the first things out of his mouth to Santa was, "Case has a tumor, so he can't sit on your lap. He's taking medicine and it will take a long time to work." He's apparently listening to what we're telling him.

We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday Case!

Happy Birthday sweet little Casers!

Our sweet boy turned one on December 16th and we had a great day! He was feeling good, as he was past chemo and his blood counts were all back to normal, so we celebrated as normal as possible.

We had a little party with family and our friends, the Harts, who are experiencing their own cancer battle with their daughter.

Case got some pretzels for his birthday, and was quite pleased, as you can see! He also got these cars from the Harts that zoom off when you pull them back. He was on the floor playing with them when I heard this high-pitched shriek. I thought something was wrong, but no, he was just so insanely excited! You can see how intently he's focusing in the picture below. It was so cute!

This is our awesome friend Brooke. Case and Brooke have a special bond with each other and I love seeing them together. Brooke and her sisters can always make him smile! When we were at Children's in Dallas our rooms were 4 doors away from each other.

We thoroughly enjoyed all the happy smiles Case gave us on his birthday...they were priceless presents.

We love you sweet boy!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Toxic Diapers

I could come up with countless puns about stinky and vile diapers, but I don't have the energy nor the time. But I will just simply state that during chemo my baby's diapers are literally TOXIC.

There is a drug called Etoposide (or VP-16) that makes one's excrements a hazardous toxin, so in their own little toxic waste bin they go! His diaper has to be changed every 2 hours around the clock during treatment and two days following. Again, I am missing a golden opportunity for many dirty diaper jokes, I know.

Recent Photos

Here are some recent pictures to show you a little bit more of our little man.

He likes to be held ALL THE TIME. So sometimes this is how I get things done.

I love the look he's giving his big brother (after Graydon just finished his first race!)

Case LOVES bathtime! He has stayed in one for an hour once! He and Graydon just splash around and play with toys.

I love how he is sitting ram-rod straight in this photo. One of his favorite activities is to pull toys out of box, though he's obviously distracted in this photo.

He loves to suck the juice out of the apples I am eating. You can hear his little front teeth (of which he has five of) digging in!

Going for a walk. He always has a pretzel stick in his hand. He will always eat a pretzel stick and gets really excited (all four appendages flailing in the air) when he sees one.

Said beloved pretzel stick up close.

Hanging out in the backyard.

Being a typical boy with a baseball, basketball, and football all within reach.

Nurse Ginny

Oh how we love Nurse Ginny! She has been our day nurse for all but one day of all of our stays (chemo 2, 3 and two of our blood infusions). Case is absolutely smitten by her, and I'm pretty sure she adores him right back! He gets just as excited to see her as he gets to see me.

It is such an amazing comfort to have caregivers like her. To have them not only have the knowledge and skill to care for Case, but to love him as well is more than we could ask for.

Ginny, we love you and you can never quit your job!!

Effects of Round 3

Well, this round (3) was much tougher than the previous two. We were in the hospital Monday, Tuesday, and went home on Wednesday after lunch. Tuesday night Case was pretty crabby and just uncomfortable, even after pacing the halls 50 times in a row (thank goodness for a friend who paced with me!).

Thursday and Friday at home were some of the worst days we have had so far. Case just cried and whined, even while being held and comforted. It was awful as a parent to watch him suffer, not knowing what was wrong or how to help. And it was frustrating as a person after two days, which made us feel guilty. Fortunately Sunday found our sweet old Case again and he's back to being happy.

He has been on two anti-nausea medicines (Zofran and Atavan). Atavan is pretty strong and our doctor wanted to try something new this time. Well, that didn't work and we had some vomiting before we just switched back to Atavan. The side effects (dizzy - he falls over, sleepiness, and feeling out of it) are better than the vomiting.

So, we are now starting to see the darker side of chemo. It obviously makes him feel awful, as others have said, but it's the only thing to do. Friday night, after all day of crying, vomiting, and diarrhea, Graydon decided to add insult to injury by throwing up from something he ate all night long. It was a long weekend, but as I said, Case is back to being cute and smiley. Now we have two weeks to enjoy before it starts again. We go in two days after Christmas.

The pictures below are obviously before the yuckiness really set in. For the most part, Case enjoys being at the hospital and having all the nurses to coo at him!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chemo Round 3

We are currently in the hospital for Round 3 and things are going well. We came in yesterday and go home tomorrow. He has been really loopy today due to medications and not too chipper, but he hasn't thrown up and is doing fine other than the crankiness. I think he is justified in being as cranky as he'd like to be!

Last week was a great week for Case and he, again, was really happy! His platelets were super low and he was bruising really easily, but other than that, he was happy!

This is a short post, but some people expressed concern because we hadn't posted in a while, so this is just a short post to let everyone know what's going on! We'll do pictures and more later.