Well we have successfully completed the first phase of chemotherapy. The first month was extremely challenging, and we are so thankful that its over. The steroid came with a load of side effects. Noah gained 15lbs in 3 weeks. He looked like a different kid and acted like one too. After the first month (induction) was over, he had about a week break from chemo. He has now started the second phase (consolidation). He is on a new medication called mercaptopurine, for one month. The most likely side effects that we will see affect his blood counts. Which can cause him to feel tired and weak, bruise and bleed more easily, and more likely to get sick.
Some of the less likely effects which we have seen are loss of appetite (he hardly eats at all now), nausea and vomiting (he has a sore belly all the time and threw up a bit this morning). Some other effects that we have not yet seen are skin rashes, mouth sores, jaundice, liver damage, kidney damage and gout. There are worse ones yet.
He is still on the medication called septra, this he takes every weekend only, and will take it throughout the 3 1/2 years. This med provides an antibiotic to a kind of pneumonia. He had a horrible time taking this med. It first came in liquid form, which he hated and threw up. Then we got it in pill form which I crushed and it was a huge ordeal to get him to take it. Now, I discovered that if I split the pill into 4 sections, he can swallow it no problem. That is a huge blessing and so much easier!
In addition to this new med, Noah also goes for IV chemo called vincristine once a week. He also goes for a spinal tap once a week as well, where they inject chemo called methotrexate into his spine. He will do this every week for 4 weeks. He has to fast for this because he is always put to sleep for it. The positive, Noah loves being put to sleep.
So, so far this next phase has been easier. We were able to go camping for 3 nights which was so fun for the kids. Noah has been able to visit his bestest friend a couple times, and we were able to catch a Goldeyes game too courtesy of CancerCare. We are heading out camping again this Thursday for another 3 nights, which the kids are so looking forward to.
Noah still has really negative feeling toward his sister. He just seems genuinely disgusted with her existence. So that is hard to see. I just want them to get along, and have this experience bring them closer together. Instead it's done the opposite.
So for now, things are ok. I am feeling very nervous for school. I have a hard time even thinking about letting him out our door alone and on his own in this germ infested world. I feel like I can almost hear the kids whispering 'that kid has cancer' or 'did you know there's a kid with CANCER here!'. I am feeling sad that hockey registration is approaching and that Noah will be missing out on something that he had loved so much. Hopefully we can arrange for him to still be a part of a team and find some time to get him on the ice when he is feeling like it.
I am amazed from all the support we have received. The prayer, the food, the general willingness of people. It is quite something to experience. You know how people have often said in hard times that you will get help from the people you least expect it from, and receive next to nothing from the people you thought would be there the most? It's true. Aside from our parents of course, we have received tremendous support from people we hardly know. It's amazing. And there of course have been people we are close to that have supported us tremendously as well.
Prayer requests: complete healing for Noah. That the side effects will not be devastating and he will be able to lead a fairly normal life even though he has cancer. For Holly, as she is the middle child and is acting out a bit lately. Not wanting to go to bed, and just needing extra attention I think. For Coltan, that he would continue to be our amazing little baby. Also, for those of you that don't know, Coltan was born with a malformation in his left lung. There was a cyst on it that they detected while I was pregnant, but after birth it was not detected anymore. We do however have to follow up with another xray in about a month. Please pray the that cyst is gone and that the malformation is healed. If its not, they may need to remove it as it can become cancerous in the future. Pray for the start of school to be good for Noah. For great classmates and teachers. And pray that Noah will start to be a little nicer to Holly.
I will try to keep you more in the know. This summer has been crazy to say the least. But I will try to keep you all updated as much as I can.