Saturday, January 5, 2008

So Far So Good

Yesterday brought us back to the hospital around lunchtime. Henry's fond of getting pizza from the cafeteria while we wait in the outpatient clinic to be admitted. We always go in around noon, so that tends to work out well. They begin by drawing blood and hydrating him in order to best prepare his body for clearing the chemotherapy. The blood counts determine his readiness and since it'd been some time since his last discharge, it was more or less a formality.

As I headed down to the cafeteria, I caught our oncologist by the elevator bank. He walked with me as I got salads for my mother and me and pizza for Henry. "In eight slices please," I asked at the pizza counter. Henry likes the smaller pieces.

The doctor and I talked about Henry's next chemotherapy cycle and the impending MRI. It seems that it will be a more revealing test if done at the end of this cycle than next week, so we'll put it off until later in the month. That suits me just fine. The devil that you know is better than the devil that you don't. Anyway, I'd just as soon understand the results in the full effectiveness of the treatment to date and that seems to be the doctors outlook as well.

We spoke of treatment options, some of the side effects of chemotherapy drugs, and rehashed some common memories of earlier and more painful days of Henry's illness. We'll test Henry's hearing and his heart during this cycle sometime to determine any organ damage. This seems like it would be practically negligible if we were done now, but determines how to proceed as the next stage employs much heavier doses of the drug that threatens his hearing. If it's doing a little damage now, it's a known that it will wreak its effects proportionately.

I asked about the state of research after reading this recent news article. It's a fact that children's cancers are rare enough that they often don't get funding the way we all might expect. Often times, funding for adult cancers can apply to those of children with similar diagnosis but dedicated funding is hard to come by. Often doctors don't have a particular cancer in mind when starting but look for funding as an attractor and that can begin a snowball effect if the resulting research is positive. As for anaplastic medulloblastoma, Henry's kind of cancer, it is known that genes play a part in the disease's origin, but even this knowledge is due to its association with more well defined diseases as a secondary symptom.

Later that afternoon, we were cleared to go to the eighth floor of the hospital to start chemotherapy. Henry had an uneventful evening (despite the steroids given for nausea). He had some pangs of adjusting to the hospital again, as I did too. It's not easy being awakened all night for someone to poke you with a thermometer and squeeze your leg for blood pressure, all the time messing with the tubes in your chest to boot. But he'll get used to it all again, probably quicker this time.

Today my cousin and her husband visited from Virginia. They were in town and were thoughtful enough to drop by and spend time to break up our morning and keep us company - a wonderful and helpful gesture. Tara came soon after they left in order to swap for the night. Henry took a nap and gave us some nice time to talk. I came home to the girls spending the day with their Aunt and cousin at our house. A happy and calming scene for me.

So far so good...

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Been waiting to hear how your day went...back at the hospital. Hopefully adjustment will be quick for Henry as well as for you and Tara.
Keep us updated. Our thoughts are always with you all.

Cousin Susan H.

Granya said...

Bryan,

That's a very compelling "link" that you provided in this blog.

I'm glad you are so willing and able to spread the word for Henry's cause and for other children who are stricken so unfairly.

Kiss Henry and the girls for me today.

Love, Granya

Anonymous said...

Bryan, Thinking of you and your gang.
Saw our son the other night, and he was wearing Henry's bracelet-so he is spreading the word in Balston and DC.
nk

SUPERCODER said...

HI, HENRY AND FAMILY,
HOPE YOU ARE WEARING YOUR "LONG, GREEN PJ'S"! AND I HOPE SOMEONE KNEW THE 'YELLOW BIRD' SONG TO SING TO YOU. WHAT DID YOU NAME YOUR NEW 'DOGGIE' FRIEND?
KNOW THAT YOU ALL ARE IN OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS.
BRYAN THANKS FOR THE BLOG, IT'S GREAT AND I KNOW IT MUST BE HELPFUL TO YOU TO PUT YOUR THOUGHTS IN WRITING.
TARA, I AM BORED, ME FAVORITE CODING DOCTOR ISN'T HERE EVERYDAY TO KEEP ME BUSY.
KEEP LOOKING UP!
VICKIE Q

Jane said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO BRYAN!!!

May you be celebrating all the love and support and admiration that so many people have for you on this day.

Love, Jane

t said...

Hey Little Henry. I have been thinking of you all day long. I sure hope you are feeling good enough for long wagon rides and cheetos! Or is it barbecue chips? Maybe both!

Keep on taking pictures and post them on your blog. I love looking at them!

Come home soon!

Love Ms.T.