Thursday, October 16, 2008

Woo Hoo !!!

We are home from Rochester and couldn't be happier about our meeting with Dr. Korones. The official report from the radiologist said Michael's tumor is "stable" but Dr. Korones thinks that the tumor shrank again. The radiologist compares each MRI to the previous one (ie. October to July, July to April, etc) and Dr. Korones is comparing each new MRI to the one done at the start of chemo (ie. October to January, July to January, etc).

When you look at January's MRI the tumor is about 26mm across and in yesterday's MRI, the tumor is about 18mm. Dr. Korones thinks that the difference in 3 months isn't significant enough for the radiologist to classify it as anything but stable but over the whole nine months, the difference is noticeable (even to lay people like Jeff and me). He is going to ask the radiologist to compare the most recent MRI to January's and see if he agrees. From what Jeff and I could see on the computer images, we don't see how he could not.

I asked Dr. Korones if the tumor shrinking was better for Michael in the long run and he said not necessarily. He said that statistically the prognosis is the same in either case (stable compared to shrinking) but that intuitively it just makes you feel better and is definitive proof that chemo is working. We'll still take the good news. Also, Dr. Korones was impressed with how well Michael is doing and thinks he looks great.

So for now we will continue with the chemo protocol and head back to Rochester on January 21st for the next MRI. Obviously everyone's positive thoughts and prayers are working so please keep it up! JoAnne

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Today went smoothly...

Michael had his MRI this morning. It went well except that they must have had trouble starting an IV (they do it after he is asleep) because he woke up with 3 band-aids. We will get the results of the MRI tomorrow at noon when we meet with Dr. Korones. I will update as soon as I can. Everybody keep your fingers crossed for GREAT news. JoAnne

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

One-fish, Two-fish...

The weekend before last, we took a ride on Sunday afternoon to spend a couple of hours along the banks of the St. Lawrence River.

Michael had a ball casting his line into the water ...

... again ...

... and again .

I was impressed (and a little surprised) at the patience Michael showed at practicing casting until he landed his hook far enough out from the shore to entice the little fish.

And then he patiently waited ...

... until the time was just right ....

... and then ...

Michael caught his first fish!
He caught (and then released) a total of 4 little fish.

And each one was as exciting as the last. I am sure this won't be the last afternoon Michael and Daddy spend fishing.

As for tonight, we're settled into our hotel in Rochester. There won't be any swimming tonight though ....

... but we will have time in the morning. We have to be at the hospital at 9:30am and Michael can't eat before his MRI. So, swimming will give him something to think about other than being hungry. Please keep my little boy in your thoughts and prayers tonight, JoAnne.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

No chemo this week...

Michael's class is going apple picking tomorrow and we didn't want him to miss it so we made his chemo appointment on Thursday instead of Friday this week. He and I went today but chemo was a "no go". Dr. Kennedy said Michael's white blood count was good but that his platelets were too low to receive treatment. And, he also has a sinus infection. He has had a continuously running nose since before he was in the hospital last month. Dr. Kennedy thinks Michael's sinuses just finally became infected after being full for so long. Michael did get to paint a pumpkin while we were waiting for his blood work to come back, so the trip wasn't a total loss.

I have a confession to make - Michael has been complaining of his nose hurting and a stabbing pain above his right eye for the last couple of days. If you remember his nose and right temple are where this whole journey started. I have been working myself into a state thinking the pains were a problem with the tumor. So, Dr. Kennedy made my day when she said Michael had a sinus infection. (And I bet there aren't too many mothers that you will hear make that statement!)

This is week #4 so Michael now has a 2 week break from chemo. But on Tuesday night, we will be traveling to Rochester for a couple of days for Michael's next MRI and visit with Dr. Korones. I have another of confession to make - I am starting to get PMS (that's pre-MRI syndrome). We got such great news last time, I am afraid that we will be let down this time. Let's just hope that I am worrying for nothing. Please say an extra prayer for Michael next week, JoAnne.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Just a quick update ...

Yesterday Michael and Daddy went to chemo alone while I stayed at work and it went well. The only hitch was that the nurses couldn't get a blood from Michael's port so they had to draw blood from his finger. (But, he was able to receive his meds through his port.) Apparently, he wasn't bashful about telling the nurses that his regular nurse, Jen, never has a problem. Michael was sick during the night but didn't protest taking his medicine because he knew we were going apple picking today and he didn't want to miss it. And with his Zofran, he was fine.

Michael is also doing much better in school. He is bringing home awesome papers that are completely done and done well. I don't know if he is doing any better socially but all he talked about all weekend was how he asked one of the little girls in his class, Kaitlyn, to marry him. I think this was in response to the fact that his favorite nurse, Jen, got married today. (Congratulations Jen & Todd. We were thinking of you today and hope you had a perfect day.) Kaitlyn must be Michael's first rebound relationship. We asked him what she said but he doesn't remember.

Jenny and Ralph are home for the weekend. As I said, we went apple picking today. We had fun even though it rained while we were there. Jeff and Michael are going fishing again tomorrow. This time they are going up on the river and I am going to go for a ride with them. There are two little shops I like to visit so I will go check them out while the guys fish.

Jenny took a bunch of pictures today that I will share with you soon. Please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers, JoAnne.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Okay, back to happy thoughts ...

We had a great family, fall weekend this past weekend that I would like to share with you. We got up Saturday morning and, even though it was raining, we started on a trip to Pixley Falls State Park, which is about an hour away. Jeff and I have visited the waterfall at this park every fall since we started dating.

Unfortunately, before we got too far on Saturday, Michael started throwing up so we came back home to give him some more Zofran. After a while we tried to venture out again. This time we decided to stop at a cider mill closer to home to make sure Michael was feeling better before we got too far.

There is a little gift shop where we bought some fresh cider, some squeaky cheese curd and some hot cider donuts.

There is also a pretty waterfall behind the cider mill that we checked out. Then we decided Michael was over his bout of nausea and continued on with our trip. Mother Nature didn't disappoint us with her beautiful foliage.

The hike down to the waterfall at Pixley Falls was beautiful.

How is this for a fashion statement? This is the outfit Michael picked out himself so that he could play in the water.

And he had fun doing just that.

We spent about an hour enjoying the surroundings.

And, since Michael is getting bigger, we explored a little further than ususal this year.

We checked out one of the smaller falls off to the side.

It was a great day. When we got back home, Michael went to his first birthday party. He was reserved at first but after a while he warmed up and had a good time with all of the other kids.

Michael has been asking to go fishing for some time (he has never been). Earlier in the week, we told him that if he did better in school and finished all of his work, he and Daddy would go fishing on Sunday.

And that is what they did.

Unfortunately, they didn't catch anything this time.

But I don't think Michael minded. Hopefully they will have better luck next time. Please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers, JoAnne.