Thursday, April 9, 2009

Final Results

It's confirmed; it's rhabdo again.

We met with Dr. Chen this afternoon. She thinks the rhabdo has been there all along, sitting dormant until the pancreatitis flare up. Kinda like what came first, the chicken or the egg; not sure what prompted what. She doesn't think there are any other tumors nor any cancer in his bone marrow or lungs.

Because Nick responded so well to his last treatment, she'll put him on the same protocol again. He had labs drawn today; will have a port put in on Tuesday (small surgical procedure to put the quarter-sized port under his skin near his heart. Last time he had to have a hickman port which just hung out of his body and he couldn't take a shower without covering it up - so this will be much easier); an echocardiogram on Wednesday morning (he'll be having more of the "red devil" and they need to make sure his heart can take it); and finally he'll check in to the hospital Wednesday around noon for his first round of chemo in this second battle of cancer.

When we realized what we may be facing a few days ago, Nick asked to have a special gift given to him be put forth into motion. A colleague of Lee's (Steve Rosetta) purchased a tandem skydiving jump with a Navy Seal in San Diego at a fundraising event (Lee was the guest speaker) last September for his son. His son, however, said, "Oh, I don't think so..." so Steve sent the gift certificate to Nick. We've been waiting for the weather, school, etc. before scheduling but yesterday I was able to book Lee & Nick their flight, hotel and car. They will leave tomorrow and return Easter Sunday. The Navy Seal who has offered to take Nick up will keep the entire day open in case of weather issues and promises to give Nick a great weekend. Nick's doctor wanted to have Nick's port put in tomorrow but when I said we were going to thrown him out of a plane instead, she worked it in for next week. They need the port to heal for 5 days before starting chemo but they'll go ahead and use an iv for this round and Nick can have fun now.

Nick, unfortunately, will not be able to go to Nashville for the marathon, even as a bystander. His blood counts probably won't be too good so he'll have to trust his warriors to make him proud. In the meantime, he and his dad will get Nick moved back home. He will also be talking to his professors to see how he can work out the rest of this semester.

Dr. Chen plans on Nick having 2 rounds of chemo (one week in hospital, two weeks to recover) then check on progress with an MRI. He'll probably have another 2 rounds and if all goes well, he may have surgery to remove the residual tumor, assuming they can get clean margins. We'll see.

When I first read the results of his PET scan and absorbed the words "mass" and "metastatic disease", I immediately spouted my five favorite four-lettered curse words, turret style. then I thought it was time to have five favorite four-lettered peace words. It wasn't easy, but I came up with - love, pray, hope, care and live. So that's what I'm going to do now.

A big, fat thank you to Ryan Salmons (dad, Brad) - he is Nick's age, has the same cancer, also played high school hockey, also worked at Discount Tires, also has the same inspiring faith and courage - he included Nick on his website to ask for prayers and support. I would like to reciprocate and ask our regular visitors to check in on Ryan at Very cool young man with a very cool family and just like Nick, could use your words of encouragement.

Ironically, Nick starts chemo EXACTLY one year to the day he was pronouned to be in remission. Thank you all for walking this journey with Nick and our family - you have helped make it bearable. The last battle and victory are a testament to the power of our prayers, together.

Here we go...

Love Lori


Chris Ulvin said...

Hello Lori
Easter is an easy weekend to be in prayer. I'll first pray for a safe and joyful "Navy Seal Skydive". Love, aunt Chris

Anonymous said...

To be honest, I said a favorite 4 letter word out loud after reading the first sentence of ur latest update. I had, of course, read ur previous updates earlier.. but to hear the confirmation - well *$#%!@#%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can u feel the anger that I'm typing? UGH!! I just know too well what it feels like to relapse.

On a happier note, YEAH NICK for his upcoming skydiving plan!!! that is so exciting.

Thinking of u all,


Brad said...

Nick, Lori and Family:

Just wanted to let you know you are constantly in our thoughts and prayers.

I hope you enjoy the sky diving experience. I do not understand why anyone would have a desire to jump out of a perfectly good airplane????

Anyway, have fun and take some pictures for us chickens!!

Brad Salmons

Anonymous said...

im close friends with ryan salmons and just wanted to say im very sorry but you have so many people across the country praying for you. you beat it once..stay strong and keep your head up! youll be in my prayers!

Anonymous said...

Thinking about you guys. So sorry you are going through this. I'm here if you ever need someone to talk to.

Anonymous said...

Nick and Family,
Our hearts go out to all of you. We are very disturbed by the news and can't even imagine how difficult it is for you. Our love and prayers will be with evry day. Please let us know if there is anything we can do.

Best wishes
Russ & Cindy Wall

PS Jake has informed us that he will be sending papid fire prayers from Fiji also. He sends his love and wishes he could be here for you.