Friday, February 27, 2009

Oh good grief!

No chemo. At least not yet. They want to do radiation after all. The tumor board didn't discuss it, but the doctor who is in charge of the bilateral Wilms Tumor study did recommend radiation. When, you might ask?

Sometime between the moment we walked into the outpatient center for counts and the time that the doctor examined The Boy.

The nurse asked if we'd like to do the finger stick for counts or if she should access the port. I said that she should go ahead and access the port, since (I thought) we were going right upstairs and that was one less thing for them to worry about up there.

Then we played for awhile. Grandpa was there (Musical Daddy's daddy), and we had some fun. Then the doctor said to come in, and maybe Grandpa would like to hear what she had to say as well. Of course I panicked, thinking that the counts were bad even though he had the extra recovery time, or even something worse. No, just a report that she had JUST received this message and that we were doing a radiation consultation on Monday.

Grandpa says that radiation is a cakewalk compared to chemo. It is a little trickier with a little guy, since he'll have to be sedated for it, but other parents of kids who have had radiation agree that radiation is easier to deal with.

The downside? Radiation can have side effects or late effects just like chemo. Most notably, radiation can affect the kidney. Since he has not even a full kidney, that is a concern; they decided to go ahead and radiate because he had enough to handle it (we hope). Also worth mentioning is that the doctor said his growth could be affected in the radiated area. He may end up being a little shorter in the trunk (his "sitting height") than he otherwise would have been. This certainly concerns me. However, Musical Daddy has shorter legs than he otherwise would have had because of his asthma medication as a kid. My father has a shorter trunk because of scoliosis surgery. Musical Daddy has a cousin with the same issue from the same surgery, as I learned today from his father, and she is tall and very athletic. Other children who have been through more of this sort of treatment have come out on the other end and are fine.

I'm not any more scared of radiation than I am of the chemo that he is getting. It's all nasty stuff that we are having done to him in the hopes that other nasty stuff, namely the cancer, doesn't come back.

It's still scary, though. He has cancer. Cancer can kill people. This morning a little girl in Norway passed away, having lost her battle with diffuse anaplastic (a very unfavorable histology) Wilms Tumor. She was 4.

But we keep on keepin' on for The Boy, knowing that every time they treat him, it's because they think that the treatment will work and make him better.

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