#7

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Ours was a very low-key time filled with family & entirely too much food!! We kept things very simple this year as we have with all of the recent holidays. This morning we are  back at the infusion center for chemo round #7. The last time we went to MD Anderson they told us that Joel will keep the same chemo routine through rounds #7 & #8. After round #8 they will be removing one of the chemo drugs from the routine & adding a new drug to his routine. This will mean that he will still have 3 chemo drugs to take, but according to our doctor this drug that he is removing is the drug that is the hardest on the body. I had been worrying about Joel because the deeper we had gone into chemo the harder it has been for his body to recover. Seeing as though we aren't even at the halfway point I had no idea how he would be at the end of the year if we continued on this same trajectory. It was a relief to hear that the hardest of the hard drugs will be coming to an end soon. This new drug has a whole new slew of possible side-affects, the largest being possible severe digestion problems. We are praying that his symptoms continue to be mild. We continue to believe that Joel has been spared from the full wrath of these drugs due to our prayers & the prayers from all of you. As you saw from my earlier post Joel's tests came back clear. Just a little recap so you all can fully understand what that means. When Joel was first diagnosed with kidney cancer the very first test that they ran was to check for spreading to other areas of his body namely the liver & the chest. All of those tests came back clear. Then when they went in to remove his kidney & all of the cancer they removed & tested lymph nodes in several of the areas surrounding the kidney. All of those tests came back clear as well. After Joel's pathology came back diagnosing his cancer as Ewing's Sarcoma that is when they decided to do chemo. Why chemo if they can't find any cancer? Because of the type of cancer that it was. Ewing's Sarcoma is a very rare, aggressive, & unpredictable form of cancer. It is most normally a bone cancer. It is also the type of cancer that lurks in cells & can go from a small spot to full body cancer as quickly as a few days. It is that aggressive. The doctors here at OU Medical center did not even want to treat him until he went to the best of the best specialists in Houston at MD Anderson Cancer Center. The doctor's there decided the only way that they would feel comfortable that he is completely treated for this cancer is to give a full year of aggressive chemotherapy treatment. We go back to Houston every 6 weeks for testing to check for any signs of cancer or spreading. To date every single one of those tests have come back clear thank the Lord. Basically since his surgery there has never been any evidence of cancer in his body & we believe that he was healed on that day & will be from here on out. The plan now is to continue to do this chemo until he reaches the one year point which is September of 2011. After that his testing will be every 3 months for the next year. Then the tests spread to every 6 months & then once a year until we hit 5 years. After the 5 year point of clear tests he will then be declared officially cancer-free. At that point he will statistically have as much of a chance of getting cancer as the next person on the street. His "anniversary-date" per se is the date of his surgery which was in June. So June of 2011 will be 1 year down 4 to go! I know that most of you who have followed us are aware of all of this, but some of you newbies might not have heard all of these details. I know I give you a lot of information & it's easy to forget where we are in the process.

I can't believe that 2011 is just around the corner!! 2010 has been one heck of a year for us. I plan to do some reflecting on it towards the end of the week for our next blog as well as tell you about some incredible things that are in store for 2011 for us.

Have a wonderful week.

Love to you!

Sarah