Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Looking back, and looking ahead

As I look back on the past 7 months, I am in awe of the progress we've seen. Hank's tumor went from huge to nonexistent... literally. We had an MRI done a few weeks ago (sorry for the delay in updating you all. We had a few birthdays to contend with.) and the results came back. The doctors said the tumor is GONE, but that some radiation "residue" was still showing up on the scan. While we aren't exactly sure how to explain that to you... because we weren't exactly given a vivd description ourselves... we did anticipate there being lingering effects from radiation.
Now, having said that the tumor is gone, I should explain that this doesn't mean the cancer is gone. While an MRI was performed to determine the size of the tumor, we did not have a CT or PET scan done, which would have shown cellular imaging. Those will be done in December when we do what is hoped to be our final round of labs and imaging.
So Hank is tumor free, but not necessarily cancer free.
We are now in our third trimester of Chemo. So Lord willing, Hank will receive his FINAL Chemotherapy the week of Thanksgiving (How appropriate!!!!!) and then we will let his body recover from that heavy hitting round before they begin having all the lab work, imaging, consultations and whatever else we will need to do (surgery to remove Hank's port). We are pretty sure we should be sitting down with doctors the week before Christmas to hear all the imaging/lab results. SO... if all goes as we hope it will, we will be ringing in the new year with a happy, cancer free Hank!

I wanted to share a glimpse into the type of patient Hank is...
So a couple weeks ago, Hank was going in every week day for 90 minute Irinotecan injections. Taylor is taking classes this fall and needed someone to come up and take over with Hank so he could get to school. SO my dad came up one day and Hank was smiling and happy-go-lucky. Dad asked the nurses if he was always in such a good mood. The nurses all chimed in that "oh yes! Hank is the best patient!" They have been known to fight over who will get Hank when he comes in, because he is so awesome. Hank has developed a "happy place" in his mind for when he receives shots or has his port accessed. It is the Camouflage Train, and he pretends he is getting on board with his whole family! Hank barely even bats an eye at needles anymore.
My mom ended up covering for Taylor on another day that same week, and she had a similar experience. The nurses and staff all love Hank. He is a "model patient!"
Hank has also been known to comfort other kids when they are in for treatments... even kids older than him.His conversation recently went something like this:  "It can be kind of scary when they poke you, but they just want to help you and make you feel better... so if it helps, you can always close your eyes and think about something happy... I think about riding a camouflage train with my family. It is such a cool train!"

Hank is also seeing the bright side in his hair falling out again. We buzzed his head and he looked in the mirror. "Mom, for Halloween, I want to be the Avatar! You can just draw a blue arrow right here on my head! It will be soooooo cool!"
He will make a great Aang. :) (Feel free to google it, but I will leave you with a picture of the Avatar!
P.S. Hank turned 5 years old!!!!! on Sept. 26. And Corin turned 9 this past weekend! Time marches on. :)

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