Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Good News Day!

In situations like this, you take good news wherever you can find it, and it found us today! One of the markers for severity and treatment options for Burkitt's is if the cancer cells have traveled through the body and found their way into the spinal cord and central nervous system. We got word today that RJ's spinal fluid is clear of bad cells, which isn't just good news, it's GREAT! HUGE! WONDERFUL! The next big test result will be the bone marrow and we should know something tomorrow about that. His kidney function is 'heading in the right direction' (to quote his nurse) and hopefully his lungs will improve enough in the next few days to get rid of the hated breathing tube. That is the thing right now that is driving RJ crazy.  The medication is breaking up the tumors in his intestines really quickly and his swollen stomach has returned almost to normal.

RJ today is a huge improvement from the RJ of just a few days ago. Yes, he has a tube in his throat and can't talk (although he is becoming really good at writing things quickly) and yes, he is covered with tubes putting things in, taking things out and keeping track of other things - but he is RJ through and through. His maturity and humor are showing through even during the most difficult times. His big request today was for Dr. Pepper-flavored lip balm for his chapped lips. Then he erased that request with signs in the air and asked for 'all of them'. A team was dispatched and soon he was in possession of an entire pack of soda-flavored lip balms. He is making a long list of all of the things he wants to eat and drink as soon as he is able - a giant Slurpee from 711 made the list today. Watching TV is hard because all of the food commercials are torture to someone who can't have any food by mouth.

When I arrived in the ICU this morning, RJ was busy showing his Facebook page to the nurse so that she could see some photos of him when he wasn't lying flat on his back in a hospital bed. Please - if you have a Facebook account and you're a friend, write on his wall. He has a laptop and still wants to be part of the world at large. I told him about the blog and asked him how much we should tell people about what he was going through. His eyes got wide and he made a big circle with his arm. It took us a few seconds to realize that he was saying 'everything'.

So we will do our best to tell you everything in the days, weeks and months to come.


  1. Good to see you today, C. and RJ and Jess and Karen and B and SH and Michele. Thanks for starting this!

  2. Glad Your Felling Better..


  3. Cynthia, I am so very glad you are writing this blog. Not only does it inform me of what's going on but it makes me feel like i'm there, with R.J. where I wish I could be so badly. Ever since I heard the news over the phone from my mom Saturday i've wanted to drop everything and drive straight to the hospital to see him (that's what I plan to do Friday after my classes) however i've been told that I can't see him because i'm sick. However I plan to be there and find some way to see him. Hopefully there's a window that we can write notes back and forth to eachother from. I miss R.J. sooooo much but it makes me feel better knowing that people like you who care about him so much have been by his side supporting him. I love you R.J. i'll see you Friday and start a special list for your big cousin to take care of. Love you :) HayBay

  4. Hey Jessica & R.J.
    ooohhh R.J., You're always a trouble maker :) I plan on stopping into see you. I know you'll do fine through this, you're a tough kid. Plus, just think of all the 500 frees you aren't having to swim right now!
    Jessica - I'm here, you have my email & number. I'm only about 30min away.
    --Katie Greer

  5. RJ...

    I'm a friend of Jason and Michelle...

    My heart goes out to you! and I will keep you in my prayers...

    Keep the faith! Go ahead and add me as a facebook friend... I'd love to stay patched in...

    David McDevitt (on Michelle's Facebook friend list)...

  6. RJ...

    I'm friends of Jason, Michelle, and Miles...

    I heard about your challenge from Michelle on Facebook... Please add me as a facebook friend too... (I'm on Michelle's list)...

    Keep the faith! I'm going to keep you in my prayers...


  7. Hi RJ & Jessica
    I am glad to hear you had good news! You have a lot of friends with the Darryls and we are all praying for you and sending you good vibes.
    Stay Strong,
    Coach Fred

  8. RJ! ur really super hellza awesome and i know u will get better soon! YOU ARE AWESOME!!!!!!!!

  9. dear rj and family,
    i feel very bad 4 u i miss u so much now i don't have someone to sit with during lunch :(i hope u start to feel better soon i wish there was some way i could help ease the pain you are going through right now. you are one of my favorite 8th grade person.i feel so bad. if you post exactly where u r ill send u some stuff
    your friend,

  10. Hey Rj, im soo sorry this happened to you!!!!!!! I love you like a best friend! We had great times at brook haven!!!! Everyone misses you and hopes you get better! Dont give up fighting! Get better soon kid!