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.