This past month has been a blessing. It reminds me of April which was a calm in the eye of the storm as Jenney recovered from her first brain surgery. We knew there would be the other side of the storm to go through, knowing Marcus was going to be born and that we would have to start treatments, but we didn’t know it was going to be so extremely harrowing with the additional brain surgery. But this last half of June and first half of July have been like April, with not only Jenney recovering again, but also with Marcus growing so big and so strong.
Jenney has had two systemic treatments for her cancer so far. This consists of two medications that comprise her immunotherapy treatment. Each is intravenous and takes about two hours to administer, every three weeks. This coming Friday is her third treatment. So far the only side effect she’s had has been a pretty intense rash on her arms, legs, and chest. For that they subscribed a steroid cream that has helped. It doesn’t bother her very much other than remembering to apply it twice a day. I’m also happy to say that one of the smaller spots on her back I can’t seem to find any longer. I’m pretty sure I know where it was located, and that it’s simply gone. Some of her other small lumps under her skin also seem to have reduced in size. We haven’t had any official scans on those to measure if they’ve shrunk at all, but we’re pretty sure they have. I’m not sure when they are going to do another PET CT scan to check her body.
We did have another MRI on July 1st. They were going to wait longer, but I convinced them that since the tumor had grown back last time within 6 weeks, we should do another as soon as we could. The initial results were a bit scary, in that the technician’s report stated that the initial resection spot had increased in size about a centimeter, and the additional spot they’d noticed on the MRI 5 weeks prior to this one had also grown about half a centimeter. However, after our Oncologist, Radio Oncologist, and Neurosurgeon all conferred, they said that this amount of growth at this stage was very insignificant in comparison to how fast it grew last time. Our Oncologist said that he would order a perfusion MRI which will measure blood flow to the sites, and that would better indicate if they were cancerous or not. If they are, we might consider the gamma knife treatment, but at this stage we should be patient and let the immunotherapy do it’s work. They growth may also just be scar tissue growing over those parts.
Waiting is the hardest thing to do.
Marcus is growing like a weed. Monday we had another pediatric check-up and the doctor was very surprised at his growth. 1 month prior Marcus was in the 6th percentile for weight, and now at 8lbs 11oz, he’s in the 41st percentile. He’s also 21 inches tall now which took him from the 9th percentile to the 51st! Having an Italian grandmother who helps us make sure he’s fed is really paying off. :) He’s still eating pretty much every 3 hours, but sometimes stretches it to 4 hours. He’s always very gassy, which seems to pain him a lot, and his belly button also has become herniated. But the doctor (and baby forums) have assured us that this is all normal and each would resolve itself in time. We keep a band aid on his belly button though, just to help keep it in.
Other than doctor office visits and grocery store runs, we pretty much keep home. We’ve gone on a few picnics at state parks, and we visit with our few neighbors on our street. Vincent got a chance to go to his friend’s house down the road on Friday, but for the most part we spend our time with the kids, in the garden, and in our yard. The weather here has been beautiful, and the flowers are constantly in bloom and rotating which ones fragrances waft past us while having dinner on the back deck under our little gazebo tent.
Jeanne is still here with us and takes the morning shift around 2 or 3am for feeding Marcus. We did have a short stint without her when she went to visit Jenney’s brother and sister-in-law, Jim and Amanda for a few days. This gave Jenney and me a chance to experience what it would be like staying up with Marcus. It was hard, but I think we have a system that’ll work for when she does decide to go home at the beginning of August. We’ll miss her terribly though. All of our lives are so much better with her here, but she has friends and more family in San Diego to love and spend time with as well. :) Still, it’s never the same when she’s gone, but we’ll be alright.
When we pray, we always add these three things: Thank you God for healing Mommy, for helping Marcus grown big and strong, and for Nonna (grandma in Italian) being here with us.