Thursday, April 28, 2011

April 28th

Drew's PET scan will be Monday, May 2nd. If the scan comes back clean, Drew will be scheduled within a week for surgery to remove rib #6. The surgeon feels like this is our best option considering the rib has been weakened by each re-break and is offering no support to Drew at all. Moreover, because the rib has healed with somewhat of a jagged edge, if Drew were to fall, he could puncture his lung. Provided the scan is clean, the rib and his port will be removed at the same time.

He will be X-rayed again August 1st to see how much the spine has curved since February. If the current rate of curvature continues, we have no choice but to do a total chest wall reconstruction. He will have titanium rods put in to give his spine the support it needs. But, there's a small chance that Drew's muscles will strengthen enough to keep the spine from curving anymore. That's certainly what we are praying for.

He's feeling great these days. He has alot of back pain---mostly from the scoliosis. He's done very well catching himself up in school and will finish the year at the same time as the other children. His hair has grown back---a very light blonde. He's gotten his color back, and since Drew is naturally dark-complexioned, his light hair and dark skin make him look like a surfer!

Thank you all for praying, and we will update as soon as we know the results of Monday's scan.

Friday, April 8, 2011

New Issues

Drew's counts were good when we went to his March appointment. Thank the Lord for that. His weight dropped a few pounds, but that doesn't concern us because with increased strength, Drew is becoming more active. His color looks good; he feels good. But, we are struggling with a recurring issue: the breaking and re-breaking of rib #6. When we took him to the ER this time with a suspected re-break, he had done nothing more than run for about 200 feet in a relay race at a youth activity. He didn't fall; he didn't bump anything. Just ran. Our doctor decided it was time to consult a specialist, so he sent us to a rib reconstructionist--Dr. Woo. A very respected doctor in his field, we were anxious to see him to see what can be done to keep this re-break from continuing to happen. He looked at Drew's X-rays and immediately suggested that rib #6 just be removed altogether. I initially questioned that because he's already lost ribs #7, #8, #9, and #10. It didn't make sense to me to remove another one. I voiced my concerns that taking out rib #6 would only create a domino effect leading to the removal of #5, then later #4 and so on. But, he explained that rib #6 continues to re-break because it never should have been broken in the first place. The surgeon broke it and pulled it down to cover the vast space left by the removal of the other ribs. But, because the rib was not designed that way, it's placed undue pressure on that rib. His opinion is that the rib will continue to break unless it is removed. We have an appointment with the surgeon on the 19th to discuss removing it. However, we are in much prayer about that; we do not have peace with that surgery right now. The other news Dr. Woo gave us was a little more disheartening. Because of the removal of all the ribs, Drew now has scoliosis of the spine. Without the 4 ribs for support, his spine has curved since the surgery 9 months ago about 40%. If the next X-ray reveals continual curvature, he will have to have a total chest wall reconstruction surgery. This surgery would give him support and give him relief for the back pain he's had. But, because he's still growing, he could outgrow the titanium rods which will be implanted during surgery. That would lead to a new surgery later down the road. On the other hand, if we do not do the reconstruction surgery and his spine continues to curve, he will have a great deal more pain. We need the Lord's direction and wisdom. And, grace.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

February's biopsy

We haven't updated the blog in sometime. The results of the scans in February sent us on an emotional roller coaster for a couple of weeks. The first reading from CT and PET was that there was a new tumor in the same ribcage of the initial tumor. Surely not. But, there it was on the results---this mass. We stared in disbelief and tried to wrap our minds around it all. Our doctor phoned to explain the readings, and to also try to calm our worst fears. He theorized that this was not a new tumor at all, but instead tissue and calcium surrounding the one rib that had been broken in September after the surgery. He felt like that area had some swelling and possibly some bleeding, but that in all likelihood, not a new tumor. Drew's case was brought before a board of physicians to get their concensus on the readings; they all agreed based on the location of this new mass and the fact that the mass was located in the exact spot that the rib had been broken and re-broken. It was decided that because the area was easily accessible and wouldn't require being cut into, they would do a subcutaneous biopsy. We planned the procedure and waited....and prayed. Originally, it was thought that Drew would only need a local anesthetic, but the anestesiologist decided to go ahead and do a general to save Drew from any discomfort. It took two days for the results to come back, but the sweetest words were, "Biopsy is clean. No cancer cells!" It was a hallelujah time, for sure.