It is with deepest appreciation that we thank you for the outpouring of love, support, calls, emails and texts over the last week. What had started out as an ordinary day on Tuesday, December 11, quickly turned on its head when we brought Michael to the pediatrician for a typical belly ache and fever. It was within moments of seeing the alarming look on the doctor’s face in the exam room that we knew something was wrong.
In the hours to follow, we would learn that Michael has a massive tumor (about half the size of a football) growing deep within his abdominal cavity and, soon after, came the dreaded phrase that no parent should ever have to hear: “your child has cancer.”
In particular, Michael has a cancer called Neuroblastoma – a rare pediatric cancer that formed from immature nerve cells on his right Adrenal gland (which sits just above the kidney). It is an aggressive cancer that impacts only 700 children globally a year. Getting the right expert to combat his cancer was imperative.
In the midst of chaos our first 24 hours since diagnosis, we learned that the formidable expert in this area of oncology treatment is Dr. Sue Cohn, who is based out of the University of Chicago. Through a network of friends and work colleagues (and miracles), we were able get in contact with Dr. Cohn and explain our situation. Without hesitation, she immediately transferred Michael by ambulance to U of C and agreed to take lead on his oncology medical care.
Since arriving at this hospital, Michael has completed 5 rounds of daily chemotherapy (and has responded well) and is recovering from an 8-inch incision in his tiny belly. We remain faithful that the tumor is contained in his abdomen and has not spread to his bone marrow or bones. We ask that you please pray for this as well.
Depending on the results of all these tests, we hope to take Michael home by Christmas to see all the presents Santa has for him. We will return on January 7 for surgery to place a port in Michael’s chest, followed by another 5 days of in-hospital chemo treatments.
His journey to recovery will be long– complete with dozens of rounds of chemo, a surgery to remove the tumor, immunotherapy, more chemo and, finally, radiation. But we are ready to fight. More important, we are determined to win.
While the past 7 days have been a blur on many levels, one thing has been crystal clear: our little boy (and his older brothers) are surrounded by an amazing extended family of relatives, friends, co-workers, hockey players, and neighbors who are sending love, prayers, hope and well wishes. THANK YOU.
As we look to the weeks ahead, we wish you and your families a wonderful holiday. May you use this time to love more, enjoy those around you and appreciate all the blessing you have been given.
Until we chat again, please keep us in your prayers.