Sunday, April 4, 2010

Weekend Getaway

A few weeks ago we escaped to St George for the weekend to watch the Sunshine Tournament. My extended family goes every third week of March to enjoy the year’s first hint of sunshine, watch a little baseball and hike the red rock. This year I guided a carload of family on their maiden voyage to Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park. Nate, Zach and I went last October and it was a blast! Angel’s Landing is a very simple hike with the occasional 1300-foot drop, just a step off the trail. Now we didn’t expect snow, but unfortunately we hit an impassible patch just 100 feet from the summit. For those familiar with Angel’s Landing, we made it to the last set of chains before the top. (The chains are to steady your balance, so you don’t fall off the mountain). Needless to say, Angel’s Landing is not for the ‘heights’ sensitive hiker.

The rest of our stay was spent swimming, eating at Texas Roadhouse (the kid’s favorite, and Grandpa Errol’s treat), enjoying the sun and watching the Spanish Fork Dons cream every team they played. I have yet to see the Dons take a team all 7. They usually win in 4! I think the Dons have won the Sunshine Tournament for the last 100 years! Anyway, my Nephew Dallas is a senior this year, so this will have been the last hurrah supporting the family for a while. We’ll still go to the Sunshine Tournament of course. It’s been a family tradition for as long as I remember.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Treatment 5

We’re working on Ty’s 5th treatment this week. The process started with a 7-8 hour IV drip, through his under-the-skin port-a-cath. These fluids are given in order to balance his PH level. If his levels aren’t evened out correctly, the acid in his fluids can cause the chemotherapy to accumulate in his kidneys and crystallize. This would cause Ty’s kidneys to shut down or fail. The nurses keep his IV fluids pumping the entire time we’re in the hospital. The nurses checks his levels every two hours.
After his body reaches the desired PH level a nurse, dressed in protective clothing that resembles a Hasmat suit, brings in the chemo bag (Not so comforting). The name of this week’s therapy is Methotrextate. This is given intravenously over a 4-hour period, and then we wait for the Methotrexate to clear his body to a level less than .01. This process takes a varying amount of time. Like everything else here, it all depends on the patient. (I’m growing weary of this answer). This is the third time Ty has had a treatment of Methotrexate. Kirk and I are finding ways to play the “Meth game”. The more Ty drinks and eats, the faster the Methotrexate clears his little body. Sounds easy, right?
Factor in mouth/throat sores, a sick stomach and the ability to throw up at the hint of any smell, and this becomes a full time job. We use distractions such as books, cartoons, and movies, Legos, Poptropica and the Wii. This keeps his mind off what we’re trying to have him to eat and drink. The days are filled constantly trying to get him to eat and drink. Truth is it’s emotionally and physically exhausting.
This leads us to another issue that Ty has: weight loss. Ty has consistently lost weight the last 9 weeks. He’s currently down 10 lbs. Here is where we are grateful Ty is built like a brick house. 10 lbs. is nothing to be alarmed about, but still we are concerned. The doctor has ordered an appetite stimulant that Ty takes orally three times a day. Can you believe there is such a thing? I thought an appetite stimulant was just called stress! Apparently I’ve been taking appetite stimulant without even knowing. ☺
Ty is on several anti-nausea medicines to help his chemo infusions run smooth. Kirk is very diligent in tracking which medicine works and which doesn’t. We have experienced several scary and uneasy side effects from the anti-nausea medicines. No parent should have to see his or her child go through severe depression or hallucination. These times have been very dark and sad for us. We’re now to a point where we have eliminated the “bad” medicines, and time the “good” one correctly. Ty has been less sick since we figured this out.
He starts with Zofran every 6 hours, plus a once a day dose of Dethamexazone, and several doses of Benadryl as needed. Leucovorin is given with this treatment to help speed up the breakdown process of Methotrexate.
The things Ty goes through during his chemo treatments can be very disturbing. From the different chemotherapies, to the medication to combat the side effects, it is enough to give us nightmares, and it sometimes does. We have to consciously remind ourselves, we do this for the best possible outcome.
Ty has done pretty well this trip. Everything as gone as expected with no surprises. When we first got here Wednesday a cool nurse named Irish was laughing and teasing Ty, making him feel right at home. Irish even challenged Ty to pull April fools pranks by squirting everyone with a syringe. Needles to say any Nurse, Tech or Doctor that walked through the door got wet. This is a good sign that Ty is getting back to normal.
His Methotrexate level is down to .74 this morning. We hope he will be able to go home early Saturday afternoon.
A big thanks goes out to our family, ward and friends for the prayers, kind acts and best wishes directed to our family, especially Ty Ty.
I truly know that prayers in our behalf have been heard and answered. I have felt and continue to feel help, comfort and love that comes through the Savior, Jesus Christ. Our hearts are full of love and gratitude to all of you.