A new chapter in our story. Hopefully a short one.
Oh, Cashill James. Our stubborn, smart, vivacious little man. We’re in a bit of a spot right now and this story is worth sharing. The post is a long one. There’s just so much to write!
TL;DR: We’re testing Cash for cancer! But he may not have it! What the future tells? Nobody knows. Except I do know, and I know he’ll be fine, cancer or no cancer.
What’s happening? That “muscle spasm” I posted about? Not so much a muscle spasm. Actually a pretty scary tumor.
Last week I had Cashill in and out of doctor’s offices every day as his lump wasn’t getting smaller, and he was clearly still in pain. Chiropractor, acupuncturist, pediatrician. Everyone said the same thing: “I think this is a muscle spasm, but it is very weird”. His last appointment of the week (on Friday afternoon) was with a pediatric orthopaedist at Children’s Hospital. The doctor took one look at him and immediately referred us to a pediatric orthopaedic oncologist, who got us on the books for an MRI/blood tests asap. SHOCK. PUNCH IN THE FACE. Things were “weird” with this muscle spasm, but it never occurred to me that it was anything other than a musculoskeletal anomaly. The opening of the tumor door was, in a word, awful. Or, here are a few more words: terrifying, paralyzing, sickening, $%@#.
For months I had had planned a business trip to California where I anticipated, and looked forward to, making huge! progress on a number of projects. With hope that the MRI and blood test would put all fears to rest, I headed to CA as planned on Sunday night, setting expectations that should Monday not go well, I’d be home right away. Monday morning it was immediately obvious that I needed to be back that night. Before the MRI even began, the biopsy for the following morning was scheduled.
MRI showed a blood and fluid filled cyst. The oncologist calls it a tumor. I’m not up on biology terminology, but as I now (unconfidently) understand, a tumor is both a solid mass or fluid filled mass. I always thought a tumor had to be solid? Don’t shoot me if I’m understanding this incorrectly. It’s been information overload. Blood test showed slightly elevated white blood cell count. This elevation could mean bad things, or nothing. A toss up!
So. At this point let’s count +1 for OK labs. -1 for sketchy cyst-tumor.
Tuesday morning we got to Children’s bright and early. We dressed Cash in a sweet little hospital gown, equipped him with his ninja turtle flashlight and settled into pre-op. We were first greeted by a resident and attending. We’ll say their bedside manner is not yet refined. “Justin” (if that’s his real name) gave it to us straight. Thanks Justin! -1 for labs. -1 for tumor. -1 for life. He also gave us the wrong prescription. So let’s throw Justin under the bus and move on to Dr. Heare, the experienced, lead orthopaedic oncologist. Dr. Heare patiently answered our questions and gave us a detailed run down of how the day would go. Not a good bit more promising than our conversation with Justin but significantly more neutral and non-committal. I like that in a doctor when it comes to my baby having a cancerous tumor.
I won’t go into detail but walking your little one into a giant sterile operating suite with one tiny baby sized operating table right in the middle is awful. Pray we don’t do that again.
Post-op, while Cash was still under general anesthesia, Dr. Heare led us into a parent-doctor conference room. While the rest of the facility is colorful, and beautiful, and child friendly, these news rooms are depressing yellow boxes with a couch for the parents, an arm chair for the dr. and bad carpet. Dr. Heare informed us he saw some bad stuff and some good stuff both in real life and on the slides. +1 for good looking cells. -10 for cancer looks cells. I asked for a percentage of cancer to non-cancer and got a 50/50 estimate (don’t check my math). Comforting!
So now, today, we’re waiting on a phone call. Cash’s biopsy is going through further tests and we’ll hear as soon as there is any news. We hoped to hear something by today but haven’t yet. Maybe tomorrow. If not, the next day?
How’s Cash? Well, pretty great. He’s bright and funny and being sweeter than pie. If i had a dime for the number of times he kissed my hand and told me he loves me today, I could at least buy a venti latte at starbucks. Granted he had more apple juice, gatorade, pancakes, snuggles, movies and very good pain killers than any normal day, but still. For now, we’re just going to soak in every bit of sweetness and focus on a happy future. All prayers, finger crossing and positive thoughts are heartily accepted. This little boy of ours would not could not go down without a fight, but more than likely he won’t have to. Right?
After dinner we’re all hanging out in the living room, playing a very mild game of catch with the football. Beau kept attempting to intercept so I suggested to Cash that he give Beau the ball for a second so he could feel part of the game.
Well, Beau can be the coach, then!
If one of the football players falls and get hurts the coach will run out to the field. The football player will say, “ya coach?” (boston accent?!) and the coach will say “you need to be gentle with the other football players!” (sternly). And that will be the game.