Shane’s Future Days is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation whose mission is to raise awareness, research funds and assist families currently battling alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma and other high risk childhood cancers. EIN: 47-2556395 .
Last week was a good week. It was his easy treatment week and his numbers came back up. The doctors were glad to see him back to his usual self. This week we started the five day treatments. Today we clocked 5 hours at CHOP. His numbers were great and he was a social butterfly, which gained him some chocolate ice cream. Shane also slept for an hour and this NEVER happens. It was a long, but good day. Shane got sick at home, but he ate right away and had a good night catching up with his family. Only four more days to go!
The good news is we get out of CHOP today, the bad news is we have been here since Wednesday night. We took Shane to clinic on Wednesday for his routine easy treatment. He was not his usual nosy, mobile self, instead he chose to nap on PopPop. His counts were OK, with only some concern over his platelet count. We were asked to come back Friday to get a transfusion. It was a long day in clinic because they were crazy busy after the holiday weekend. We got home, played and then Shane went down for a nap. When Paul got home from work, we woke him up and he was HOT. His temperature ranged from 102-104 and in cancer patients 101.4 is ER worthy. While we have been fortunate to never have a fever (ever), the timing couldn’t be worse. We were leaving that night to get a second opinion up in Boston. There is a rhabdo specialist up there and we had some questions concerning treatment options. Oh well, life happens and we have to be sure he is OK. We head down to CHOP and they test to see if he has a blood infection from his port. In the meantime, his counts have almost doubled since clinic, so it looked like it would be a quick one night stay. Eh, unfortunately he maintained a fever, which depleted his numbers and we were staying until they rebounded. By yesterday they lowered a little, but didn’t plummet like the docs expected. He looked better, but was still staying. He got a platelet transfusion, which caused a high fever and whole body shakes- an allergic reaction. So, here we are day 3 and finally we can go home. His numbers are up and now we just need to wait for our release. According to the doctor, we have led a “blessed chemotherapy life” having not to experience this until week 23. Honestly, I will be praying we make it through the fall/winter without another trip like this. It was hard, unexpected and frustrating. Shane definitely does so much better at home, who doesn’t? We’ll be back here Wednesday for the same treatment, thankfully it doesn’t affect his numbers. This was probably caused from the overnight chemo treatment and maybe a viral infection on top.
This is our family celebrating September 1, 2014. Today is not only Labor Day, but it is the start to childhood cancer awareness month. This time last year I would have had no idea about it either. It’s like they say, you never think it will happen to you and then it does. We join millions of families in this emotional journey. We fight for our children as they become littles heroes, warriors. We hold them as they endure their sedations, surgeries, biopsies, chemo, and for some radiation. They are still little and young and may not feel as those their voices are being heard. That is why we have to help them find their voice, be their voice and draw attention to their cause. That little guy in the picture is our Shane Metzgar. He was 8 months old when diagnosed with stage 4 Alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma or rhabdo or ARMS for short. It is a vicious beast and was caused by a gene translocation. We have no idea when the tumor started, but it doubled in size from it’s initial discovery to his diagnosis. Shane’s diagnosis was a grim day- March 28, 2014. No one ever wants to hear their child has cancer, but you most definitely don’t want to hear “we were afraid it was this cancer,” poor prognosis, and only 1 in 10 survive. You see, rhabdo is treatable, but it comes back. We are determined to remain hopeful and positive. We live each day for him and keeping our family whole. Some days are easier than others. We take one day at a time and can’t make plans like we used to because everything is pretty much dictated by his treatment schedule and how he is feeling. Some people get it, some don’t. We are just trying to be normal, but real in our situation. My husband and I look at each other and say “I can’t believe we are going through this.” We both then add “everyday until we beat it.” So, even though we are still considered new to the journey we are in it forever. Cancer messed with the wrong family. We are determined to create something that will be a lasting. We still need time to sort that out. In the meantime, we encourage everyone to take a stand and spread the word about childhood cancer- the least funded cancer research by the government. We appreciate all the support you have given us. If you are on Facebook and are inclined to, please “like” and “share” Shane’s page to help raise awareness. www.facebook.com/HelpShaneFightCancer #HelpShaneFightCancer
This Thursday we took an early morning journey from the shore to CHOP, so that Shane could complete his inpatient treatment for week 22 (half way done!!). We pushed his treatment back a day so we could celebrate big brother’s 7th birthday. We arrived at 7:20 am and he completed his treatment at 4 pm. It always happens that way. You think it will be a swift admittance, but then clinic gets crowded, there are no cribs, etc. You just have to go with the flow and luckily the doctors work with us so that we can get out the next day at a reasonable time. For this treatment Shane gets a shot 24 hours after treatment in order to boost his white blood cell count. We were looking at a 4 pm discharge. Luckily, we were out by 2 pm. This treatment is the harshest in terms of the type of chemo he is receiving. He hasn’t had it since the end of round 1, so I anticipated some bumps. Plus, he is mobile now. On top of the chemo, he also gets a bolus of fluids for 8 hours for hydration. This is a long time to have little man hooked up! Thankfully, he enjoys his stroller and when we got onto the floor they had music in the playroom with his favorite teacher. It helped kill a good hour. Shane struggled settling himself later in the night. Even though he was tired, he didn’t fall asleep unless I held him. I could tell he was getting nauseous so I held him for a good 2.5 hrs and then tried to lay him in the crib. Then he got really sick. The next morning it was the same until we doubled up on some anti-nausea medicine. He was then line free and roaming the halls, smiling and flirting. It took a full day for his appetite to come back. He continued to nurse, but did not eat solids until yesterday. We are enjoying a relaxing weekend until we have some more obstacles later in the week. Thank you for continued support. Please keep Shane in your prayers.