On January 27, 2011 Eric Merkley was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. An aggressive cancer that we hope and the doctors to this point seem confident that is contained to one spot on his leg. Prognosis is good. Treatments and recovery will be long and painful.

Monday, February 28, 2011

2nd treatment complete

The very colorful yellow chemical has now been emptied into our Eric. He is sleeping now, thanks to his steak and broccoli dinner...not to mention the anti nausea medicines they have given him. But so far so good.
Good luck to the Sky hawks tomorrow. We will be cheering for you to advance in the state tournament!

2nd treatment

Here we go... they are ready to start the 2nd chemo treatment. It is a different drug then the first treatment Eric had a couple of weeks ago. It sounds like it comes with a few different side effects, but Eric's blood is really strong right now. The drug will only take 4 to 5 hours to drip, but the time consuming problem with this drug, is he has to flush out the chemical before they will allow him to go home. Eric asked what the record was for the quickest flush and the nurse said that it was 72 hours.... Eric said that he will beat that time! So because we have a very competitive boy, it will be interesting to watch him. It means that he has to not only deal with the massive amount of IV fluids but he will also need to drink a lot of water.
Because this is the first time Eric is taking this particular drug, we are not sure how he will react to it. So it will be a learning experience.
Like clock work, Eric will spike a fever at 4 - 5:00 in the evening. We are thinking that it has more to do with the inflammation of the tumor, than a virus/infection.
Yesterday Eric had a great day with friends visiting him. He brought with him a new blanket that his friends gave him (he said it was better to look at then my boring green one.) One of the first thing the Charge Nurse asked me was how his attitude was and if he was having friends over to keep from being depressed. I told her that when I got home from work yesterday that I could tell that he had a great day visiting with his friends. We both know that he is going to make it through this tough time because of the love and support from the most amazing friends and family! So I can never thank you all enough! Stay tuned for more info coming to you from Primary Children's hospital.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Madi Came to Visit

One cool thing about being sick, is that you get to have really cute girls come visit! Madi Poulson (McKell's Sister) came to check up on Eric. So Eric took the time to show off the tumor in his leg.

Lucky Madi!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Ready for the next round

Eric has been resting well since we got home to our "resort".  :)  He is still spiking a fever at night, but feels fine.  We got word to plan on reporting to PMC at 11:00am on Monday.  We will get a call Monday morning at 9:00 to let us know if his blood counts are good to go, then we will take off from there.  His leg is starting to ache, so he is anxious to start another round of chemo to shrink the tumor more. 
This picture was taken by Todd at PMC during his first treatment.  As you can see he still had hair.  I don't know how many pics he will let us put on here while in the hospital.  So far he has been a trooper and indulged me when it comes to the blog, so I hope I don't embarrass him to bad... :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

We are home and shaved the head

Eric's hair started falling out, and it was bugging him, so he wanted to just shave it all off now.  Here we go...


Eric's body responed well to my excellent nursing...and the shots that I gave him. :) okay, it was because of the excellent care here, but is was fun to tease him about giving the shots. His white blood count is excellent. He will need a blood transfusion to boost his red blood cells, but we are coming home today!!! When the doctor told him the news about how well he responded to the nuepogen, Eric said "it's because I'm a man!". She started laughing hard and said "you just made my day!". Did I mention we get to come home?!

Monday, February 21, 2011


Here is what we were looking at

Great Improvement

Today was a great day in the fact that his blood count has taken a significant jump. Not enough to come home, but it was very encouraging to see it come up. So we are hoping that tomorrow we wil be able to come home, for a short visit at home, then we will be back for the next treatment.... if all goes well. He is still spiking a fever, so they may add a new antibiotic into his already loaded mix of drugs.
Last night as we looked out the window and into another window on the other side of the hospital, there was shadow of someone just standing there. They were not moving... for hours, we were joking about the creepy stalker etc. Well as the night was winding down, we mentioned it to the nurse and she was a a little creeped out about it and went to find out what it was and could not find it. Apparently the little guy next to us was just as creeped out about it and security was called. They needed to get an idea what we were looking at so they came into Eric's Room to "investigate". They did not want to alarm the little guy next to us any more than he already was. The security guard saved the day and "took down" that stalker. It doesn't take much to entertain us here. Daryl got a picture of it, maybe later when I have the picture I can share our stalker with you. :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Can I just say how thankful I am to be at Primary's. Eric was running another fever last night. But after they gave him a Tylenol it broke and so far has stayed away. They are giving him a stronger antibiotic and will start him on a drug called Neupogen. They usually do not give this to patients until they can see how they are going to react to the first chemo treatment. I was told he would be getting the drug on his next chemo treatment with the "red devil". Well they have decided to start him on it now, since his count is not rebounding like it should. They want to get him better so we can stay on track for his next treatment. So let's hope that it will all go well so we can continue with the treatment a week from Monday. Eric is feeling better and in great spirits. He is still bummed about the ESPN thing, though. He is a little nervous, because they are going to teach me how to give the Neupogen shots... This could be interesting. We just won't let Todd watch cause he hates needles.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

We're back

Well I am learning that we are living moment by moment. We are back at Primary children's hospital. They were waiting for us and made Eric comfortable immediately. I am very grateful to Dr. Money and his willingness to learn with us and also for his honesty when it came to territory that he is not comfortable with. We are not sure how long we will be here, but it feels good to be in a place where they know what needs to be done. It does appear that his blood is ready to rebound and with the help of additional antibiotics, he will continue to get stronger.

Sounds like Salem hills triumphed over Uintah! Congradulations!
Just so everyone knows that the new design of this blog was done by McKell, my wonderful daughter in law. She took one look at my blog and said that she would "fix it". Thank heavens for family! :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Hot coach

Today Eric's nurse was asking him if he was a basketball player because he is not fitting into the bed. He told her that he was and that he played for Salem hills She said "oh do you have that Hot coach... I mean he is really hot!!!". You should have seen Eric's face. He said "Coach DeGraffenried is my coach." and she said " Yes he is the HOT coach.". Lol Heidi you better watch out!

Eric is not going home today. His immune system is zero. Hopefully his blood will start to rebound so he can possibly go home tomorrow night.

Still here

We are still at the hospital, but Eric's fever broke last night. His blood count is still dangerously low, but I am learning that it could still be from the chemo. Where that was his first treatment, it is hard to predict how he would cycle through. His next two treatments are with a different chemical. And it is not as harsh as his first treatment. But in 4 weeks he will be doing the "red devil" again. I guess you get to learn along with me. Lucky you! :)

I have another funny story, a couple of days ago I was getting ready to run up the stairs for the 100th time to get something for Eric and I said "You know that payback is a ... well how do I say thing nicely.. brutal. When I get old..." He immediately said "I am shipping you to Arizonia and putting you in a home!" He still is pretty quick with the wit! So I am thinking I need to write up a contract that says he will not send me to a home and have him sign it while he is loopy on drugs and do not know what he is signing. :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Another trip

I am so surprised how our new life can change on a dime. Yesterday he did really well, we got a walking cast for his foot and he was able to walk on his foot for the first time in two weeks, he was in great spirits and then the dreaded fever hit. Since this is such a new process/learning experience and his fever held for an hour and was climbing, we were instructed to go the emergency room, where they put him on an antibiotic and are doing some blood cultures. He will have to stay here for a couple days, unfortunately, to make sure the fever is not caused by bacteria. He is sleeping right now and I know he will be fine, I am sure that pretty soon we are going to be experts on this... Can I just say dang it?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

New Basketball

How cool is this, Coach Roberts brought by a basketball signed by the BYU basketball team!  Eric would like to Thank the Roberts Family and the BYU basketball team for this gift!

Attending the Big Game - Salem vs Payson

Of course he has to talk to the cheerleaders, even if they are from Payson. :)

Introducing the Starting lineup Kolby Linford

#13 Jake Skinner

It gets brutal underneath the basket.
Eric had a great day today and was ready to venture out..with a momma bear watching all the germs. :) Coach Griffin was amazing and found a wheel chair and had a couple of the great Salem High Basketball players close by to help Eric from the car into the wheel chair and then into the locker room. He was NOT excited about wearing the mask, but I told him that he could either wear the mask and see his friends or not wear a mask and stay at home. He was ready to get out of the house and decided that he would comply with momma bear and wear a mask.

When the team went into the locker room before the game, which was pretty smelly by the way... Coach DeGraffenried turned the time over to Eric and Eric had an opportunity to tell the team how much he appreciated their love and support and how they were like a family. He reminded them that the time that they spend on the court will be some of the greatest memories to have the rest of their lives. Eric told them how much he missed playing, that he even missed practice and Josh Treanor said "No you don't" (I have heard that practice has been brutal). Eric went on to tell them to help each other up and play to together as a team, because family stayed together and triumphed.

I have to say that I was very proud of him. I am so proud of the team and not only of their support but of their compassion. Jordan Jensen was his official escort for the night, and as I watch those boys, I know that every one of their parents are proud of them for who they are and what they stand for! I am proud to call them Eric's friends and as any parent will tell you that it is comforting for your child to surround themselves with great friends, and Eric has that! Even though Payson won the game, Eric wanted to stick around and tell Clint Bateman (from Payson) good game and that he loved him!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Great Friends

London and Josh came to check up on Eric.  What great friends.  Good Luck tonight at the basketball game against Payson... Sorry Clint Bateman, we are rooting for Salem to kick .. you know what.  :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What did I tell you

Even as I was writing the last post, I went to check on the "boys" and sure enough, Daryl was doing a great job taking care of Eric!

Spoiled Rotten

Can you say... Spoiled Rotten?  Well we have the most amazing friends and neighbors!  On our front porch the Dayton's had left a gift for Eric, it was a basketball hoop and balls.  Which made his day!  Even more funny is the fact that older brother Daryl is fetching the balls for him!  Talk about role reversal.  It use to be that Daryl would force Eric to do things for him, and now Eric just looks like he needs something, Daryl is all over it!  Of course somethings never change, even though Daryl is fetching the balls, he is still trying to block the basket. :)

I have to laugh, because Daryl will come to "help out" with Eric, and I will find Daryl fast asleep next to Eric.. Big Helper!!

Eric is doing pretty good.  He is feeling better to eat and drink more.  Tomorrow he will get his first blood drawn since coming home, to see where he blood counts are.  His pain has been tolerable.

Can I tell you a funny story.  When we first got to the hospital last Friday night, he was in soo soo much pain, and while the nurses were trying to get his vitals and gather up the medicines to help with the pain, in between each groan of pain he was flipping through the TV station looking for ESPN.  He was so upset that there was no ESPN!!  I kept thinking "why do you care about ESPN right now?"  I guess I don't understand.  :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Quiet Day

There probably will not be a whole lot to update you on right now, other than Eric is resting well.  When opportunities present themselves, I will post more pictures of Eric and his friends.  Eric did receive a Skyhawk blanket last night.  Debbie and Bonnie said that this cuddly blanket is better to snuggle with than a girl.... I really like this blanket!  :) 

I did learn at the hospital an interesting fact about Chemotherapy.  Most generally you hear of adults going in for their chemo treatments for 5-6 hours and then they go home.  I asked Dr. Spraker about this, why Eric was admitted into the hospital for several days, was it  because they are young and because they drag out the treatment so they can handle it?  And she said that it is actually the opposite, because they are young, they are more resilient to the treatment and if an adult received this same treatment, it mostly likely would kill them.  Which made my heart stop.  This is a very serious treatment.  But I will count my blessings when possible in the fact that this is a very treatable cancer and not only is he in the best of hands, but he will be able to conquer this.  I have felt this confirmation many times over.  It is just so hard to see Eric so sick and hurting all the time, but we are on the right road.  I can not thank you enough for all your prayers!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

We made it home

Wohoo!!  We made it home, it took what seemed like a year to get the discharge complete, but we made it home.  Eric is resting right now and a little nauseous.  But happy to be home.  Please don't be offended if he does not answer your phone calls or texts right away.  This weekend he will be the most vulnerable to germs, so there may be a quarantine.  Sorry.

This picture was taken by Daryl right before a test.  Eric is just trying to entertain himself. :)

Great night

Can I just say how great it was to see "My Eric" come back? He had dinner last night...fruit loops, they took his oxygen mask away and his last IV was taken down about 1:00 am. Dr. Spraker came in to check on him and Eric made some wise crack, I said "As you can see he is still a smart...aleck." Dr Spraker said "Sorry Chemo doesn't fix that." :)

Did I mention it is good to have him back. He was awake a little more, and when he was awake, he was able to focus more and on top of all that, we have a good handle on the pain... so Elk Ridge here we come!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Change of plans

It was more of wishful thinking to come home tonight. But to be safe and make sure he is comfortable with the pain they wanted to keep him one more night. But all is good and nausea should be done.

Eric has completed his first treatment!

WoHoo he completed his first chemo treatment. He slept through most of it, but that is okay and a lot of teens prefer to do that.
They started to wean him off the morphine to prepare him to go home. The oral pills they are giving him are working pretty good at maintaining his pain at a low level. Dr Spraker congradulated him last night on making it through the worst part, as far as pain (the pain will start to ease up.) and the first chemo treatment is hard because they hit him hard and are trying all kinds of anti-nauesa medicine to see what works best for him.
His blood counts will continue to drop for a week, before it will bottom out, then hopefully his body will work hard at rebuilding. Now our biggest fear is a fever. This is why it is sooo sooo critical to keep germs away from him. Because if he gets a fever, we will be heading back to the hospital for a min stay of 2 days. A fever will delay his next treatment also. A bacterial caused fever can kill him. I don't mean to sound dramatic, but this as been stressed to me many times over. So if I seem like a germ freak when you come over this is why. :)
Last night he kept getting confused on the time. He would wake up and assume he slept through the night and wonder why I was up so early... 5:30. When I told him it was still Monday night, he was disappointed because he wanted it to be Tuesday so bad so he could go home. It is now TUESDAY, so keep your fingers crossed that all goes well with the pain medication, so we can go home. If we do make it home, it will probably be late tonight.
I can not thank you enough for the prayers and your support. It has been felt, ecspecially at those scary, emotional times. So thank you!

Monday, February 7, 2011

9 hours left

Eric is doing really good. We have 9 hours left of the first chemo treatment. There has only been a few moments where he got nauseous, one was more from the dang hiccups. He pretty much slept the whole day. We had the super bowl on, and he would watch it for a few minutes (like 2 to 3 minutes at a the most) before he would go back to sleep again. But that's okay. I am thinking today will be pretty much the same... lots of sleep.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

the chemo has been started.

Yesterday was a day full of drugs, drugs and more drugs. We were concerned about his fever, but the doctor said that sometimes the inflammation from the tumor will cause a fever. They got the chemotherapy started at 6:00 last night. I can't tell you the mixed emotions that I went through seeing that bag of red liquid and watch them hooking it up. So far so good. He has not been sick and.... He still has his hair. He is more concerned with his mustache and beard (Or the hopes of them) then he is of his hair.
The nurses had to get him up every 2 hours to hop to the bathroom and his comment early this morning was that all this hoping is going to be beneficial for basketball next year.
The nurses kept saying how cute he was and so much fun, because of his great attitude. But he was disappointed when the cute nurses left and a dude nurse arrived.. oh well I am sure the dude nurse is a pretty good nurse too!!! :)

We will probably be home Tuesday morning. Where he will be free to have a few more visitors who will be well sanitized and possibly sport the styling mask.
Stay tuned for more exciting news from Primary Childrens hospital.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Change of Plans

Well as life would have it, plans change. Friday night at 6:00 instead of getting ready for the basketball game against Spanish Fork High, Eric was asking if we could go and start Chemo right now. I called Dr Spraker and we discussed some options to help maintain the pain, and she thought for sure that he would not choose to come into the hospital.

For Eric to give up supporting his team, the Jazz game and superbowl party, shows you how much pain he was in. So I threw some things into a basket and off we went to Primary Children's hospital. Now, Eric is a pretty easy going kid, but they could not get the morphine in him soon enough. He actually got more sleep last night, even with all the interruptions.

So we are hoping that his blood work up is good to start chemo, which means he will be home Monday night or Tuesday. The one thing that helped to keep his mind off the pain on the drive up to SLC was he stayed in contact with Jordan for a blow by blow updates on the game. What a great friend. :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

So it Begins......

Hello everyone,
Well we just got the official word as to what is going to happen on Monday.  Eric will be admitted after he has a hearing test at 11:00.  He will be on the 4th floor at Primary Children’s hospital in the immune compromised ward.  They will allow 2 visitors at a time, as long as they are free of viruses.  He will be hooked up to a chemo drip for 48 hours straight.  Once he has completed his treatment, he will need to be hooked up to a saline IV for an amount of time, so it looks like he will be there until Thursday morning.  Where he will be home for 2 ½ weeks before the next treatment. 
I have been asked if the basketball team will be allowed to come for a pizza party, which they will not be able to all come to the hospital.  So I am thinking that maybe we can have a pizza party or the team dinner here… or just a party where they can watch a game in the family room.  Not knowing how he is going to feel on Monday the 14th, for a team dinner, maybe later on in the week.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

All Systems Go!

We just got the all clear sign.  The hot spots on his back is from an old injury.  We could have told them that... Oh wait we did.  :)  So I will find out later today when he will need to be at the hospital on Monday.  I am not sure if they will limit the size of visitors in one group.  They did say that the hospital is very cautious this time of year.  So Monday night we will have a better idea on the rules and flow of things.

Eric is to start Chemo on Monday afternoon... did I mention that he had Chemo postposed because he had a date to the Jazz game (lower bowl tickets) on Saturday night and of course you can't miss the Superbowl party!

As hard as it is to think about putting your child through Chemothearpy, and to watch him suffer, I want him to regain his health and strength.  He is an amazing young man with so much potential, yes I am a very proud mom.  But he will overcome this and be an example to others.  Please keep him in your prayers and we will keep you posted on his recovery.