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.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Erics tough decision

Eric Getting his MRI
CT Scan (Chest X Ray)
And last but not least Bone Scan

Can I first start out with letting you know how grateful I am that Heavenly Father has granted me this precious opportunity to raise Eric.  He has been a joy in my life from the night he was born.  Grandpa Lew was a little upset with me because if I would have held off just 1 1/2 hours longer, Eric would have been born on his birthday.

 Eric has been so patient through this whole Cancer process.  It has been torture on him and he has never been in so much pain or been so sick in his life as he has been since the end of January.  And he has never once complained.  I look back and think that January was not that long ago, but it feels like years since we found out that he had a tumor on his fibula.  As life has it, we must take a deep breath, and a baby step forward.  ... Having said all that, today Eric was presented with a lot of information to consider.  First thing, his CT scan shows a clear chest!  NO tumors in his chest!  YEAH!  Second thing, his bone scan is also clean!  The tumor has not spread to any of his other bones.

Now for the hard part... I am not even sure how I can even put into words the emotions that we are facing.  When Dr. Randal came in, he was explaining that the tumor is not smaller than it was when we first came to him.  Not that it means that the chemo is not working, but sometimes the tumor cells react and explode (for lack of a better word).  He showed us an image of his leg from the MRI of the cross section of his leg.  He pointed out where the Tibia is, where his Fibula was and where the nerves and tumor are.  If he were to take the Fibula out, along with the tumor, nerves and part of the tibia, that would be about 80% of his calf....  This would leave him with a foot that does not function, and a leg that is barely functional.......  He recommended that we consider amputating his leg from under his knee down. .... I immediately was taken back and the tears started to flow.  Dr. Randal said that his first impression of Eric was of his spirit and his athletic ability.  If they amputate the leg and fit him with a prosthetic leg that he would be able to play ball again, and run and goof off with his kids and live a very active life.  But if we try to save the leg, he would not be able to play ball EVER and he would walk with a limp, and would live with a lot of pain.... Now I know as we put all the logical facts in front of you, it is an easy choice... But when a mom looks at her son that was so very active just 3 months ago and  know that not only is he fighting for his life, but in that process he is going to lose a leg, the choice is very hard to comprehend.  Dr. Randal did say that if it were him or his son, there would be no question of what his choice would be.  But I also know that he has seen examples of both worlds.  I asked if we could think about it and let him know, so we are going back next Tuesday to ask more questions and Eric will let him know what he is going to do. 

The thing I have to keep telling myself is that he will have better chance of kicking this cancer if he chooses the amputation.  I could live with this option easier, than losing him all together.  To lose him is not an option.  As we were driving home and talking about the options, he said "the thing is, even though I will be losing my leg, it is not who I am.  I won't be losing part of my personality."  I know that he will continue to "grow up" and become an even stronger individual.  A young man with even more compassion.  He is the type of person who will never want you to feel sorry for him or he will never feel sorry for himself.  He has never asked "why me?"  All I can say is Heavenly Father must have a very important plan for him and I am very humbled to be his mom! 


  1. Thanks for the update. I can only imagine. Eric is right, his foot won't define him. Cancer will not define him. It's his willing strong spirit that we all see and admire. We just want him to feel well again, & get his strength back! Your heart must be breaking, I can't imagine how exhausted you are as his mom, but hang in there. Lots of prayers are being said. Tell Eric hello and give him a hug from us!! Sincerely, the Christensens (Mark, Kristin, Justine & Kimber)

  2. Wow, Kris. I can't even imagine how hard this must be for you. I can't imagine facing this horribly hard decision. But, you and Eric are right. He will get through this, he has a fighting, strong spirit and drive. You do too. So many prayers and thoughts are with you. And Heavenly Father does have a plan for you. Please give Eric a big hug from us and tell him his brother "teammate" loves him too.

  3. We also want to offer you our love and support during this difficult time of decision. We hope and pray your answer will come and will be accompanied by peace. You are wonderful people and we are grateful for our frienship. Although you may have already seen this, here is a poem that really captures the limitations of cancer.

    Cancer is so limited...
    It cannot cripple love.
    It cannot shatter hope.
    It cannot corrode faith.
    It cannot eat away peace.
    It cannot destroy confidence.
    It cannot kill friendship.
    It cannot shut out memories.
    It cannot silence courage.
    It cannot reduce eternal life.
    It cannot quench the Spirit.

    Our hearts and prayers are with you always! Sincerely, the Linford's

  4. Kris this is Nikki (Hansen) Davis. I check this blog often. Such a great thing you are doing documenting this whole challenging process. What hard and challenging times they can be--but at the same time uplifting and powerful times also. I am constantly thinking of you guy. Your in our prayers and please let us know if you need anything at all! Hang in there.

  5. Our best wishes are with you also. We see this as such a difficult decision, but it would truly be made much more difficult if Eric and you were not the amazing people that you are. You are so strong. You are so resilient. You have so much love and support within your family, school and the entire community. I hope you will never forget that and you'll feel the prayers that are being offered in Eric's behalf by so many.

  6. Kris and Eric and all of your family we are praying for you and have you in our hearts each day. You are both so strong!!