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, June 28, 2011

New step in the process

Eric had his blood drawn yesterday to see if he is safe to go into public and we learned that at this point his immune system is compromised where his body has a hard time fighting infections and his blood platelets are extremely low.  Last week we were so excited about being able to stay home this week and ended up having to run back to PMC today for a platelet transfusion.  The yellow bag is the platelets.  This process is only going to take a hour.  So it is not that big of deal.   I knew that his platelets were low because of the several bloody noses he had.  Dr Spraker gave Eric a A+ again because of how well he is doing.  We are excited to see that light at the end of the tunnel!

Eric went to the physical therapist yesterday.  His name  is Brett.  I have to say that I was very impressed and excited about the help he will be able to give Eric to help him prepare to play basketball again.  His leg is pretty sore and now his muscles are sore, which is a good sign that he was working those muscles again.   

He did go golfing with Jace last night and was excited that he actually did better then when he had his two legs. Which is pretty funny.  But by the time they were finishing their holes, Eric was getting pretty sore from walking on his leg without his crutches.  He is making amazing progress!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Eric's Birthday Dinner

We had Eric's Birthday dinner last night, so that Daryl and McKell could be there with us as Eric blew out his imaginary flames on the candles on his "Birthday Pie".  The wind was blowing out the candles, I even took the pie inside, but the windows were open, so it did not take long for me to give up and told him he had to pretend to blow the candles out.  Daryl mentioned that he missed blowing out one of his imaginary candles.  :) 

Notice the cute hat he has on.. Believe it or not, I made that.  I am practicing for a bigger project, like a baby blessing dress.... I have decided that the dress is a lot more difficult than a hat... But I will try!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Still here and doing well

Tonya was surprised Eric's Leg was sooo tall.

Tonya and Clint in front of their new home

We had a lot of fun with Tonya for the few days we were able to have her here.  Eric was planning on going to Elko to see Tonya's new house with me, but he could tell his blood counts started to drop Wednesday night and did not feel well enough to go.  Clint was a little bummed because he was looking forward to seeing him.  One thing we have learned is that plans change according to how Eric feels. 

Eric is walking more and more on a cane, which has made his leg pretty sore, but he really wants to get more mobile.  He went to open court at Salem Hills high school and was shooting the basketball.  He said that he has to relearn how to shot the ball, because he can't use his legs like he use to.  We will be going to the physical therapist on Monday to see what Eric needs to do to start rehabilitation.  What gets a little tricky is that the chemo treatments still messes with his body.  I know that what I need to do is shut my mouth and allow him to push himself to his limits.
Eric's 18th Birthday is coming up on July 1st!!  We are really glad that he will be able to celebrate his birthday at home.... not the hospital!  I am sure we will post some pictures of Eric blowing the candles out on his birthday PIE!  (He does not like cake, strange I know!)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Doing Well

You know that primary song that gets sung every Father's Day.. "I'm so glad when daddy comes home...."  Well when Eric heard the garage door open, he hopped over to the door and greeted Todd.  I think Todd was kind of scared.  :)  For Fathers Day, Eric walked with no help to Todd to give him his Father's day present, which was a big hug.  It was pretty funny coming from two guys who like to tease each other.  I guess that is how they show each other they love 'em.
Tonya made it in this afternoon, and we had to share our "Eric Stories" with her, to show her how much she has missed.  What she does not know is that there are a lot more stories where that came from.  We will keep her laughing for a while.  Eric wanted to take off his leg to wave her down at the airport, but I would not allow him to do that.  :)  All is well here at the Phillips/Eric Merkley home.  He is doing pretty good after the treatment, but I am expecting his blood counts to continue to drop this week.  So far we have been very fortunate to keep him healthy through the immune compromised period.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

10 treatments down 8 to go

We are just waiting for the very last drop of doxirubican to drip into Eric... I know, I know why do we have to wait for the last drip, well I asked the same question and they said because it was expensive... I am okay with leaving the last few drops, but they won't let us. So in 2 hours we will be heading home. (It takes 2 hours to clear the tubing, because it is dripping that slow.) Eric has done well and is ready to sleep in his own bed. We are going to continue to run fluids at night to keep him hydrated, because he is feeling queasy and not ready to eat and drink a lot.
Aunt Lois came by yesterday and I had the opportunity to visit for her for awhile. I loved every minute and was hoping Eric was feeling up to meeting her, but he had just taken another dose of anti nausea medicine and was pretty sleepy. Aunt Lois is my dad's twin sister.
We have 2 weeks off for Eric to recover from this treatment. We are looking forward to spending time with Tonya when she arrives on Tuesday. Other than that it should be a quiet couple of days.
Happy Fathers day to you fathers out there and hope you have a great day on Sunday!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's a girl!

Daryl and McKell are having a little girl!! We are so excited! Michelle and Ben were right and me and Eric were wrong, but we are really excited. She is healthy and doing well! We can't wait to love on her in November.

I also forgot to tell you that yesterday when we were here just starting the next round of chemo the bell was rung here at the hospital. There were a lot of cheering and singing going on in the hallway. It brought tears to my eyes to hear that. A little 6 month old guy with leukemia just finished his treatments!!

Round 10 underway

Yesterday we made it back to Fit Well where they made a few adjustments to his new leg but we ran out of time to try it out. We were suppose to be at the hospital by 11:30 and was a little late. When we walked into the hospital, we were greeted with the new security process. I now have a badge that I have to wear at all time. It has my drivers license picture on it. The first thought was I am glad I like drivers license picture. That would be embarrassing to tote around a badge with a picture I hated. :) I mean this is serious stuff... So if you come to visit, make sure you have your picture ID on you.

Eric has the Doxirubcian underway with 34 hours left on this drip and he has completed one of the two bags of cisplatin. After he was hooked up and the stars were out, we went for a walk out on the patio and looked at the lights for a little bit, until the anti naeusa medicine kicked in and made him really tired. It was a beautiful night.
Today should be a quiet day. At this point I think they will still allow us to go home tomorrow night as long as Eric feels well enough.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ready for Tomorrow

We will be heading back up to Primaries tomorrow, with a stop at Fit Well on the way.  The really great thing about this treatment tomorrow, is that it will be last of the Cisplatin.  Cisplatin is the evilest of them all!  So it will be nice to get it behind us.  He will still need to have the Doxirubican, but no more double whamy's.  I am sure that there will be more to update tomorrow.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

new foot

Today while we are waiting around, we decided to check out Eric's new foot. It was no small feat...hee hee excuse the pun... to take off his shoe. The foot even has toe nails. I told Eric he could even wear sandals. The outer part of the foot (that makes it look like a foot) can be taken off, but Eric didn't want to try that. I wanted to see the springs and see how the toe works. When his big toe bends it releases the knee so it will bend. Pretty fascinating.

Eric's level of metho is .14 so close. So they are going to retest him this afternoon. Hopefully he will get it to .10. I really like pretty much everyone here, but there is a Nurse Practitioner that is very very negative and has ticked me off before. Well he came this morning and told us there was no way he will make the clearance. Eric has been at this level before and made clearance, by the skin of his teeth, but he made it. I was wondering if he didn't like us or just snotty because he has to work on the weekends... but the nurse said that he is always like that. That is way to bad for him. Keep your fingers crossed so we can go home tonight!

Joke for the day... If frosty the snow man married a vampire, what would they name their child?  Frost bite :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

We are still doing great

Eric had another hearing test.  There are some changes in his hearing, but nothing that should effect his normal everyday hearing.  It appears that his high frequency in his right ear is what is effected. 

I have to tell you another funny story.   When we were at Fit Well, we told Scott about how his leg just sweats really bad in the silicone sock he wears on his leg.  Apparently it takes around 3 months for his skin to adjust. Scott said that what some people do is.... now he was really hesitant to say...put a nursing pad at the end of their nub to absorb the moisture.  Which is actually perfect because of the shape.  Well Eric rubs his nub and says "I will need a C."  As if he would know what a C would feel like!!  Not to mention that the pads come in 1 size.... Gotta love him! 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

We are at the half way point

Eric just finished his 9th treatment (he still has to clear it, so we will be at the hospital until Sat night or Sunday morning) which means he hs 9 more treatments to go!!! Yeah I love those numbers ticking away.
His hair was growing back pretty good, and I was surprised when he completed the doxorubican and cisiplatin treatment, his hair was still coming in strong. Last week Mitch (an RN) came in to say hi to Eric and said "Hey you have the Kiwi Hair going on." Kiwi hair is the perfect description of his hair. Oh course all good things must come to an end... the kiwi hair is falling out pretty good now. I am sure that if he wanted to he could pretty much rub his hair out. Oh well.
Eric was very dilligent to suck on ice again, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that we can keep the mouth sores away. One of the nurse prationers said that some kids suck on Mentos. So last week I got a couple of packages of them for him to alternate between the mentos and Ice. Last night he said that he was pretty sure that he will never want to eat another mentos after chemo. But hey if it does the trick.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New Leg!

My plans to go to Fit Well then onto PMC for chemo did not work out this week.  At first I was frustrated because I did not want to drive to SL today and then again tomorrow.  But it turned out to be a good thing we spent all day at Fit Well.  They made several adjustments and he is walking again!!!

Eric holding his new leg for the first time

Scott was explaining how the knee worked

Time to try it on!

First Steps
I sent a text picture to a few people and Aunt Jeni's reply was "Yea!! Look at that!  They are about the same size too!  Chicken legs unite!" :)  Eric had to admit that was clever!

Sorry, when I filmed this I thought I would be able to turn it... I don't know how to turn a video... I will keep working on it!  but this is Eric taking his first steps!

Scott made several different adjustments to the leg to make it more comfortable.  At 3:00 he showed Eric how to walk up ramps and stairs and said he could take the leg and get use to it.  Scott was very pleased with how quickly Eric was adapting.  He said that it is not uncommon for people to take a month to achieve what Eric has in a few hours.  But when you have one determined teenager, mountains can be moved. 

Tomorrow we will take off for PMC for the next round of Methotrexate.  I can guarantee that Eric will be sucking on Ice again!  Because there were NO sores in his mouth last week.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Big Donation

Mrs Burr handed Eric the Money raised from Salem Hills student body.  Thank you Salem Hills High!!

Eric meeting a few people that help move the Telethon along.

Preparing for the Lights, Camera, Action

Eric's donation is next!

Eric is asked about why he is doing what he did,

His reply was he wanted to help those kids who needed help.  He also explained that he had Osteosarcoma and he was just released yesterday from the hospital from another treatment.  He raised over 3100.00

The whole room was clapping for Eric and wishing him luck!

Me and my boy!
This was fun to do and I have to admit one more time that I am very proud of him.  We also appreciate all those who have believed in Eric to support him through his fund raising project.  At first when he started talking about it, Todd and I were both worried it may be too much for him, since he had a very rough road ahead of him.  But he wanted to do it and it also gave him something positive to focus on.  It is fun to see the "Strength Endures" bracelets on many friends!  THANK YOU!


We will be at Primary's around noon for Eric to donate his money.  I am hoping they will allow him to hand over the money in person and tell his story... so stay tuned!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Beautiful Day

We did enjoy another day on the patio!! When we leave the ICU ward, the nurses have gotten use to us and will say that they will not tell security. :) It did feel good to be in the warmth of the sun again! Can you tell that Eric is excited about me taking his picture??
The Telethon will be here at the hospital, so it should be a fun day tomorrow. Mainly because we will get to go HOME!!

We will be here another day

Eric has not cleared the metho yet, so we will plan on going home tomorrow. He was pretty bummed about it, but what can you do? We are in the process of trying to gather all the money raised for the children's hospital, that Eric has been working on so that he can present it to the Telethon tomorrow. It is kinda tricky where we are stuck in the hospital. The plan at this point is to head over as soon as we get released from the hospital. But as I have learned,that plans change in an instant.
Yesterday was great because Eric was feeling good and restless. Aubri disconnected Eric from his IV's and we took a ride out to the patio and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. We were given strict orders to be back in 30 min. Well we ran back to the room because the 30 mins flew by to have Aubri hook him back up to the fluids and we took off again. Eric pushed his tree and I pushed him. There were a few moments that had us laughing pretty hard. When we came back, the doctor was leaving Eric's room asking where the patient was... We told him that we tried to escape and the Doctor said "Well we have very good security here." Okay, he can believe what he wants. :) But because we get the pleasure of staying here another day, we will be taking another trip to the patio.
Eric was sitting at the edge of his bed ...literally.. the last part of the game last night of Dallas vs Miami. He was pretty excited for Dallas on their WIN!! Not only their WIN, but their WIN in Miami! GO DALLAS

Thursday, June 2, 2011


You have heard me talk about "ringing the bell" before so to give you a visual on the actual bell and goal, here are the pictures of the bell and quote. It is a big deal when these kids are able to ring the bell, and it is a beautiful sound to hear it down the hall. We are still on track for Eric to ring the bell on Sept 9th.
He finished this round of Methotrexrate and now is in the clearing stage. I am thinking either tomorrow or Saturday morning. They did give Eric the Lucavoren through his port this time. It is a drug (mainly vitamin B) that stops the metho from working anymore. They said sometimes it helps to clear metho faster this way.
Eric pretty much slept all day yesterday, so it was pretty quiet. Dr Spraker did come in to check on how he was doing and said that she laughed pretty hard when the NP asked her the "making out" question. She was more on Eric's side then mine. So I got that look from Eric saying "See I am good to go!" What ever I want a second opinion!! I still like the idea of blood work up and cultures on any possible girls that he may consider kissing! :) I think that you moms agree with me, right?!