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.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Busy week

I am getting yelled at...well not really, but I have had people asking about why I have not updated this blog! Well sorry, not a lot to report, and this has been a very crazy week trying to get caught up. But good News! Danee was able to ring the bell at PMC!!!! She sent Eric a message to let him know that at noon on Saturday she was done! We were bummed that we could not make it, but our spirits were with her! I bet she is sleeping well at night, now that she can just heal. Eric has 5 more treatments to go, it feels like this next month and half will take forever! We will get there though. Danee told Eric that she was going to rip the bell off the wall, but then tape it back on for him. What a great friend. :)
Eric is doing well. He went bowling last night and said he did pretty good. It took him awhile to figure out how to position himself to throw the bowling ball, but he still bowled a 150. I don't think I have ever bowled that high....On two legs.... now you know why I am not on a bowling league.
The nurse will come tomorrow to draw blood to see if his counts are good enough to start another round of chemo on tuesday. At this point we are planning on stopping by at fit well at 10:00 on Tuesday and then onto the hospital.
I have told Eric that we would throw an "End of treatment" open house for him. We are planning to do this on September 24 (Saturday). We will send more info, but please mark your calendars and come join us. I know that there has been so many loving friends and family that has stood by us and worried with Todd and myself for Eric's health and well being. We have truly appreciated the many prayers that were said on our behalf and we would love to spend some time with you and thank you in person. Like I say more information will come shortly...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Drama king

Eric has to take a pill 2 times a day on Monday and Tuesday... I know strange.  But these pills are cow pills... they are huge.  It is an antibiotic that keeps a very serious pneumonia away that could come to immune compromised kids/people.  Well I have to break this pill into 4's.  He has gone to lengths to try to hide this pill, claiming he has already taken it... like the couch cushions and even the silverware drawer.  I am sure I will find more places as time goes by.  Here are some pictures of Eric choking down these pills... Mr Drama King

Thursday in the late morning, Eric's Doctor came and talked to us about going home Thursday night, instead of Friday morning.  But it meant that Eric would have to get a IV for the blood transfusion (they can not do Chemo and blood transfusions in his port at the same time).  Of course we were both pretty excited about going home early, so they put the IV in place around 2pm and started the transfusion around 3 pm.  He had 5 tubes going into him at this point... not to mention the blood pressure cuff that was constantly on his arm and the unit they wraps around his finger to measure the oxygen in his blood.  While they give the transfusion of blood, they have to watch his vitals very close.  At one point the chemo pump had an alarm go off and there were no nurses around, so where I now have my nursing training... :)... decided to see if I can fix the problem.  With all the tubing, Eric had kinked the chemo tubing causing the alarm.  It was then that I realized how many tubes he was connected too, because they were tangled up and underneath him.  Have I ever mentioned that this is quite the ride?  Needless to say we got home at 10:30 Thursday night and what a joy to sleep in our own beds!

Eric is doing pretty good.  He went golfing yesterday with his brother Daryl and then to a movie last night with his friends.  When Eric got home last night he said he was pretty sore, because he walked a lot all day long on his leg.  Where he is still getting Chemo, he is not able to be very mobile during the week. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Eric is feeling pretty good with this treatment. He called me yesterday afternoon, while I was in a meeting and said that he was in the mood for a Hires Big H hamburger. So on the way back to the hospital I stopped by and grabbed his hamburger. We love Hires, thanks to Todd that got us hooked on them. Tuesday night he had a foot long subway sandwich, he ate about 1/4 of the sandwich, threw up and said, this is why I wanted a foot long and proceeded to finish the sandwich.... I guess as long as the nausea does not deter him from eating. The hamburger went down and tasted really good to hiim so it was a great night. He was awake for most of the evening, so I was able to harass him for a while.

Tuesday night Eric did have a reaction to one of the anti nausea medicines they gave him. Nothing bad, but he was just really restless, like restless leg syndrome, only all over. So we did elimate that drug from his rotation. He was a little nervous that he would be sick, but did really well with just the 2 other anti nausea drugs.

I laugh at some of the nurses that are so excited to be Eric's nurse, they probably say that to all the kids, then this morning another nurse was upset because he has not had Eric for along time. He asked if we just don't want him. I laughed and told him that it was a conspiracy to give him all the kids that consume a lot of time, compared to Eric that is pretty easy....I guess he is easy. :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ready to start #13

We did not need to be here at PMC until 2:00-3:00. Eric had an echo cardio gram. Which shows his heart stronger this time, than last test.... Interesting. We are getting his body ready for the next round of Doxiorubican. The drip will be finished Thursday night, but then they will need to give Eric another blood transfusion, which takes 4 hours to infuse. So at this point we are planning on letting the transfusion drip into the night and by Friday morning we should have completed #13 and ready to go home for one week!!!
I have to say that we have some of the greatest nurses and they have come to deal with Eric's humor... Today as Annie was giving Eric the check up... like listening to his lungs, heart etc. She said "can I look into your eyes?" Eric said "Sure but don't get lost." She was taken back, then just started to laugh. Gotta love him!

Friday, July 15, 2011

#12 has been cleared

This morning, we were very confident that Eric would be cleared and to our shock, Eric's metho level was .11 and we needed .10!!!  So close.... they retested him at 2:00 and was .07.  You could not get us out of there fast enough!    We will have the opportunity to be home until Tuesday morning, when he will need to go in for Doxirubican.  This treatment will be interesting, because this will be the first time he will not have to double it up with Cisplatin.   We have heard it will be a lot easier. 
Yesterday as I was talking to my sister on the phone, the nurses started singing and that bell was wrung again.  It was a beautiful sound.  The young man who was ringing the bell was a teenager that had osteosarcoma in his leg.  It appeared to be on his right leg, because he had some shorts on that was showing off his scar.  We were soooo sooo happy for him and his family.  His mom was the one jumping up and down because they were done.  He probably would have been jumping too, but was too weak.  I was very happy for him and looking forward to Eric's turn!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

We will get to come home tomorrow

Eric's metho levels are still a little to high to test it again tonight to see if he has cleared. So we will have to wait until tomorrow morning, which should be cleared for sure. I keep hoping that he will wake up and want to eat and go for a walk, but no such luck. So we will just hang out.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

All is quiet here

Today has been very quiet. Eric has slept all day, but the good news is he is clearing the methotrexate a little bit faster than last week. So we hope it continues and we will be able to go home tomorrow night. I know there has not been a lot of posts lately, but no news is good news right??... this extra time has given me the opportunity to work on my new project, the babies blessing dress, which I finished yesterday. Man I am impressed with those grandmas who have made each one of their grand babies blessing outfits. That is a lot of work. So if you see it up close...just don't look close! Remember it is my first attempt.

Eric is excited because now I can start on his request of a Neon Green Sweater vest! I am still cringing on that one. I told him that he will look like a nerd, and he does not even care! He already has the pants and shirt that he will wear it with all picked out. I think this chemo is really starting to affect him!
We are doing great here and just enjoying the quiet!

Monday, July 11, 2011

12 down 6 to go

Eric just completed #12. Yeah
I think the constant hospital and chemo is starting to get to him. Last week I mentioned that he was sicker than usual. But as soon as we got home he was eating, drinking, active...even to the point where he goofed off with friends until late Saturday night and he also hung out with them on Sunday night. As soon as we took off and hit the highway to start #12, he got sick again. We are going to start to try a different anti-nausea medicine to see if that helps this week. He still has an amazing attitude and is not complaining, but I can sure tell it is getting to him. He is still determined to stay on schedule. So now all we have to do is clear the methotrexate from his system. I am thinking we will be home Thursday night or Friday morning...either way I will be at the theater to help with the midnight showing of Harry Potter (it is on 3 screens.. a lot of people) then I will hustle back to either the hospital or home. Gotta love this fast life!
ON a happy note... we had an appointment with Fit Well and they made a few adjustments, and Eric was saying that it made a huge difference, his prosthetic leg feels more comfortable and his leg is not knocking around inside the prosthetic leg. When his leg is knocking around in his prosthetic leg it makes it sore. All around we are making improvements.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

home ward bound

Eric has officially cleared the metho so we get to go home today....do laundry, repack and we will be heading back here on Monday! YEAH!! (I am being totally sarcastic). This treatment has been a little weird. He has been pretty sick all week long. Let's hope next week is better. But the good news is that he sucked on Mentos the whole time, no ice, and no mouth sores. Our friend, Jacob, next door was starting a chemo treatment and got bad mouth sores last time so we passed on the mentos to him. Hopefully it will work for him also.
Eric had a CT scan on Thursday and his chest is still CLEAR!!! Great news.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Maybe tomorrow

Eric's metho levels are pretty high for this stage in the game. So we are thinking that maybe tomorrow we will be able to go home. He has not been his usual chipper shelf this time. He has been more nauseous and has had the hiccups a lot, which does not help with the nausea. He still has been a trooper and has not complained, but I miss my witty boy. There really is not a lot to report, but I will keep you posted on any new funny stories that may come our way. We will be back at the hospital on Monday for the next round. But at least we will get to go home for 2 nights. I did get an appointment at fit well for his prosthetic leg on Monday, so our day will start early.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Funny leg story

Eric gets weighed every day. So when he was admited yesterday they weighed him with his leg on. They have done this before and then weighed his leg. I assumed they made a note in his records on how much his leg weighed. Apparently not. So when the nurse weighed him today they were freaking out because he lost almost 20 pounds!! I was in the hall talking to a mom and the nurse tech interruppted us because they were so concerned that he lost so much weight. When I explained that he was weighed with his leg on yesterday, you should have seen their relief. I laughed. So the tech ran in Eric's room and came toting out his leg to be weighed. She is probably 5 feet 2 or so and his leg was almost up to her chin.... I know it does not take much to amuse me, but I thought it was funny. So needless to say all is well again at PMC room 4419. :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

#8 complete with 7 to go!

Obviously we were cleared to start the next round of chemo. His platelets were high enough to stay on schedule. He was more than happy to get out of bed to get the metho started. He did not want to get off schedule. The final drip of methotrexate has now been completed, now for the hard part... flushing it out of his system. I am thinking that we will be home on Saturday, friday if we are really lucky. All is going well here. We had a great weekend and we are just looking forward to a wonderful finish of the year.

I have been thinking a lot of a story that was told to me by the audioologist as she was testing Eric's hearing. She had just tested a young boy who was just diagnosed with cancer and the mom told her that she is surprised that as she walks on the oncology ward that the parents, patients and nurses are all laughing and joking. She felt that she would never get to that point where she could be laughing again. My heart broke for her, because as hard as it is to face to unknown and how emotional it is, she will begin to see the many blessings and positive things in their lives and will realize to enjoy any moment you can with those you love. Please keep all those little ones and big ones facing this ugly diease in your prayers.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!!!

It is such a great feeling to know that we can be in charge of our destinity and to have the freedom to believe how we feel in our hearts.  I have always been grateful for all the sacraficies that have been made in our behalf.  So heres to a great year celebrating our freedom and having incredible doctors in our health care system to help all those battling cancer to win!

Eric loves to the 4th of July, I think he may have a little bit of a fire bug in him.  So here is Eric firing off the fireworks to entertain the neigbhors.

"Run Forest Run!"

I don't know if you can see the smile on his face, but he was having fun!!

We will find out if we get to go to PMC tomorrow for another round of Metho.  We just have to be packed and ready to go, so as soon as we get the blood results, we can leave... or go back to bed!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Still Celebrating

We are still celebrating Eric's 18th birthday.  Eric's favorite place to eat is Tucanos, so Todd and I took him there for dinner last night.  He use to be able to put away a lot of food, he did enjoy his dinner but of course the mom in me wants to keep pushing him to eat  more.  I should not complain, because he is eating and is able to hold everything down right now.  One of the Nurse Practitioners did say that it is going to really hard to gain weight while on Chemo because of what is going on in his body.... So I am grateful he has been maintaining.  He did walk into the restaurant with no crutches or cane.  I love that he is standing straight up and towering over me again.  :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Birthday!!

My Baby is now 18!!  He had such a great wake up call!  I have the greatest friends, I had told them a couple of months ago that Eric wanted to go to Washington DC with his school next year.  So I told Eric that if he came up with 1/3 of the money, I would pay the rest...  Well this morning, the most generous friends came and handed him an envelope, short story... he is going to Washington DC.  This is not to mention the amazing gifts from Uncle Tim, Tonya, Todd's parents and Grandma Gloria.  He is very spoiled and I am very humbled at their generosity. 
I was thinking about how blessed we have been through this journey.  From Celestra having such a strong feeling that something was wrong with Eric's leg and would not let it drop until a xray was done on his leg, which started the process of going to Dr. Weenig thinking that Eric had a broken Fibula.  Then from there having Dr Weenig using his connections to get Eric to the best doctors right away.  The friends and family who have prayed, cried and worried right along with me and Todd have helped to keep our spirits up and taking the next step.  Thank you all so much and we love you!  May we someday repay the generosity.  I believe in my heart that Eric is doing so well and has such an amazing attitude is because of all the support and love shown to him.  It truly does take a tribe to raise a child and I am grateful to be a part of your tribe!  I will post more pictures as I am able to sneak one!  :)  I think he is getting tired of the camera.

We are scheduled to go in for another treatment on Tuesday, but will need to wait to see if his blood counts are good enough.  As of yesterday they are not.  But things change in a few days.  We will not be able to go into Fit well for a fitting of his prosthetic on Tuesday, but so far his leg is feeling pretty good. So we are making progress on the proper fit.