Well, friends, it was a big day. Let me give you the straight-up bottom line first, then give you a few details. (That’s going to be hard for me, since I’m one who inclines to giving far more detail than less. Sue me, I’m a painter, not a pointer. I’ll give more details in further posts.)
Davis has what’s called a yolk-sac tumour, a form of germ cell cancer. It’s Stage 4, which means it’s not just in one site, but in multiple sites; basically it’s all over his torso (but thankfully not in arms, legs, or head). The main tumour is huge, and likely started on the right side of his chest area. It moved down his chest, and is now pressing on his lung, liver, and abdomen. There are smaller spots and deposits in various places around his torso.
It’s treatable, with chemotherapy as the main weapon (which will start tomorrow), and a complete elimination of the cancer is possible. It will be cycles, with 5 days of chemo then about 20-25 days of rest/recovery. Though a complete cure happens over half the time, there’s also a chance that it could relapse either during or after treatment, and if it does that, it becomes much, much harder to treat the second time.
(Though the pathology still isn’t 110% definitive, it’s definite enough that we can start moving forward on treatment. They will still see what this expert in the US says, but they're confident enough to start treatment before his opinion comes back.)
We’re planning for a set of 6 cycles, meaning about 6 months of treatment. The chemo will all be done at BC Children’s Hospital, and the rest periods, except for the first one, may be able to be outside the hospital.
(We know you will have lots of questions about what that means for our family. We have the same questions right now, and will share more as we figure it all out.)
Honestly, we pieced most of this together over the last 5 days, but it’s all confirmed now. Other than the specifics of the type of cancer and treatment possibilities, we knew most of it, and we knew it was bad. We had guessed it was Stage 4, and our paediatrician in Penticton pretty much nailed it when she said it could be up to 6 months of treatment. So it might sound weird to say there wasn’t a ton of new info today, because there were a lot of new specifics, but we were expecting most of the “big” stuff.
As far as a cause, it’s basically “bad luck” (in the words of the doctor...I call it living in a broken world); in the process of cell formation, a cell didn’t copy correctly and produced a bad cell, which then reproduced. It’s not inherited, and our other kids aren’t at a higher risk of the same thing. There’s nothing we could have done to prevent it, and there would have been no reason to catch it before it presented itself this way. (That fact sucks to me because, had we caught it earlier, it wouldn’t be Stage 4, but there’s really no way we would have known - he was a normal toddler with a “normal” big tummy at times...)
So the bottom line is that we’ve got a very sick little boy, and we’ve got a long road ahead.
My heart is breaking for my son. I mean, we've been hit hard too, but his is the biggest load to carry. He’s going to have to endure a lot in the next 6 months (though the docs did say that the fact that he’s so young is actually a plus for his prognosis). Life is going to be tough for a long while. We have a lot of stuff to figure out, and there are no “ideal” solutions right now. We’re going to have to make the best of a...well...a really bad...situation.
At the same time, I know that God has Davis in His loving care because of Jesus. So far, God has answered my prayers for miraculous and instantaneous healing with a “no”. But there is still much room for something like that, and I continue to pray for it. But like I’ve said before (and will continue to say), our God also works through “ordinary” means, and so we will continue to go through the treatment process. I’m not the type to refuse regular treatment; there’s faith, and then there’s hard-headedness.
That reminds me of a story about a guy on a roof, two boats, and a helicopter...I’ll share that with you sometime if you haven’t heard it...
So, more to come, both on the medical stuff and from the faith perspective. I know that some folks reading this may not share our faith perspective, and so I want to explain not just what I believe, which you’ve been getting a lot of, but why I believe what I do and and why I say the things I do.
Again, thanks so much for all of your support so far, and we will continue to need your support going forward. We will be leaning on all of you, just as Davis will be leaning on us. Much love to all of you.
I leave you tonight with a Bible passage that has resonated with me for a very long time - Ephesians 3:14-21:
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”