Facing Your Worst Fears....

Although I have been headstrong in this fight and fighting hard to stay positive....we were faced with our worst fear on Friday 12-17-10. Tucker's Cancer was back. But not only back, the doctors didn't know what could be done to put him into another remission. We didn't know if the cancer had grown too smart and if any standard chemotherapy could be effective. With days till Christmas we had the sobering reminder that this could be Tucker's last one. It is a heartbreak that is unimaginable. How do you tell an 11 year old that we may have come to the point that quality of life and comfort care was all that was left to do. I couldn't bear the thought.


Childhood Cancer Sucks....

There just isn't a better title to this post.  I heard today about one of the sweet little cancer warriors of 10 south who's cancer has relapsed again.  I am heartbroken for her family.  It just is so unfair.  In my last post I expressed frustration that Tucker is not a candidate for a bone marrow transplant. Yet this little fighter has had two already. There are no guarantees. I am so frustrated that their is no cure for childhood cancer. Just a best effort to put it into remission and a hope and a prayer that it remains in remission.

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8 months.....

It has been 8 long months so far of treatment with many more to go.  The finish line is so far out and while what quite possibly is the worst of it is behind us the end is still 19 months out.  I have been struggling lately as I watch and hear about others who have started their childrens treatment after us and are finishing it long before we will.  It is a sickening mix of emotions as I am thrilled for their victory but in all honesty envious that they are reaching the finish line so much sooner than us. 


I shall not fear....

It was the middle of the night on our first night when a doctor came into our hospital room, she said that they were still running test but that they believed it was leukemia.  I stared at her dumfounded, letting her words bounce off me. Thinking to myself that they could be wrong but also in a way greatful that they were determined to come up with answers.  I denied myself the opportunity to feel anything. I didn't want to be afraid. I didn't want to be sad.  I didn't want to be anything......just waiting.

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Sacrifice [sak-ruh-fahys] Noun, The surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.

Tucker has been in treatment for seven months and through out that time we both have given up a lot.  Like Summer...ours spent in the confines of the 10 South Hemonc Ward at Doernbechers. Going to birthday parties or public places because counts were to low to be safe.

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First Kiss

I was in 8th grade, his name was Billy Vaughn.  My first official "boyfriend" and true love that lasted all of about 3 months. Something that I will always remember and a memory that I will cherish!  As I recall it was after classes behind the school near the track. I was pretty nervous and wasn't sure it was going to happen.  I was leaning against the wall and Billy simply leaned in and planted it on me. In a snap it was over. The most distinct memory was that he had a cold and a runny nose and well for lack of a better description basically slimed me in the process. (Sorry Billy)  Slime and all it was great. A first kiss and I was floating on air as I walked home from school that day. Right of passage, Check!

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Life Interupted

I can't remember when I had a thought that wasn't consumed by cancer. If it is not thinking about Tucker needs or what medications he should have, it's this looping prayer of thanks that he is in remission and what could only be constitued as pure unadulterated begging that he remains so.  I think about how little funding Pediatric Cancer gets and how little people know about what these young warriors go through.  I think about John who is losing his battle or Hunter who lost his. I think about Alex who will get a bone marrow transplant to risk it all for a chance to win and Maya who is over 100 days out of a transplant and on her way to a victory.  

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The following link fundraisers are upcoming for Tucker Arnold.  Thank you for your support.

26.2 For Tucker - Beckie Temple
Papa's Pizza Day (West 11th/Eugene, Springfield, Gresham & Beaverton) on 8/17/10

Donations can now be made directly to Tucker through any West Coast Bank branch.

Account Name: FBO Tucker Arnold

Tualatin-Sherwood Branch
8805 SW Tualatin Sherwood Rd
Tualatin, OR 97062
Phone: (503) 691-9929


Not another no!

So what do you do when your child refuses to eat or even worse.....move.  It amazes me how stubborn Tucker can be.  It is this strong will that helps him battle leukemia but it also takes it's toll too.  Especially when he refuses the things that he needs.  A big part of me whats to let it slide, after all he has been through so much right? But a greater part knows that even when it causes him to cry, hurt and really dislike me it is necessary to push him.

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Carrots in the Garden

Tucker is in complete remisson, so what does that mean exactly?  Many friends and family ask why he has to have such intensive treatments still and why his chemotherapy will last still yet another 2.5 to 3 years, at least.  Doesn't remission mean that he doesn't have cancer?  I wish it was that easy and that is a common misunderstanding.

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Chemo made me do it.

There are times that Tucker will say the cruelest things.  My sweet little boy in a matter of a split second turns into a tyrate that just can't understand why you didn't notice he needed his pillow moved.  He is frustrated that you asked if he needed anything. Then frustrated that you didn't ask. Then in the heat of it all he will look across the room...."Mom, can I have a hug?" he says with his arms extended. Both chemotherapy and steriods wreak havoc on his moods and mine. 

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Tastes and Cravings

Tucker has been craving chinese food this week and last week he told me that yakasoba noodles was his favorite food.  Both he would of never tried prior to his diagnosis.  Steroids and chemotherapy have a strange effects on the diet and diet is something I often find myself thinking about a lot.  There really is no rhyme or reason why one food will be his absolute favorite one week and completely uneatable the next.  Chemotherapy can turn the smell of a double bacon cheeseburger into the most foul smell ever.  While Steroids will cause him to be so hungry that he craves foods he would of never taken a second glace at.  Like curry shrimp for example.


Pills, shots and ointments. Oh my.

The first thing that you have to get worked out is a plan for all the medications your child will need to take.  Each case is different but all will require an arsenal of medications. Some over the counter and others pharmacy grade. Tucker's would change monthly. Some stay the same but others drop off the list as we enter new phases of treatment.  Each month would end with unused perscriptions.  The first thing I did was set up a medication station in my kitchen to keep everything organized.


White Blood

The term leukemia comes from the Greek words for White and Blood.  It is a cancer of the blood that starts in the bone marrow and spreads to the bloodstream when one white blood cell mutates and begins to multiply uncontrollably. That one cell become 10 billion cells in a short amount of time.

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And So Begins The Fight

Blonde hair, blue eyes and a sweet little smile, that still has baby teeth in it. My heart aches with frustration. My soul cries out why. I want to hit something and hit it hard, pound on the chest of fate and scream, “Who the hell are you?” How is it that my son, my baby would have to face such an awful demon as cancer at just 10 years old.   I wrote these words just shortly after learning that my youngest son had cancer.