Thursday, April 11, 2013

No News is Good News

Jackson is officially more than 1 year off of treatment.  One year is a huge accomplishment!  And still CANCER FREE!

I know many of you followed this blog so closely for a long time.  And for a long time I was pretty regular updating it, and keeping you all informed more or less of the things we had going on in our lives.

Like this blog post is titled, "No news is good news".  It's true.  No news on this blog means that everything is going great.  

Since August, Jackson has had 2 additional clinic visits, and additional MRI scans.  The doctors said that he still shows No Evidence of Disease (NED).  What a wonderful relief for all of us.

I'd like to give you a little update on Jackson, just so you can see that there is life after cancer.

Jackson is happy, and healthy.  His blood levels are almost back to normal after one year off of treatment.  His platelet levels are still low hovering around 100.  His liver is finally reporting healthy numbers- they think it was damaged during chemo, but finally the numbers are all in normal ranges.  Jackson has grown quite a bit taller (which is a nice surprise- although he's still pretty small).  Many of you know that one of the first signs that we noticed of Jacksons' cancer was that his left eye was turning in towards his nose- due to the tumor pressing on his optic nerve.  After his treatment was over, the doctors wanted to wait to see if his eye would go back to normal on it's own.  After several months they determined that it was not going to rectify its self, so the doctors went in and did eye muscle surgery.  The results are amazing, and we are so incredibly happy.  I took pictures of his eye before and after the surgery- I thought it was a strange thing to document at the time, but now I'm glad I did it.  Jackson is now 4 months out from eye surgery and looking at him, you would never know he had any issues.

One other health issue that we've had to face after cancer is that Jackson has had several ear infections, and a constant runny nose.  Because of these issues, we were able to visit an ENT doctor.  The doctor told us that the lining in Jackson's ears has been permanently damaged from the Radiation Therapy that he underwent to beat his cancer.  Because of the damage done, the fluid in his ears is no longer able to drain properly.  To fix that problem, the doctor put tubes in his ears.  Since that day, Jackson's hearing has improved tremendously, and we haven't had to deal with any ear infections.

During the surgery when Jackson got his tubes placed, the doctor decided to scope Jackson's nose to see if he could find a reason for the constant runny nose.  Seriously- constant snot- not real flattering.  The doctor told us that Jacksons Adenoid is fine, but that he is incredibly inflamed due to radiation therapy, and also that there is quite a bit of damage in Jackson's sinuses caused by his brain surgery, along with damage from radiation.  It turns out there is nothing they can do to help fix Jackson's runny nose until he's older (like age 16) because there isn't enough room in his tiny head to fix the scar tissue. I guess when he's older, his head will be big enough for them to get in and hopefully help the issue.  Until that point we'll stock up on Kleenex- and Jackson will have to deal with an overwhelming amount of snot.  A never ending runny nose.  So, if you see him- no, he's not sick- he's healthy, but his sinuses are messed up.  I always feel guilty taking him to clinic an not having a mask on him.  I am sure the other Cancer Moms freak out when they see that snot flowing freely- and assume he's sick.  I promise, I'd never take him around another Cancer Fighter if he was sick... the runny nose is just another battle wound.

Other than the runny nose, eye surgery, follow up MRI's and clinic visits- Jackson is a normal, healthy, happy, amazing 7 year old.  Doing normal kid activities.  Homework, reading, swimming, go karting, karate lessons, coloring on the sidewalk, riding bikes, sledding in the snow, climbing rocks, jumping on the trampoline, all normal kid activities.  All things we are so grateful that he gets a chance to do-  still amazing us everyday.