Last Week of Induction

» Posted by on Feb 24, 2012 in Updates | 3 comments

We received more great news at our clinic appointment yesterday. First, Ethan gained more than four pounds in the last week. It goes against my mother sensibilities to be rejoicing over that but we are just so thankful for a buffer in his weight in case he goes through a rough patch in the near future. Next, his white blood cell counts are rebounding rapidly. Last Thursday they were “critical” at 0.5, yesterday they were 2.4; his ANC (immunity) has gone from 150 to 1560. His platelets are also increasing (from 62 to 148 in one week). All of this means that we should be able to continue to the next phase of treatment without delay.

Speaking of which, next Thursday is the end of induction. I feel so relieved that Ethan has come through this phase with flying colors. He has some minor aches and pains but overall the doctors are extremely pleased with his response. Many children are extremely ill and spend a lot of the first month in the hospital. Ethan has defied the odds.

On Thursday March 1st I am meeting with his doctor to discuss the next phase of treatment (consolidation). Ethan is enrolled in a research study, COG AALL0434 for you google-rs, which means we will be randomized into one of four arms of treatment. The basics of the treatments are the same, each arm just has a different tweak. March is shaping up to be a busy clinic month as several of the meds require you to come in four days in a row. There is also one infusion that requires 4-6 hours of IV fluids. He’ll also get a lumbar puncture under anesthesia each week. In short, we’re prepping for a lot of driving back and forth to Seattle and 3-4 new medications that we don’t know his reaction to.

What we are praising God for today: Ethan is technically now in remission, great lab results, weight gain, going out in public, lack of fever/infection.

What we are praying for today:

  • Ethan has started to notice a change in his appearance. He is self-conscious of his round cheeks and belly (prednisone side effects) and his thinning hair. Pray for him to have self esteem in who God has made him to be.
  • That the new drugs he will be getting in consolidation would be well tolerated. These are: Cyclophosphamide, Cytarabine, Mercaptopurine and possibly Nelarabine.
  • That the national shortage of Methotrexate would not affect Ethan’s treatment plan.
  • That Ethan’s MRD results would be negative and based on that he would be categorized into a lower risk category that avoids cranial radiation.
  • That his hematocrit levels would rise without needing another blood infusion. This is a measure of oxygen carrying red blood cells and his has been creeping downwards.

Thank you for partnering with us in prayer.


  1. So happy to hear the continued good news! We will continue to pray for positive results and all of the specifics you’ve mentioned as well.

  2. Yay, you can do it! I know Ethan has a slightly different version of ALL than Jack, but if it’s any comfort – these first few weeks of Consolidation have been great and there have been very few side effects. I know each kid reacts differently but it sounds like Ethan and Jack had a similar experience in Induction so hoping it goes well for you guys, too.

    I read today that the FDA has approved imports of Methotrexate to relieve the shortage. I’m hoping this means our boys won’t be affected. I was also told by our Case Manager that children with cancer are the priority in receiving the meds (it’s also used to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis).

  3. So happy to hear all the good encouraging news! ethan is a beautiful boy, please tell him shaved heads are in. we just shaved christians head and andy’s is always shaved. I prefer short hair. He’s perfect just the way he is! I’m continuing to pray for ethans healing!

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