Our Journey by the Numbers

» Posted by on Sep 13, 2012 in Updates | 5 comments

Ethan getting his last IV chemo before starting maintenance.

I’ve been pondering the magnitude of medical care Ethan has received thus far. I’m a numbers person by nature so it was therapeutic for me to compile the data. It’s probably missing some things but this is the treatment Ethan received during the 223 days of frontline therapy:

  • 3 bone marrow aspirations
  • 23 nights spent in the hospital
  • 154 doses of oral chemotherapy
  • 12 doses of intrathecal chemotherapy (in the spine)
  • 58 doses of IV chemotherapy
  • 80+ lab draws
  • 14 procedures under anesthesia
  • 5 transfusions of packed red blood cells
  • 1 transfusion of platelets
  • 3 x-rays and 1 echocardiogram
  • hundreds of doses of supportive medications such as: bactrim, zofran, reglan, benadryl, omeprazole, ranitidine, oxycodone, oseltamivir, miralax, etc.

Truly astounding isn’t it?

We were given our end date for chemotherapy: May 14, 2015. This date is fixed unless Ethan has a relapse. So we are officially moving to maintenance now. Just in case you might think maintenance is a tiptoe through the tulips, that is definitely not reality. Between now and May 2015 Ethan will receive:

  • 31 doses of IV chemotherapy
  • 1105 doses of oral chemotherapy
  • 15 doses of intrathecal chemotherapy

This is what it takes to cure leukemia. I have heard people say that leukemia is the type of childhood cancer you want to have because it has such a high cure rate. While that may be true for some types of leukemia, there is definitely a price. It has one of the longest and most intensive treatment plans of any type of cancer.


  1. Wow. When your in the thick of it you don’t realize how much they through at his little body. You have to take a step back to see the woods from the trees I guess. Hears to moving on with one happy kid. Love you Em. I am so glad to have you as Ethan’s line backer, and I know that all the time you and he shared together in the hospital will be fond memories of the past one day.


    • I’m so blessed to have kids like you! God is so good!!!!! I love that you know it and you show it. I thank Jesus every day for you guys, and his miraculous healing touch in me that I was given an opportunity to survive cancer so I could see and know and love my grandchildren. I know my grandma in Norway prayed for me that I would know Jesus. To this day I am thankful for her prayers.

  2. Thank you for putting the numbers out there. I have lost track completely of my son’s treatments, medications, procedures…and it’s a good reminder to hear that while this is the “best” cancer to have, it’s LONG and INTENSE. I keep waiting for the fatigue to go away (Jack starts maintenance in 2 weeks – he’s a little behind Ethan due to some delays) but it just doesn’t.

  3. I am amazed at the strength and courage you and your son and your family show. Ethan has the most beautiful smile and clearly a most amazing spirit. I love that he wants to be a part of giving back and paying-it-forward. You are raising a not just strong and courageous son, but a loving and generous one too. You are lucky to have each other – may the long road ahead be filled with more strength and no road bumps.

  4. Fontes family- I am overwhelmed when I consider the strength and courage of your son; I am honored to be acquainted with such greatness. I believe that Ethan is a product of his family. Your family is greater and stronger because of what you have suffered and your example is hope for all of us who ask ourselves the question, what would I do if it were my kid? I would do what you have done! Thank you for paving the way for the weaker. I pray every day and will continue until the hospital is in your rearview mirror for the last time.
    Greg Davis

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