Well folks… good news continues. Ezra will begin chemotherapy tomorrow, and he is now been moved out of ICU status. He looks MUCH better. We’re now downstairs in room 107 instead of up where we were, so if you come to visit don’t go upstairs! His breathing tube, assistance, and 2 of the 4 IVs he had in are now removed. He has two IVs now, one in each arm, one of which is called a PICC line. This one goes into a central place in his system where the blood will be guaranteed to flow through easily, and is the line he will start receiving chemo into tomorrow.
The chemo will be various time lengths, as its multiple different chemicals they use at various stages. It is given via the IV, and will be daily over the next week, from 30 minutes to 6 hours each time. If everything goes to plan, after a week of that we should be able to take Ezra home for 3-4 weeks while he heals up from this round of chemo. During that time we’ll be monitoring him closely, and he’ll also be stopping by the hospital a few times just to be checked for fever, etc.
We’ll repeat the process over the next 6 months or so, a week in the hospital for chemo, and 3-4 weeks at home. After the 2nd or 3rd round, his stem cells in the marrow should be free of disease, and they will collect some. After the 5th round, the remaining marrow will be pretty wiped out from the intensity of the chemo types he’ll be getting, and they will transplant the stem cells they got earlier. During that month the marrow will be repairing itself. This time he will basically need to be in complete isolation from anyone other than our immediate family.
After the 6th month or so (maybe a bit more, if necessary), they will perform the complex surgery of removing the actual tumor; his body should be otherwise disease-free then. The tumor has wrapped itself around the aorta, his main blood vessel, so the chemo will be attempting to also shrink that away, as operating with the tumor surrounding the aorta is a very difficult procedure. This procedure will actually be done at Tampa General – not St Joes. While the pediatric oncologists here (kid cancer doctors) are top notch, the surgeons are more trauma surgeons than precision pediatric oncology surgeons. All the doctors here agree the best surgeons for Ezra’s situation are at Tampa General, so that is where he will receive the actual removal of the tumor.
Once that has been done, he should be in a place where he can begin getting right back where he was before al this again… growing up normally, healthily, and picking up the ladies.