Happy new year, hopefully 2019 was good and 2020 will be better.
2019 was a good year for Brody, he continued on his maintenance therapy and for the most part things were good. There were a few hiccups and hospitalizations but for the most part a great year!
Brody is still on the three month protocol, only now only one spinal tap per 3 months. This has been great for him for obvious reasons but also because we now only have to go to Comer once every three months. The other two months he is able to get his chemo at their affiliate hospital in Naperville (much closer). He does take oral chemo at home every day and that dose gets adjusted monthly based on his blood counts.
Treatment wise everything is going about a good as one with cancer could hope for, he has avoided getting really sick and has been tolerating the treatments very well. All of his hair is back and he is looking quite cute lately, quick side story.....the boys put their Christmas lists up on the fridge at the beginning of December so they could ad to them if they thought of things they might want. I came home from work one day and a new item on Brody's list was a "girlfriend", it was so cute. My little boy is quickly becoming a little man!
In the last year Brody has really made giant strides in improving himself physically, for a good portion of 2018 Brody could barely walk and for a while needed a wheel chair or to be carried to get around. 2019 was a whole different ball game, quite literally.....Brody played on a little league baseball team, the White Sox. One of his friends from the neighborhood's dad was the coach and insisted that he play. Gina and I were very hesitant at first because he wasn't even walking that well at the time let alone able to run. But we decided that worst that could happen was a bruised ego. He played and he LOVED it, he was dedicated and passionate about it, he gave it 100%, 100% of the time! We were so proud of him. Brody being the way he is never once blamed his mistakes or missteps on his Leukemia. It was such a great experience and he will be playing again this spring.
Brody spent his summer the same way any kid his age would, playing with his friends and just enjoying life, just the way it should be. Kids his age shouldn't be burdened, they have their whole adult life for that. Brody was able to swim and do lots more physical things then he could in the summer of 2018 and that was nice. There was one thing that did bum him out though, he really wanted to play football and that was a very quick NO from the team at Comer......Brody was bummed but is smart enough to understand why he couldn't play.
In the fall Brody started 3rd grade (still hard for me to believe how fast time goes). His attendance has been good this year with the exception of his monthly chemo and one short unscheduled stay in the hospital for a fever. This time of the year does put us on edge as the flu goes around since he is so susceptible to illness, as a matter of fact Cole (our youngest) just had the flu and Gina and I are just getting over it now. Brody is strong and has avoided it. Brody seems to be doing well in school, however his attention is not what it was. Unfortunately intrathecal Methotrexate can cause neurocognitive side effects in pediatric cancer patients. We are not sure if this is the case with Brody or if he is just an 8 year old boy. He has an appointment with a neurologist next month to start tracking him more closely. We hope it is just him being a young boy, but we would rather play it safe. We also think it would be good to start sooner than later since the neurocognitive effects could follow him into adulthood. There are some newer studies and emerging evidence that genetic variation may modulate neurocognitive outcomes. These same studies seem to suggest that environmental variables play a huge role in outcomes. This is why it is so important for me, Gina and his school to be sure we are keeping a close eye on him and keeping him challenged.
This fall Brody tried out for the swim team and made it! He has had two meets so far and has had several first place finishes. He couldn't have picked a better sport for recovery. He swims several hours a week now and it is really helping him, not to mention he loves it!
Finally Brody and Tyler are closer than ever. I swear they are best friends, they spend every waking moment together and are always (ok almost always) nice to each other. They are also great brothers to their, not so new anymore, baby brother Cole. The close relationship between Brody and Tyler has been so important during this whole process, no amount of love or help that Gina or I give to Brody could be the same as having your best friend living with you. It makes me so happy to see my boys so nice and generous towards each other.
With that I thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers for Brody, they truly are working, he is the proof. I hope that 2020 is a good year for Brody and for everyone. Thank you.