3/27/2018 4 Comments
Cycle 3/ Our New Friend
Sawyer has completed cycle 3 of his chemotherapy. We were a little concerned how he would respond to the drugs this cycle because he had never had them before but as usual he did amazing. He hardly had any side effects, mainly tiredness but no nausea. I even remarked to one of the nurses that I was wondering if they were giving him his medicine because he was doing so well. He was up walking around multiple times a day and regularly went to the playroom. He even added a couple new LEGO sets to his growing collection.
Sawyer made a new friend this visit. Out of respect for her family and their privacy at this time we will only say that she is a little girl the same age as Sawyer. They just recently came to the hospital and are in the process of determining a final diagnosis. While we do wish that we had met her and her wonderful family under different circumstances, we do hope that our friendship will help in some way as they go through this trying time. It was not that long ago that we were in their position and sometimes it helps to have someone to talk to that knows what you’re going through.
All too often we forget just how much strength our children have, throughout this entire process Sawyer regular shows us his. Most of you know that we don’t hide Sawyer’s illness from him. But we do try to explain it to him in ways he can understand (with a little help from the Child Life Specialists at the hospital). He knows that he has a sickness called cancer and that it made the tumor in his back and we go to the hospital, so he can get the special medicine that will eat the tumor. The medicine is to help him feel better and make the tumor go away forever. Well the other day Jeremy and Sawyer were in the playroom when his new friend and her parents came in. While they were playing Sawyer started telling her about his tumor and she said that she has one in her belly. Then he helped her to understand that the special medicine will eat her tumor too. Well she told her sibling exactly what Sawyer told her and then they told their cousins. We were so proud of how he helped his new friend and her family understand what was going on with her.
We know that you don’t know them but please keep this family in your prayers and intentions as they go through this difficult process.
Sawyer does not have any scheduled procedures before his next chemotherapy cycle which is slated to begin April 16th. But we will keep everyone updated as always.
Thank you all for your continued support and prayers! They mean so much to our family. Thank you again for reading!
Until next time.
Jen, Jeremy, Sawyer, and Calvin
When Sawyer started to lose his hair both Jeremy and I kept telling him that we could cut our hair to look like him if he wanted us to. Well about two weeks ago he asked us if we would do it. So last Sunday (3/17) we invited our neighbors over and did just that! He was so excited, and we were so happy to do it for him. I will post some pictures in the photo section.
As for Sawyer’s recent procedure his stem cell collection went very well! The medicine they gave him to release his stem cells caused him to have some aches, especially in his back, but doses of Tylenol helped him to relax and sleep. It brought up his white cell count so high that the chemotherapy may also give him some relief. They analyzed the stem cells they collected from his first day and they needed to collect 2 million per kilo. Sawyer produced 21 million per kilo!! His Drs. were surprised that he was able to produce that many cells, given his age and size. They got all he will need and more from his first day that he only needed to be hooked up for half the day to get some extra cells. If all goes well he will be starting his 3rd cycle of chemo this evening (3/23). We will keep all of you posted with how he does. As of right now he will be going home late Tuesday afternoon/evening.
Thank you all for your continued support and prayers. We appreciate them so much!
Until Next Time!!
Jen, Jeremy, Sawyer, & Calvin
3/18/2018 4 Comments
Just a Quick Update...
Just wanted to do a quick update. We haven't posted recently because Sawyer has been doing very well the past couple of weeks! The week before he was able to start back at school. Sawyer has been doing half days instead of our usual full days, but he was able to go all three. He only went one day last week because of appointments and scans. He is so happy he can go to school and play with his friends! I went with him the first day and we read the story Marvelous Marleigh to his classmates. It is about a little girl who also has cancer. They seemed very receptive and did not ask me a single question about Sawyer's cancer, so I know it's not a big deal to them.
We finally have dates for Sawyer’s upcoming procedures. He will begin his stem cell harvest on Thursday (3/22). It will last 2 days so he will be there Friday (3/23) as well. Then Sawyer will be admitted Friday evening and will start his 3rd round of Chemotherapy. If all goes accordingly he should be able to come home Tuesday evening (3/27).
Sawyer has asked Jeremy and I to change our hair to be more like his. We are having a little party at the house tonight so stay tuned for that update!!
Thank you all for your continued support and prayers! We love you all! I will post some recent pictures in the photo section.
Until Next Time.
Jen, Jeremy, Sawyer, & Calvin
3/4/2018 2 Comments
Stem Cell Harvest & Transplant
Hello everyone! Sawyer is finishing his second cycle of chemotherapy he had one more treatment today. This is the only cycle he can have outpatient and he has been happy about being able to go home every night. He has been doing very well, not too many side effects, mainly just tiredness. We wanted to share with all of you some more information we have been given about Sawyer’s treatment. Specifically, what will happen with Sawyer’s stem cell harvest which will take place sometime before cycle three as well as more of what stem cell transplant will look like.
After Sawyer completes his chemotherapy treatments he will be having two Autologous Stem Cell Transplants. These transplants will utilize his own stem cells which will be harvested and given back to him after he completes his last cycle of chemotherapy. What are stem cells? Stem cells are immature cells that can grow into different types of blood cells including white blood cells, red blood cells, or platelets located within the bone marrow inside the bone. Sawyer’s chemotherapy will not only destroy his cancer but also his stem cells that is why he must have the transplants to restore or rescue the bone marrow function specifically the production of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
Stem Cell Harvest
Over the next couple of weeks Sawyer will be given a specific drug which will cause his stem cells to move out of his bone marrow and into his blood stream. His blood counts will be monitored very closely and when they reach the appropriate level he will come to the hospital. There he will be attached to a specialized machine which will pull out his blood take the stem cells out and then put the blood back into him. (Think donating platelets, but more intense.) This procedure will not hurt him and will utilize the existing line he already has. The only thing he may suffer from is boredom. The process will take two days, eight hours each day and he will not be able to leave his bed. The good news is he will be able to come home at night in between. After the cells are harvested he will begin his third cycle of chemotherapy. His chemotherapies will be increasing in intensity from this point on, cycles 3 and 5 will be the same and cycles 4 and 6 will be the same. Each require him to have a large amount of fluids which is why he needs to be admitted.
Stem Cell Transplant
While we are just beginning to learn all the details of what transplant will entail we do know that it will take place between August and October which is not during flu season luckily. Each treatment will take between 4-6 weeks which Sawyer will have to stay in the hospital for the entire time. He will be able to go home in between but we are not sure when that will be and for how long. But during this time, he will be extremely susceptible to illness and infection.
We want to thank all of you for your help thus far, all of you have been so wonderful! But we don’t want to burn all of you out now because it looks like transplant is when we are going to need a lot of help.
Just a reminder about the Lurie Children’s Hospital Fundraiser 2018 Move for the Kids 5K Walk/Run don’t forget to donate to Team Super Sawyer!!
Thanks again for reading our posts. Please send good vibes and prayers to Sawyer and our family. We love you guys. Until next time!
Jen, Jeremy, Sawyer, & Calvin
We are Jeremy and Jennifer Hunter, the loving parents of Sawyer and Calvin(Sawyer's little brother). We firmly believe that it family always comes first and would like to keep everyone updated through this site and this blog on the treatment and care of Sawyer during his fight against Neuroblastoma.