Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Heartbreaking news about Marcus - please keep praying!

Here is what my sister, Karen, wrote on Marcus's carepage:

"We arrived at Hawaii and Marcus woke up sick the next day. We ended up taking him to the ER on Tuesday (2nd day), spent the day doing CT'scan MRI's. They found another tumor in the back of his head. They put him on steroids and he did feel well enough to go to Pearl Harbor the next day for a few hours and went on his helicopter tour. We got him out in the water on the beach for one night and then spent a little time by the pool, out in the fresh air for a while.

After landing Sunday morning from our flight, he sat down and all of a sudden he got an excruciating headache. It was so bad that we took him immediately to Primary Children's where he was admitted. It took hours to get the pain to go away. They did another MRI and found that there are many little spots around the brain of tumor. Surgery is not an option, but we are going to start him on chemo, hopefully this week, that is a new medicine called Avistin. It has proven in some cases to stabilize the tumor and even shrink it in some cases. We are hoping this will at least buy us a little more time.

Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers!"

John, Marcus's dad, has been traveling back and forth from the hospital to home (2 hour drive each way) and Karen has been at the hospital this whole time.... she hasn't even been home since leaving to go to Hawaii. I haven't been able to talk to Karen myself since her cell phone went dead but my Mom has been in communication with her and then of course she's been letting everyone in our family know what is going on. Here is a portion of an email I received this morning from my mom:

"Just a late update on Marcus, Karen called me last night right before her cell phone went dead. For those of you who tried to call yesterday, they were with Drs. all afternoon and they even did the spinal tap yesterday. Dr. Bergers is back and really covering every detail and taking care of business. They went down and saw all the pictures of MRI, recent and 3 weeks ago.. It's unreal how much and how fast it's all going. 3 wks. ago, there was not really anything there and now it's all over the place. The clusters of cancer are inside the brain growing and in the lining of the brain too. Just in the last year, since Marcus had the first tumor, they have new chemo that will shrink tumors and stop growth of them too. They don't know how much time that will buy, but it will be quality time. There are few side effects of the chemo. They will wait until they finish the chemo and then maybe clean up spots with radiation, depending on situation. They don't want to do full brain radiation because he had so much on the front last time. He's feeling much better, Karen and Marcus are still in hospital and don't know when they'll go home. The pain with this, has been lots worse than with the first one, but it's pretty much gone now. He's been cooperating and doing really well, his balance is better. They will start the chemo soon, before he goes home. If they do nothing, he wouldn't last even a month. He wants to do chemo and whatever they want to do. John went home with the boys last night and will come and bring Karen relief. They all are sounding better on phone and in good spirits. We appreciate all your prayers in their behalf, we know that Marcus' mission here isn't finished yet and that he will recoup and be OK for awhile, that's in God's hands. We love you all!"

Of course we have all been devastated that the situation is so much worse than we first thought. My mom called me Sunday afternoon to let me know that Marcus had to be rushed to the hospital and that he was in ICU. She also told me about the many clusters of tumors and that the neuro surgeon said that there was nothing he could do. They hadn't had a chance to talk to the oncologist yet so we were thinking that there were probably no options available. I couldn't sleep all night and I couldn't call my sister because she couldn't use her cell phone in ICU - and I knew how incredibly tired she must have been and wanted to make sure she was able to spend some time with Marcus.

Last night I told my kids about Marcus having more than one tumor. I had told them that they had found one while he was in Hawaii but wanted to wait until I knew whether Marcus had any treatment options before telling my children about the rest of the tumors. Jessica asked me straight out if Marcus could die from this. I had to tell her yes. BUT he could still have a lot of time left. I told her that she was a rule-breaker. She looked at me like, "WHAT?!" LOL I told her that she broke all the rules because she should have died years ago and look at her! She said something like, "Yeah! I'm still alive!" I told her that Marcus can be a rule breaker too. Jess said "Donna can be a rule breaker!" (Donna is our next-door neighbor who is also battling cancer). Brandon spoke up about the fact that when we die we go HOME. We had a discussion about where we go after we die and how loved ones will be there to greet us. It will be a joyful reunion and no pain of any kind. Jessica is very afraid of death so we try to discuss it whenever we have an opportunity. Jess has had separation anxiety ever since she was a baby. 4 years ago when she started having lung bleeds she became even more anxious about being away from me than ever before. I believe that is one reason why she fights so hard to hang on during those very painful times. Of course she loves life and loves being with family and friends.

Quick update on Jessica: She was finally able to eat a little bit last night! She asked for EEGGEEs so Karl bought her a 12" sub. It took Jess a few hours (I would cut a small pieces for her) but she ate 1/2 of it last night! I kept teasing her that I needed to take a picture because I was so surprised that she was actually eating! I still have the other half of the sandwich in the fridge for today so hopefully she will be able to eat it too. I left a message for her GI doctor yesterday - he and his nurse were out of the office all day, but the secretary assured me that she would give them the message today. Jess was still in a lot of pain all day and couldn't even eat much Jell-0.... but at least she isn't throwing up and has felt up to playing the Wii and drawing and writing her stories. It's so good to see her smile again.


Awesome Mom said...

I am so sorry about Marcus! I hope that the chemo works and gives him quality time with his family.

Posh Totty said...

I am sorry to hear about Marcus and am thinking of you all Xxx