Welcome to Drew's CaringBridg e site created to help keep friends and family informed about Drew. Thank you for all your prayers!
My cancer journey started in January of 2008. I was playing in two basketball leagues and toward the middle of the month my leg started to hurt whenever I played. When I started limping a lot my doctor thought I might have sprained my ACL or MCL. She told me to take two weeks off and rest – no basketball or gym class. The soreness did not get better so my doctor suggested we get an X-Ray.
On Feb 5 the X-Ray showed that I had a tumor on my tibia. I had an MRI the next day with a consultation at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics the day after that. On Feb 8 I had biopsy surgery and was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma (bone cancer). On Feb 13 I had surgery again to put in a portacath and then I started chemotherapy on Feb 14.
I went through 10 weeks of chemotherapy at the U of IA Children’s Hospital. It was hard at first, but got a little easier with each round. The pediatric oncology unit at U of IA makes going through chemo as comfortable as possible. The doctors and nurses are fantastic! They also have lots of things to keep you distracted (Playstation2 game systems in your hospital room and the cool Child Life specialists can even get you a NintendoDS to play with). I’ve taken piano lessons for about 5 years, so I also like to play the three grand pianos they have around the hospital. A doctor that was listening to me play one day suggested I put out my hat for tips.
Osteosarcoma tumors do not usually shrink or go away with chemotherapy – we just want to kill as many cancer cells in the tumor as possible. After the 10 weeks of chemo I had to have surgery to remove the tumor. You have to take the tumor out to survive. My awesome orthopedic doctor explained my options very clearly -- they could do limb salvage surgery or amputation. He said they have to get all of the tumor and the surrounding tissue out. Because my tumor was pretty large and was at the top of my tibia, if they salvaged my leg it really wouldn’t be much of a leg. I would get to keep my foot, but my leg would be very fragile and I really couldn’t do a lot of the things I like to do. I probably wouldn’t be able to play basketball or baseball or even run around and wrestle with my brother. If they amputated my leg then I could get a prosthetic leg in its place. The doctor explained that the prosthetic leg would be strong and would most likely have a microprocessor in the knee (like a bionic leg) to help me walk and run just like normal. He said that most kids with prosthetic legs could play recreational sports and pretty much do what they want. The decision to amputate my leg was pretty easy for me. My parents had a tough time with the idea at first, but they knew it would be best for me in the long run.
On April 25 I had my third surgery in three months to have my lower right leg amputated. They cut it off right through my knee so I have all of my femur (thigh bone), but none of my lower leg. We had some good news and tough news following the surgery. The good news was that all of the margins were clear which means that they got the entire tumor out and all the tissue around it was cancer free. The tough news was that the 10 weeks of chemotherapy that I went through before the surgery only killed about 10% of the tumor. That means I have to do about 30 more weeks of chemo to make sure I stay cancer free.
Trying to be patient is the toughest part of all this cancer stuff. But some things have really helped me get through it. I had a great teacher in school that helped me a lot. Whenever I wasn’t doing chemo in Iowa City, I would be at school and it would be almost just like normal. All of the teachers and my friends have been super great. They even had a big party and fundraiser for me on the last day of school.
I’m also really trying to be patient waiting for my short leg to heal so I can get my bionic leg. I just can’t wait to be walking again! And it will be cool to have my new leg when I start middle school this fall. Also, the faster my leg heals, the faster I can get started on chemo, and the faster I can finish the 30 weeks and get back to normal.
My bionic leg should be able to help me do gym class this fall and I really want to play baseball next spring. It was hard sitting on the sidelines this spring but I cheered for my brother and tried to think of this year as my “red-shirt” season.
I’ve tried to have a positive attitude through all of this and I have a favorite Bible verse that has helped me a lot. It’s Joshua 1:9, “I command you to be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you may go!” I have a long way to go, but He’ll be there to help me through it.
Thanks for all your prayers!
Drew also memorized all of Psalm 139 when he was 7 and could/can still recite it! It's a great passage - check it out.
January 17, 2013 10:40am
I hope this post finds you enjoying some sunshine today. We wanted to check in and let you know we’re doing well. We’re busy in all the good ways and trying to live each day strong for Drew!
We wanted to share a couple of things with you. Here is a note from my incredible nephew!
My name is Shane Goodall and I am Drew's cousin. I am currently a sophomore studying engineering at Iowa State University and will participating in ISU's Dance Marathon for the first time in 10 short days!! As a part of Dance Marathon, I am pledging to stand on my feet for 15 hours straight in order to raise money for the University of Iowa Children's Hospital, where Drew was treated for five years. Dance Marathon is a tradition that Drew was a big part of at the University of Iowa and I am so excited to honor him by carrying on his legacy here at IowaState. In order to do so, I am in need of YOUR HELP! Please consider visiting my fundraising and donating in Drew's honor. Simply click on this link: http://www.helpmakemiracles.org/participant/sgoodall and make miracles happen like Drew did everyday!
Thank you so much for all the love and support you all have sent to my family over the years, we truly appreciate it!
Living Strong for Drew by Joshua 1:9,
The Dance Marathon organization is amazing! The work they do for the cancer patients and families at the UI Children’s Hospital is absolutely unbelievable! Its 100% student run and all the money supports the cancer kids and families at the U of IA. They have raised over $11,000,000 since 1995 and over a million dollars each of the last five years. They are one of the largest supporters for the new Children’s Hospital tower that you all know was very important to Drew. As a member of the Youth Advisor Council he helped in all the early stages of planning. Dance Marathon provides what seems like simple things for the families like parking passes, restaurant gift certificates, and my favorite and Drew’s favorite – certificates for chair massages right there in the hospital. Most recently he really enjoyed how the chair massage would loosen up the sore muscles he had from holding his arms above his head for radiation treatments! But the more intangible support these Dance Marathon students give to the kids and their families is completely priceless! If you can support Shane in his quest to Dance for Drew any size donation will go along way!
Speaking of Dance Marathon, along with the big events at Iowa State and the main event at U of IA Feb 1 to 2, high schools all over the state hold mini-Dance Marathons! Kennedy held one on December 14 the night of the PURPLE OUT basketball game! (See pictures from this game by clicking this web site: http://cougarclips.smugmug.com/BoysSports-2/Boys-Basketball-2012-13/Kennedy-vs-Washington/27368296_ZWqHfw#!i=2301018789&k=FSZ9CCb This was a very special night where all the fans from both Kennedy and Washington wore their purple JustDrewIt shirts – we were so blessed by all the support).
Iowa City West High School is holding their own mini-Dance Marathon this Sunday Jan 20 and they have asked us to share Drew’s story with the kids. As you all know, Drew was the public speaker in the family, but Doug is willing to give it a shot for us! Adam and I will be there for moral support! =D
We also wanted to share another blessing. Kennedy’s school newspaper the Torch did a special issue in December that was dedicated to Drew’s memory. Here is the link to the magazine format with Drew on the cover (Aunt Michelle took that picture at one of Drew’s golf meets). http://issuu.com/kennedytorch/docs/dec2012
Please check out the amazing tributes to Drew on page 5 and page 11 through 14. The Poem on page 11 was written by my amazing nephew Zack (copy editor for The Torch)! He wrote this poem the night Drew passed away! Drew’s wonderful teacher and coach, Mrs. Osborn and Coach Wilden shared stories about Drew and it was so amazing to see all the tweets!
We want you all to know how much we appreciate all your cards and letters and guest book notes! As Drew would say, “keep ‘em comin’”! We truly can feel all your prayers and thank you for continuing to pray for us!
Living Strong by Joshua 1:9 for Drew,
Robin and Doug and Adam
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