Joseph Jack (Joey) was born June 5, 2006. That day they found a tumor in his right testicle. It was removed on June 8th and after pathology reports, he was diagnosed with a yolk sac tumor which is a type of Germ Cell cancer.
Joey is the 4th child of Steve & Alayna Brooks and has 2 older brothers, Levi age 7 and Sam age 5, and 1 older sister, Lily-Grace age 3. The delivery was fine and actually pretty uneventful, but unfortunately the uneventfulness didn't last long! During his newborn checkup in the hospital nursery they realized that his right testicle was quite a bit enlarged. So a urologist was called in to look at it, and we were told he had a tumor, but not to worry, 99.9% of the time, these things are benign. Well, apparently Joey is already an overachiever and wants to be different, because his wasn't! He had surgery when he was 4 days to old to remove his right testicle and they diagnosed him with a yolk sac tumor that is malignant. Apparently this is a pretty rare form of cancer, the oncologist said it is likely he is the only child in Texas to have one right now - I guess he does like to be different! Since the cancer had not spread to other parts of his body, he was an "observation only" patient, observed by periodic CT scans and bloodwork.
In November, we got our first elevated blood test, so we did scans and nothing was found, and in December, his AFP levels went back down, although they still were not normal. In January they were back up, and after consulting a Germ Cell specialist, we were moved to weekly blood tests, and when his AFP level reached 80, we were going to do chemo. It reached 87 in mid-January, and we checked into the hospital to start chemo. Before they could put in his port, his AFP level dropped to 63, so they let us go home! The next week, it dropped to 13, and we thought we were home free! Over the next several weeks, it has fluctuated, but with an upward trend. So, right now we are still doing the weekly blood tests, with the understanding that if his levels reach 80, and stay that way for 2 weeks, we will start chemo. Normal AFP levels would be less than 10. We are praying for normal AFP levels and for them to stay normal!
I just wanted to let y'all know that Joey is doing wonderful, and his last AFP was 4! Praise God - I'm still hoping that next AFP will be the elusive 2 we've all been praying for for so long. However, 4 makes me perfectly happy!
I also wanted y'all to know I've started a blog. So many of you said I should write a book, and I don't see me doing that anytime soon, but a blog might be a nice start. I just want to update it with stories about my family so we won't forget them. If you want to go and read about my first call to 911, you can head on over there - http://laughinginthewind.blogspot.com/