Three weeks ago, we were at Family Bingo Night with all four kids, carelessly enjoying a fun night together and tonight we are starting our Caring Bridge Journey. A very good reminder that we are not in control of what life throws at us, all we can control is how we handle these hurdles. We are planning to use the Caring Bridge website to keep our family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement.
As you likely know, our world took a very unexpected turn in Mid-March. For the past 6 months, Blake has had a pain in the top of his foot that would occasionally come and go. He had it checked out in September and the Dr. couldn’t figure it out, he thought maybe some time of arthritis or even gout. Fast forward to Christmas, and the pain was no longer going away, despite a very clean diet that would have taken care of “gout”. However, he was working out 7 days a week, so I kind of assumed it was stress fractures. On Friday, March 10th, Blake went back to the Dr and they took an x-ray, which the physician thought looked normal, but sent to a radiologist per protocol. The pain got a lot worse over the weekend so we scheduled an appointment with a podiatrist for Tuesday at 7am. Monday afternoon the radiologist called and suggested an MRI based on a slightly suspicious area (this will be a blessing, as everyone has told us that most radiologists would have missed it). We had an MRI on Tuesday morning (3/14/17) and they were fairly confident that it was some type of cancer… Ewing Sarcoma was the first thing mentioned… We were able to get in with the top Orthopedic Oncologist at the U of M on Tuesday night at 6:30 before he left, with all the other orthopedic surgeons on Wednesday for their annual conference (bad timing on our part!).
They scheduled the biopsy for Monday, March 20, and Blake underwent surgery to go into the bone in his foot to biopsy it. Suspicions were confirmed that it was in fact cancer. We had a PET scan and CT scan on Thursday of that week, and the Doctor called Friday to confirm that Blake's tumor was Ewing's Sarcoma, but that the rest of his scans were clean! So we now know what we are dealing with, and we move forward.
Here is the good news, the cancer is localized in the foot and fairly small for a sarcoma (5cm). Blake is strong, healthy and young - we will beat this. They also think we caught it early because his consistent working out was causing pain that he may not have felt for a while otherwise. The bad news is that this diagnosis comes with a long treatment plan, 9-12 months of intense chemotherapy with surgery somewhere around month 3 or 4.
We have received a second opinion from the Mayo Clinic and talked to the top Sarcoma doctor at Sloan Kettering, and all have supported our decision to carry out our treatment at the University of Minnesota. We have a great team of doctors in place and are ready to get going. Fortunately, the doctors feel that a few more days is not going to make a difference, so we get to take the kids on their spring break and have a few days of relaxation before the journey begins.
The boys all know what is going on, on a superficial level, and are doing fairly well given the circumstances. There is fear of the unknown, and watching their "hero" suffering and unable to do all the fun things he used to do is not easy for them. But we will continue to find the silver lining in all of this, like more xBox time with dad, and having him around a lot more during the summer to help with their golf and basketball skills!
We have had so many generous offers to help, and we will need it in the near future. We will utilize the Caring Bridge website to set up a calendar for meals and other needs we may have once the treatments start and we begin to understand our new normal.
Thank you all for the prayers, well wishes, favors, and support. It means more than we can ever convey.
Love, Carey, Blake, Patrick, Colin, Charlie, and Molly.