Hi everyone - thanks for reading and following along with Jude's cancer journey. We are grateful and humbled by the outpouring of support!
Jude was originally diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) - the most common type of childhood cancer - at 18 months old on October 16, 2013. Prior to his diagnosis, Jude was a a typical toddler - bright, happy and full of energy. Our lives were turned completely upside down at Jude's 18-month well-child check-up when his pediatrician ordered blood work after I asked about bruises on Jude's legs. That afternoon, we got the call to report directly to the Pediatric Oncology floor of Diamond Children's Hospital and within 48 hours, Jude already had his first chemotherapy treatment, spinal tap and bone marrow biopsy.
From October 2013 to July 2014, Jude received 4 cycles of intense chemotherapy and faced lengthy hospitalizations, difficult side effects and months of home isolation (except for trips to the clinic). Jude's younger brother, Finn, was born in May 2014 in the middle of Jude's final intense chemotherapy cycle. In August 2014, our family celebrated as Jude began Maintenance treatment, which was slated to last until February 2017. Despite daily chemotherapy pills and monthly spinal taps, the Maintenance phase offered a return to regular life, as Jude was able to go back to school and be in public once again.
On January 7, 2015, our lives were once again upended, as leukemia blasts were found in Jude's spinal fluid during one of his routine spinal taps, signaling a relapse in his leukemia. Because Jude relapsed within 18 months of the original diagnosis, his relapse is considered an early relapse, which means his best shot at curing the cancer is a bone marrow transplant. After a magical weekend at Disneyland, Jude started his relapse treatment in mid-January and is underwent more chemotherapy and a trial immunotherapy drug before our family departed for University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital in May for Jude's cord blood transplant.
Less than three months after the transplant when Jude was just starting to recover from the grueling pre-transplant chemotherapy, we got the news that Jude had relapsed yet again. We were devastated. If this had happened more than two or three years ago, there would be no options left for Jude except hospice care. However, we are beyond grateful that a brand-new treatment harnessing the power of Jude’s immune system with modified cells,called CAR T-Cells, has come along with very promising initial results.Immediately we made plans to go from Minnesota to Tucson to Seattle, Washington to enroll Jude on the trial.
As I mentioned, we are so grateful for the kind words and deeds and prayers in support of Jude and our family.