(from Shiloh's dad, Geoff): Yesterday I brought Shiloh to the ER at Children’s Hospital with the suspicion he might have a hernia. After seeing several nurses and residents, we saw the attending. He brought some relief when he said it didn’t seem to be a hernia, but rather severely swollen lymph nodes. His suspicion was cat scratch disease, and he ordered a series of labs to determine. Shiloh took the IV like a champ, and we played the waiting game for results. However, when a team of five doctors came in the room about an hour and a half later, it was pretty apparent that we weren’t just going home with a prescription. They said in the labs that his blood counts were off, and that they found blasts in his blood. "What does that mean?” I asked. His answer, “It means your son has cancer—leukemia.” • Yesterday they started him on allopurinol, which is supposed to bring down the level of uric acid in his blood, and in turn protect his kidneys. They’re checking renal function and uric acid levels every 8 hours, and the allopurinol has already brought his uric acid down from 6.9 to 4.7, which is good. • Today he had some more labs drawn for a test called flow cytosis, which should determine what type of leukemia it is, and how to treat it. The determination was that he has ALL (Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia), which is the "better" type to have (as opposed to AML-Acute Myeloid Leukemia). • Tomorrow will be a really tough day for Shiloh. He’ll go under general anesthesia; and they’ll do a bone marrow biopsy; install a line/port in his chest for future blood draws and chemo treatments: and they’ll do a lumbar puncture to try to read if the cancer is “hiding” in his cerebrospinal fluid, and they’ll administer the first dose of chemo directly into his CSF. • The first period of chemotherapy (lasting 29 days) is called “induction therapy,” and is the most intense. The overall duration of chemotherapy is 3-1/2 years for boys…so we’re in this for a long haul. • They’ve said that leukemia is the most curable form of cancer in a child his age, so they’ve told us several times that we should remain optimistic. As I think would be obvious, this isn’t quite so easy.
Shiloh will be hospitalized for about a week. Kat's parents are taking care of the other two boys at our house currently. We are hoping to be a full "family" in about five more days. I will post more as we have more information., most likely via my mother.
One more thing, if you're thinking of visiting us this week while in the hospital, please check with us first. There are rather strict guidelines about visiting in terms of the relative health of visitors, especially after tomorrow (Tues) when his immune system will be at its weakest.