Welcome! We are happy to get this site up and running to let all of our family and friends know what is going on with Forest and his fight to beat Leukemia. Thank you in advance for being with us every step of the way.
The best place to start is the beginning. A couple of months ago Forest noticed lumps in his collar bone area. We thought they were glands getting ready for puberty to kick in, so we didn't think too much of them. As time went on, there were lumps further up his neck, and when one formed under his armpit we knew this was not normal, so we took him in to find out what was going on. He had no other symptoms of being sick at all. He is a normal, active 11 year old boy that loves to play baseball, throw around a football, go fishing, and mess around in the woods. On Tuesday, May 23rd we took him to his primary physician to run tests to figure out what was going on. The next morning we received the unfortunate news that blast cells were found in his blood, and that indicated that he has leukemia. Blast cells are immature white blood cells that grow and divide too fast and get in the way of the body being able to make normal blood cells. On Thursday we headed to Children's Hospital in Milwaukee to meet with an Oncologist for further testing and an overall look at what we are facing. We raced home on Thursday night to get Forest to his baseball game, knowing that it would be the last one he would be able to play for quite a while. The number of family and friends that came to cheer him on was amazing. Team Forest began that night! The A's won their game 9-3 and Forest was excited for their first win of the season!
Gary and I came back to Children's Hospital yesterday (Friday) for Forest to have some procedures done. While he was put under, a PICC line was inserted into his arm for ease of blood draws and medicine & chemo administration. He will have this PICC line in for at least the next month. He also had a bone marrow biopsy done to determine the type of leukemia he has which would determine the treatment plan. A spinal tap was also done to remove spinal fluid to test to see if blast cells are present. Regardless if they are present or not, he was also given a dose of chemo into the spinal chord. It will be important to keep the blasts from entering the spinal chord because it is where they like to go when they are being attacked by chemo in the rest of the body.
Late last night the test results from the bone marrow biopsy came back that confirmed he has T Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, T Cell ALL for short. This is a curable cancer, but the treatment period is very long, lasting about 3 years. The most critical time in this whole process is the first 29 days. Through extensive use of various forms of chemo, we are hoping to kill off the cancer completely. The tricky part is keeping it away. That is what takes so long. If it were to come back any time after the first 29 days, it will be much harder to beat.
He will begin his first round of treatments tomorrow here at Children's Hospital. This is considered Day 1. We anticipate being here for another 5-6 days if all goes well. He will be feeling pretty good/normal until Day 7-10 when the chemo side effects will begin to kick in. The following 10 months include treatments weekly, then decrease if all goes well after that. We do have the option to have treatments done in Green Bay at St. Vincent Hospital and are thoughtfully considering that option at this time. All of the doctors and nurses here at Children's have been great so far and the support system they have available is incredible.
He is allowed to have visitors if anyone is interested in stopping by, however there are two important things: 1. All visitors must be in good health, no cold/flu symptoms whatsoever. 2. We need to know who is coming so that we can get them on an approved visitor list.
We do anticipate being back in Green Bay by the end of next week. Gary and I still need to figure out our schedules. I will keep posting updates as we get them from here on out. Please know that right now Forest is in good spirits and is very positive. He is such a good kid! Gary and I are holding up just fine and we know that Lily, Robin, and Lake are in good hands with our families. The out pour of love, prayers, and support from so many people has been very beautiful and very humbling. We truly appreciate everything that everyone is doing. You are all awesome and we are so blessed. Thank you.