Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving we truly have much to be thankful for. This has been a year full of life lessons for our family. One year ago today, Heather and I announced some very exciting news. Colin was going to be a big brother! In the month's leading up to Heather's due date we received news that a finding on an ultrasound caused some concern. We felt truly blessed when Maddison was born on Monday July 27th a healthy, happy baby girl. Little did we know, that the joy we felt would be equaled with devastating news soon to come.

On Friday October 2nd, Colin was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. As we are now two months into treatment those original feelings of grief have been replaced with knowledge and hope. We are truly thankful for the advances in medicine along with the dedication and compassion the team of doctors and nurses who have given us hope in Colin's cure.

We are thankful for the love, support and strength our family and friends have provided to us.
Happy Thanksgiving to all,
Mike, Heather, Colin and Maddison

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What a Great Weekend!

Colin's counts are up and Maddie is feeling better so our weekend began with a walk on the bike path with Aunt Liesl on Friday afternoon. Not sure who was more tired Colin or Aunt Liesl. When we got home Colin said "Mommy, Teddy" went and got teddy and started walking to his room where he proceeded to say "nighty nighty, ready". Later that afternoon Colin, Maddie and Mommy went over to GiGi and Papa's house for pizza. Colin ate a piece of pizza!!

On Saturday morning we had a family field trip to Gozzi's turkey farm where we saw turkeys of all colors. Later that afternoon Mommy and Daddy went on an over due date ... windows out of the wrangler, sunset at Hammonasset, dinner and ice cream. Colin and Maddie spent the night with Gigi, Papa, Auntie Courtney, Nanny and Poppy. Colin had a great time staying up way past his bed time and Maddie screamed the whole time we were gone.

Another day in 50's on Sunday so we headed over to Brookvale farm where we visited all the animals (rabbits, donkey, pony, rooster, peacock and goats). After the farm we hit the big Cheshire jungle gym where Colin went from the slides to the swings to the sand pits. Maddie had a great time watching her brother run around with Daddy and she even got a little sun! After the park Colin and Daddy went to McDonald's for the first time. Colin ate a few french fries but wasn't interested in the nuggets.

Gearing up for a short holiday week. Next treatment day is Wednesday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Treatment Day

Today Colin knew it was treatment day as soon as he woke up. Seems like he wakes up super early on Thursday's and when he doesn't get his milk right away it's a sure sign. But the sure give away is when Gigi arrives.

Colin received his chemotherapy through a spinal tap and Mommy and Daddy couldn't be more proud of him. Today, he talked through some of it naming all our family members and how he wanted to go for a walk with Gavin's car when we got home. This was a first.

After the procedure he drank his milk, ate a cheese stick and a cup of jello. The most he's eaten in five days! Once home he was pooped and took a 3+ hour nap.

Maddie is still wheezing and hasn't slept much today so we're looking forward to Aunt Liesl's Shepard's pie tonight, bath and bed. Next scheduled treatment is next Wednesday.

Another Day in the ER

Today was a long day. Colin has eaten next to nothing over the last five days and this morning he vomited three times. The doctors were concerned that Colin was dehydrated and possibly developing an infection. Since the clinic was full they had us visit the ER. Once there Colin had another chest x-ray which came back clear. No bacterial infection was identified in his blood sample. His blood counts were good so they filled him up with fluids and after five and half hours we made our way home. Once again he was a trooper and only complained when they accessed his port.

Maddie spent some time with Nanny and Poppy and then GiGi brought her home to her house to see Papa. You should hear her giggle, cough and wheeze .. back to the Doctor we go.

Regular treatment day is tomorrow so we head back down there in the morning.

Both are tucked in and sleeping so we are going to do the same. Good Night.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Remission, Rapid Responder

Today the doctor's confirmed Colin's test results and he is officially in remission with less than 0.01% cancer cells found. This means Colin is now in the next phase, consolidation!! Based on his positive prognostic factors he was placed in the low risk treatment plan. Within that treatment, he was randomized on an arm where he will receive additional chemotherapy. This phase will last for 28 days and consists of a few new drugs. Once again he was so brave today when receiving his first set of treatment for this phase. Part of his chemo was through a spinal tap (methotrexate), another part through IV (vincristine), the third through injection (PEG-Asparaginase) and the fourth orally (mercaptopurine). At this appointment he also was treated for his cough. They took an x-ray of his chest to make sure there was no infection as well as a swab test. Both of which came back fine. During our visit he had a coughing attack so he received a breathing treatment and is now on an inhaler just like Maddie.

Next appointment is on Monday for a blood check and they will check his chest again for the cough.

Maddie has been back to the Doctor because of her cough/wheezing and slight fever but the Doctor reassured us that her cough/wheezing is probably spiking right now and we should see an improvement over the next couple of days. She remains on the inhaler.

Signed tired Mommy and Daddy :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

And the Food Keeps Coming!

Thank you to all our friends, family, co-workers and friends of friends for all the meals. Since Colin's diagnosis we can count on one hand how many times we've cooked. This means so much to the Westbrook family because it's one less thing we have to worry about and it gives us more time to spend together as a family. Thank you to everyone!

Colin is back ... every morning he has each of his toys out by 9:00am and smiles/laughs more than ever. His next visit is scheduled for Thursday where we will review the results of his last bone marrow test and hopefully start his next phase of treatment.

On the Maddie front, she had her first sick visit today with Dr. Frank, her pediatrician, and she has bronchiolitis (baby bronchitis) so she is now on an inhaler to help her cough.
Off to bed ... new 9:00 rule for Mommy and Daddy.

Friday, November 6, 2009

8 Hours of Sleep

Last night Mommy and Daddy got 8 hours of sleep because Ms. Maddison Leigh slept through the night for the first time. Was it the visit from Lou Lou, no afternoon nap, sleeping in Grandma's arms for the morning nap, the 6 oz bottle before bed or the talk Colin had with Maddie before bed? We'll never know but keep them coming Maddie.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day 29

Final Dose 11/2: The evening of 11/2 Colin celebrated his last dose of Pepcid and Dexamethasone (steroid). Once again he took it without any trouble with his yogurt. Below is a picture of all the meds Colin took twice a day to this point.
Pepcid - coats the stomach for the steroid
Dexamethasone - steroid (2 pills)
Sulfamethoxazole - helps prevent pneumonia
Mirilax - prevents constipation
Emla - cream numbs his port

Rough Night 11/2: Colin was up a lot throughout the night, could it have been because Mommy and Daddy told Colin he was going to the doctor in the morning?

Day 29 Chemo Treatment - 11/3: Colin had to fast since midnight and started asking for milk around 4 am ... he was not a happy camper. We quickly packed up and headed down to Yale at 7:30.. we were about half an hour early which is a Westbrook trait however this was part of Mommy and Daddy's strategy ;) Around 9:30 Colin had a chemo spinal tap and a bone marrow aspiration. Once again he held both Mommy and Daddy's hands while looking into our eyes. The doctors and nurses say these procedures are harder for Mommy and Daddy to watch then it is on Colin. The procedure took a little longer than usual so Mommy and Daddy asked a bunch of questions. All was fine, just another doctor's style.

ER Visit 11/3: Colin's treatment area bled more than usual so after two phone calls to the clinic they advised us to head down to the ER to have it checked. We arrived around 6:00pm. Mommy went in to Register and Daddy and Colin followed however he noticed everyone in the ER wearing masks so they stayed in the doorway until the Nurse asked us to wait in the car until a room was available. This was a precaution because of the flu. Within 15 minutes she came outside and asked us to come in. Mommy, Daddy and Colin all wore our masks as we entered the ER. Once in the room we spoke to numerous nurses and doctors who were in touch with Colin's Oncology team. Colin had his first ultra sound to ensure he wasn't bleeding internally - results came back clear. Colin also had another blood draw and confirmed his counts were the same as in the morning which was good news. All home and in bed by midnight.

Day after treatment: Today Colin had a nice sleep in, waking up at 9:15. He was still pretty hungry but Mommy and Daddy saw a glimpse of Colin's true happy go lucky personality coming back as the steroids start to leave his body.

Monday, November 2, 2009

We'll Miss You Nanny

On Friday October 30th Colin and Maddie's Great Grandmother passed away. They were so fortunate to have two Great Grandmother's and a Great Grandfather to share the beginning of their lives with. Nanny lived in upper state NY (with Aunt MaryLynn and Uncle George) and most recently came to CT to attend Auntie Courtney's wedding where she had the time of her life. We now know she will be watching over Colin and will see him through this journey.

We love you Nanny and will miss you. Whenever we see a swan we'll think of you.

Nanny, Papa, Auntie Courtney, Uncle Jack, Mommy, Colin and Maddie
4 generations represented!

Nanny meets Maddie for the first time