Friday, January 30, 2009
Andrew has one more full day of chemo for the first round. we both look forward to today (friday) when he gets to be "unplugged" from the 24hr bag of chemo that runs thru his system and the final day of being hooked up to the five hours of additional chemo that runs thru.his body But now he has medical people that begin to look forward to having him as a patient because they know it will be a :"great day to fight cancer"
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Well guys, I officially started all the fun this morning at 8am central time! I have to start off by saying that the Texas Med Center is enormous. You can have appointments in different buildings that are blocks away from where you are currently having an appointment and you have to hurry along like you're in college again and you stayed too long at your favorite hangout before class! When in a hurry you take trams, or golf carts. My Mom and I prefer the golf cart treatment, it makes us feel big time! haha....The day started off by getting my port put in where the drugs will be administered during the four day cycle. Very easy process, pain free, they made it easy on me with a few loopy pills! Besides that it went very smooth. Then it was on to get my first day of my first cycle of the chemo (Round 1 day 1) I stayed in the hospital about 5 hours, receiving all three chemo drugs today. I will go back Wed, Thu, and Fri for those 5 hours. Saturday I get a shot then I am done with Round 1. I am currently receiving chemo as I type this, its very cool. I have a backpack that has 1 of the chemo drugs, and a bag of fluids in them-so this is a partial outpatient process which is cool to get to home every night and get "mama's cookin." I will have this backpack with me every day until I return for my shot on Saturday. I feel really good today, actually better then I felt in a long time. I was laying there today thinking about god, my incredible family, my great friends everywhere, work, sports, jokes, teased my mom a little bit to get her laughing .....I was in the the right state of mind to start this process today. The chemo takes a few days to "kick in" and by days 7,8,9 is when I may not feel as well. Every single person who has sent cards, emailed, text, phoned, blogged, visited, facebook'd (ok I promise to get a facebook account in the next 48 hours! haha) gets me so excited and energized....The amount of prayers is unbelievable....One day at a time, but today was a GREAT first day!
And now on to some business...
** Many of you have been asking how you can donate other than paypal. A benevolent account with Bank of America has been opened for Andrew. Please stop by your local Bank of America branch and ask to make a donation to The Andrew Moritz Medical Fund. The teller will be able to look up his account for you. You may also make a check out to The Andrew Moritz Medical Fund and mail it to me and I will deposit it. Please email me for my address if this is your preferred method. PLEASE let me know if you encounter any problems or have any questions.
** Many of you have also been asking, "how can I help???". We really appreciate every one's concern and at times have felt at a loss as to what to say to you. I talked in length to Andrew tonight and he mentioned that he enjoyed listening to his iPod while sitting for his 3 hour chemo session. It occurred to me that he would appreciate some iTunes gift cards so he can add more music and movies. Just an idea for those of you who want to help out.
I will leave you with this picture that a banking friend of Andrews sent to me. Don't ask me about it, because I have no clue!!! Just know that Andrew is the guy in red. I'm sure all you US Bank people have a funny story to go along with the picture!
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Andrew has been back in St. Louis since last Friday 1/16. He spent the weekend with friends, doing "normal" life events and also working out an enormous amount of details. After much thought, prayer & discussion, Andrew has decided to receive treatment at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston. His doctor recommended that Andrew stay in Houston for the first two "cycles" of chemo. As Tyler explained, a cycle consists of 4 days of chemo and 17 days of recovery. Andrew will fly to Houston first thing Monday morning 1/26 for orientation at 10am. They will also insert the catheter into his shoulder at this time. He will then begin chemo on Tuesday 1/27. Chemo will not require Andrew to stay over-night in the hospital, so he will be renting an apartment for the month he is down there. Someone will be with him at all times. We have several people lined up already, but if you are interested in taking care of Andrew while he is in Houston, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andrew's doctor recommends that he receive 6-8 cycles of chemo in Houston and then they will discuss other treatment options. We have to understand how rare Andrew's cancer is. There are not many oncologists who know how to administer the specific type of chemo required for his cancer. MD Anderson specializes in sarcoma cancers and if an oncologist does not treat this specific type of cancer, they will not know what side effects to look for. Andrew's doctor currently is treating 3 other people with DSRCT. At this time, we feel Andrew going to Houston is the best option for treatment.
The bracelets have been ordered and we expect them towards the end of next week. We will send them to our designated bracelet sellers at that point. I know all of you are anxious and excited...so sit tight and we will have them soon! Thank you for your excitement!
As Andrew begins this journey, there are many unknowns and a lot to fear. Now is the time to rally behind Andrew and let him know how much we love him. All of our hearts are heavy, but if we stand together on his journey, we will share the burden. Please continue to do an amazing job of showing Andrew the love. He reads every single comment, email and text - so keep them coming.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Yesterday at 1:30 Andrew had his appointment with Dr. Araujo at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in the Sarcoma Department. Below is a summary of the results.
- The diagnosis of Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumors was confirmed.
- A treatment plan was recommended. It is a 21 day cycle that consists of 4 days of treatment and 17 days of rest.
- The treatment involves a very high powered chemotherapy. Radiation and surgery are not recommended at this time.
- Treatment involves 3 drugs, all of which will be administered through a catheder inserted just below his collar bone: 1) Ifosfamide - this is given on the first day of the cycle 2)Doxorubicin: this is given over a 72 hour period starting the first day of the cycle and ending on the third. 3)Vincristine: this will be given over a 3 hour period each of the four days of the cycle. Then 17 days of rest, and it starts all over again. Dr. Araujo, recommends that Andrew be in Houston for the first 25 days, this will allow him to receive his 1st full cycle, and the 4 day treatment portion of his second cycle.
- Side effects include: hair loss, nausea, fatigue, numbness in the hands and feet, cramping, bleeding bladder, low white blood cell count, decreased kidney function & low potassium levels. The levels of chemo are very high compared to other treatments, due to the fact that this cancer type (sarcoma) only responds to intense chemo. The doctor can regulate the dosages and add other drugs to help with all of the side effects and only time will tell which ones will affect Andrew.
Andrew is taking the next few days to digest this information and formulate a plan. This is a lot to take in at this time. On one hand it is great to have a path to proceed down, and a vision as to how Andrew will beat this disease. On the other hand it is very, very difficult to grasp the enormity of what Andrew has in front of him. In the next couple of days a plan will be formulated that will include where treatment will be done, what time it will start, and also, how all of you great supporters can help Andrew. Please pray for wisdom during this time, so that the best decision for Andrew is made. Thank you for all of the support, donations, and prayers - it means a lot to Andrew and our entire family. When the final plan is decided, I will post all of the details, until then understand that Andrew is carefully weighing all of his options.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Thank you for the continued well wishes via text, phone, blog, etc. They are all great keep them coming! I wanted to update everybody on what's going on with my travel plans to go be seen by the MD Anderson Sarcoma unit this week in Houston, Texas. I have gotten a small education in the "process" of being referred from one hospital to another. The folks at MD Anderson have been great in helping me track down the numerous tests that I have had done already here in Seattle, its just been a matter of getting the actual live samples from the different labs, so that they can have them for their analysis/recommendations. I should be seen Thursday/Friday. It kind of feels like trying to get your first real job (haha)-Calling, following up, wondering, waiting, calling again! Im sure many of you remember that good ol feeling! Talk to everyone soon.
Monday, January 12, 2009
so here are the details: please email your pictures as an attachment or send them via Google's Picasa web albums. Send them to: email@example.com. Please limit the number of photos to no more than 5 at this time. if we become low on photos, i will send out a request for more.
in other news, here is the latest article (well not really article, more like blog post) about andrew. be sure to check it out. i will add it to the sidebar as well.
and like always, thank you for all of your support. we continue to be amazed and are blessed beyond belief.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
To all the Laurelhurst, Eckstein, CAYA, Roosevelt, Franklin Quakers (FQ!), UDUB teammates and friends, Ballard Saturday Morning Hoops crew, USBANK Seattle and St. Louis friends/coworkers, Mike Duffs crew, 206 and 314 area code pals, and all Friends and Family who have checked into this amazing blog that my sister put together. It really touches me in a way I can't describe. Everyone of you who has posted has lifted my energy with each note that you have took the time to send me, I can remember great personal experiences with each and every one you guys-childhood til now. Every encounter has had one commonality-laughing, telling jokes, shooting the breeze, loving life, and appreciating everything we have. I realize this is not going to be an easy process to battle, but I am ready for the fight and cannot wait for the times that are ahead with each and everyone of you as we have many more of the same experiences together that we can remember for a lifetime. I am going to beat this, there is no question in my mind. Each and every persons prayers and thoughts lifts and encourages me everyday, so keep it up. We are going to kick this thing in its butt, and be an encouragement and example to people that anything is possible in the world through positive energy, tremendous support, and the power of prayer. HAPPY SATURDAY!
Friday, January 9, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Today Andrew's heart was tested to read it's baseline and determine how much his heart "can handle" during chemo. He has a strong and healthy heart, so as Andrew said, "crank up the chemo"... :)
He also spoke with his oncologist and received the results from his PET & CT scan. They did not find any other tumors (other than the ones we already knew about in his liver & soft tissue of his abdomen) throughout the rest of his body. We can count this as good news!
That wraps up his tests here in Seattle. There is still no definite plan, but his oncologist is working to set up an appointment with the doctors at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston, TX. We hope Andrew can fly out sometime this weekend and get started with treatment.
I also want to mention that there are many people working behind the scenes to help brainstorm and organize fundraisers to help offset some of the costs. Please keep checking back, as we will post events, sales, etc and ways you can help. Many people have expressed interest in general financial giving and our hope is to create a non-profit so we can make your contribution tax deductible. As for now we will set up a paypal account for donations. I will post that information here once we have it.
I will leave you with this funny picture of Drew's niece Riley. This picture is for you Andrew, as I know you love how "crazy" she is.