Andrew spent the weekend in Kingston hospital, so they could monitor the calcium levels. Yesterday morning, Dr. W. came by to tell us that the molecular test on the node had come back, and that we finally have an official diagnosis -- Large B Cell Lymphoma. We were all relieved because this is the better diagnosis of the two. Though extremely aggressive, LBCL generally responds very well to treatment and patients can be cured. But we usually always get some bad news as well ... Dr. W. wants to test some spinal fluid and see if any of the cancer cells are making their way up to the brain. If they have, they can be treated as well, but they have to be treated separately, through the spine, because of the body's blood/brain barrier. Nice :( Anyway, Dr. W. said it's just preventative. He's very thorough and very cautious, which I appreciate -- nothing has slipped by him yet. He said that he wanted to keep A in the hospital through Thanksgiving to monitor him during the first treatment. When the chemo starts killing the cancer cells they spill all of their waste (uric acid, hydrochloric acid, etc) into the body, and it can be rough going for the patient. Dr. W. said the first round will be the worst, but once he's able to see how Andrew is responding to the chemo, we can go home. We asked him how long he thinks Andrew has had this lymphoma, and he said only a few months. Unbelievable. This type of cancer is so incredibly aggressive that it can start mutating, and basically take over your whole body in a few months time.
Late yesterday, Andrew was transferred to Benedictine, which is another part of Kingston Hospital. Benedictine has a medical oncology unit (read: cancer ward) where Andrew will stay for the rest of the week and get his first treatment. What a difference! The floor is so peaceful, quiet -- Andrew has his own large room with a view of the mountains. It's fairly plush by hospital standards. I guess the one plus to cancer, is that you get treated really well in the ward. The chemo protocol is alternating treatments of rituxin and CHOP (which is a mix of 4 drugs). Dr. W. thinks we'll start the rituxin tonight and the CHOP tomorrow if all goes well with Andrew's liver readings. There are a couple of issues there that they're sorting out. If not, the rituxin will start tomorrow I guess.
I've been spending the days at the hospital with Andrew, and then going home in time to have dinner with the boys and put them to bed. They're starting to get irritable with all the madness. They haven't seen their parents, their schedules are all messed up. Last night Jack was upset because he thought Andrew would be coming home. Thank goodness for all the Aunties, Grandmas, and friends that have been taking care of them, and keeping their mind off things. Auntie Terry goes home tomorrow, Grandma Patty arrives for a few days, and then Uncle Chuck will take the boys upstate for Thanksgiving with Grandma Joyce. We'll be very grateful for lots of chemo this Thanksgiving!