Friday, March 14, 2008

Great Home Coming!

Tyler is home! And he is feeling great! This has been a very smooth round thus far. The administering of the chemo for round 5 went without any complications. With this specific chemo mixture, most side effects begin on the 3rd day after treatment. We are waiting to see what happens after the week-end, but for now we are celebrating!

Brandon is also home from OSU, so we are all together for the first time since Christmas. All feeling good for the first time since October. My parents are also here, back from their trip to Israel. We are looking forward to a great week-end.

We are now moving into the second phase of Tyler's treatment. The second phase has been compared to the battle of Iwo Jima. The boys and I saw Clint Eastwood's movie about it this summer. In the battle the first phase was to take out all the bases on the surface. But once that was complete, the enemy moved deep into an extensive maze of caves that ran thoughout the island. The enemy hid and waited for the opportunity to attack again. There were so many hiding places, it was impossible to know when the battle was over. The solders just kept searching through cave after cave, waiting to see if they were ambushed.

Tyler has been victorious in phase one, the elimination of all detectable tumors. We praise God for those results and thank all of Tyler's supporters for their prayers. I recently learned that it requires slightly more than one billion Burkitt's cancer cells before they are detectable. Therefore what we know now is that there are somewhere less than one billion cancer cells remaining. The second phase is to saturate his body with chemo to search out and kill those one billion remaining hidden cells.

So if the cells are undetectable, how do you know the chemo is working and when it is done? That seemed a logical question to me, but it was very difficult to get a clear answer. Bottom line is you don't know. You hit it with everything you have, and then stand back and wait and see. Typically a relapse will happen within 6 months of the end of treatment. No relapses after 12 months is a very good indication it all worked. If it took 4 rounds to win phase one, than "statistically speaking" it should take 4 rounds in phase two. There is a third and final phase, but we are still reviewing those options.

There are parts of this process that are much more of an art than a science.

But as for now, we are celebrating our time together, and Tyler's victory over all visible tumors. We finally received the final results on Tyler's 9th spinal tap. His central nervous system remains cancer free. Good news all around. In fact, Tyler has passed with flying colors every one of the four most significant milestone during the past 4 months. We have Tyler's strength, God's grace, the doctors skill, and all of your prayers and support. With all that, victory is sure.

Through our many ups and downs with cancer many people have been a constant source of encouragement. One of those people is Stef Tarapchak. Cancer, until it is defeated, never lets you go very long without feeling it's power. Cancer tries to prove it is stronger and greater than you. It is as much a battle of wills as a physical battle. Currently cancer is flexing its muscle in it's battle with Stef. Please keep him in your prayers.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Tyler! Congratulations Alfriend Family! You continue to be an inspiration. Have a wonderful time at home together and CELEBRATE!!

Anonymous said...

Welcome Home Tyler!! You are a fighter kiddo!! Congratulations on all of the great news!! We are sooooo happy for you & your family!! Enjoy! Just to let you know we are very impressed by your treadmill abilities! You are amazing!!

The Davies-pete,lisa,connor,nick&grant

deyerles said...

Hey Guys,

So happy to hear the great news. Enjoy your weekend!

Fight to win,
Debbie

dina b. said...

Gosh, I love the Iwo Jima analogy -- It makes things easier to understand, rather than thinking in terms of nanograms (which are billionths of a gram) -- too difficult to comprehend things at such a microscopic level!

I wish for the Alfriends a fabulous weekend -- It is St. Patty's weekend in Dublin, so maybe you guys will be able to enjoy some of the festivities :)

Take care and have a great weekend!!

Anonymous said...

Tyler - I ran into your dad at the Rec. Center this past week - he was on the treadmill, too! He gave me an update, and I just want you to know I'm happy you're home! Fight to win - you are an inspiration to us all!

Lydia Takieddine

MJ/Angel_Wings said...

Attention Prayer Warriors:

The Prayer Warriors at Angel_Wings will
be having a Prayer Vigil March 19th. between
the hours of 8-9 pm.EST. for Tyler
and all the children and adults on our Prayer
List and our Angel Families. Please join us
in prayer for these families..


MJ/Angel_Wings

Missy Kemp said...

Hello to the Alfriend family,
I'm very happy to hear you are all at home and that this round of chemo thus far has gone smoothly. I'm sorry it has taken me so long to check on Tyler. I do care. I just have been working through some tough things of my own. I am going to do better. Enjoy your time at home. I know you must be so tired of the hospital. Do you believe I kind of miss it. I am always so happy to hear from the staff and other families. I am going to be in a cornhole tournament in a few hours. I am not so good, so it should be kind of funny. Tyler, check out the cool tats on Duck's cb site. There are 11 pictures of the 21 tats. Mine isn't up there yet. It is coming soon! Take care!

Renee said...

Tyler,
Congratulations! I'm glad you're home and feeling great. Enjoy this time home w/ your family. Although you and your family are missed up on J5...it's nice to miss you:) I'm glad that you have been able to spend a lot of time w/ your family and friends over the last few weeks....ENJOY!!

As I have said time and time again...you continue to be an inspiration for me! You are an AMAZING kid!

See you on your next round!

Fight to Win!!!

Renee', RN

Stef Tarapchak said...

Hey, Tyler! I went up to see you on Friday afternoon and you were gone. Very sorry I missed you, but VERY happy that you were discharged and at home doing well.

Kyle, thanks for the very kind words. I think, however, that it is people like Tyler that encourage me and keep me in the battle!!

Miss you guys!

Stef

Grandma Bonnie said...

Tyler,

It is so great to be with you. I love our conversations one and one and especially to see your strength and positive attitude. You have everything under control and expect nothing short of completing your treatments with total success.

You are such an inspiration to me. Thank you,

Grandma Bonnie

Anonymous said...

If you like flags of our fathers, you should watch letters from iwo jima, its is as good if not better than the first movie.