Thursday, May 28, 2009

Carter's Prognosis Since Re-Admission

Well, as much as we all would have liked to see Carter Man remain at home, he is much more safe and very well cared for at the hospital - especially in the PICU where there is typically TWO nurses to every ONE patient.

Carter had a particularly difficult time breathing on Tuesday (5/26). The ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat) doctor scheduled a scope of his throat (inserting a small camera into his airways to evaluate his condition). The Scope procedure showed that his vocal cords were partially paralyzed (meaning they weren't moving the way they should in order to allow normal airflow through his throat - OR - blocking his airway). Courtney and Skip, after the initial consultation, had given the doctor carte blanche to use his "gut feeling" on whether or not Carter needed a Tracheotomy [A tracheostomy is a hole in the neck that allows people to breathe. The hole goes directly into the trachea (windpipe) and connects to the lungs]. The two different terms Tracheotomy and Tracheostomy are often used in the same way, but the term Tracheotomy refers to the actual surgery, while the term Tracheostomy refers to the actual hole in the neck, post-surgery.

So, Carter Man left for the scope and returned with a Tracheostomy. The ENT doctor said that the partial paralysis of his vocal cords could be for a number of reasons, but most likely due to either heavy sedation, or pressure (caused by the tumor) on a cranial nerve. Paralysis of the vocal cords is not a permanent condition. Once the tumor is reduced in size and at Carter's 3-4 week check-up with the ENT, if they see that his vocal cords are again moving the way God designed them to, then the Tracheostomy will be removed. This is quite a painful recovery once the Trache is removed, but generally speaking, a child Carter's age will be heavily sedated for up to 7 days to help him get through the healing process.

Courtney and family are amazed at his ability to withstand all of this. He even offered up some smiles today, especially when "Mom" Karate chopped "Dad" in good fun to solicit laughs and was successful!

Carter's blood cell counts are remaining stable. He may need a red blood cell transfusion tomorrow, but it's still a "wait & see" scenario at this point. His white blood cell counts are great! His little lips are CLEAR!! WooHoooo!!! - no more sores on his lips!

There was a concern of slight Hydrocephalus when reviewing the MRI of the brain. Hydrocephalus is more commonly known as "water on the brain" or an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid. Dr. Myseros (Carter's Nuerosurgeon) was not concerned enough to immediately schedule surgery, so he is going to wait to see how he does with the Tracheostomy before going ahead with surgery. In cases of hydrocephalus, a one-way valve (called a shunt) is used to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid from the brain and carry it to other parts of the body. This valve usually sits outside the skull, but beneath the skin, somewhere behind the ear.

The results of the spinal MRI a few days ago showed no growth and minimal shrinkage, but in Courtney's exact words... "We Will Take THAT!!"

The next step in Carter's treatment is to get him back on the Chemotherapy (2 different types) as well as adding in a new drug called Avastin. Avastin® (bevacizumab) is the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved therapy designed to inhibit angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels develop and carry vital nutrients to a tumor. So it is our hope that this EVIL tumor will no longer be fed and will get outta Dodge for good!

Carter-Man will be in the PICU for at least another week due to normal procedure following a pediatric tracheotomy.

Please continue your prayers for Carter-Man and his ENTIRE family! This has renewed a great deal of Faith in a lot of us, but also taken a toll on many. Any and all thoughts and prayers are appreciated more than you can imagine!