Monday, October 29, 2012

Josh Walker, The Talented Kid, by Benjamin H. Crandus

I wanted to share this book that Josh received in the mail from one of his cousins.  I think Benjamin did a great job of highlighting the characteristics of Josh that I most admire too.  My favorite line in the book is, "Josh Walker is one of the most bravest people I have ever met."  I agree.  Thanks Ben.  We love you!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Still Smiling

Round 2 Of Chemo, And He's Still Smiling!
Many have commented on Joshua, and how he is smiling in every picture.  Just so you know, he isn't just posing for the camera!  He has had the best attitude about all of this from the beginning!  We have learned so much from Joshua as he "cheerfully endures" this trial.  In fact, many of the doctors and nurses have commented on his cheery disposition.  During his last chemo treatment, Dr. Sato (one of our favorites) came in and said, "you don't look like a chemo're smiling!!  And of course, that made Joshua's smile even bigger. 
Early on, I was telling Josh that it's okay if he feels angry or feels like this isn't fair--you know, trying to validate his feelings (or maybe I was trying to validate my own).  He said, "what good would that do?"  And I had to ask myself, okay, who is the parent here?  He has taught me so much!  So now I try not to complain about my teeth hurting after my orthodontist appointments!  It just doesn't seem right.  :)

Josh did really well with Chemo again.  He didn't get nauseated at all and was able to eat 3 meals a day.  Also, this time, he didn't get "old man hands".  During his first round of chemo, his hands shook really bad and when he tried to eat, his food would bounce off of his fork.  We called it his "old man hands".   No tremors this time! 

He really didn't want to take this picture, but his cousin Daxton is CRAZY about spider man.  I said, "Daxton would love it!"  He said, "okay, I'll do it for Dax."  So this is for you Daxton!  Josh loves you, little man!
Josh is our Superhero!

Bernice and her cute crew showed up and we had "lunch on the balcony" (sounds better than "lunch outside").  We were able to have some fun and enjoyed seeing Quinton, Marissa, and Cassidy.  Thanks for lunch guys!
Josh participated in his first "clinical study" while at the hospital.  All he had to do was answer a few questions every day and allow them to monitor how many times people came in and out of his room.  They gave him a $20 gift card to Walmart for participating.  Now that really put a smile on his face!
So the next step in this adventure is an MRI and lumbar puncture on the the 6th of November with consults on the 7th.  If the MRI and lumbar puncture come back clear, then we will move ahead with radiation.  If they don't, then they will do 2 more rounds of chemo.  We are praying that this was Joshua's last round of chemo, EVER!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

A "Hairy" Situaion

A" Hairy" Situation!

After waking up to a hairy pillow, Josh took matters into his own hands, and shaved his head!  We think he looks awesome!  And yep, he is still smiling!  He had labs drawn today, and yipee, his counts are all up!  That means we will be headed to Primary Children's tomorrow morning, and he will have 3 more days of chemo starting Wednesday.  We hope and pray that this will be his last round of Chemo!  They will do a MRI in about 3 weeks and if everything looks good they will start radiation treatment.  So, this is how they explained it to us, "the chemo melts the tumors and the radiation destroys them."  The two treatments together have less side-effects because you are using smaller doses of each and a greater cure rate -----(95 to 100%).  We are going for 100% cured!!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

What Would You Wish For?

This isn't Joshua's first experience with brain tumors.  When he was 5 years old he had a Cranialpharyngioma removed that destroyed his pituitary gland.  The tumor was benign and surgery was successful.  He didn't have to have any other treatments at the time, but learning to live without a pituitary gland has been a challenge!  Because of his history and current condition, Joshua has been referred to Make A Wish Foundation.  He gets to have a wish granted!  So, if you were 17 years old and going through the fight of your life, what would you wish for? 

Joshua has come up with his wish, but I am sworn to secrecy!!  When I do get to reveal his wish, I will tell you will melt your heart and speak to the character of this boy.  No, not boy--Young Man!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Joshua's Journey........So Far

After a long summer of being sick, on August 21, 2012 Joshua had a MRI that changed his life.  It revealed multiple brain tumors. One tumor (the "mother ship", as named by the neuro team)  was causing hydrocephalus by blocking the ventricles and not allowing his CSF to drain off of his brain.  That explained the headaches he couldn't shake all summer!  He had emergency surgery on the 23rd of August.  They placed a shunt and took a biopsy that came back inconclusive.  We still didn't know what his tumors were or how they would be treated.

When we took him home we had to "even things out" since the docotors had given him such a funky hair cut before his first surgery.

Since we didn't have a diagnosis, we headed to Primary Children's Medical Center where he went in for a second biopsy.  Thankfully they were able to go in through the same incision as the first biopsy.  That second surgery was done on September 4th.  It was successful, but we had to wait 10 more days for his diagnosis which was.................................

 Germinoma Brain Tumors and they were aggressive buggers.  He had really bad double vision and had really bad blurry vision the day before chemo began.  He couldn't even read the menu!  We were anxious to get his treatments started.

On September 20, 2012 Joshua underwent his first round of Chemotherapy.  He was given VP-16 and Carboplatin for 3 consecutive days.  We were grateful at how quickly his body was responding to the treatment.  He had improved vision the very first day.

Uncle Richard, Aunt Jess and Cache came by for a visit and brightened Joshua's day.  Did I mention they had Cafe Rio in tow?  Joshua is forever hooked on the Pork burrito from Cafe Rio!  It tasted even better since he had been on a steady diet of hospital food!

So, round one goes to Joshua!  He is doing awesome.  Since his vision is back, you know what that means......HOMEWORK!  He is trying to get a whole trimester of credits in 1 1/2 months.  He has decided that homeschooling is boring and he can't wait to get back to school with Drake and his friends.

We are all doing our part to try to keep Joshua healthy.  We have the daily ritual of changing sheets, disinfecting everything that can be wiped down, steam mopping floors and cleaning his very own bathroom.  He is worth all of it and more!  We all even went and got Flu shots in our effort to keep Josh healthy.  But, who can get a flu shot without getting ice cream after?  Here is Kyler, Andrew and Mom sporting their bandaids and ice cream cones!