Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Awesome hats for Cameron

My friend Stacey made these awesome hats for Cameron, which will come in really handy when his hair starts falling out. Thank you Stacey!!!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Flu Bug is going around

The flu bug is on its way out!! Yayyy! Cameron & I are still in "lock down" just to be safe.  Thank goodness his nausea is much better now. The twins & Dad are doing better too.  Whew! :)

Our family & friends have planned a fund raiser for Sunday June 24th in Sublimity Or from noon to 7pm! There will be raffles, great band ect. so it should be fun!! I am not trickey enough to post the link on here but on Facebook there is a "Wooden Nickle" page that has all of the details. If you are interested in going let them know!  Thank you!!! Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fever Scare

We had a fever scare last night but it turned out ok, they sent us home from the ER instead of to Dornbechers.  Since his ANC was so high (thats a good thing) it was due to the side effect of the chemo instead of an infection.  There is always a concern his body will reject the port, so any fevers get a trip to the ER just to be safe since these little guys can go downhill fast. Better safe than sorry is the thinking of the Drs.   That works for me!!! :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

We are now officially giving chemo at home!! That was scary & weird but we did it!  It feels really strange to inject your child with something! Cameron sat in his rocking chair while his dad & I did it & he didn't even notice what we were doing.  Whew!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Best News Yet!!!

Wow! More good news!!! The Dr said that she wanted to clarify that Cameron is now considered a "Rapid Early Responder". That means it is the lightest path that he can get!!!!! Yayyyy! He gets to skip the additional 120ish days of hard treatment.  That also means if all goes well, he will have 180ish days of hard treatment and then maintenance!!! Now we just have to pray he stays on track and keeps responding well to chemo!!! Keep up those prayers...they are working!!! Love and hugs to all of you that are celebrating these little victories right along with us. Thank you!!!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Next Appointment...Tuesday

I just talked to the nurse about Tuesdays appointment and it is going to be a long day. We have to be there at 9:30am in Portland then he gets a ton of fluid, then chemo, then more fluid to help clear it from his system. Then, at 4pm he gets his sedation spinal tap/chemo in his spine. He can't have anything to eat starting 6 hours before so it will be interesting keeping a hungry kido entertained. Hopefully he can get a nap in, but not likely since the rooms are separated by curtains. It takes about 45 min for the procedure then another hour (give or take) to wake up. Then, we get to drive another hour & a half home. Thank goodness there is the technology to do this, but it makes for a big day for Cameron! :)
I am learning new ways to incorperate this new life into our old one.  Today, I had to pick up the twins from preschool. I just put Cam in the backpack that way I could go in the classroom pick up the twins & not worry about Cam touching anything.  I have a feeling he is going to be spending a ton more time in that wonderful invention!! Thank you Auntie Theresa for it & DeAnn for the idea!!  Thank you Melinda & Stephanie for that wonderful slide show!! I cry every time I watch it :) Good one for sure!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Really Good News!

I just got off of the phone with the Dr & his marrow was negative!!!! Yayyy!! That is wonderful news!! His spinal fluid came back with one "blast" (thats what they call cancer cells) so since it was only one cell it could have & most likely was an inflammatory cell, not a true cancer cell. The end result is that he still falls into the "early response" catagory, just slow early response. She said it was all good news and he will just have a little stronger chemo for this catagory, wich is still the easier route for him. Whew! We will take it :) I feel like its a win!!!!

Also...he is fighting with his brother & sister!! Life is back to normal for a minute!!! Who would ever think I would celebrate them doing the usual kid squabbles!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Little Bit of Good News...

I love good news even if its just little bits of it! We were able to skip our Drs appointment today.  The nurse called and said " His ANC looks good & rising like we want to see & we don't have any test results yet, so lets save you a long drive."Yayyy!  I am obsessing about it so much I am begging the nurses to obsess too! They tolerate me:)
We go back in a week for the not so fun stuff. Spinal tap, sedation & chemo.  His hair is really starting to thin so off we got to Olan Mills to get some pictures to have a "before" picture of him & the twins while his ANC is up. I can't even think about how hard it will be to see him without hair.  He was born with a mop!!  It will seriously interfere with my denial :)  Every day he gets stronger & more independant. It is so nice to see him playing & picking up new words, just being a kid.  Its super nice to not have to worry...as much about germs ect. while his immune system is up.  They say the cancer is cureable but its the infections that can be the ---I don't want to think about.  It is all just amazing how well technology is advancing.  How they can take a super sick kid & make him into a seemingly healthy regular kid.  It is weird to look at him playing, laughing, eating & think he is REALLY sick. Technology is amazing!!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Big Test done...Now we wait!

Whew! The big test is behind us now! Now we just wait for the results.  We had to check in at 8am & we had to wait 2 hours in a 8x6 room.We were separted from the others waiting for surgery by only a curtain, with no toys.   My sister was amazing with him, it was so fun to watch her make him squeal & giggle over & over.  She did an awesome job keeping him entertained while we waited & I did paperwork/spoke with the nurses & Drs.  She was a lifesaver!  It was fun to see the people walking by with a smile or giggle themselves at the constant sound of his little belly laugh giggles!  The procedure took 2 hours and then they brought us back to the recovery, he was sleepy & sweet. Then the wild man emerged and after several medications and another hour we were able to go home  :) He was Mr. sleepy the rest of the night, and that was fine with me after his big day :) Thanks Aunt Kiss!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

This is a must watch! I dedicate this to Cameron & his mom Shelley <3 Melinda
Thursday is the BIG day!! We are resting up today while dad takes the twins out on an adventure to the fish farm to feed the fish, throw rocks and have a picnic!! Picnics are always a big hit!!! We show up for surgery in the morning around 8am in Portland so we have to leave around 6am with no food/water for a grumpy Cameron. Poor guy, that is a tough one for him.  He will get his port placed and they will do the bone marrow/lumbar puncture as well.  2 hours of actual surgery and then recovery after that. It is going to be a long day.  Thankfully my sister is coming to help out. They say its just a few days until the pain eases up and then in a week or so he can play in our backyard kiddie pool like a big kid!!! No more tube hanging off of his arm from the pic line.  The next round of chemo will last 57 days and there will be lumbar punctures every week for a while.  That means a sedation each time.  The nice part is that we only go to Portland once a week during that round. We get to give him chemo at home through the port 3x a week. Crazy!! They say he won't lose his hair during these next 57 days but he will on the following new round of treatment.  That is going to be SUPER hard on mom.  I can be in denial on some level,  until the hair is gone.  It will just be the new normal I guess :)  That is the low down until we know the results of the tests in the morning  :)  Thank you for all of your love & support!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Something you may not know about the treatment of leukemia

I just learned this from Shelley the other day, since Cameron has been undergoing chemo and will continue treatment (at least for a few more months) it could render him sterile for the rest of his life.

The good new is, if done early enough, doctors can take stem cells to help produce active sperm for Cameron later in life when he wants to have children. Here is some more in depth information and a link to the whole site at the top right hand side of this blog.


Testicular Tissue Freezing for Pre-Pubescent Boys
Sperm banking is not an option for prepubertal boys who are not yet producing sperm. However, these boys do have stem cells in their testes that are poised to begin producing sperm at puber...ty. Currently there are some experimental studies underway to preserve testicular tissue obtained by biopsy and freeze it for future use. The tissue contains stem cells which will be able to start spermatogenesis (sperm production). Testicular tissue freezing is considered experimental and is generally only offered in a research setting with IRB oversight. Several studies are developing protocols that will enable scientists and physicians to use the frozen/thawed testicular tissue and stem cells to produce sperm in the laboratory or by re-implanting, years later, back into the individual. Research has proven these strategies are effective in animals and it is envisioned that they will also be effective in humans.

The Fertility Preservation Program of Pittsburgh is a multidisciplinary working group that includes key stake holders at Magee-Womens Research Institute, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. The Fertility Preservation Program of Pittsburgh has established a dedicated phone line (412-641-7475) that patients and their physicians can call to learn about the reproductive side effects of their treatments and options for preserving their fertility. This is a discussion that needs to happen before toxic therapies are initiated and fertility is irreversibly destroyed. There are no standard options to preserve the fertility of boys and girls who are not yet producing mature eggs or sperm. For these young patients, The Fertility Preservation Program of Pittsburgh is approved to freeze testicular or ovarian tissue that might be used in the future to restore fertility when experimental techniques emerge from the research pipeline. For more information on standard and experimental options for preserving fertility please visit http://www.mwrif.org/220 or call (412-641-7475).

Will be posting calendar, hopefully later today...

I just got the calendar from the Merrill family of some current needs, but the "Helping Hands" website is down for the moment. I will try again later today.

So far, there is a couple of days that their dog could be walked Tuesday and Thursday and Wednesday they could use a meal around 5:30. Suggested dinner: Taco's

For now if anyone is interested on helping with one of these, just make a comment and we'll get you on the schedule.

Thanks so much!


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Ways you can help!

Hi there!

My name is Melinda, I am one of Shelley's friends and I set up this site to help Shelley and her family to be able to keep her family and friends updated on Cameron's status. Shelley will be the main author on this site, but from time-to-time I will be helping her out and adding to her blog for her. Here is a quick update and a few ways that you can help....

Cameron came home as of this last Friday, May 4th, yay! He continues to do well. I had the opportunity to see the little guy. Shelley said he was having a good day, that he hasn't felt well enough to walk lately, but Friday, he was up and moving around.

With the help of a friend of Shelley's, Linda Blair, we have come up with a way to keep the calendar on the "Cameron's Helping Hands" site with updates for the Merrill's needs. A link is at the top right hand side of this blog in GREEN. As of Monday evening, May 7th, I should be able to update you all, on some new needs.

The Merrill's freezer is full for now, but there are other things we can do for them.

A few examples:

Gas cards-for the many trips to Portland and back, since gas is not cheap, it can be costly driving back and forth. Those can be sent to the Merrill's address 2445 NW 12th St, Corvallis, OR 97330.

Yard work-When Cameron is awake he wants his mom, which is understandable since the little guy doesn't feel good and when Cameron is resting, so is Shelley. Cressey (dad) has his hands full with the twins and work, so any kind of yard work would be a great help! Mowing, pulling weeds etc.

Walking the dog-Rex (their dog) is a big guy, he is a big teddy bear, but he needs some TLC. There is not much to go around these days and I'm sure you would make a new friend in him:)

House Cleaning-provided that Cameron is having a good day, I will post what days are good for them. You can sign-up for house cleaning. You must not be sick or have been sick for 48 hours or been around anyone that has been sick, prior to cleaning the house. Cameron's immune system is low, so we need to be careful.

Transportation for twins-to and from daycare and preschool. Shelley was the transporter of the twins, but if Shelley is in Portland, at the hospital, she will be unavailable to transport them, and Cressey could really use the help.

Donations-to a trust fund for Cameron at any Chase bank under a 3rd party administrator name of Jason Miller acct # 3030040413

If you have joined their helping hands there is a calendar that will have days that will specified for yardwork, walking the dog, house cleaning, and transportation needed for twins. Please check back Monday evening for sign-ups on the calendar. Anytime there is a change "Helping hands" will automatically notify you.
Thank you for your prayers and support! The family really appreciates it!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cameron's Helping Hands Link info.

Many friends have been asking about how they can help us and we are so appreciative. The link is at the top, right hand side of this blog "Cameron Merrill's Helping Hands"; or click here.  We'll be updating it sometime soon with ways to help. In the meantime, if you are interested please request to be added (it asks for your email address). Thanks for everyone's support and help!!!

Welcome if you are new to Cameron's Big Fight blog!

This blog is for the friend and family of Shelley & Cressey Merrill. As most of you already know, Cameron was diagnosed with leukemia April 9, 2012, at only 19 mos of age. A blog is a great tool for Shelley to be able to keep you all updated on Cameron's treatment and well-being, without having to individually respond to multiple emails. So bookmark this page, check back often, and please, POST your good tidings and support!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cameron is doing GREAT!!! He may get to go home friday if everything goes well!! Yayyyy!!

New fever again

It is a low one, so here we stay for at least 48 hours after it stops. He was feeling much better today. He painted and played cars too. It just goes to show, you never can tell when the fever can pop up:) It's good that they check it so often!!! They are GREAT here!!! Keep us in your thoughts and prayers! We still need them:)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Doing Better Today

Cameron had a rough day, yesterday:( Good news though, no fever today! Cameron has also made a new friend in a little boy that is here and he's 18 mos. old. These kids are such fighters!!!