Sunday, April 6, 2008

Early April Updates

Hi! After a gorgeous weekend, we have some big news to report: Jack learned to ride his bike!

He asked me to take off his training wheels on Saturday. I was encouraged by his ambition but remained a bit wary of whether he'd be able to ride without them. I thought back to last summer, before my craniotomy, when I first tried to teach him to ride his bike without training wheels. I ran beside the bike, holding it up and supporting him, as we went in circles in the back yard. After a few test runs like this, I finally gave him a slight push, took my hand off the bike, and let him try to ride solo. He traveled a few wobbly yards on his own and then crashed. I thought he had done well, but he was upset and didn't want to continue. We ended up putting the training wheels back on.

So this Saturday, as I removed the nuts that held the training wheels to his bike, I warned Jack that he would probably fall as he learned to ride and that he shouldn't give up if he did. He nodded as if he understood. I also told Jack that I wouldn't be able to teach him how to ride--my bum left leg made that impossible--so my Dad would be doing the job instead. Jack again nodded in assent. He then climbed on the bike, my Dad asked if he was ready, Jack said yes, and they were off.
After two steps, my Dad let go and Jack took off across the yard by himself. My eyes popped and jaw dropped: he could ride a bike! We had to remind him that he should use his brakes to stop rather than drag his feet on the ground and that he needed to wear his helmet when riding the bike. Otherwise, Jack needed no more coaching from me or my Dad. It really shouldn't have surprised me, though. Jack was the kid who didn't crawl, didn't climb, didn't stand, didn't do anything until he was one year old. Then he just got up and started walking. I don't know what that says about his personality, but it could make things interesting when he wants to learn to drive! : )

In other news, I had my six-week follow-up appointment with Dr. Richards. He hadn't ordered any scans, so he simply gave me a cursory physical exam, took some blood samples, and measured several of my subcutaneous nodes. He said it appears the nodes have remained stable or decreased slightly in size. And he seemed very happy about the fact that I've been feeling well. In conclusion, he asked me to have CT scans done in six weeks and then come back to see him. He said he expects the scans will show that the internal tumors, like the subcutaneous nodes, are stable or shrinking as well and that we will be able to start the maintenance phase of the antiCTLA-4 trial in mid-May. I sure hope that's the case.

But I'm trying not to think that far ahead. No one can predict what the scans will show. All I know for sure right now is that I feel good, I can eat whatever and whenever I want, Kelly and the kids are healthy, and the weather is getting warmer. So I'm happy!



Kara Smith said...

Ahhhhh...happiness is....
I think that was the old Peanuts comic strips that had those all of the time. I can't say that I blame you for feeling happy. A joyful heart doeth the soul good!

michelle wait said...

Way to go, Jack!!! What a fun way to learn with Dad and Grandpa standing by. As always, it's great to hear what's going on in your neck of the woods! Love to you all,

Katie Clancy said...

Congrats on learning to ride a bike, Jack, but someone has to do something about your t-shirt. Wrong team! :)
Glad to hear springtime has hit WI and so has a turn of good news. This is what it means to continue to win! Looking forward to an update from Kelly - Ed's dad had a bad fall and broke his back so we've been preoccupied. I owe a phone call. All the best. How's Aubrey's play? Take care

Mary M Clay said...

Jeff: thanks for the blog! I am so impressed with Jack's bike riding skills! It will be a fun spring/summer for the kids.

Oh, btw, I love his shirt! ;)
Go Sox! (JK, Katie! Your Cubs had a great year last season :)

Terri said...

That is great news about your nodes staying stable, hopefully the scans about the internal oneswill say the same. It's also great that you are feeling well, and can eat what you want when you want, that must feel like a big leap toward progress, in this whole thing. It's amazing what feeling good can attribute to. I really glad that everyone is doing well. Tell Jack that Jake is on his tail. I hope by the end of the summer that Jake is riding his bike all on his own. Ben and I have come up with an invention that makes it easier for us to hold onto the bike with out killing our backs in the process. The only catch is we can't use it since need a person to weld it for us. Oh, well...
Thanks for the updates.