When you have a child recovering from cancer, the last word you want to hear is “relapse.” Well, unfortunately, “relapse” has gone from being the word that shall not be spoken, to a word that is now in the forefront of our vocabulary. As many of you know, we’ve received some bad news regarding JJ’s health. His most recent MRI showed that the spot on his brain  has, in fact, grown.  There was also an additional spot that has shown up, causing the doctors to express great concern.  They are basically positive that this new growth constitutes a relapse and that the cancer is back.  We met with JJ’s doctor on Thursday, along with Dr. Finley (the brain tumor guru), and they have started to put together an aggressive treatment plan that will begin over the next few weeks.  The first step will take place next friday; the doctors want to do a spinal tap to make sure that there are not cancer cells in his spinal fluid.  If it turns out that there is, the situation becomes incredibly dire. 

We are keeping our fingers crossed that his spinal tap comes back clean and we can proceed onto the next step in the treatment: surgery.  JJ will have another craniotomy to remove the two spots on his brain (at which time they’ll look at them under a microscope and make sure that it really is a relapse).  They will then give him about 2 weeks to recover from his surgery before they give him another round of SUPER CHEMO (a year’s worth given over 5 days or less) and ANOTHER TRANSPLANT! The huge dose of chemo that he will be receiving is fatal if not followed up by a transplant.  Thank goodness he has a humongous number of stem cells frozen from the last time!

After another 8 weeks of  waiting  in isolation for his cell counts to come back up to a safe level, the doctors will check the status of his brain to ensure that there is no new growth.  As long as that scan comes back clear, JJ will start the final step: radiation.  Although the thought of radiation is scary, we know that it hugely improves his chance of survival. 

Because of all this new information that we’ve been bombarded with this past week, we have decided to change JJ’s Dream Disney Vacation from the fall to next week.  Because it will take JJ so long to recover after his transplant and radiation (plus protective isolation, masks, etc), the doctors have suggested that we take him before he starts up treatment again. The great thing is that JJ is feeling well these days and will really be able to enjoy this special trip.  We can’t wait to experience Cars Land from his 3-year old point of view:)

This is going to be an important trip, not only because we have  been planning on taking since his initial diagnosis, but because it is going to be imperative for our family to spend as much time together as possible before JJ starts treatment.  Jaxson will once again go to stay with his Nana Nancy and Grandpa Dave at Lake Camanche while JJ is inpatient so that we are able to fully concentrate on kicking cancer’s butt.  It breaks my heart just to write about Jaxson going away, as he is a hugely integral part of our family and my total fat little ray of sunshine.  However, we are incredibly grateful that Jon’s parents are willing to completely reorganize their lives in order to help us out with such a gigantic favor, as Jaxson can be like a tiny Tasmanian devil:)

An update on JJ’s Make-A-Wish: Our yard is now ready for installation (Thank You John Santos!!) and (the fantastic) John Manchip Playground Design is working on bringing this dream to fruition.  The only way that we were able to get this project completed is because of the incredibly generous lumber donation made by Coastal Lumber in San Jose.  When this company heard about JJ’s story, they contacted us immediately and asked how they could help.  Because of John Santos, John Manchip, Coastal Lumber, all the members of Team JJ, and Make-A-Wish, we are so close to giving JJ the playground of his dreams! We are hoping that the playground will be installed soon and that JJ will be able to enjoy it while he still feels well enough to do so!

I hate having to update the blog with bad news, but I always feel like the members of Team JJ have a right to know what’s actually going on.  We are undoubtedly scared, sad, and incredibly pissed off, but we will absolutely NOT give up on this little guy.  He has shown us miracles before, and we expect that he will show that same fighting spirit this time around.  We refuse to panic until the doctors tell us that we are out of options (which we hope will never happen).  We are just going to keep putting one foot in front of the other and chipping away at the obstacles that stand between JJ and remission/cure. 

Please everyone, keep our family in your thoughts and prayers.  We have such a battle coming up and we are going to need all the strength we can get.  But before that happens, the Happiest Place on Earth better get ready for the Moisa family, because here we come!