Saturday, May 30, 2015


Reminding myself just how strong my kid really is! This was recorded 10 months after his initial diagnosis, during some pretty rough chemo treatments. He couldn't wait to get back out on the football field with his team, so when conditioning training began, he wanted to go work out. He is the bad ass bald boy who just wouldn't quit!!

Video was taken 7/24/2013

Friday, May 29, 2015

Erwinia Asparaginase shots

BJ had his Erwinia shots again this morning. He really did great. He sure is tough. 

The needle is big and the medicine burns going into his muscle. 

He's already had 9 shots so far. Each one has left it's mark on his thighs. 

He's counting down...36 more shots to go over the next 4 weeks.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pizza for breakfast

BJ had a better night Tuesday, but woke up not feeling well yesterday. He started feeling better later morning, and ate a slice of pizza for breakfast. Labs were looking good, and there was no blast cells in his peripheral blood yesterday. 

He received his 3 Erwinia shots, and after monitoring him for a hour, we were able to go home. We were all exhausted from everything, and BJ came inside and went straight to his bed.

I woke him up this morning to give him his meds, and he wasn't feeling well. Hopefully he'll feel better as the day progresses.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Mother's Love

For the past 2 1/2 years, we have been forced to have strength that we didn't know was possible. BJ is still rock-solid. I haven't quite recovered from the blow of that news Friday. I've had fewer moments of resolve the past 5 days, and more crumbling underneath the weight of it all. Today has been the worse day. After last night's nausea, and him waking up feeling bad, I had one of those, 'cry til you throw up' mornings. I'm sure I'll find myself again, I just wish someone would tell me that it's all going to be ok.

Need to eat

BJ had a rough night with nausea, and woke this morning not feeling well. 

He started to feel better later this morning, and at lunch, was able to eat a piece of pizza. 

Hopefully his appetite will improve when we get home. He fell asleep after he ate, and hopefully will feel good when he wakes up.

Monday, May 25, 2015


BJ was a trooper with the 3 shots. The nurses here are amazing. We love them so much. 

None of them wanted to do it, but they gave him the shots when BJ said "Go"...all at the same time.

This nightmare

My son has Leukemia. 

It's not a bad dream, it's real. 

I do know that, but it still doesn't cut through this fog I'm in. 

It's survival mode. 

It's autopilot. 

It's brutal. 

I have to stay strong, and most of the time I am. 

We're going to get through this. 

I know that, but what I don't know is what each day will bring. 

Friday was absolutely horrible.

Mental preparation is key

BJ has been gearing up for some horribly painful chemo shots this morning. 

Two years ago, because he had severe anaphylaxis to one of the chemo drugs being infused, he had to endure a total of 60 of these shots. (The shots were the only replacement drug.) 

Two nurses would give him 1 shot in each thigh at the same time. 

Now, since he's grown so much, he has to get 3 shots. Two in one thigh and 1 in the other. He'll have to get these 3 shots every Mon/Wed/Fri for the next month. 

This is the part he remembers as being the most painful from the last 2 years of treatment.

Sisterly love

Sisterly love at it's best.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Complete trust in God

Long day....BJ's back is sore from the lumbar puncture/IT chemo and bone marrow aspiration today. His best friend Matthew, who is really more like a brother, spent the afternoon with him here in the hospital. It was the best medicine. We're exhausted, but in decent spirits.

After listening to the doctor explain the new game plan, BJ had a few questions, didn't like some of the answers, but he processed it, and within minutes, accepted it. His philosophy is that this is all going to be ok, and there is a purpose behind it.

To witness his complete and absolute trust in God's plan for his life completely overwhelms and floods me with joy, and pride, and is the beginning of piecing this mother's broken heart back together. 

The wrong kind of cells

Tests from BJ's bone marrow biopsy are back, and they saw lots of blast cells in his marrow. We knew this would be the case, because there were some blast cells in his peripheral blood on Friday. 

They are still running tests to determine the percentage of blasts in the marrow. Initially, they saw no white blood cells in his spinal (CSF) fluid from the LP yesterday...this is great news. 

We'll know tomorrow if there are blast cells in his CSF. 

Because he relapsed while he was still in treatment from his initial diagnosis, he is considered high risk, and an early relapse, and will need a bone marrow transplant. 

Leading up to the transplant, he will undergo high doses of chemo to wipe out his marrow. 

The goal is to have no leukemia cells left in his marrow leading up to the transplant.

May 24, 2015 Chemo begins again

BJ had a good night, and he's up playing PS3. They're starting chemo today.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Well, here we go again....It's Round 2.

May 22, 2015.

Another one of those dates that I'll never forget.

"It's leukemia."

Seven months from BJ's journey end date. Seven months. The cancer is back. We're all just completely devastated. It was his monthly chemo/doctor exam day, and it started like it always did. Port accessed, blood drawn for labs, and some saline before the vincristine infusion. Dr. Kaplan came in and did his exam, and BJ looked good. When the blood work came back, Dr. Kaplan saw some irregular cells, and at first he thought that maybe he had mono. BJ had been sick that week with a pretty bad upper respiratory type of virus. He never had a fever, but he felt bad enough that it kept him in bed over the weekend, and out of school for three days.

We left the clinic that day waiting on a phone call from Dr. Kaplan to let us know if BJ had mono, or if those cells were leukemia. We picked up Carly from school early, and went to get both her and BJ's hair cut. We were on the way home when the phone call came in. Carly didn't know that we were waiting on news because BJ didn't want her to worry. I answered the phone, and it was Dr. Kaplan. He said, Michelle, it's leukemia. I just slumped in the seat. I know I responded to him, but I couldn't even think. I felt weak. I felt like someone had stolen my breath. BJ saw my reaction and he started screaming "NO!", "NO!"....wringing his head in his hands, punching the car seat between his knees, and more "NO!...."WHY!!??"... Carly started crying and wailing. My heart was just torn to pieces with the news, BJ's reaction, and Carly's cry out in pain from seeing her brother's raw emotion. It's just too much. We've done this all before, and it was a shock then, but this time was different. It was worse. The shock was more devastating, more of a knock down punch that came out of nowhere. We'd dealt with the news of leukemia once. Everything was going great. He was doing great. He was healthy. Hell, two weeks prior, he RAN a 5K in 29:01, and then played an entire basketball game a couple of hours later. He was strong. We were making plans - he was looking forward to getting his port removed, and going on his make-a-wish trip. I was beginning to plan a huge party to celebrate his 15th birthday and the end of his cancer journey. There was no inkling of a crept up in his body, so slyly, and unbeknownst to BJ, or anyone else, it began to multiply in his bone marrow until it spilled out into his peripheral blood where it was finally noticed.

Since BJ relapsed within 36 months of his first diagnosis, 32 months to be exact, he's considered an early relapse. The protocol now is to do 3 induction phases to prepare his body for a bone marrow transplant.

Hunger is a good thing

A couple hours after he came out of recovery.... Hungry boy! 

Bone marrow aspiration and LP chemo

So we're going to get it all started again.... Bone marrow aspiration and LP chemo.

Before procedure:

What's on the inside matters

Yesterday, traveling back home from clinic, before we knew for sure that his cancer had relapsed, BJ once again showed me his true self.

He was quiet for a little bit, and then he said..."Well, there are people who are worse off than me."

That's what lies inside of this wonderful, caring, thoughtful 14 year old boy. I love him so much.

We thought it was almost over

8th grade (2014-2015) football picture for the North Lincoln Middle School Panthers

Friday, May 22, 2015

RELAPSE - May 22, 2015

BJ was 7 months from his last chemo visit when we found out that the leukemia was back. 

His end date was Jan 4, 2016. 

He relapsed on May 22, 2015. 

For updates, I've switched to Facebook. 

You can find his Fight Page at "Cure For BJ Round 2".

Sunday, May 10, 2015

May 9, 2015 Keep Pounding 5K

BJ was *the* patient of the Keep Pounding 5K on May 9, 2015. He ran it...finished in 29:01. I couldn't have been more proud!!!