8.12.2008

Prayer Request

Prayer Request:
I can't believe I'm writing this again...........it really sunk in when I visited Ben Sherman's CaringBridge website tonight. I logged right in with the username and password I used for Michael Keasler. I can't believe I'm there again!

Ben Sherman is one of the triplet sons of Mike and Jackie Sherman and was admitted to St. Jude's Hospital today. Tonight he was diagnosed with (ALL) Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Jackie announced at our Christmas party in 2002 that she was pregnant and going on bedrest soon because *surprise*they were having triplets (she had a 9 month old at the time!) Some of you may know Jackie's mother, Mary Hosinski, she is our events coordinator for the adoption coalition. Please keep this family in yours prayers!!

Ben has a site set up where you can leave a note of prayer and/or encouragement at:
http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/bensherman
Below is tonight's medical update,
Dia

Late this afternoon, Ben's physician communicated the results from a bonemarrow biopsy taken earlier today. This was the final test needed todiagnose Ben's condition - yesterday, he had blood work and a chest Xray.The upshot of all these tests is that Ben has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia("ALL"). We were told that Ben's is a "very treatable" form. More ontreatment later, but it is reassuring to hear the doctor use these words.

Ben's treatment will begin tomorrow and will likely continue for severalmonths - probably as much as 3 years. Tomorrow, Ben will undergo a lumbar(lower back) puncture to obtain fluid for diagnostic purposes. Somechemotherapy will also be administered during this procedure. In addition,the doctors will place a catheter in his arm called a "PIC". This willprovide a ready access point for future drug administration. Lastly, Benwill have a CT scan to establish a baseline for bone density, something thatwill be monitored during the entire course of his therapy. Going forward, some of Ben's therapy will be inpatient, especially at thebeginning, and the rest will be outpatient. All of it will be chemotherapy- no radiation for children this young and surgery is not indicated for ALLpatients. The chemotherapy involves a cocktail of several drugs - someoral, some injected, and some IV through the PIC. The first 7 weeks of therapy is referred to "Induction" and will be the mostintense. During Induction, much of Ben's treatment will be inpatient. thegoal is to force the leukemia into remission. Several tests will be doneduring Induction to monitor Ben's response to therapy. The mass in hischest should shrink dramatically initially, for example, which can bevisualized and monitored via Xray. Bone marrow samples will be takenperiodically and will be the best gauge his response. A significantlyreduced presence of cancer cells in the blood at the end of Induction willtell the doctors if Ben achieved remission.If so, the next 8 weeks are referred to as "Consolidation" during which anincreasing amount of his therapy will be outpatient. Consolidation is lessintense in terms of the frequency of therapy, but the drugs used are prettymuch the same.The 120 weeks after Consolidation are referred to as "Continuation". Ben'streatment during this period will be almost entirely outpatient. During the course of Ben's treatment, he will likely experience many of thecommon side effects of chemotherapy. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and hairloss are expected starting in the first 3 weeks. It is possible (likely?) that Ben may need blood tranfusions during thecourse of his therapy. Whether he needs bone marrow transplatation or notdepends on how he responds to Induction so we'll know more in the comingweeks.

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