On Sept 20, 1997, Yossi was diagnosed with Leukemia. We have since found out that he has ALL, the most common form of childhood cancer. Yossi has had an operation to put in a central line. He began chemotherapy on Sept. 22, and he has been doing well. At the time of diagnosis, he had a white blood count(WBC) of 314,000. (A normal WBC is usually between 4,000 and 10,000!). Unfortunately, he developed a reaction to one of his chemo drugs, and had Pancreatitis. He was hospitalized on Oct. 1. He was not allowed to eat, and eventually, they put a nose tube down to suction his stomach. This tube was removed on Oct. 5, and he came home on Oct. 7. His WBC was down to 3,200, and there are no "blasts" (cancer cells) in his blood. However, he still has blasts in his bone marrow. We are asking that everyone continue to pray for him, and that everyone accept upon themselves to do a MITZVAH (good deed) every day in his honor. We are hoping that by doing this, we can tip the scales in his favor. The next big date is Oct 22. This is when they will again check his bone marrow to see if he is in remission. Please pray very hard for him! (His full Hebrew name is Yosef ben Breindle Leah.)
Yossi had his chemo on Wed. His white count is down to 2,600, and his platelets and red blood cells were good. However, things are looking a little down now as far as blasts (cancer cells) in his bone marrow. Yossi had the bone marrow aspiration two weeks ago, and the doctor held out on us. (I guess she didn't want to upset me?) He originally had 96% blasts in his bone marrow, and now he has 93%. They are concerned, becasue they thought that it would be lower! BUT, they still think that he could be in remission on the 22nd, cuz 96% of all kids get into remission. (I don't need to tell you all how scared I am!)
On a more positive note, Yossi has been feeling a lot better. He is eating well, and reading everything he can get his hands on. He loves fish sticks, chicken fingers, and hamburger helper. It is such a pleasure to see him eating! This week is the big day! Continue to pray and keep up with the good deeds. We need all the help we can get!!!!
Things have not happened the way we had hoped. Yossi's bone marrow is still filled with blasts. (He had 60%, so he is considered an induction failure.) Now things are very serious. The doctors had to take him off the protocol that he was on. They are trying a new round of chemotherapy, and are hoping that they can induce a remission. We also found out that now he must have a bone marrow transplant. We had our other children tested. Our 2 girls match each other, but no one matches Yossi. He has been added to the national registry. At this time, we don't know if he has a match, or if we need to have a bone marrow drive.
Yossi feels fine. He did develop a fever from the chemo, Ara-c, that they gave him all weekend. Now his counts are all going to drop (meaning his white blood count, red blood count, and platelets). We have to watch very carefully for fever, as well as for anything else. His hair is barely falling out. Yossi had gained some weight from the Prednisone that he was on. Now that he is not taking it, he has lost his appetite. (Last week he had almost a whole box of fish sticks in one sitting! His cheeks were very plump, as was his belly! [He was goofing off, saying that he swallowed a watermelon, then 2, then 3.])
Please keep up the good deeds and prayers.
Speaking of which, we have added the name "CHAIM" to Yossi's name, which means life. (It's a common Jewish practice to add the name Chaim to those who are seriously ill, especially those who have the name Yosef to start with. This is because "Yosef" means to add, so we are "adding life" to the person. -Thank you, Dovie). So, please pray for Yosef Chaim Ben Briendle Leah.
Yossi Chaim went to the clinic on Mon. His counts are starting to fall, which we hope is a good sign. (We are hoping that this means that the chemo is attacking the good and BAD cells.) At this point we have also begun a search for a bone marrow donor. (As I mentioned before, we had all the kids tested, and at worst the girls are half matches, but this is really not the best situation.) The transplant coordinator has found 10 possible matches. They will eventually contact these 10 people, and see if they are willing to have more testing done. Then they take more blood, and have it sent to MCV to be tested. We are hoping and praying that one of these people will be a perfect match, and be willing to do it. Right now, we are not planning on having a bone marrow drive. We might reconsider if we don't find a perfect match.
Yossi Chaim is going to clinic again tomorrow for a blood transfusion. If people feel that they would like to give blood (so we could help replenish the supply that we have been using), we would encourage anyone who can do this, to do so. Yossi has also received platelets, so that is something else you could give. (You don't have to be a match for Yossi Chaim, it's just to put back into the bloodbank. You don't even have to mention his name.
Keep up the prayers and good deeds for Yosef Chaim!