Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Another Neuroblastoma Checkup For the Unknown Son

As many of you regular readers know, the Unknown Son is a cancer survivor - he was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma on his 4th birthday, and went into remission about 2 years ago or so (he's now 8 3/4 years old). The nature of his particular cancer is such that we *think* he's in remission, but there's always the possibility that he's not. This is because he still has one spot on his leg that shows up very, very faintly on the scans (almost a "ghost" of a spot, actually). Most likely it's what's called a ganglioneuroma, which is a non-malignant, (non-harmful) cell mass that the neuroblastoma tumor often changes into on its way out. But it could also possibly be an active neuroblastoma site. Either way, it has no effect on his life as it now is.

Unfortunately, the only definitive way to tell what the spot is is to cut a piece of the bugger out and look at it under a scope. Since it's extremely small, this isn't feasible (biopsies aren't as simple and easy as they seem on ER). So, we go back for checkups at Children's of Philadelphia (probably the best place for Neuroblastoma research and treatment in the world) every three months or so. If the spot gets bigger, it's probably active Neuroblastoma and we go into full blown treatment mode. If not, it's a ganglioneuroma, and life goes on.

Well, it's that time once again. So, we schlep the family down to Philadelphia, stay at the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House (kind of like kid heaven), go to CHOP for tests, and do the usual stuff. After Unknown Son's injection today (they give the radioactive market 24 hours before the scan), we're going to the Science Museum, and then I'll sneak away to the Penn Bookstore for a couple of hours(yes, I'm a nerd - but you knew that).

And then tomorrow U.S. gets his scan, we talk with his oncologist (who is one of the top two or three Neuroblastoma specialists in the world), and then head home.

Stay tuned.

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