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Phase 3 Updates

Treatment Day 1
 
(9/06/2007)
Treatment Day 27
(10/03/3007)
Treatment Day 37
(10/16/2007
 
Day 1

This past Tuesday (Sept 4th), Gabriel went in for an EKG and Echo for his heart before beginning his Delayed Intensification Phase of treatment. Thursday (Sept 6th), the results all came back normal. This test will serve as a baseline for this treatment series since Gabriel will be receiving a drug called Doxorubicin which could have a negative effect on is heart. All other blood test came back good and he made his counts to begin Phase four.

So Thursday began with chemo (vincristine) administered through an IV in his port, a spinal tap, more chemo (methotrexate) administered into his spine through the spinal tap and then the Doxorubicin administered through an IV in his port. Overall a very tiring process for Gabriel as well as Mom and me. In addition to all this, Thursday evening Gabriel began another series of steroids (dexamethazone) which in the past has caused his little body to swell up and he would get very moody. I took the picture above during Gabriel's recovery period as he completed his treatment. I was just so moved by the peace and innocence in his face. I just knew his angels were there with him.

Thank you for all your prayers and financial support. It is comforting to know that you are all there with us. God bless you.

Good night...
-Tom
"Whenever my enemy provokes me to combat, I try to behave like a soldier."
St. Therese, the Little Flower

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Day 8, 15, 22

Gabriel's treatments over the past three weeks were going well with very few side effects. We did notice he was beginning to slow down. His energy levels were dropping, he began to sleep more, talk less and lose interest in some of the very things he loved to play with most... his monster trucks and motorcycle video games.

As his intensification treatments continued, Gabriel began to get sores in his mouth, lips and tongue. The doctors explained that this was one of the side effects of the new chemo drug (new to Gabriel during this phase) he began getting called Doxorubicin. A drug they told us is far more intense than the normal Vincristine chemo he had been receiving.

Thursday, Sept 28th, Treatment Day 22, Gabriel was admitted to All Childrens Hospital due to a 103.5 fever he began to run. The sores he is experiencing on his tongue and lip have now spread to his little bottom and through his GI track. Currently he is being treated with Leukemic Wash, Antibiotics and Morphine to control his pain. It feels like a setback for us, but the doctors assure us they actually expected this and it is very common.

So for now we continue to wait, pray and comfort Gabriel as the minutes and hours tick bye.

Thank you for all your prayers and God bless you.

Good night...
-Tom
"Whenever my enemy provokes me to combat, I try to behave like a soldier."
St. Therese, the Little Flower

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Day 27

Today Gabriel was released from the hospital. He responded very well to the anti-biotics they gave him to help heal the sores on is mouth, bottom and GI track. It was a long 7 days but to see Gabriel start to return to his old self again is worth it all.

Gabriel now has 4 days of medications at home and then Monday, Oct 8th he will be re-admitted for a series of potent chemo treatments that require him to stay for 2 days in the hospital so they can monitor his reactions and make sure he is hydrated well so that his body will flush this potent chemo out of his body before it does any damage to his kidneys. That will be followed-up by 6 days of daily treatments

But until then, we will spend this weekend enjoying Gabriel playing once again with his brothers and sister, and of course Dad, with his monster trucks. A routine that has developed in the mornings when Gabriel wakes up. While I am having coffee and before it is time for his morning meds, Gabriel will go over to his monster truck toy bin and get 3 trucks. Usually Grave Digger, Pastrana 199 and Outlaw. I usually get Outlaw and Gabriel gets the other 2. My legs and arms and the couch all transform into monster truck stadium and the motors begin to roar and the trucks do spectacular stunts in mid air. At least in our imaginations anyway. It is a time I will surely miss as he grows older.

I will let you know how next week goes. We thank you for all your prayers and ask you to keep all of us in your daily prayers. (For a complete list of updates, see the Index of Updates on the front page of Gabriel's Website.)

If you have not yet checked out Gabriel's new website, make it a point to stop by.

God bless you and good night,
-Tom
"Whenever my enemy provokes me to combat, I try to behave like a soldier."
St. Therese, the Little Flower

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Day 37

We are now in the 2nd week or Gabriel's two week daily chemo treatments. He has moved passed the sores in his mouth and bottom and is doing very well.

His treatments began last Monday (Oct 10th) with a two day stay in the hospital to receive a new chemo called Cyclophosphamide which they had to flush right away using an IV of fluids over a 24 hour period to prevent damage to Gabriel's Kidneys. They also did a spinal tap as well.

Tuesday (Oct 11th) he began a daily chemo called Cytarabine which he receives everyday for 8 days along with a medication named Thioguanine which we give him at home for 14 days. The daily treatments take a lot out of him for a few hours but after a short nap, he is back on his feet and ready to play.

Last Thursday following his chemo treatments he wanted to go to his brother Michael's high school football game. At the end of the game, Gabriel and his brother-in-law Lance were throwing the football and Gabriel ran a full 100 yards carrying the football to the goal line.

Today, Tuesday (Oct 16th) Gabriel had to get a blood transfusion along with his daily chemo because the chemo is pushing his blood counts down. We have 3 days left of this daily routine which Carol and I are anxious to come to an end. The hospital is 125 miles round trip everyday and is taking a bit of a toll on us. It gets very exhausting not to mention expensive going back and forth everyday. There is light at the end of the tunnel though. Gabriel is also very anxious to get the needle out of his port and is counting the night-nights. The doctors did not want to keep sticking him everyday, so they accessed his port with the needle and tube and taped it in place on his chest and only remove it at the end of each week.

This week will bring to an end the Delayed Intensification phase. They will do a spinal tap at the beginning of the next phase which is called "Maintenance Phase" and begin a new round of treatment but not as intense as this past phase.

Gabriel's spirits are great. He prays the rosary with us traveling back and forth from the hospital and tonight for the first time I heard him recite his "Guardian Angel Prayer". He has a little stuffed angel that when you squeeze him a child's voice prays the entire prayer. Each night before Gabriel goes to sleep he squeezes it 3 or 4 times. Tonight I heard this little voice praying "Angel of God my Guardian dear, to whom God's love commits me here, ever this night be at my side to light and guard and rule and guide. Amen!"

I had to smile and I thought to myself, the beauty of innocence that this little boy has and the strength he has been demonstrating in his spirit can only be possible by the divine presence of God in his soul.

We count our blessings everyday that God has lessened what these trials could be. Gabriel has experienced very little side effects to the chemo. When we were in the hospital with him last week, there were children there that could not leave because they could not tolerate the chemo and were constantly vomiting. Up and down the halls we heard them at all ages and hours of the night. Gabriel has not gotten sick once. He receives his chemo treatment, goes to sleep for a few hours, then is up and about running on a football field or playing soccer with his brothers. God has truly heard all of yours and our prayers during this dreadful trial.

We thank you for all your prayers, we know that it is the power of prayer that will see us all through this. (For a complete list of updates, see the Index of Updates on the front page of Gabriel's Website.)

If you have not yet checked out Gabriel's new website, make it a point to stop by.

God bless you and good night,
-Tom
"Whenever my enemy provokes me to combat, I try to behave like a soldier."
St. Therese, the Little Flower

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