Friday, August 10, 2007

The Worst Day Ever

Hello. My name is Dan Kelley. You may know me as Danny Kelley. Or you may know me as Ariesgeek. Or maybe you know me as just Dan. Or maybe you have no idea who I am. Maybe nobody is reading this except for me. Frankly, I don't really care. I'm not really writing this for you, I'm writing it for me.

Thursday, August 9, 2007, is a date that will haunt me for the rest of my life. On this day, just 3 days after his first birthday, my youngest child, Andrew Michael Kelley, was diagnosed with liver cancer.

It is now 1:00am on 8/10. I haven't slept. I can't sleep. Julie (my wife, Andy's mom) and I are at Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center with Andy. My mother has our other two kids. Andy just woke up because he was a little poopy. Well, yeah, just a little. Right now Andy's sitting up in his bed, watching the TV wanting a bottle. He will have to cry himself to sleep, because he is not to have any foods or liquids.

Yeah, I said a bottle. Unlike his older siblings, we could not take Andy off the bottle on his first birthday. Ok, I should back it up a little further.

Since Andy started eating baby food, he's been tough to feed, but nothing really out of the ordinary. That's why over the last couple of months we haven't really been too horribly surprised that he hasn't wanted to eat.

As it turns out, the little guy has a hernia. Nothing severe, he'll need surgery, but it's not hurting him. We noticed it a week or so ago and setup a doctor's appointment. At this appointment, Julie asked if that's why he's not eating. The doctor felt his belly and noticed a "ridge". Being slightly concerned, she ordered blood work.

The doctor called me on Wednesday and explained that his results were strange. Some things were abnormal, while other things were normal. She couldn't quite put her finger on it, so she had us bring him into Glennon Thursday morning for an abdominal ultrasound.

Julie called me in tears at about 11:20-ish and told me to get to the hospital, something was wrong.

A few tears and an MRI later, it was confirmed that the little man has liver cancer. It's Stage I, which means it has not spread to any other organs, thank God for that. However, the tumor is too large for them to just go in and chop it out. He will need to undergo chemotherapy to shrink the tumor, then remove the tumor.

Tomorrow... well... today, he is to have surgery to get a biopsy and install a port in his chest for the chemo. Although it sounds relatively minor, this is major surgery. He will be taken directly to the ICU from surgery.

After a (hopefully) 1 - 3 day stint in the ICU, he will receive the first part of the first of three cycles of chemo.

The side effects of chemo are devestating, especially when you read them as a parent.

I'm not going to go into the details of some of the thoughts that have gone through my head the last few hours as I've tried in vain to get to sleep. Instead I'm going to call it quits for now and pick the little guy up, see if he will calm down a little, because I don't think he's going to cry himself to sleep.

Say a prayer or two.

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