First things first, watch Fox News at 6 tonight to see me and Austin down at the hospital today (what is it with me and Fox News? I guess they’ve never checked my voting records!).  Thanks to his role as a St. Baldrick’s Ambassador Kid, he is becoming quite the little celebrity! As soon as I get the video clip, I’ll post it here for those of you who live out of town (or only surf the blogosphere after-hours).

And now, the real first thing first: Today’s results were all good.  Well, not exactly all good (keep reading), but good in the ways that matter most. His kidney function is holding steady, which is fabulous. His CT and ultrasound show no change to his lungs, kidney or liver . . . also fabulous. There is no indication of any cancer anywhere inside his body.  So, in terms of Wilms tumor, Austin is healthy as can be. And in terms of kidney function, he is as healthy as can be expected.

But (ah, the dreaded but), there are some other troubling issues. Only slightly troubling, mind you, especially speaking in relative terms. The radiologist thinks that the liver looks like it’s “coarser” than in the past.  Not anything inside the liver (that old spot has remained unchanged since August 2010), but the make-up of the liver itself.  He just felt like it looked . . . different.  Vague, I know. Dr. Auletta wasn’t sure what to make of this either, especially since Austin’s liver function is and has always been normal.

The other thing is that there seem to be some . . . stuff in his stomach.  It could be calcium build-up from all the Tums he takes to bind out the phosphorous in his diet or adhesions due to all the surgeries he’s had (not a terribly unusual side effect of being cut open and manhandled that many times). They did recommend doing an upper-GI test, just to see if there’s any action we need to take before an actual blockage occurs.  I’ll learn more about all of these things in the next few days after the various doctors on Austin’s team are consulted and a formal report is issued.

All in all, it’s fine. What matters most is that there’s no cancer and a still-working kidney. But, as I said to the news reporter today, two-thirds of the children who survive their cancers live with long-term health problems as a result of their treatments.  The very things that made Austin better are now the very things that can make him sick. We know that his cancer story will never be over, even if the cancer itself is gone. He will never actually be the normal kid he appears to be.

But, hey, we’ll take him, abdominal adhesions and all.

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