Friday, June 14, 2013

Phase One of Treatment: Induction

We had a good morning today. Watts seems to be returning to his usual self as the methadone is weaned from his system. He is smiling more, playing a bit, and has started to put things in his mouth (toys, food, water). It's encouraging.

The following is info about our treatment plans for Watts, if anyone is interested in what the next couple of years are going to look like for him (and us).

There is a standard treatment plan for Watts' type of leukemia (infant acute lymphoblastic leukemia or ALL), which pretty much maps out the next 104 weeks of therapy. There is the possibility that he will have extended treatment, because boys tend to respond less favorably to chemo than girls, but we don't know that for sure right now.

Treatment for Watts' ALL is separated into six "phases" or "blocks".

Phase 1: Induction Therapy (weeks 1-5)

Phase 2:Induction intensification (weeks 6-9)

Phase 3: Re-Induction (weeks 10-12)

Phase 4: Consolidation (weeks 13-19)

Phase 5: Continuation I (weeks 20-41)

Phase 6: Continuation II (weeks 42-104)
Phase 1 is scheduled to last 5 weeks, or until the leukemia is in remission. Watts began the Induction Phase on May 30th, so he's already on day 16. The goal is to kill all the leukemia cells in the blood and bone marrow. This puts the leukemia into remission.

Our specific prayer item right now (in terms of treatment) is to see a 0-count when Watts' blood is tested for leukemia cells on or around July 3. So, remission on July 3rd (also our 9th wedding anniversary!).

This is the crazy chart that specifies exactly what drugs and how much he gets during Induction:

Similar to treatment of many other cancers, Watts is receiving chemotherapy treatment. Again, from the National Cancer Institute website:

Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream, and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy).

This is how Watts is currently receiving treatment.

Last week we learned more about Watts' specific subgroup of ALL and his assignment to a "risk group". Some info from Wake Forest University Health Sciences:

Infants with ALL can be classified into 1 of 3 risk groups. The term "risk" refers to the chance of the cancer coming back during or after treatment. The assignment of risk is basde on the infant's age at diagnosis and the genetics of the leukemia cells. The genetics of infant ALL can be classified as either "MLL-G" or "MLL-R"... about 75% of infants are found to be MLL-R and have a higher risk of the cancer coming back than those infants that are MLL-G.

High Risk classification is for infants younger than 90 days, so Watts would fall into either Standard Risk or Intermediate Risk. This depends on the genetic testing and whether the results come back as "MLL-G" or "MLL-R". Those tests were taken immediately after diagnosis and Watts' tests came back as "MLL-G", putting him in the Standard Risk group. Obviously we were very relieved and thankful.

As we move into the different phases of treatment, we'll do a post detailing the plan. As always, thank you for the support, prayers, notes, gifts, emails, texts, phone calls...


  1. I love the sweet photos and Beatles shirt. What a sweet sight to see him reaching for the guitar! We will continue to pray for all requests.

  2. Praise God! Praying for your family multiple times daily!! Love to you all!!

  3. Prayer and thoughts are with you family. The weeks will go by fast and seem to be a blur at the end!
    Heal me O' lord and I shall be healed; save me o' Lord and I shall be saved, for you are my praise.


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