Taking the first steps

Around the beginning of April, Jacob started to complain about some knee pain. This gradually worsened, and soon he was limping and could no longer play sports or run around on the farm. By the end of April, Jacob could hardly climb the stairs in the house.  We visited our family doctor who suggested that it was probably Patellar Femoral Syndrome – a sports injury – combined with growing pains, since Jacob had recently ( and quickly!) sprouted up several inches.  We accepted this as an adequate explanation and were told to do some physio exercises and to come back in a month if no change or things had worsened.

Sunday, June 3, we noticed a swelling above Jacobs left knee. It was very hard and did not have the usual appearance of inflammation from injury.

Monday, June 4, I ( Mom) took Jacob back to the family doctor concerned that this did not look typical at all. The look on the doctors face told me that this indeed was not typical, and I knew already then that something serious was going on. We were sent for bloodwork and X-Rays. Only 4 short hours later we were called that the X-ray was back and that I needed to bring Jacob back to the doctor immediately. The secretary then added “ and Tracey, the doctor has requested that your spouse comes along as well.”  Fear and panic hit instantly, but we composed ourselves and went back to the doctor.  He showed us an X-ray of Jacobs femur and told us that it had a large tumor growing inside of it.  He said “ it’s bad” and “the worst of the worst”.  We were told that the radiologist thought it looked like aggressive osteosarcoma and  referred to Children’s Hospital Oncology and to an orthopaedic oncology surgeon.

The next couple days were an emotional rollercoaster, but I will spare you all those details.

Today, June 8, after waiting what felt like eternity, we went to Children’s Hospital for testing and consults.  The morning started with X-rays of his leg and a CT scan of his lungs.  The lungs are the most common place that osteosarcoma spreads to first. After the scans we met with our oncologist to discuss what the journey may look like.  We were told that the CT scan was clear with NO signs of cancer in his lungs. We were so relieved to hear this news.

An IV line was put in place and bloodwork done.  We met “our” nurse and “our” social worker as well. They assured us that we will never be alone when we are at the hospital and that they are our team, along with the oncologist.

The last test of the day was an MRI of Jacobs pelvis down to his shins.  I got to sit with him through this which was very helpful for Jacob as his anxiety was high.  *note to anyone sitting next to an MRI machine – take out the bobby pins in your hair 😋 . Mine were standing straight up and being pulled towards the machine.  We had to stop the scan halfway to get them out of the room. The scan took about an hour, and then we met briefly with the orthopaedic surgeon.  He will be performing an open biopsy of Jacobs femur on Wednesday, June 13.  Jacob will be put under for this as they will do a 2-3 inch incision to cut out a piece of bone to be sent to pathology to see what type of osteosarcoma Jacob has.  This will be an overnight stay.  Friday June 15 Jacob has a PET scan to look for spread of cancer in other bones at the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver.  These last 2 tests are critical for the doctors to decide the course of action needed and what chemo meds to give and how often.

The cancer appears to be quite aggressive and the tumor is already very large. Once all the results are in, the doctors are thinking that we will begin with 3 months of chemo therapy to shrink the tumor and prevent spread, and then surgery will take place after that, with more chemo to follow. With osteosarcoma, chemo alone will not cure. The cancer has to be physically removed. The upcoming surgery will be invasive and bones will need to be removed and replaced. The road ahead will be very long, painful, and difficult for Jacob, and just as painful on our hearts to watch.

The outpouring of love from those around us has been a huge support. Meals, visits, hugs, cards, gifts, and most importantly prayer, has been appreciated by all of us so much.  Please continue to pray for Jacob and for our family as we step out into the unknown. We are afraid, but we know that with with God as our Guide walking along with us every step, that we are not alone.  This verse has been shared with us many times over the last few days.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you ; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you ; when you walk through fire, you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2

We cling to these words right now.

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23 thoughts on “Taking the first steps”

  1. Thanks for taking the time to keep everyone updated Tracy! We are so relieved to hear its not in the lungs! Praying for more good results at his upcoming tests.
    I can’t imagine what this last week has been like. Praying for you all!

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  2. I am an osteosarcoma survivor and this very is a familiar story. I had a tumour on the top of my tibia. I had surgery and finished treatments 16 years ago now. Our prayers are with Jacob.

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  3. Thanks for giving us the full story Tracey, sharing is one of the best therapies for you and Ray as well. As you also know you are not alone, community with church family and friends will support you through this journey. Our prayers are raised to our heavenly father who carries each one of you in his palm, collects your tears in a jar, and knows your every intimate fear and concen. May this provide comfort, on those days where emotions overwhelm you remember who is in control. God knows the number of our days, he has a plan for each of his children. Our human instinct is to want to know it now. May he provide the peace you all crave, surround each of you with courage, and above all grant Jacob healing. You remain in our prayers ❣

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  4. Thanks for the clear update on Jacob, we’ve been praying for you all and continue to do so. I’ve had 2 MRI’s in the past, didn’t have bobby pins tho😊that must have felt weird!
    Praying for peace and His continued guidance and strength as you all go through this journey.

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  5. Thanks for the update Tracey!! We are following you in your journey and continually praying at school!! God can do immeasurably more than we can even ask or imagine! X

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  6. I can’t even imagine what that’s like, however the way you described it in your post gave a glimpse of the fear and pain you must be feeling for your boy. Thinking of you guys, and praying for healing and peace.

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  7. Our hearts go out to you in this scary and unknown time. I pray results are quick and a solid path forward is established. Jacob is fantastic and we pray the Lord will continue to keep him and you all close as you head into this.
    (ps Auron says thanks for letting him try your crutches Jacob 🙂 )

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  8. Tracey and Ray, and Jacob,
    Thanks for sharing. This sounds so scary. Yet when you are in it and are surrounded by knowledgeable medical professionals and prayers from so many people you hopefully can keep going and facing what needs to be faced. Praying for strength and courage and guidance of physicians’ hands and minds. At Relay for Life I walked for Tania’s Troopers and your son as well!💗

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  9. Praying that God will guide the hands of the doctors as Jacob goes through the surgery and all that unknowns ahead. May he also give Ray and you all you need also as you stand beside your son through this. Joanne and Jack DeWit.

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  10. Praying for you, that all of you may feel surrounded by God’s love and peace even as you face this incredibly difficult journey. Strength to all of you!

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  11. We are also praying for Jacob, you, and for all who love him and you, and will continue to do so. We wish you much courage and strength in the days and months to come.
    Dick and Alida VanderHorst

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  12. Praying for you. God will strengthen you and he is with you every moment of this scary journey. May this be your peace.

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  13. Praying for Jacob and your family during this time. May God always continue to be with you and keep you.

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  14. Dear Tracey, Our prayers are with you all, thankful to God for the medical help available and looking to Him for all blessing for Jacob!

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  15. Yes, I believe your journey has had a profound effect on many people. Others who go through difficult trials, big and little, who have followed Jacob’s journey will want to be as brave and
    strong as he has been. Mothers and fathers will do likewise. God has brought you this far. May our Lord continue to work more miracles for Jacobs recovery. You have a beautiful family.

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