(this post written by Kevin's Dad, Eric Saarela)
Mom has a well deserved week off, so dad has the pleasure of staying the entire week with Kevin at the RMH. I arrived on an early flight Thursday morning, and surprised Kevin when he was in the recovery room (following sedation) for his radiation treatment. He was full of hugs and I love you's....I think it was the aftereffects from the sedation talking. Thursday was his last radiation treatment for the spine and entire brain. Friday was his first treatment of about 4 weeks for radiation specifically targetting the tumor bed. Since this a localized area, each session takes only 15 to 20 minutes, 30 minutes on days they take pictures/x-rays. Friday was a significant day, as the plan was to begin the second part of his radiation treatment with no sedation. Rachel and I worked hard talking with the Dr and radiation technicians to convince them to try treatment without sedaion. They were reluctant during the first phase, as consequences were greater while dealing with the spine, and the duration of each treatment was much longer. Rachel spoke with the Child Life Worker, and she gave us a game plan. Rachel had me download some audio books on Kevin's Ipod shuffle. In a hurry I did this Wednesday night before my early Thursday morning flight (got about 3 hours of sleep). Long story short (I know, too late) Kevin did it!! He stalled at first, but once they got him to lay still, he was motionless the entire session. This being the longer session with X-rays, we were all confident that Kevin would be just fine for futher sessions. Friday he listened to Horton Hears a who on his I-pod; today it was the first few chapters of Charlottes Web. The technicians walked out with him after treatment today, and said he did marvelous. We're all very proud of Kevin. This means much more stability with his schedule, and affords him much more time for nourishment. His appetite seems better as well, without the sedation.
We all had a nice Easter. Mike and Scotty came down on Friday. All three boys got all kinds of Easter gifts, both from the Easter Bunny and the R.M.H. Scotty received Mario Cart for his Game Boy. Kevin received a Zoo game for his Nintendo DS. He's actually playing it right now, as we sit here between appointments in the cafeteria.
Kevin's received all kinds of cards and pictures from kids in his class room. He's read each and every card and looked at every picture. There are some artist in his room! Also, he received cards from a Second grade classroom from Commerce Elementary School. One of the parents use to have children that had his current teacher a few years ago. At any rate, they put together a care package, and the kids made some great cards and pictures. It's the highlight of Kevin's day when he gets mail or a package. We all appreciate the effort people make to let Kevin know they are thinking of him.
That's all for now. I'll post more updates through the week.