The last we checked in with everyone, we were on our way to Minnesota to meet Dr. Arndt at the Mayo Clinic. We were fortunate enough to stay in Minneapolis as opposed to Rochester. Although we drove 1.5 hours each way, Minneapolis was awesome and Rochester was, well, not so awesome. Food and culture abound in Minneapolis and we had a difficult time even finding a breakfast place in Rochester. On the advice of Julia, we ate at Punch Pizza while in Minneapolis. Yummy!
|Pediatric Clinic at Mayo|
|Xander as "Spaceman Spiff"|
While we were away, Dr. Powell from Oxford Kids Foundation (OKF) had conferred with her colleagues at Detroit Medical Center (DMC) to see if she could move the ball forward. After many conversations and much ado, Dr. Wilson and Dr. Sherwin from DMC's HBOT center had agreed to treat Xander during his transplant if we were at Children's Hospital of Michigan. We had already considered Children's and had asked Dr. Connelly to get us a consult with their team.
|Xander & Emilie after meeting Dr. Chu|
The day came and off the adventure continuted to Detroit. Although much closer to home than Mayo, it was still an all day experience. Detroit is a city with so much potential and DMC is right in the middle of the new cultural city center. Our meeting with Dr. Chu went fabulously! Dr. Chu actually said "YES" and he had spoken with Dr. Sherwin and confirmed that he said "YES". Honestly it looked like a "GO". Dr. Chu said that he needed a week to present Xander's case to his team for the final approval and to work out the details. At this point, we were in love with Dr. Chu for his obvious understaning of Xander's case and his compassion. The team was right and all was good! Logistics were all that needed to be settled.
|Super NP Chastity!|
|Tracy was Xan's favorite nurse on 7East|
although she works in the clinic now
Next, we needed to be sure that Xander was still a good candidate for transplant. So, two weeks ago, Xander had another bone marrow biopsy and aspirate taken. This past Thursday, we got preliminary bone marrow biopsy results back - there was no signs of AML and blasts were around 8% (1.3% in January) and the marrow was 70-80% cellular thus the need for preconditioning therapy (chemo before chemo) is eliminated (phew!). Additionally, the donor has given a narrow time window for donation - April 29th. This is one day after Xander's tenth birthday.
|Xander and Molly enjoying RoosRoast|
Everything from this point forward looks to be a go. We expect by the middle of next week Xander will have had his central lines placed, EKG, pulmonary workup, lung scan and more blood work (of course). At this point the most important task the family has is to keep Xander healthy! Any sickness could potentially delay the transplant months based on the donor's schedule. However, to be blunt, isolating Xander during the last days he is going to feel good, at least for a while, would be against the main principal that we the Salsitz family have stood for. On that note, RSSAA has this week off, so we have some playdates planned with the classmates that Xander misses so much.
|No, your screen is not dirty…the boy and dog are filthy!|
Looking to the future here's what you can expect from us. First off, we are all committed to blogging everyday. So if you follow us, we will keep you up to date with at least one entry per day. Second, I think we are going to setup a Facebook page for Xander's Journey. Many, many people have asked us about a Facebook page for Xander and we can no longer resist. In the next few days, we will post regarding the new page.
I want to let all that are interested know that the Eighth grade students at RSSAA are holding a fund raiser for Xander on his 10th birthday (April 28th) at the Neutral Zone in Ann Arbor. They are calling it XanderFest. Everyone including the public is invited. Of course, Xander will NOT be able to attend as he will be finishing his conditioning literally on that day. I know that his friends will have him in their thoughts and prayers.
I also want to let everyone know that Xander will be one of three children highlighted at the Oxford Kids Foundation Gala on April 21st. We have created a video that will be debuted that evening and then used at the XanderFest, as well.