So everything got changed up on our six year old, Noah last week! Sheesh …
You can read some of my previous posts about Noah and his health challenges (Scleroderma and Ptosis) by clicking here.
But back to the point. Basically, we got called into the doctor’s office because Noah’s latest round of blood work came back bad – we were told to stop giving him the medicine and come in for a new plan. For the last year and a half or so Noah has been on one drug; originally orally, but then through weekly injections, to try and stop the spread of the Scleroderma. At first it worked. Then it stopped working. And then it became toxic to his body. For the last several weeks he’s been nauseous and on the verge of throwing up, and then the blood work came back revealing the medicine was at damaging levels in his liver. This was frustrating because he was on less than a third of the dose the doctor eventually wanted to get him to, and with the Scleroderma noticeably spreading and damaging both his skin and the tissue underneath, we’re all very concerned.
So now that the preferred treatment is no longer effective (and I believe it’s the only one they’ve actually completed a successful trial on), we’re on to a new drug. Noah was happy because other than the monthly blood work, this one is oral so no more home injections. Unfortunately, it tastes awful, so it took him a few days to get used to the twice a day dose. He’s also on a steroid for the next six weeks to jump start the drug, so at the moment he’s getting various medicines three times a day (we can’t do them at the same time because of the different food/no food stipulations), which has him thinking about it a lot more than when he was on a once a week injection.
As a parent, the last six months have been disappointing to say the least. It seems like each visit has been bad news in some way. The disease continues to spread. We can’t give him enough medicine. The medicine goes from being helpful to toxic. We’re taking aggressive steps with potentially bad side effects. And all this is just for the hope of halting the spread of the disease. There is no cure. And he won’t heal where it has already done damage – the only prospect there is plastic surgery when he’s an adult. Even the medicines we try aren’t actually designed for Scleroderma – for the most part they are actually intended for organ transplant recipients to help their bodies not reject the new organ. They’ve found by significantly upping the doses in patients like Noah they can slow down or stop the spread of the localized Scleroderma. It’s even strange going to the pharmacy; because these drugs are so rarely used, they always have to special order for us. It’s disconcerting to be recognized at all these places (the pharmacy, the blood work lab, the doctor’s office). We’re there a little too frequently!
All that to say, keep praying for our son. We’re only a week into this new treatment plan and we’re hoping when we return to the doctor in a month that we’ll hear something good.