Wednesday, June 27, 2012


It's always hard to hear about a young person in your community passing away, but when it comes without any warning there is no way to explain the shock. Jesse Bryson was killed in a car accident last night. We all awoke to the terrible news this morning and I think I speak for everyone when I say it's impossible to take in. He was absolutely hilarious and had a wonderful personality. I had the pleasure of being his biology partner a few times. Right after my diagnosis I was still attending school occasionally, and every time I went into the classroom he could make me laugh, even during the hardest time of my life. It's times like this that it is most difficult to believe it is all in God's wonderful plan. We may not ever understand why these terrible things happen seemingly too often, but He knows what He is doing. So I encourage everyone to use this opportunity to strengthen your faith. Please keep everyone who knew Jesse in your thoughts and prayers, especially his family & friends. Also, Corey Fish is in critical condition at UNC. He is making a little progress each day, but is still in need of many prayers. This kid is a MIRACLE.. He inspires me to keep a positive attitude throughout the rest of my treatments. So keep the prayers going for Corey and the Fish family!! As for me, I don't really have any updates. I'm home for three weeks as long as I don't get a fever. So if you're sick... BACK OFF. Just kidding :) I have some pretty exciting things planned for my short break, and my pool is about to open! I'm also walking a lot better. Thank you for praying for me <3 xoxoxoxox Jack

Sunday, June 24, 2012

No More Cisplatin!

Yesterday I finished up my last dose of Cisplatin, which is one of the chemos that makes me very nauseous. I still have doxyrubicin and methotrexate, but I am so relieved to have crossed one off of the list! I feel fine today. I am coming home tomorrow morning for a three week break. I have to have a blood transfusion because my hemoglobin's are low, but that should make me feel A LOT better! This is just a quick update. Thanks for all the prayers!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I can walk I can walk I can walk!

Today I got cleared to walk without crutches! I am soooooooo happy. It's hard but my leg is getting a lot stronger. I've been going to physical therapy once a week which has been helping a LOT. I have been walking with crutches since April so this is a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders! I am having a great week this week. I feel like every aspect of my life has improved somehow. God has been SO good to me (: I go back for chemo tomorrow then three week break! And my pool is opening so I will get to start swimming too. Yaaaayyy :) :) :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


1. "So when do you think your hair's gonna grow back out?" How should I know? 2. "Oh, I heard chemotherapy doesn't work." That makes me feel good. 3. "Why would God do that to you?" Yes- people have asked me this. 4. "Do you know what your prognosis is?" I'd rather not talk about that, whether its good or bad. 5. "Wow, you look really thin." Sorry. 6. "Gosh, I really hope you're gonna be okay." Duh 7. "I could never go through what you've gone through." Honestly, I don't have much of a choice. 8. "Bald is beautiful." OK 9. "Oh man, I am so sorry. I had an aunt that died of cancer." SERIOUSLY? YOU THINK THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO HEAR? 10. "I'm afraid I'm gonna hurt you." I'm not as fragile as you would think. 11. "If you need ANYTHING call me. I'll be there." I hear this one a lot. I know people mean well, but I'm not just going to call you up when I need something to eat. 12. "Why do you travel all the way to Duke instead of just going to Asheville?" Probably because Duke has some of the smartest doctors in the entire country. 13. "It's gonna be okay." Easier for you to say. 14. "So do you know what caused it?" Nope. 15. "My god you look great!" *I like compliments, but when people asked surprised to see me looking good, it's annoying. 16. "Oh here let me help you." *If you see me struggling with something thats fine, but I don't need help doing simple tasks. Cancer's not stopping me from maturing and growing older. 17. "God I'm having the WORST hair day." ... 18. "That must really, really suck." It does. 19. "Can I come visit you some day?" You can still call it "hanging out." 20. "You get morphine? Gosh you're soo lucky." I'M LUCKY? 21. and last but not least, do not ever say to a cancer patient, "I know how you feel." Even if you've had cancer before, it's an individual experience for each person.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

What a great night for a visit to the ER

I haven't been feeling well for a few days. I was scheduled to have chemo on Friday, but my platelet count was too low so I was sent home. I've developed terribly bad mouth sores that prevent me from being about to eat or even talk. They were better this morning but progressively grew worse throughout the day. I eventually developed a fever (remember, cancer + fever = bad ) so my dad and I went to the ER. They did blood tests. My counts are low, which explains why I've been feeling lousy. I also have a small infection that they can treat in just a couple of days. So they gave me some fluids to hydrate me and also a broad spectrum antibiotic. After that I was sent home. It was such a relief, because every other time I've been to the ER they had to transport me to Duke. And I was NOT ready for a 4 and a half hour trip. Anyways, Happy Fathers Day and God bless. :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Here Goes Nothin'...

So I've decided to start a blog to sort of document my Cancer Journey. It is mainly for myself, but I guess for people who like to be updated on my health or whatever will enjoy it too. I had an MRI on January 26th for a "sports injury", but the scan revealed a mass in my lower left femur. I was rushed back to Sylva to see what the doctor had to say. The next thing I knew, I was (sort-of) diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, the most common form of bone cancer (but still rare, only about 4 in a million are diagnosed, so I've heard). I immediately was sent to Duke University Hospital, where they did a blood test, a CT of my leg, and CT of my chest (because Osteosarcoma is notorious for spreading to the lungs.) I was sent home to wait for the results of all the tests, and I knew before we got there that nothing would be the same. We were immediately showered with visitors, gifts, food, money, and sympathetic phone calls. I hated it. I was already so miserable, and being someone who doesn't necessarily love attention, being in the spotlight seemed to make everything worse. I went back to Duke for a biopsy of my leg, which is the only way they could figure out if the tumor in my leg (Who I named Henry) was cancerous. Just like they suspected, it was. I went home and came back a while later to start chemo. They had to place a port inside of me the day before I started, so that I don't have to have an I.V every time I have chemotherapy. My port is located on my left ribcage and is connected to the big veins in my chest. (I think.) I started chemo the day after. I don't remember anything about my first treatment. I had Doxyrubicin (Red Devil, seriously.), And Cisplatin. Both which cause terrible terrible nausea, which is one of my least favorite things. This was when I met Charlie Naranjo, who has become my close friend and is now in remission from brain cancer. Having someone close to my age to talk to about everything was extremely helpful. I had been feeling alone for a while. When I got home from my first chemo, I was sick for 8 days. All I did was puke and cry, it was disgusting and miserable. A couple weeks later I was taken back to Duke in an ambulance, because apparently fevers are a lot more serious when you have cancer. That was when I lost my hair. It wasn't as tragic as I imagined it would be. I mean, it's just hair. After that, things got better. Although I didn't like to go out in public because a lot of people stared. They still do, which is something I have yet to get used to. I started home-bound school because I was too sick to attend school regularly. My next two chemo's were easy. They didn't make me nauseous. They did give me terrible mouth sores (Which is the absolute worst part of the whole thing, in my opinion.) I had a few more chemo's after that. Soon enough it was time for my big surgery. I had surgery on April 27th, performed by Dr. Brian Brigman (this man is a genius.) The surgery was a success. I had my knee replaced and part of my femur replaced. Physical therapy was terrible and hard at first, but it has gotten a lot easier. I am not yet able to walk, but that should be changing soon. So I've had three chemo's since then.(Essential for treatment of Osteosarcoma, to eliminate any cancer spots they can't see on the scan.) They get easier to deal with every time. I really love all of my nurses and doctors, they feel like a family to me. Anyways, lately I've been able to make my relationship with Christ stronger than ever. Having cancer makes you realize a ton of things that I would have never knows had I not gone through this. God has undoubtedly provided me with the strength, courage, and attitude I need to beat this, and I am so incredibly thankful. I love my life, my family, and my friends now more than ever. And I know that this trial is just a blessing in disguise.