“I Can’t Do This Any More”

Steve McKinionUncategorized11 Comments

Tuesday was Harrison’s monthly trip to UNC for chemo infusion. These trips are relatively routine for us. They are just a part of life now. But they aren’t routine for Harrison. He’s sick of going. And tired. And hurting. Physically and emotionally.

At this appointment, Harrison’s oncologist, Dr. Brent Weston, gave us a quick update of where we stand. It was slightly disappointing, so I’ve hesitated to pass it along.

Of course, we’ve learned that childhood cancer is simply one disappointment for Harrison after another.

Essentially, here is where we are.

Medically, things are GREAT (as far as we know). There has not been a relapse. There are no leukemia cells appearing in Harrison’s blood. His counts are great. He remains in remission.

But the doctors believe Harrison’s leukemia will require long term treatment; as though three and a half years isn’t long-term enough. When his conventional chemotherapy ends in April, they will keep him on one of his drugs “indefinitely.”

Harrison knows what “indefinitely” means. So he asked, “Am I going to be taking medicine for the rest of my life?”

Dr. Weston responded, “Probably so.”

Stunned silence from a usually vibrant Harrison. The color vanished from his face. His countenance dropped.

Harrison had been counting down the days until his last chemo pill – No Mo’ Chemo.

Cancer stole the fourth grade. Cancer stole football. Cancer stole his childhood. Harrison wants nothing more than to be rid of cancer. And now he is being told it would be with him forever.

Here’s the best explanation why:

Harrison’s cancer is a terrible, terrible variety that resists traditional chemo. It is caused (at least in part) by a chromosome mutation resulting in a particular type of activity called a tyrosine kinase. Gleevec inhibits tyrosine kinases.

The doctors do not know how chronic Harrison’s tyrosine kinase activity is. All of his leukemia cells could be gone. Or ONE could remain.

And if even one leukemia cell remains, his cancer would spread again.

Gleevec is used to treat a similar leukemia to Harrison’s, and studies have shown that whenever a child with that type of leukemia stops Gleevec, the leukemia returns. So…better safe than sorry.

It is more complicated than that (medically), but that’s simple enough for me to understand.

HOWEVER, better safe than sorry is not nearly as good as “cancer free and chemo free” would be, especially to Harrison.

While he will still stop traditional chemotherapy in April (provided nothing changes between now and then), he will continue cancer treatment indefinitely.

Harrison. Is. Devastated.

That night he said, “I can’t do this any more.”

Heartbreaking.

We should know more about any other plans shortly.

Thanks for praying for Harrison.

11 Comments on ““I Can’t Do This Any More””

  1. Bless this young boy’s heart… and his body… and his family. Hold firm, Harrison. Satan is trying to win, and he will NOT. God’s got you, dear one. You have an army praying for you. Vulnerability is good, because it allows us to cling even tighter to the One who sustains us. Our prayers continue for you. I wish I could give you a hug.

  2. Wow. Our kids are something!. I’m so sad that the future appears to be filled with continuing medications and trips to UNC. I am hopeful, that one day, the key to a cure will be found. Harrison is lucky to have such a strong support system, but my heart breaks for him, I know how badly these kids just want it to be done and over and left in the past.

  3. I am so sad to hear the news. I want to hug him! He can do it! He will press on and have a full life. Don’t let Cancer get the best of his sweet self! Praying for all of you!!

  4. Standing in the gap for Harrison and you all. Actually, I’m kneeling in the gap for Harrison. Praying to Jehovah Rapha!!!

  5. I’m so very, very sorry to hear this. I read a quote in a book I’m reading this morning that hit home -the author said, “I am reluctant to say this because it is something I’d rather not hear and something I do not want to acknowledge, but the greatest works God has done in my life, He has done against my pleasure -and against my will.” He goes on to say “I have been to the bottom, and I’m here to tell you it’s solid.” I’m praying right now that God will use this to do great and mighty works in Harrison -may he find that even now God is his solid and firm foundation -He is his ever present help in trouble.

  6. I don’t know you, but am deeply touched by this post. Praying for your sweet Harrison- for strength, perseverance, peace, courage, joy, and mostly for healing. Praying for the same for you as his parents. Praying for God’s rich grace to pour over you all today.

  7. Harrison – I ALWAYS pray for you! Did you know that you’re my hero? God knows exactly how you feel – even when no one else really can.

  8. Father God. This precious family needs your help. They need your strength. They need your provision. They need your hope and a measure of joy. I ask that your presence will cover over them with a blanket of peace. Well up in them with wisdom, hope and revelation of what to do next. Flow through them with your energy and strength. Delver them from the evil one. Bring healing to Harrison. Pour out your Spirit over them in tangible refreshing ways I pray. In Jesus name I ask.

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