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Prayers seem to be answered for toddler with liver cancer

Prayers seem to be answered for toddler with liver cancer
Prayers seem to be answered for toddler with liver cancer
Joseph Young of Corydon, who had surgery last month for a rare form of liver cancer, loves his cat, Newman, and a stuffed puppy, Nailer. Percy is under Nailer.

His name is Joseph.
Perhaps you’ve seen the small business-like cards at a restaurant or office and wondered about the smiling, little boy pictured on them.
Besides giving his name, the card only asks for prayers and references John 9:1-3.
His mother, Sheila Young of Corydon, would say the prayers have worked. Joseph, who turned 2 in February, had successful surgery last month for a rare form of cancer and is now getting chemotherapy treatments.
Joseph was diagnosed earlier this year with hepatoblastoma, a cancer of the liver that occurs almost exclusively in children, especially Caucasian boys under four .
‘There really isn’t much out there (about hepatoblastoma) because it is so rare,’ Sheila said.
Sheila, 35, said she got a phone call, on a Wednesday in April, from her son’s daycare that she needed to come get him because he wasn’t feeling well.
‘By Saturday, he still was not well,’ Sheila said.
Her husband, Tony, 39, took Joseph to the doctor while she went to a soccer game in which their other son, Lucas, 7, was playing.
Dr. Reggie Lyell felt Joseph’s stomach and said Tony needed to take Joseph to Kosair Children’s Hospital now,’ Sheila recalled.
The medical team admitted Joseph immediately and located ‘three huge growths’ and hundreds of small ones on the boy’s liver, Sheila said.
Joseph also had anemic problems, which led to many of his red blood cells ‘ the ones responsible for caring oxygen to the body’s tissue ‘ being destroyed.
The Youngs spent several days in the Intensive Care Unit before being moved to the seventh floor, to the oncology department.
‘We spent about 17 more days there,’ Sheila said. ‘They got him healthy enough to take chemo.’
In early August, physicians planned to send Joseph to Chicago to have some of his liver removed.
His mother, in a journal entry, wrote, ‘Things are really beginning to move quickly. It is really scary and exciting all at the same time (mostly scary).’
They arrived in Chicago on Aug. 12 and, because of a schedule change, Joseph’s surgery, at Children’s Memorial Hospital, was moved up, to Aug. 14.
Sheila said the surgery, a liver resection, lasted 7-1/2 hours. Afterwards, the surgeon seemed pleased and confident that all the tumor had been removed.
But it wasn’t, not that time.
Eight days later, Joseph spent 4-1/2 more hours in surgery. ‘It was a nightmare,’ Sheila said.
Following the surgery, Sheila posted this in her journal entry, which is on the Internet so family and friends can follow Joseph’s progress: ‘All of the margins around this resection were clean on the pathology slides that they are able to do here.’
Between 60 and 70 percent of Joseph’s liver was removed, leaving a small portion of the original organ. But, his mother said, the liver would ‘regrow,’ reaching its full size in three to four weeks.
The Youngs received wonderful news on Aug. 29: the biopsies were all clear!
They flew home on Aug. 31. Three days later, Joseph saw his oncologist in Louisville. Sheila said the specialist was ‘very pleased’ with how Joseph was looking, acting and feeling. Baseline scans were scheduled for Sept. 5 and 10, before he would begin his new chemo protocol on Sept. 11.
The day before Joseph was scheduled to resume chemo treatments, Sheila received a phone call, saying that, because all of her son’s test results looked so good, they were going to give Joseph another week of recovery.
‘Joseph’s extra week off from any kind of treatment has really suited him well,’ Sheila said. ‘He feels great, looks great and weighs more than he ever has.’
On Thursday, Joseph began his new rounds of treatment, which lasted through Saturday.
‘These particular drugs that he took this time will really knock his counts down,’ Sheila said, ‘so he’ll be especially susceptible to infections.’
The Youngs are scheduled to check with the oncology clinic today (Wednesday) to see what happens next.
Since Joseph’s diagnosis, the Youngs have received many cards and letters, ‘many from people I don’t even know,’ Sheila said.
The Youngs have relied heavily on support from their church family at Lincoln Hills Christian Church in Corydon. Sheila had worked as a court reporter for Joyce Oglesby, whose husband, Webster, is the minister at Lincoln Hills.
The Oglesbys went to Chicago to be with the Youngs during Joseph’s surgery. (They also flew to Houston to be with other members of their church during their surgery. Sheila frequently reminded people, through her journal entries, to pray for those members, too.)
Tony’s employer, Corradino Group in Louisville, also has been supportive.
‘I don’t know how we would have done it without them,’ Sheila said of everyone’s support and prayers.
In an earlier journal entry, Sheila wrote: ‘Prayer is what got us this far, and prayer will take us home.’

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