T H E    P R O F E S S O R

A B O U T   T H E    P R O F E S S O R    (updated as often as possible.)

I am saddened to bring the news that the professor has slipped away from us. I am humbled by his family's love for him, and their strength and ability to take comfort in the end of his suffering. I am grateful for the time I was able to spend with Nat in his short but great big life. He will forever be a part of my life and my family - as I know his story will live in us all.

donations are still more than welcome to offset the financial burden of Nat's treatments and death. Loving and healing thoughts for Nat's family are even more welcome.

following are the orginal updates.

Nat is a three and a half year old boy. He's my daughter's oldest friend, which is a funny concept when you're talking about three and a half year olds. He's been called the Professor since he was a newborn, and it suits him well. Proffer is a wonderful kid, he loves nursery rhymes and fairy tales. He loves to dance and sing and from infancy has always been very sure of himself and what he likes in life.

On October 25, 2006, Nat's family discovered that he had a brain tumor. This came as a huge surprise, and we're all still reeling from the news. On October 27 at 1:30 PM EST, The Professor underwent brain surgery in an attempt to remove the tumor.

It was discovered that Natty had a very large Medulloblastoma tumor. This type of malignant tumor is among the more common in childhood cancers. The surgeon is hopeful that it was completely resected, and testing later today will tell us for sure. We are also waiting to hear if any cancerous cells are present in the spinal fluid.

Based on the answers to these two looming questions, a course of treatment including radiotherapy and chemotherapy will be determined. If these treatments are able to keep the Medulloblastoma from recurring for five years, Natty has excellent chances for living a full, cancer-free life. Unfortunately Medulloblastoma is very persistent and very agressive. So we really need to devote our energies into keeping this away from our boy.

U P D A T E S

As of Monday, October 30, this is what we know:

The surgeon reviewed the post-op MRI, and there is no sign of tumor either radiographically or microscopically. So the only bits that can be left are cellular, and that's what the chemo is for. The fact that this is a fast-growing tumor is actually good for chemo, because chemo targets fast growing cells and eradicates them.

The oncologist is in full support of Nat receiving homeopathic support throughout his allopathic treatments. We know homeopathy helps, and we're hoping that the support it gives his whole body will allow him to withstand the levels of chemo necessary without suffering major long-term side effects.

Nat's acting like someone with a massive migraine (obviously), so they've got him pretty doped up so that he can concentrate on resting and healing. He's snoozing with a background of chakra tones, and his family is taking turns being with him in the PICU.

From Martha, 11/19/06:

So he was supposed to get the port-cath dealy today, but he was randomly running a fever at 6:30 this morning when they came to get him. We figure it must have been providential, because he ROCKED at play therapy and PT today...which he would have missed had he gotten the port.

Today he's been able to finish the lines on a million nursery rhymes, "Jack and Jill went up...THE HILL!" And he's counted and sung the alphabet. He still gets frustrated when he has to produce answers, but is doing really well when prompted.

He threw a ball at his PTs head (which made him giggle) and kicked the ball with both feel while sitting down. He's walking pretty well if you hold him under the arms, but he needs to strengthen up his legs after being in bed for 2 wks.

So...we were frustrated this morning, because no port delays things by at least a day or two, but he's done so well cognitively and physically today that now I'm glad of the delay. I'm hoping tomorrow will be even better.

As of 11/28/06

Nat made it through his first round of chemo, and after a transfusion was allowed to go home. Sadly his trip home was short lived, and he was re-admitted to the PICU to battle pneumococcal bacteria in his bloodstream. His white blood cell count is still very low and not very effectively battling the inefection. He's under sedation and on a ventilator to allow his body to do as little work as possible while he rebuilds his defenses.

Please continue to send as much love and energy his way as possible, and send support for his parents and baby brother, too. They need us.

He's holding steady and his vitals are all stable, and as Martha says "We're still day to day, but not so much hour to hour."

W H A T    C A N    I    D O ?

Please send Nat's family your best thoughts and healing energy. They need our strength right now. Whenever you think of it, close your eyes and take a moment to feel your own inner force and send it. If you participate in formal religious celebrations, please ask the congregation to send their thoughts. If you'd like suggestions on ceremonies you can perform yourself, please contact me. Human energy is vital; it is living.

My husband was working with my 3 year old daughter, helping her send her love and energy to her friend. Maya expressed concern that if she sent her energy that she wouldn't have any more. I talked to Martha, Nat's mom about this, because she's just about the smartest mom I know. And she suggested that I take two candles and name one Maya and one Nat. I lit Maya's candle and showed her how it was burning and strong. I showed her how i could tip Maya's candle to Nat's, and doing so, light Nat's candle. And I explained how Maya's light was still buring strong, but the strength it gave to Nat's candle allowed his to burn, too. This is an excellent exercise you can do with your children to show them that they have something real to share with each other, and that each person, however small, can give strength.

And last, while money doesn't solve anything, I just don't want Nat's family to have any extra worries right now. So if you're feeling as helpless as I am, and you'd like to contribute, please consider making a financial donation, shopping the Fiber Arts Avengers auctions, or buying one of these craft patterns. The designers have donated the proceeds from these patterns to Nat's family.

Immediate expenses include the hospital deductible and co-payments, costs of complementary treatments, and all of the little expenses that crop up from living on the road. Added to this sorry burden are the expenses of the funeral. Please help to cover these expenses.

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