Many Say Hello Spot readers have been following Coco’s story over the past two years. You’ve read about the wonderful work she has done to help students in need at the Robert E. Melican Middle School in Northborough, Massachusetts where her mom, Michelle, is principal. You’ve read about her cancer diagnosis and front leg amputation, and several weeks ago her retirement from the work she loved doing at the school. Well, Coco has some wonderful news to share with you… seems Coco isn’t finished just yet. She has much important work ahead of her.
In my last post, I described my retirement from Mom’s school. It was difficult to stop doing something I loved so much, but Mom and I both knew it was time. As most of you know, I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in the fall, had my right front leg amputated in October, and have been visiting an oncologist ever since.
Two weeks after my amputation surgery, I went to the oncologist to begin chemotherapy treatments. I tried two different types of chemo, given every six weeks intravenously. Often – in 90% of cases – when osteosarcoma is diagnosed, there are micro-metatastic cells already present in the lungs, cells that x-rays do not detect. That was the case with me.
After my first round of chemo, the doctor detected a tumor in one of my lungs. We tried another chemotherapy, and the tumor continued to grow. As a last resort, the doctor had me try a medication that has had mixed results in patients. Four weeks after beginning the medication, my tumor remained unchanged. Although Mom and I stayed hopeful, we were also realistic and we knew that my days were likely numbered. We continued the medication for another four weeks, and went for my recent appointment Thursday.
My tumor has shrunk by 50%! Mom and I were completely shocked. And VERY happy! I will continue on that medication and hope to have more positive results next month. Mom says for the first time since we have been visiting the oncologist, she left without a huge lump in her throat.
After my appointment on Thursday, Mom and I headed to northern Vermont to spend Easter weekend with our family. On Friday, Betty, my new little sister, spent a few hours with me. At that point, she was still living with her mother, but we were able to spend some time together. She is very snugly. I really enjoyed my time with her. Mom says she will be a future Bright Spot (hopefully).
As a way for us to celebrate the good news about my cancer, it was important for Mom and me to engage in some work. On Saturday morning, Mom brought me to Gram’s library for an Easter egg hunt. Children and adults were happy to see me and to pet me. We also visited the nursing home where Mom’s grandmother spent the last several years of her life, and where Grampa’s sister spent the last several weeks of hers. Staff and residents were very excited about my visit. They petted me and talked to Mom about me. One gentleman, who weighed no more than 80 pounds and was bed-ridden, talked to Mom about his previous dogs, all while petting me. Lots of other residents, who seemed sad and detached, smiled when they saw me.
On Sunday, after an exciting and festive Easter with our family, Mom and I picked up Betty from her mother. We feel blessed that she has found her home with us. Although Mom and I continue to take one day at a time, and live in the moment, we feel very fortunate for the good news about my cancer AND for the newest member of our family. ~Coco