Condition of 8-month-old Adam Schmaltz is improving
It has been an up-and-down couple of weeks for Lynette and Allen Schmaltz.
They were hoping that on March 21, they'd visit doctors in St. Paul and those doctors would give their 8-month-old son, Adam, a clean bill of health.
That didn't happen.
Adam, who is beating a form of cancer called neuroblastoma, had a number of scans done on the 21st. Doctors found that Adam still had active cells on the bottom of his liver and in his liver. The main tumor mass in his abdomen had shrunk, and a bone scan showed improvement. But the fact that eight rounds of chemotherapy didn't completely eradicate cancer from Adam's body had Allen disappointed last week.
"I was kind of hoping for a little bit better news," Allen said. "I was hoping maybe we were done with treatment. I had my hopes up.
"We're dealing with it now. It's not the end of the world. It's just a little setback. It's still good news. We had progress."
Doctors at Children's Hospital in St. Paul brought Adam in for surgery Wednesday, March 26. They performed laparoscopic surgery and biopsied two pieces of Adam's liver. The biopsies revealed that Adam has ganglioneuroma, basically meaning that the neuroblastoma cells have matured and there is no active disease on his liver.
"We can't necessarily call him in remission," Lynette said this week. "He still has that main tumor. Until that main tumor is gone, he's not in remission. But, it's not active. He has no active disease that we know of."
Lynette and Allen learned this good news on Friday.
"Allen and I, when we found out, we weren't sure how to act," Lynette said. "We were elated, but still reserved. You don't want to get your hopes up, then get disappointed again. It's excellent news, but this is a terrible disease. It can come back at any time."
Adam will have another scan done in a month. If that comes out clear, Adam's central line will be removed. The central line is essentially a tube in Adam's chest. He'll then be scanned periodically to ensure the disease does not return.
The encouraging news prompted Lynette, Allen, and their sons, Taylor and Adam, to have a family outing on Sunday, their first since last fall.
They went to church, had coffee and doughnuts, and ended up at the grocery store together. It was the first time they'd been able to be in public together and not have to worry about germs.
"It was a normal thing to do," Lynette said. "It was something we haven't done together in a very long time. All of us together - it was really exciting."
Allen is continuing his involvement with the National Childhood Cancer Foundation Children's Oncology Group at www.curesearch.org.
He said the group's focus is on raising funds for childhood cancer research. While he supports many other cancer fundraisers, and finds their causes noble, this one is devoted entirely to children.
For more information on Adam, visit www.friendsofadam.org.