What does Pablo have?
Pablo was diagnosed early Sunday morning with Wilm's Tumor, a form of cancer that typically appears in children 2-5, and sometimes a bit older.
This tumor appears in one or both kidneys. One of its main characteristics is that it has a sudden "show" or appearance to the naked eye - which is exactly what happened with Pablo. The majority of the approximately 500 cases of Wilm's that pop up yearly in the US involve a tumor on only one kidney. Five percent of the cases have tumors on both kidneys–called bilateral growths–and this is what Pablo has. This bilateral scenario is called Stage V. If I understood our Oncologist correctly, Wilm's is the only cancer with a stage higher than IV. But don't be alarmed by this - with Wilm's, Stage 5 doesn't mean "worse than a stage 4"–it just signifies that it's in both kidneys.
There is GREAT news in all of this! In broad strokes, Wilm's is highly responsive to treatment, and the cure rate over 90%!!!!!
(I will get more into his prognosis and the data-gathering procedures they are doing on him today and tomorrow in the next posting.)
What's Pablo's condition?
If you were in our room right now, you'd wonder "where's the sick kid?" Outwardly, Pablo is as healthy as can be - he looks and acts like he does every day with his friends at the Walther School: rambunctious, chatty and fulllllll of energy. This is wonderful - it makes it easier for him to be here, and easier for all of us to cope with him being here.
OK, so here's what happened:
Many people we've spoken to ask, "What the heck happened? I just saw him and he was fiiiiiiine!" It's true, he was–and still is fine!
Here's the back story:
Pablo and I were taking a bath at 6pm on Saturday night, getting ready to go to my birthday dinner. I noticed a lump protruding from his side, below his ribcage. Jo Ann saw it, and agreed it didn't look right. She rang Dr Fleiss, who told us to meet him at the back door of his office in 15 minutes (he lives next to his office). Dr. Fleiss examined Pablo, and recommended we go to Childrens Hospital that night, after my party, or in the morning. Based on the fact that Pablo had no outward symptoms of having any sort of illness, Fleiss and I concurred that it'd be cool for Pablo to have dinner at his favorite spot, Malo. Plus, like, what five-year-old boy would pass up cupcakes for dessert in favor of sitting in a waiting room?
Anyway, back to the facts:
When we got to the hospital they did a blood test and, a couple hours later, a CAT scan. He was woken from a deep sleep for the scan, and was trying to fall asleep while the bed of the machine slid into the big "donut" magnet. It was pretty darn funny. Much needed levity in a situation that wasn't fun at all.
Sometime around what many of us used to call "bar time," the docs came in and informed us of the diagnosis. We were admitted to the double-wide deluxe digs of room 434 B sometime after dawn. Jo Ann got to exercise her exec producer skills by faxing (forcefully asking) if we could have the room with a view of Griffith Park. It worked!