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Drew Spinelli Round Two
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Round One
Drew was initially diagnosed with cancer in August of 1999. This was the start of his heroic battle with metastasized osteosarcoma (bone cancer) which lasted about four years. . He had a very large and long right femur lesion (33cm in length) with metastatic tumors in both lungs. At the time of diagnosis, the scan results indicated about 20 to 25 visible tumors on the scans. He received several months of standard chemotherapy at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia (CHOP). The doctors at CHOP planned to amputate his right leg. We got second and third opinions at Boston Children's Hospital/Dana Farber Cancer Center and Pennsylvania Hospital.  Both had surgeons who were willing to try limb salvage (remove the large tumor but save the leg by replacing the long femur bone with a titanium rod). Drew had a medial sternotomy at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania on 12/8/99 where over 80 small tumors were removed from his lungs (many more than the scans had indicated). As a result of the concern and special intervention of a dear man- our friend, Paul Minnick, we were so fortunate to get the medical intervention Drew needed to save his leg and his life.   He had the limb salvage surgery with clean margins on 12/27/99 at Pennsylvania Hospital (associated with the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania). His chemotherapy regime had to temporarily stop so that his body could heal from the surgeries. Shortly after the limb salvage, Drew was put in a full body cast from his upper chest down his legs so that the new rod could take hold in his body without dislodging during the healing process. During the eight weeks he was confined in this cast he could not bend to sit. He lived on a special reclining bed during this time period.

After the eight week body cast confinement, the cast was taken off and the large metal staples were removed from his leg. Now that he had healed from the two major surgeries in December, chemotherapy needed to be continued to fight off reoccurrence. Unfortunately, the scans indicated that tumors had returned in both lungs during the two month healing period without chemotherapy. Since the biopsy of his primary tumor in the femur indicated that the original round of chemo had not been very effective as indicated by the tumor pathology report, a more aggressive protocol of chemo was needed. Our cousin, Dr. Martha Fishman, recommended that we consult with the pediatric oncologist at Boston Children's Hospital - Dana Farber Cancer Center. The oncologist at Dana Farber and our oncologist at Pennsylvania Hospital consulted and a more rigorous chemotherapy regime was started. Drew had right and left thoracotomies done at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in March and April of 2000. By the surgery in April, as a result of the more aggressive chemotherapy regime, his lung mets were totally necrotic (dead). The chemo was working but Drew suffered from many very serious side effects.

Drew has remained in remission to the amazement of his doctors. Both our oncologists in Philadelphia and Boston met at an oncology conference and decided (as an extra boost) that Drew should go to Mayo Clinic for a consultation with a specialist there. He was started on another medication for a period of six months. During his cancer treatment, Drew was also using many complementary therapies. We consulted with an MD who specializes in integrative medicine. He prescribed numerous vitamin supplements and nutritional supports, acupuncture for about six months between chemo cycles, and Iscar injections (mistletoe). We also used massage therapy, visualization and positive thinking but we strongly feel that the prayers resulted in the miracle of his recovery from this very lethal form of pediatric cancer. So many folks - family, friends, and kind people all over the country who heard about Drew's dilemma prayed for his recovery. He has managed to remain in remission from the osteosarcoma for all these years.

Kyle David Group DrewSpinelli.com