Archive for August, 2011

Halfway finished with chemo after an amazing two weeks off!

Seven Down.  Seven To Go!

We just finished our 7th round of chemotherapy!  We have seven more treatments to go and are making some major headway.  It was hard going back to the hospital after an incredibly fun break, but we’re back and ready to kick this cancer for good.

Sam has been able to heal really well. The key to successful healing from a clavicle removal is lots of love, good food, a visit from Kate, and some video game time.  Theo sat right by Sam throughout his two week video game extravaganza.  Occasionally, Theo felt like Sam wasn’t paying enough attention to him.

Life Post Clavicle Removal

Sam met with a physical therapist this week to work on getting his movement back in his right arm.  I think we’re all surprised with his range of motion and his strength.  Because Sam has restarted chemotherapy, his healing won’t be as quick and easy as it was while he was on a break recovering from the surgery, but we’re all really happy with how much progress he’s made.

We’ve established some goals for his recovery: be able to armpit fart, raise the roof, and most importantly…fit through a tennis racquet!  We’ve hit the armpit fart milestone and we’re working on Sam being able to raise the roof.


Sam’s wound has been covered for most of our break, but here’s a peek at what it looks like.  It’s a pretty big scar.  I told Sam that we should tell people that a shark bit him and Sam thought that we should tell people that he got bit by TWO sharks.

When Sam is wearing a shirt, you can’t really tell that he is missing his right clavicle.  He’s a little asymmetrical, but we think that being asymmetrical rocks and is way more exciting than being a symmetrical rock.

There was a lot of buzz after our last post about whether or not I was eating a barbecue chicken wing or if I had inserted a post-op picture of Sam’s bloody clavicle.  Just to clear the air, it was a picture of me eating Sam’s clavicle.

We realize it was totally gross to post and hopefully his clavicle won’t make many more appearances in the blog.  Check out this picture of two dogs that were playing tug of war outside Vanderbilt Hospital.

Made you look.

Sam’s Prognosis!

The pathologist said that Sam has had a good response to chemotherapy.  This means that he will not need radiation and we’ll continue with chemotherapy as scheduled.  We’re so happy that there is an end in sight to all this madness.  After chemotherapy is finished, Sam will have to be monitored closely and rescanned every eight weeks for the next ten years.  Even though that sounds like a lot, anything will be way easier than it is now.  We’re thrilled that his surgery went so well and are very thankful for all of the wonderful doctors and nurses at Vanderbilt.

Now On To The Fun Stuff…

Our two weeks off were the most fun two weeks we’ve had since the beginning of April.  Sam was definitely in pain from the surgery, but that was easily maintained with medication.  Sam said it best when he said, “There’s a big difference between being hurt and being sick.   I’m just hurt.”  We’re normally confined by a million rules and restrictions, but we had two weeks to kick up our heels, paint the town red, and let our freak flags fly.  We needed this break and enjoyed every minute of it.  We spent most of the time relaxing, hanging out with our families, and eating.

Turn up the volume and watch some highlights from our two week break.

Video Link Click Here:

I was ecstatic to find out that two clavicles pushed together and rotated make a heart. I think that’s a good sign. Gross but good.

Brothers and Sisters!

Thank you so much for coming to town!  We eagerly look forward to your visits and miss you when you leave.  We greatly appreciate all of the packages, emails, food deliveries, and companionship.  We love you all like crazy.  I think we’ve come a long way since the days of pulling each other’s hair and stealing the last piece of pie and strategically hiding in the bathroom to scarf it down while a furious brother bangs on the door…progress indeed.

To the rest of our families and friends, you are all so awesome and helpful.  Your cards and emails always cheer us up.  I know we say this a lot, but we spend a lot of our time talking about everyone else.  Talking or worrying about cancer is no fun, so we definitely thank you for all of the distractions and encouragement.  You help our parents so much as well.  We love you all and know that we’d be lost without you.

Blog Updates and Email Notifications

We are not entirely sure if we’ll be able to stay on this every other week chemotherapy schedule.  Because of Sam’s white blood cell count, the frequency of the treatments might slow down.  We have seven more rounds to go, but aren’t quite sure when it will all be over or when all of the treatments will happen.  Now that we have a handle on this whole cancer thing, our goal is to make our off weeks as normal as possible.  Yes, we actually look forward to going back to work.

We’re going to update the blog after each round of treatment, which will hopefully be every other week.  If you’d like, click on the Subscribe to Posts link on the top left of this web page.  This will email you when there is a new post.  You’ll receive an email confirming your subscription.  Please open the email and click on the confirmation link.

If that last paragraph sounded way too complicated, don’t worry.  Just email me at: and we’ll put you on the email subscription list.  If you’re friends with our parents and would like to email them, you can give them your email address and we’ll make sure you get added.

Once again, thank you and we love you all.

With all the thanks in the world,


Sam and Leslie Bledsoe

The Adventure of the Clavicle Excavation and Sam’s Awesomeness!

We Are Home!

We’ve finally made it back home to our soft bed, loving (when not biting) cats, and delicious food!  It has been a draining and exciting couple of days at Vanderbilt Hospital.  The surgery went flawlessly!  It went entirely according to plan; Sam’s right clavicle and the surrounding muscles were removed.  The doctors checked the margins in the operating room to make sure they removed all of the cancer to the best of their ability.  The last few days were emotional, but provided us with a huge sense of relief.

Here’s a picture of Sam right before he was taken to the operating room.  Sam is sporting a lovely but unnecessary hairnet for his surgery.

My two favorite parts about the entire experience was:  1.  Sam choosing to go home from the hospital wearing his hospital gown and 2.  Taping a picture of the beach above our bed immediately after we got home from the hospital.  We’ve had one goal in mind since this whole cancer thing started; get to the beach as soon as treatment is finished.   If we made a movie about the last few days, the trailer would look like this:  Click On Link Below.

The Last Few Days As A Movie Trailer

The coolest part of Sam’s surgery came as a total surprise to us all.  I was called into a conference room to discuss the details of the surgery once Sam was out of the operating room.  Meeting privately with the musculoskeletal oncologist brings back a lot of bad memories.  My heart felt like it was beating out of my chest as I stepped off the elevator.  The surgeon met me with a hug and a smile.  As we proceeded to talk about the surgery she said, “Oh, Sam wanted me to take pictures so I can show you!”  Dr. Halpern whipped out her iPhone and flipped past several pictures of her children and then…BAM…there was a picture of Sam wide open on the operating table and a picture of his clavicle after it had been removed.  The pictures are totally gross.  It would seem rude and inappropriate to post them on the blog.  We will, however, show you a picture of me eating a delicious barbecue chicken wing!

Clavicles are delicious!

We’ve been told for months that we’ll have a much better idea of where we stand after Sam’s surgery.  The doctors will be able to know how effective the chemotherapy has been.  Sam’s barbecue chicken wing has been sent off to a pathologist who will inspect it for cancer.  We’ve waited for months for this information, but have told both of our oncologists not to call us next week with the news.  Sam has an appointment on August 18th to have his stitches removed and we will hear the news then.  We have decided that we will take a vacation from cancer for the next two weeks. Whatever the prognosis is, we can wait.  We want the next two weeks to be as normal as possible and not have our lives revolve around cancer.

Out of the last 100 days, we have spent 42 of them at Vanderbilt Hospital.  We can’t wait to spend the next two weeks avoiding cancer conversations and the hospital.  On a side note, Sam is scheduled to start chemotherapy again on August 23rd.


We’d like to thank everyone for the tremendous support over the last couple of weeks.  From inspiring text messages to a Burger King gift card, you all continue to encourage us daily.  This surgery was a HUGE hurdle.  It’s amazing to hear from all of you and know that you have our backs.  We know how incredibly lucky we are.  We spend our days talking about all of you and how much you help us.

Our cancer-free vacation has officially started. We’ll post again in a couple of weeks and let you know how the healing process has gone and all about the post-surgery news!

We love you all and can never say thank you enough.


Love always,


Sam and Leslie