Abby Calvo’s Diagnosis & What’s Next

It’s with a heavy but hopeful heart that Abby and I share this news with you.  After removing Abby’s right kidney last month, we learned that the tumor in Abby’s kidney was Ewing Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer.  It’s not heredity, environmental, or other and the reason for its occurrence is unknown.

Abby’s pre-surgery neck-to-pelvis CT scan showed no cancer outside her kidney, which is important. The tumor removal was successful and Abby is healing like a champion, but there were positive margins – meaning some cancer cells may have been left behind and Abby is in for the fight of her life.

She is now a patient at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, one of the top cancer treatment centers in the world, working with an esteemed team of doctors to eradicate her cancer.  Over the next 9 months, Abby will destroy any remaining cancer with the help of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. She’s already transitioned from work to focus all her energy on this new fight.

The fight starts this week:

  • Tuesday – Port placement – Abby will have day surgery to make it easier to get ongoing treatment.
  • Wednesday – Bone marrow biopsy – Ewings Sarcoma often presents itself in bones and we are praying the biopsy comes back clean – we need your positive energy and prayers focused here
  • Thursday – More tests…
  • Friday – Child life specialist meeting – We will get guidance on how to explain all of this this in ways Jaren and Miri can comprehend. We’ll share the guidance we get with those of you who interact with Jaren and Miri at home and out of the home, including teachers
  • Saturday – Abby’s first treatment takes place as an in-patient at University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC) for 1-2 days/nights.

The ongoing fight:

It looks like Abby will go in every two weeks for chemotherapy as an in-patient at UWMC – sometimes staying at the hospital for 5 days/nights; other times for 1-2 days/nights as she is this week.  Radiation is planned to start after about three months. We will share treatment schedules and visitation guides later to make it easy for you to visit UWMC and keep her spirit sky high.

As you can imagine, this has been a shock for the family and we’re quickly coming up to speed on a new lexicon and defining a new normal.  Abby has been tremendously strong. Anything less than complete healing is not an option and your outpouring of love and support makes us truly believe this vision will be realized.

How can you help us in this journey?

For starters, congratulations, you’ve officially been enlisted as a member of “Abby’s Army”.  We will be working through long-term planning for meals, home help, school rides, playdates, etc. We will definitely take you up on your offers.  Please be patient.  In the interim, here are some things to be thinking about.

For Abby:

  • Please send your positive energy, prayers, thoughts to Abby for this Wednesday’s bone biopsy.  In our meditation and prayers we’re asking for any remaining cancer cells from her surgery to be weak and localized to the surgery site w/out any spreading to other parts of the body.
  • Abby wants to hear from you, but she wants the focus to be on what’s happening in your lives, etc.  No need to focus on the cancer.  Tell a funny story. Make her laugh and smile. You get the idea!
  • We understand laughter may be difficult at this stage.  An uplifting e-mail works or a positive text during day hours.  She loves bright vibrant colors if you want to send a card.  Go nuts! Our address is 186 36th Ave. E. Seattle, WA 98112.
  • Walks! If you’re local, Abby will have some time around the house as things kick off.  She’s mentioned several times how much walks with many of you have lifted her spirits.  Just follow her lead and energy level
  • We will be spending a lot of time at UWMC so if you were ever needing an excuse to shop at University Village we will be just down Montlake and I’m sure if Abby is up to it she would love to see you.

For our family:

  • Smiles, hugs, positive energy.  Keep it coming!
  • If you have kids the age of Jaren (4.5 yr) and Miri (21 mo) we may call on you for play dates.
  • Just knowing you’re there will help.

We’ve never been through this before, so I expect this list will grow.  Share this e-mail if it can help inform others. I’ll add any e-mails to this list other updates like these. Please no social posts at this time.  There may be a time for this later, we’ll see.

We’ve already received great guidance and feedback from friends and family who have dealt with cancer in their homes, including a Ewings Sarcoma family.  More guidance and feedback is welcome.

When you see us, don’t feel obligated to do anything and please don’t feel awkward.  A hug, hello, and a smile is all you need.  We know that every one of you is very sorry to hear this news.  We are too and our hope is that none of you ever have to have this news.  For now – we are where we are and the most productive use of all of our energy is positive thinking and push for the best possible outcome.

Love and healing,

Justin and Abby

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