Tuesday, May 15, 2007

May Update

Hi Everyone!

Just a short update to let you know how things are going. Dallas had a PET Scan and MRI yesterday at Shands. The GOOD NEWS is there is no new tumor growth! In fact, Dr. Smith said she couldn't locate the two large blood vessels that have been feeding the tumor. We are happy with this report. However, it seems the shunt which was placed to alleviate the accumulation of fluid in the ventricles is not functioning correctly and requires surgery. Dr. Pincus, the neuro-surgeon at Shands will be performing the surgery on Thursday (May 17th). The surgery is not supposed to be extensive and we should be back in Tallahassee on Friday.



Monday, April 23, 2007


Aloha Everyone!

We're in Hawaii for Dallas' Dreams Come True trip and having an incredible time!
I wanted to share some of the pictures (and there are quite a few) we've taken so far.

Just go to http://picasaweb.google.com/jessicadubose and click on Hawai'i (161) for a slideshow.



Wednesday, April 11, 2007

April Update

Hello Everyone!

It's been awhile since I've updated the blog...the old adage "no news, is good news" sure has rung true!

We do have some good news to report. Dallas had his follow-up MRI this past Monday at Shands. The report showed a slight reduction in the size of the tumor. This means the 3 chemo treatments and subsequent stem-cell transplants can be considered successful. Dallas will continue on his maintenance chemo regime and return to Shands in early July for another MRI. Our hope is the tumor will remain smaller and not start to grow again.

Dallas is feeling much better and getting stronger everyday. He still does not have much of an appetite as the heavy chemo has affected his taste buds. This will improve in time, as will his strength and stamina. He stays busy with household chores, visiting with friends, going to movies, watching sports shows, playing basketball....the usual activities every 18 year-old boy enjoys! Last week, unbeknownst to me, he even submitted his application for the Fall term at TCC! He hopes to return to work part-time after our trip to Hawaii.

Speaking of Hawaii! We leave for Dallas' "Dreams Come True" trip on Friday, April 20th. Prior to our departure, the Tallahassee representative for the Dreams Come True organization will be taking us to dinner at Bonefish to tells us all about Dallas' meeting with Jack Johnson, our accommodations and other activities they have planned for us. Jack Johnson is the headliner at the Kokua Festival, a benefit concert held annually at the Waikiki Shell in Honolulu. Dallas will meet Jack Johnson before the concert on Saturday, April 21st. Other plans include a trip to Pearl Harbor, Swimming with Dolphins and Snorkeling tour, a tour of the island including Diamond Head and several waterfalls, a dinner cruise, and finally, a relaxing day on Waikiki beach. We return home from our adventure on Friday, April 27th.

I also want to bring your attention to the foundation and event that we are working with in order to raise money for families like ours. A dear friend who has been an incredible support to us, Carla DeLoach, together with The Brain Tumor Foundation for Children will be holding a huge garage sale on Dallas'(and David's) birthday, April 28 in order to raise funds for families who may need emotional support and financial assistance while seeking treatment for an illness similar to Dallas'. Please read more about the event at http://www.firstgiving.com/tallahassee or you can click the "Firstgiving" benefit link on the right hand side of this page. We appreciate anything you can do to assist us with this meaningful fundraiser.

As always, Dallas and our family cannot begin to express our appreciation for everything you all have done to lighten our hearts during this difficult time. We are blessed indeed!

Much love,


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Home, Sweet Home

After spending more than 2 1/2 months in Gainesville, Dallas and I have finally returned home! We are both thrilled to be here!

Dallas is doing well. His blood counts are slowly returning to normal after his last stem-cell transplant. His platelets have been the slowest to rebound. He required platelet infusions the last 10 days we were in Gainesville, but they are finally approaching normal levels. His appetite is improving and he's feeling alot better than he has in weeks. He's out and about.....so you'll be seeing him around!

We go back to Shands in early April for a follow-up MRI. Right now, Dallas is on a chemo regime of tamoxifen as maintenance. Tamoxifen has few side effects and will not adversely affect Dallas' blood counts. In April, after the MRI, the plan is to re-evaluate his treatment needs.

We are all looking forward to our trip to Hawaii in April for the Jack Johnson concert. Dallas will have an opportunity to meet Jack Johnson before the concert. The organization that is planning this trip, Dreams Come True, is an awesome group. They have planned several side excursions such as hiking to waterfalls, swimming with dolphins, and snorkeling. What a wonderful experience this is going to be!

Again, we can't thank you enough for your many warm thoughts, cards, emails, phone calls, and your prayers. It's great to be home. I don't think there is a more beautiful place in the spring than Tallahassee.....and I don't think a family could be any more blessed than we are with such good friends and family.

Much love,


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Good News


We have some good news to share! Dallas' oncologist had been out of town at a conference last week when Dallas had his MRI. As I shared earlier, the MRI report came back as "no change". However, I talked with Dallas' doctor yesterday and she had just finished reviewing his MRI herself. She feels the tumor IS responding to treatment!!! She explained there is some edema (swelling) around the tumor site which is referred to as "treatment effect" but she does see some necrosis (dead cells) of the tumor.

Larry and I were naturally overwhelmed by joy at this news. Dallas, in his usual, dry humor, responded with a simple "cool".

Dallas has finished this final round of chemo yesterday. He'll rest today and tomorrow and will receive his third stem-cell transplant on Saturday. We should be released to the hotel on Sunday. Hopefully, we'll be able to come back to Tallahassee two weeks after that.....I hope the azaleas will still be in bloom then!

Other exciting news.....all children who are treated for cancer here at Shands qualify for the Dreams Come True program. One of Dallas' dreams was to meet Jack Johnson, a recording artist. Well, Jack Johnson lives in Hawaii and is on hiatus this year. However, we just found out that he is giving a special benefit concert in Honolulu on April 21st. Dallas gets to attend the concert as Jack Johnson's special guest...and he gets to take his family!

Thank you all again for your prayers and thoughts through this ordeal....we can't express our appreciation enough.


Shel and Dallas

Thursday, February 8, 2007

"No Change" is a GOOD thing!


Dallas had an MRI yesterday. The report came back as "no change" which is better than the last report of "new growth". We were hoping it would show the tumor had shrunk.....but we're grateful it's not growing. He was scheduled to start his 3rd and last treatment tomorrow but his platelets were low today so they are giving him a platelet transfusion and have postponed the treatment until Monday. He'll be in the hospital for the usual 6 days and then we'll need to stay in Gainesville for at least 2 more weeks after that while his blood counts rebound to normal.

Other than low platelets, Dallas is doing great! He's been feeling better....not as tired as he was and the nausea has disappeared. Of course, much of that will return during his final treatment, but he's anxious to finish up and get back home.

We miss everyone and can't wait to get back to Tallahassee!



Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Hi Everyone!

Dallas has completed his second round of chemo and will receive his second batch of stem cells today. This time around has been harder on him. He's experienced daily bouts of nausea, doesn't have much of an appetite, and sleeps quite a bit. These side effects will lessen soon and I know he'll be feeling much better by the weekend.

He should be released to the hotel tomorrow (Thursday). He's anxious to get out of here for awhile! His spirits are still good and he jokes alot (between naps).

More later.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Championship Hoopla

It's been awhile since I'm updated Dallas' blog and I apologize for the delay. We've been busy!

Dallas is doing great! His blood counts are back on the rise which is a good indication that his stem cell transplant is taking hold. Last Thursday he had to have a platelet transfusion and will have another one tomorrow. He's eating well, sleeping well, riding the exercise bike in the hotel workout room, and in great spirits. We've been to a couple of movies; We Are Marshall (great!) and Night at the Museum (so-so). He's also been to two Gator basketball games.

His biggest thrill has most definitely been all the hoopla going on here in Hogtown associated with the Gator National Championship win. The night of the game both of my brothers came up from Orlando and Larry came from Tally to watch the game with Dallas. After the win, they all wanted to go down to University Avenue to join in the celebration so I dropped them off and they walked down to the stadium. The traffic was bumper to bumper and horns were blaring. University Avenue was blocked off, just as they do on Tennessee Street in Tallahassee. It was wall-to-wall people and lots of excitement!

The next night (Tuesday) the Gator basketball team played Arkansas and it was rumored the football team would arrive home from Arizona and make a surprise showing at halftime. Needless to say, Dallas wanted to go to that too....so we did and the championship team showed up as planned.

Saturday was the championship celebration at the stadium. After spending the morning at the hospital getting his blood count checked, Dallas' met up with Larry and my brother Jim and headed to the stadium. Dwayne Thomas met them at the south end-zone and took them down to the weight room where Dallas had his picture taken with Chris Leak. He brought his Sports Illustrated commemorative issue with him and was able to get Andrew Caldwell, Jarvis Moss, Percy Harvin and Chris Leak's autographs.

Then finally, on Sunday, Dallas ran into the Gator place kicker, Chris Hetland, at the GatorFever souvenir tent and got his autograph as well.

As you can imagine, Dallas has really enjoyed all the events. We're all very grateful too that Dwayne was able to take the time to meet with Dallas and get him behind the scenes. What an experience!

Since Dallas is doing so well, the doctor's have stepped-up his treatment schedule. Orginially, he was to be given his chemo in 3-28 days cycles. The doctor's have now decided on 3-21 day cycles. Dallas is scheduled to start his 2nd cycle on Friday, January 18. Dallas and I are disappointed that we won't be able to come home for a week as planned earlier, but we're both happy the treatment will end sooner. Dallas will have to stay in the hospital again for the 6 days of his treatment and then will be released to the hotel we're staying at.

As soon as I can arrange to download some of the pictures we've taken, I'll post them for all to enjoy.

Everyone is great here. All the doctor's and nurses; the hotel staff; everywhere we go.....the people are so kind and caring. Life is good....God is great!



Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Happy New Year!

We hope everyone enjoyed bringing in the New Year! Dallas, Brittney, Larry and I spent the evening in Dallas' room in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at Shands. We laughed and giggled until our sides hurt while playing Uno and listening to music blaring from his new Ipod speaker he received for Christmas. It was a great New Year's eve. Brittney and Dallas shared a bottle of sparkling grape juice at midnight while watching the ball drop at Times Square.

Dallas has completed his first round of chemotherapy and will receive his stem cells tomorrow morning. He's doing well and has experienced the normal side effects expected from the strong regimen of drugs he's received. His sense of smell has been adversly effected making most foods intolerable to him and consequently his appetite is poor. One of the side effects of thiotepa(chemo) is the drug leaves his body through his pores which requires frequent bathing. As a result, his biggest complaint is the showers and complete change of clothes he has to make every six hours! The boy has never been so clean!

After his stem cell infusion, Dallas will stay in the hospital another night and hopefully be released on Thursday. We've found a nice, lake-view, motel near Shands to spend the next two weeks. During that time Dallas will make frequent trips to the hospital so that his blood counts can be monitored closely. He'll probably require a few transfusions until his stem cells kick in and his counts rebound. Then, we'll get to come home for a week before his next round of treatment starts.

All and all, we're doing fine. Dallas' spirits are good and thankfully there's been plenty of football on TV to keep him occupied.

Here's wishing everyone a healthy and joyful 2007!