On 06/01/05 Rick & Shelli James were blessed with the birth of Richard Allen James III (aka Ricky). A beautiful boy with big blue eyes, a head of curls & a smile that just made you want to hug him. Ricky is the love of our lives & the glue that bonds us. On 04/01/07 Ricky was brought to CHOA with severe constipation. Within 4 hours we learned that Ricky had a tumor blocking his rectum & we were going to be admitted that the drs feared a malignancy. 4 days later & several tests, it was confirmed - Ricky has rhabdomyosarcoma. For more information, please refer to curesearch.org. Rhabdo is a form of cancer that attaches to the muscles & in Ricky's case, it is believed that the pelvic mass is stemming from his prostrate. The tumor is about the size of a tennis ball.
Ricky is the light in a room. He completed 42 weeks of chemo with 28 treatments of radiation (M-F 07/05/07-08/13/07). On 08/08/07 Rick & I were blessed with the birth of our daughter, Erin Michele. Ricky came to the hospital directly from radiation demanding to see "HIS BABY" & she has been his primary source of attention since.
On 1/11/08 Ricky received his last chemo, with Erin by his side. On 02/08/08, his first post-chemo scans showed clear margins & Ricky was declared NED (No Evidence of Disease). It was a wonderful day.
Unfortunately, Ricky's next scans on 5/16/08 showed a mass & on 05/20/08 our worst fears were concerned....Ricky had a 2-3 cm tumor on the posterior of his prostate. On 05/30/08 Ricky had his port re-inserted & began another 42-52 weeks of more advanced chemo. Radiation was not an option this round. On 10/14/08 Ricky had surgery to remove his bladder, his prostate, surrounding lymph nodes & an extended portion of his urethra. His transverse colon was also removed to create a conduit for his urine. Ricky wears a urostomy bag. He will have an additional 8 cycles of chemo before completing the battle this time around. Ricky's bone marrowed tired & we spent most of the last 4 months of treatment in the hospital. On 02/29/08, the last day of his 22nd month of treatment, Ricky received his last chemo. In June, after 2 clear scans, Ricky's port was again removed.
On August 12, 2009 Ricky had his routine 6 month scans. His lungs showed 2 very small lesions (the largest 1 mm) on his right lung. It was agreed that we would rescan in 6 weeks. On September 16th Ricky was rescanned & on September 17th, we received the devastating news that Ricky now had at least 14 lesions on both lungs with the largest now 1.1 cm. After much research it was determined that Ricky would receive chemo again. On October 1st, Ricky had his 3rd port inserted & begin chemo, for the 3rd time is his life. Scans were re-done before the chemo began & the lesions are spreading & multiplying with too many to count.
Ricky lost his battle with cancer and earned his angel wings on May 23, 2010. Despite this, the James family has been essential in UGA® Miracle's movement in raising money for our hospital. They are still at almost every event and are as inspiring as they can be.