A Quick Update

July 27, 2010

Jake hid in the garage during the shaving cream fight

Sorry it’s been a while since I last posted. A few of you… ahem… (you know who you are) have gently reminded me I have been slacking a little. As my friend Ashley said, though, when I don’t post for a while, it usually means everything is great.

It is. Great, I mean. We’ve been busy enjoying the end of summer before school starts in a few weeks. I’m having that thyroid surgery tomorrow, so summer is pretty much over for me and I’ve been trying to squeeze in the last little bit of time with the kids before I’m out of commission for a little while.

So, here’s the short story about the last week or so: We had water day in the cul-de-sac… slip n’ slide, water balloons, shaving cream fights, etc. We’ve checked a few items off our family summer fun wish list like making homemade ice cream and swimming at night with the lights on in the pool. Tanner’s in dance camp this week which will culminate in a show that neither John nor I will be able to see, but Aunt Beth and E. and Jake will attend. And, other fun summer stuff like bike riding, swimming and throwing rocks in the creek.

So, surgery for me in the early a.m. and I probably won’t post for a few days until I can be sure that my posts will be coherent (pain meds and public forums do not mix). We are, as always, well taken care of by our family and friends. Our support network is nothing, if not efficient, by now.

Wish me luck.


Nine Screaming Girls + Jake = One Good Time

July 10, 2010

I’m sitting on the sofa completely spent from hosting Tanner’s Rock Star birthday party for nine little 7-year-old girls. Two super teens from the neighborhood did the girls’ makeup and hair, Aunt Beth applied tattoos, they all decorated cardboard guitars and then we did some dancing and singing and got our rock star on! It was one of the most fun parties we have ever had for the kids. Pressure is on for Jake’s next party; we’re going to have to make it a doozy!

We’ve spent the last few days mostly preparing for the party and swimming at the pool. Thursday night (for Tanner’s actual birthday), we had pizza with E. and LaLa, cupcakes with some neighbor kids and caught fireflies outside. Tanner finally got to catch some fireflies. They had a great time!

Even Domino wants to check out Tanner's fireflies

Thanks to everyone who sent birthday messages… Tanner and I sat at the computer for two days and read them all. They made her smile and feel special.

Poor Jake had a little bit of a hard time with Tanner’s birthday. He’s apparently just gotten old enough to realize that he isn’t getting the same special treatment she is. He would ask in his little voice, “Why I not get a cake? Can I get a car cake?” We made him a special non-girly gift bag for the party, which he loved, but he hid in the media room for most of the party, playing Star Wars wii by himself. Poor little man. When the excessive girliness and screaming was over, he came back out, busted a move or two on the dance floor, got a tattoo and ate his ring pop. It all turned out okay in the end.

Domino attended the beginning and end of the party, but stayed in his crate during the rest, hiding from the chaos. He managed to snag a piece of pizza from the trash after it was over, though. Score one for the dog. He loves him some pizza.

It was a really awesome party and I think Tanner and the girls had a great time, thanks to everyone who helped!


Clinic Day #35

June 17, 2010

Protected during treatment by Mr. Larry's St. Christpher medal

Tanner’s counts had just come up to 710 today from 650 last week, BUT, Dr. Mixon felt that given how good she feels and how great the rest of her numbers look, and the fact that it is summertime, that we should send her to Vacation Bible School next week – hallelujah!!!

So glad we didn’t have to disappoint her again. She is really excited about going and it will be Jake’s first time to go, so he is excited, too.

She got her dose of Vincristine today through her port and will start steroids tonight. It was a very smooth visit, but I am thoroughly tired anway.

Jake spent the day with Aunt Beth (thank God for Aunt Beth) and had a ball.

Now, just keep your fingers crossed she doesn’t get sick again.


A Field Trip to Aunt Beth’s

March 24, 2010

Did you ever have someone’s house that you went to when you were a kid that seemed magical? My grandparents’ house was like that for me. They had three acres with a big vegetable garden, fruit trees and grape vines that stretched across the yard. I remember doing the simplest things there… like playing in the gravel in their driveway, or climbing up this big weeping willow that was in the median of the circular drive, or sitting on the swing in the dark with my granny, listening to grown-ups talk and the cicadas sing.

When I look back on it now, there was really not anything to do. They didn’t keep any toys at their house for us to play with, although sometimes we would borrow the neighbors’ bikes. The house was tiny and modest, with one bathroom that all seven of us would share, and I slept on the floor every night, sharing a pallet made of old quilts with my two brothers and falling asleep to the drone of the television.

But, still, something seemed so magical about being there. Food tasted better, the simplest things were more fun. I think it was just so different from where I grew up, in the suburbs of Philadelphia. My grandparents lived in the country in Huntsville, AL, on a road named after them because theirs was the first house built there.

My kids have that at their grandparents’ houses, too. The magical basement at Grandmom and Grandad’s house where you can hit a golf ball into a net or “work out” on the exercise bike, or ride a scooter. And, the great cul-de-sac at E. and Papa’s where they ride the battery-powered cars she keeps for them, sled for days, and play with their cousin, Mack.

Digging in Aunt Beth's garden

But, as a bonus, they have Aunt Beth’s house. On an acre-and-a-half in Spring Hill, Aunt Beth dabbles in lots of things that I don’t… namely gardening and cooking. Today, the kids dug holes in the dirt, spread four-o-clock seeds under the weeping willow, fed the geese in the pond, “worked out” in the basement and cooked up some pretty darn good pizza roll-ups.

Being able to spend the morning at Aunt Beth’s took a little bit of the sting out of not being able to go to school for Tanner. She came home tired and napped while Jake napped.

Tanner manning her rock store at Aunt Beth's house

Overall, Tanner doesn’t actually seem to feel bad, although she is stuffed up. I really believe she has allergies, but without knowing for sure or having any idea where he counts stand, keeping her home again today was probably the right decision. We’re off to the clinic tomorrow after dropping Jake off and we’ll find out for sure where she stands. She’ll also get her monthly IV dose of Vincristine, begin her five-day course of steroids. Tomorrow night, she will also take her weekly dose of oral methotrexate, which can kind of wipe her out the next day. So, even if her counts are high enough to return to school Friday, I don’t know how long she’ll last. Monday and Tuesday will also be pretty doubtful as she is usually pretty wiped out by the steroids.

I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this rollercoaster. I might numb myself to it, but then I find I’m numb to all the good stuff, too. For right now though, that’s how I’m sleepwalking through this current disappointment… numb and in a fog.

I’m hoping to wake up tomorrow.


Steroids and Playdates

February 27, 2010

Our new-found freedom has been a little limited by the fact that Jake was sick and I didn’t want to share his germs with anyone else and Tanner being on steroids again.

Jake’s fever broke sometime in the night on Thursday and he is feeling better, though still coughing. Tanner is coughing some and complaining of a sore throat, but it’s difficult to tell what is the steroids and what is her actually not feeling well. She’s handling the steroids very well. She’s been tired (took a 2-hour nap on Friday) and asked to go to bed at 6:30 tonight. That’s pretty typical of steroid week, though.

Although we’ve got this new freedom, we have our eye on the prize and are still being somewhat cautious. School in two weeks, if her counts can stay up. There’s not really anything you can do to affect counts, but getting sick certainly doesn’t help. So, I’m carefully controlling who she sees so we can try to make it the next two weeks without catching anything. She seems more susceptible to getting sick during steroid week – or at least that’s my non-medical opinion.

The kids went to Aunt Beth and Uncle Glenn’s this morning to play and give John and I a chance to get some things done at the new house. Awesome! They had a great time, as always, but Tanner had fallen asleep on the couch while watching a movie and we had to wake her to go home. She rested when we got home and had a much-anticipated playdate with Corinne this afternoon. She was wiped out by 6:30 and ready for bed.

John and I got to spend some time cleaning the construction dust out of the new house and putting together some shelves we bought for the kids’ rooms. The renovations are going well and on target for us to move in two weeks… yikes! So, I suspect we will do lots of packing tomorrow!