Sunday, June 27, 2004

"Where has my Energizer Bunny gone?"

End of Week 3 of DI #2

Kendrie is starting to remind me of a helium balloon a few days after a children’s party. A sad, droopy, purple dinosaur balloon that keeps dipping lower and lower as the helium level drops. Of course, she’s not purple. Or filled with helium. Or a dinosaur. And even if she was, I don’t think dinosaurs demand that their dino-parents fix them eight bowls of Kraft Mac & Cheese every day of a steroid pulse. But a little droopy and wilted just the same. Lots of naps, lying around on the sofa, puffing up from the steroids and the non-stop appetite.

She’s also complaining a lot of back pain which of course makes us nervous. Bone and joint pain is often a primary complaint at the time of diagnosis. It was for her anyway. So never mind that bone and joint pain is also a common side effect of the chemo meds, it’s still a little frightening to hear her say it out loud and to remember the last time she complained like that was when the leukemia made its uninvited appearance in our lives.

You know that silly comment you make to people when you are going to flip a coin to decide something--- “Heads I win, tails you lose” (am I the only one who says that?) Delayed intensification chemotherapy is a little like that. I look at Kendrie, laying on the sofa, pale and tired; sitting in a chair in the backyard watching Blaine build a deck and ignoring the swing she so eagerly ran to pump herself on only a week ago; bloated and puffy and ravenous from the steroids; and feel frustrated that this is how she will (most likely) spend the majority of her summer. This is supposed to be *summer vacation* for children, spent swimming and running and playing and chasing fireflies. I get angry that cancer is cheating her out of this rite of passage. Heads, leukemia wins.

Then the next emotion to play through my head is guilt that I have the nerve to complain about the very treatment that is saving her life. Who am I to gripe about a few lost months? She’ll have summer after summer after summer for the rest of her life to make up for this lost time. It’s like being given an expensive car and complaining about the high cost of gasoline. No, forget it, that’s a bad analogy. If leukemia is an expensive car then I’ll take the bus. But I gripe about the effects of chemo, then feel guilty, then think about all the other kids who have it a hundred times worse than she does with complications and relapses and transplants and hospitalizations, and feel guilty some more. Tails, I lose.

Have there been any official studies done about the number of cancer parents who wind up in therapy? Or on thorazine?? Or on bell towers??? Or even worse, on Jerry Springer????

The good news is that steroid week is over as soon as she takes her last dose tonight (can you hear the Halleluiah chorus?) and we have this week off from chemo. We will be getting her blood counts checked on Wednesday but can do that locally, so no need to drive to Atlanta this week.

We just have to buckle down and get through this last phase, DI #2, before beginning maintenance therapy in August. Everyone says, “LTM (long-term maintenance) is so easy …. Just wait and see how much better things are when you get there” and I have to be honest and admit things haven’t been that difficult for us even up to this point. So maybe I need to keep my whiny mouth shut and be glad for small favors.

Well, I should go. Dinosaur-girl is hollering for more mac & cheese. I hope everyone has a really good week.
Love, Kristie

WORST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: My dad is building this really cool deck in the backyard and all I had the energy to do was half-heartedly swing a hammer at a few nails in a board. Surely Bob Villa didn't suffer this sort of indignity???

BEST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: The self-satisfied knowledge that thanks to me personally, the employees at Kraft Macaroni & Cheese have job security as long as I am on steroids.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004


“How many more days until school starts again?”

I am filing a petition for inquiry into my district’s public school system, since apparently my hard-earned tax dollars (well, ok, *I* technically don’t work, but you know what I mean) are obviously NOT going towards the pursuit of knowledge at the elementary level, since it appears my kids have not learned a darned thing yet in school. If you think I’m exaggerating, consider the following conversations I have had with the three of them this past week, over and over and over:

Kellen, “How old do you have to be before you are twelve?” (HUH?)
Kristie, “You have to be twelve …(think about rephrasing)…. You have to have twelve birthdays.”
Kellen, “How many more until I am twelve?”
Kristie, “Six more.”
Kellen, “How many more is that?”

Kendrie, “What time can we go swimming?”
Kristie, “We will go at noon.”
Kendrie, “When is that?”
Kristie, “It’s in two more hours.”
Kendrie, “How many more is that?”

Kellen, “How fast do the clouds go?”
Kristie, “As fast as the wind is blowing.”
Kellen, “How fast is the wind blowing?”
Kristie, “About ten miles an hour.”
Kellen, “How fast is that?”

Kellen, “Are we in Atlanta?”
Kristie, “We’re not in Atlanta, we’re in Warner Robins”
Kellen, “But how far away is Georgia?”
Kristie, “We’re still in Georgia. We’re in Warner Robins, a CITY, which is in Georgia, a STATE”
Kellen, “So where did Atlanta go?”

This doesn’t even include the lengthy, repeated conversations about why it takes six months to get a half-birthday, why some trucks are fat and some are skinny, and why it rains every afternoon that I’ve promised the kids we could go swimming. (Truth be told, I’m a little confused about that one myself.)

In the four weeks since school let out, these inane, exasperating conversations have been broken up primarily by fighting, whining and bickering. In a desperate attempt to steer my children towards productivity I suggested they put on a play or puppet show. Big mistake. The puppet show consisted of them stripping every blanket off every bed in the house for the “theater” and then giggling into the microphone for ten solid minutes while they waved around a puppet of “Jesus” (looking suspiciously like Boots from Dora the Explorer) and Jesus’s twin brother, “Michael Jordan”. (I swear I am not making these things up.) As I sat there, rubbing my temples and thinking about how much more fun it would be to stab myself in the eye with a hot poker ………………… it occurred to me that at least for today, my gripes and annoyances were not that of a cancer parent, but of a typical stay-at-home mom with three kids and too much summer vacation. So really, a pretty good day!

We made Monday’s clinic visit a family event, promising the kids we would take them to play in the fountains in Centennial Park afterwards. Of course that means we packed swimsuits, towels, a picnic lunch, the camera, and then it rained. Except for that disappointment, the visit itself went fine. Kendrie’s blood counts are still holding strong, although I have a hunch the expected downward trend, normal for Delayed Intensification, will be coming soon. This afternoon she fell asleep in a lounge chair instead of swimming at the pool (NOT normal behavior for my water-lovin’ kid) and this evening she chose to put on her pajamas and lay on the sofa instead of attending Kellen’s t-ball game. The only thing Kendrie idolizes more than baseball is Kellen himself, so that is a real clue to me that the chemo is starting to affect her. Toss in a few steroid tantrums, and that’s our week in a nutshell.

We did witness a slightly scary event today. We were at the base swimming pool (for the two hours it was open before it started raining!) with friends. I had gotten out of the pool to sit next to Kendrie (sleeping in the lounge chair) and was watching Brayden and Kellen in the water. A friend was visiting with me, standing about ten feet from the pool with her back to the water, when she heard her son cry out, “Mom, help me!” Not a fabulous swimmer, he was having trouble swimming back to the shallow end where he could touch. Before she could even take a step towards the water, the lifeguard dove off his platform and brought her son to the side. In all the years I’ve been swimming (laying around working on my tan, anyway) I’ve never seen a lifeguard dive into the water to help someone. It was actually quite dashing, once we got over the fright.

I’m not trying to be dramatic …. He wasn’t anywhere near drowning, but was struggling and a little frightened. He had the good sense to call out for help, instead of slipping further under, and the life guard was able to do his job without any permanent damage to anyone.

I feel like this leukemia experience is, at times, a little like struggling to touch bottom. We’re so blessed to have lifeguards all around us. Both the doctors and nurses who dove in to bring Kendrie to safety, and also the friends, both real and virtual, who’ve been there to help us when we’re struggling to keep our heads above water and reassure us that things will be fine. It’s good to know that on the days dog-paddling doesn’t cut it, we can call out for help.

I know, it’s the corniest analogy I’ve come up with in quite some time, but I wanted to say thanks to all of you who have jumped in to help us instead of sitting safely on your platform.

Thanks for signing the guestbook --- I was so happy to hear from Caringbridge that we had enough signatures to need an “older” version! We printed out the older version for Kendrie to keep in a scrapbook someday, and will continue to do so, so please keep signing. We don’t care if you sign over and over (in fact, we like it!) and we don’t care if you’re not Dave Barry or Erma Bombeck or Sigmund Freud or Ann Landers. Any note or signature from the heart is greatly appreciated.

Love, Kristie

ps. If you utilize CaringBridge, and I know you do if you're here reading this, consider donating to their Circle of Love Campaign. Links to donate are all over the sites and we all know what a wonderful way it is to stay in touch with the people you care about. They only have about a week left to reach their goal, so think about donating.

WORST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: To be honest, I'm starting to feel a little run down. Everyone warned us that DI #2 would be tougher, and I appear to be slowing down a bit. Of course, in between my rest periods are moments of sheer hellionism, so don't count me out just yet!

BEST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: The steroids, baby! No, don't get me wrong, the steroids themselves taste nasty! But you should see my mom run and hop around the kitchen when I'm on them. And then I purposefully only eat about half of everything she fixes because I like to laugh at her behind her back.

Friday, June 18, 2004


Week #2 of DI #2

a.) Neil Armstrong taking the first steps on the moon.

b.) Jonas Salk inventing the vaccine for polio.

c.) The discovery of penicillin.

d.) The Wright Brothers taking flight for the very first time.

Yes, all these things were amazing, inspiring, and did much to benefit the advancement of the human race. But we had an event of such unbelievable magnitude take place here this week that I believe the history books will have to be re-written to include this earth-shattering incident. My palms were sweaty; my heart soared ….. are you ready to share in the mind-blowing, wonderful news?


Now your first thought might be, “Well good God I would hope so, she’s four and a half!” but you have to remember that our part of Georgia is sorely lacking in the public parks department, and since pulling her out of school last year, she hasn’t had much opportunity to hone this life-altering skill. Your second thought might be, “who cares?” Well, let me tell you, my big fat lazy butt, tired of pushing and pushing and pushing, cares a lot. And more importantly, SHE cares. If you don’t think this is a million-dollar-I-can-accomplish-anything sort of smile, then have your vision checked:

We had another pretty significant occurrence this week, as well. I know you must be thinking, “How can anything possibly compete with the overwhelmingness of a kid learning to pump on the swings?” While maybe not as exhilarating, it was equally warming to my heart.

The kids and I were getting ready yesterday afternoon to pick Blaine up from the Outpatient Surgery Center where he had hernia surgery that morning. (I KNOW! Can you believe it??? First cancer, and now a hernia! I won’t even MENTION the fact he got put on High-Blood Pressure medication this week, too. I have NO idea why he would have high blood pressure, would you? Needless to say, he hit 40 this year and just flat fell apart. I might as well go ahead and add Geritol to my weekly shopping list, at the rate he’s going. What’s next? A walking cane? Removal of the prostate? A colostomy bag???…… but I digress…..)

So the kids and I were getting ready to go pick him up and Kendrie came in my bathroom and asked me if I was going to wear a ball cap. (Bad hair day, you know how it goes.) So I said “No. Are you?” and she replied, “well yeah, I’m bald-headed!”. To which I carefully replied, “Well you know, you’re really not bald anymore. You have a little bit of hair up there on your head.” And she turned around and looked at herself in the mirror. Really looked at herself, then reached up there and rubbed the top of her head. Then, this huge grin spreads across her face and she hollers out, “I’m not bald anymore, woo-hoo, woo-hoo!” and she starts running around my bedroom, doing a dance (which is not much of a dance, it’s more like running in circles, jabbing her arms and hands like she’s boxing, and doing little karate kicks with her legs. In fact, now that I think about it, she looks like a possessed cross between Muhammad Ali and Jackie Chan, suffering from leg cramps. But again with the digressing…..)

So for the first time in months, with the exception of the swimming pool, she went out in public yesterday without grabbing a ball cap on her way out the door. She didn’t wear one today, either. She never acted self-conscious, or like it bothered her, and I’m not sure if it did all these months. But she was so happy at the prospect of having hair on her head again that it brought tears to my eyes. (not big ones, because I’m really not a crying-kind of person, but definitely some little ones.) I don’t know how to tell her that the meds she is getting in this Delayed Intensification phase will probably make it fall out again. Who knows? Maybe we’ll get lucky and when school starts in August, she’ll have enough hair to avoid the whole ball-cap/bandana issue.

All I know is that for a few days, she has been running outside every chance she gets to pump herself on the swing and let the breeze blow through her ….. well, her hair. Even if there’s not much of it. And as long as she’s happy, I’m happy.

Thanks for checking in. Thanks for signing the guestbook. Have a wonderful weekend, and if you have a spare minute, stop and swing and enjoy the breeze in your hair.

love, Kristie

Monday, June 14, 2004

Vacation Highlights

Week #2 of DI #2

Well, we’ve been back from vacation an entire week and I still don’t seem to have gotten my groove back. Maybe I never had a groove to begin with. Maybe because we’ve been to the clinic three times in the last seven days, and I’ve messed up my “Mom” role and responsibilities each time. Last Monday, I thought it was a long day of treatment, so I packed like Ivana Trump going on vacation: dvd’s, cd’s, toys, games, books, drinks, snacks; you name it, I was lugging it, like a demented Let’s Make a Deal contestant. I was wrong about the “long” day, and after her spinal tap and quick chemo, Kendrie was free to go. We wound up not needing any of it.

So on Thursday, since we were going back “only” for the PEG shots, I vowed not to make that mistake again. I took nothing but a bored older brother for entertainment (mistake #1) and let me tell you that taking nothing to do or eat to the clinic guarantees you will be there all day. It took two hours for them to call us back for the shots, then I had forgotten they had to monitor her for possible side effects for two hours after that. Two things I was thankful for that day: the Volun”teens” who played a bazillion games of Connect Four with my kids, and the fact that I wasn’t the mom in the next cubby over, who had to watch a dozen episodes of Barney on the closed-circuit tv to keep her kid happy. (see? someone has always got it worse than you do!)

Today, we did a little better. In and out of the clinic in three hours, and we were even lucky enough to be there when the “clown-doctors” made their rounds. I can, however, tell that Brayden and Kellen are getting a little teensy bit too old for clowns, since they were being down right rude, making comments like, “that’s not a real mouse in your pocket!”, “You’re hiding it in your other hand!”, “that light’s got to be connected to something!” Little brats. I just wanted to smack ‘em. A few resounding “Hush!”es later and we were out the door.

So that’s it on the chemo front. More vincristine and doxo today and this is our week off steroids. Kendrie actually lost a little weight on the steroids last week which seemed odd. We’ll see what happens next week, when she goes back on them.

In the meantime, I finally got our vacation photos online, downloaded, re-sized, re-pixeled, uploaded, whatever else I had to do to share them with you all. Have I mentioned to any one lately how much I hate technology? I got a new camera (which I love), which means new software to figure out (which I hate), which means hours in front of the computer, trying this, trying that, cursing, calling my friends who already own and understand the software to curse some more ………… (ps, thanks Lisa, Kelly and Louis, for helping me figure this out!)

So I apologize in advance to those of you who have dial up computers, as this journal entry is pretty top-heavy on the photos. But here is our vacation, both in story and in pictures:

I was slightly concerned about the way our vacation got off the ground, much like a lead balloon, when it took us half an hour to just back the van out of the driveway. After getting the clothes packed in the suitcases and the suitcases packed in the van, and checking and double checking that everyone had everything they needed for the drive to the Atlanta airport, I hadn’t even made it out of the garage when Kellen realized the cd he wanted was packed in the big suitcase (ie, bottom of the pile).

Actually, the cd he wanted was in Kendrie’s cd player but she refused to share so he compromised for the cd in the suitcase. After refereeing the fight, then getting him the cd, we realized the batteries in his cd player were dead, so we had to go back in the house to get new ones. While we were in the house, looking for a packet of double A’s, Brayden managed to spill about 15 million Astro Power Candy Pellets all over the truck. Then, we were pulling out of the driveway, finally, and Kendrie started sobbing about how much she missed our dog Lager, who we had boarded, and who she barely glances at each day. I mean, she ignores him 99 percent of the time but now she was heartbroken at the thought of leaving him. Whatever.

We did finally make it to Atlanta, then Dallas, then OKC, and we had a great time. OKC is where our family lives and it had been two years since we had been home. So here is a list of the top ten things the kids enjoyed most about their vacation:

1. Riding Roscoe the horse with Uncle Cliff.

2. Hanging out with our Cousins!

3. Going to OU Baseball Games, go Sooners! (even if they did get stomped by UCLA this night and Blaine, the OU alum, was incredibly disappointed.)

4. Swimming in Grandma and Grandpa’s pool. (Maybe the term "Swimming" is a little optimistic. Mainly the kids splashed around, and spent most of their time hopping in and out to go to the bathroom.)

5. Getting to meet up with online friends like Jennifer and Tyler, aka T-Man who has leukemia, just like Kendrie, and lives just a few minutes away from our family in OKC. Tyler is going off treatment in just a few short months, so stop by his guestbook and wish him luck!

6. Playing on Aunt Kelly’s tire swing.

7. Eating out with friends. Notice the bacterial wipes on the table? Don’t leave home without them!

8. Going swimming at the lake.

9. Even better, going TUBING at the lake!

10. Did we mention hanging out with our cousins?

And the number 1 thing we do NOT miss about Oklahoma? Spending the last half of the party in the storm shelter during tornado season!

For the record, this picture was totally not staged. My sister and her husband had a get together and later in the evening a tornado passed within a few miles of their house, so the party wound up in the storm cellar. Jennifer, aren’t you glad you and Tyler had already left?? Ha!

We crammed so much stuff into those ten days, and had a complete blast doing it. Kendrie’s oncologist is pretty laid back about things, so she got to do LOTS of fun stuff : swimming in pools, lakes, riding horses, riding intertubes, etc. We were all fairly exhausted by the last day. I knew we were tired and probably looked pretty bad, but didn’t realize HOW bad until the man that drives the golf-cart thing in the airport (you know, the one who transports the infirm and the elderly from gate to gate) stopped to offer our entire family a ride. And we were just pooped enough to accept, ha! (In fact, that was probably one of the highlights of the entire trip for my kids.) Kendrie was so tired and crabby, this is how she spent the final leg of the trip:

I wish *I* could get a ride like that!

All told, a great vacation. And now, we have the entire summer holiday to spend here at the house, with each other, 24/7, every day, all day, me and three kids, with so much time on our hands …………. Wait, what’s that crying noise I hear? Oh, it’s me!! So wish me luck with the rest of the summer, ha!

Take care,

WORST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: Getting my port accessed this morning. I'm not sure what it means, but I heard mom and a nurse mumbling the word "backsliding" and then they had me watch another little girl get her port accessed. That little girl was really brave, but I don't feel like being brave. I feel like whining and crying and fussing, and I'm damn good at it.

BEST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: Probably seeing Dr. O.K. Doggie at the clinic. He is funny. But then Kellen and Brayden started hassling him about his magic trick secrets and they were getting on my nerves. I think they were getting on my mom's nerves, too!

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

“Blatant Plagiarizing, Straight Ahead!”

Week 1 of DI #2

Well, it rained in Georgia today. Not enough rain to slake the thirst of the plants and lawns and trees, or even enough to make a dent in the dry, dead grass seed (the result of vacation-neglect) burning up in our backyard. Enough, however, to bring the humidity to 150 percent, fog up my sunglasses and leave my hair looking like a bad Gilda Radner impression. Enough, also, to leave a puddle at the end of the outdoor slide of the Burger King play-land today. (You can pretty much tell where I’m going with this, can’t you?)

First Kendrie cried because her behind was wet and I didn’t have the forethought (stupid Mom!) to pack an extra set of underwear and shorts in the car. Never mind that she’s been potty trained for over two years and I haven’t carried spare underwear in, like, forever. Then she was angry I wasn’t able to dry her entire rear with a napkin, and then further annoyed by my suggestion she just run around butt-naked while I dried the shorts under the hand dryer in the bathroom. (I’ll admit, it wasn’t a good suggestion, considering we were at a public restaurant, but this was after I accidentally dumped her entire frozen Coke in my lap and wasn’t too happy about my OWN wet-butt problems by then!) So, the laughing-happy-children scenario I had envisioned rapidly dissolved and we gave up and went home to have hot dogs for dinner.

Although she started DI #2 on Monday, which means we are currently on day three of Steroid-Week (sort of like Homecoming Week, only without the floats or parades or proms or dancing or fancy clothes or good times or fun) I haven’t noticed any difference in her appetite or personality, so I’m going on the assumption that she just honestly, truly doesn’t like walking around with a wet rear. We go back to Atlanta tomorrow for her PEG shots (two “big” shots in her thighs that she has NO idea are coming…………. Ugggh, tomorrow’s going to be ugly!) and then we finish out the steroids on Sunday, hopefully before the side effects become too bad. Lord knows I better get to the commissary soon, "just in case".

I was trying to think of something wise and profound to put in the journal entry today and stumbled across the following wonderful list from a fellow CK mom named Mikie. I was laughing, smiling and nodding my head all at the same time so I asked Mikie for permission to put it on Kendrie’s site. You can read more about her daughter Emily by going to their web site, too.

It’s a really, really good list and I think you’ll enjoy it. As soon as I figure out the new software that came with my new camera and I get the photos from vacation downloaded (uploaded?) I’ll update the site and photo album here. Until then, I’ll just cruise around Caring Bridge looking for more pages to plagiarize!

“So, I thought I would share some of the things that I have learned since we started on this journey. It started out as the Top Ten. However, I couldn’t limit myself so I chose 46. Why 46 you ask? Well, since that is how many weeks of treatment Emily has left, it sounded like a good number.

Top Ten (ok, maybe more than ten) Things That I Have Learned Since August 16, 2002:

1. Bald really can be beautiful.

2. Only approximately 3,000 children per year will be diagnosed with leukemia.

3. 3,000 children is TOO many.

4. It is possible to form lasting bonds with people that you have only met through Caringbridge sites.

5. Neutrophils are the infection fighting members of our blood.

6. Having a slumber party in a hospital bed can be pretty fun with my Emily.

7. Leukemia can strike babies who were breast fed, immunized, healthy, and whose family loves them more than anything else.

8. Statistics don’t mean a whole lot when it is your child that gets sick.

9. There are two main cell types involved in childhood leukemia: myelogenous and lymphoblastic. Although one type has a better cure rate at this time, there is no “good type” of leukemia as long as children still die from it.

10. Enough medical terms to get me a guest spot on ER.

11. I am truly blessed to have my family every single crazy one of them.

12. I could not have gotten through this most recent phase of life without my faith and my family.

13. God is awesome!

14. For those who seek Him, He will answer. It may be in the colors of a sunset or the words spoken in an encounter with a stranger.

15. Life really is pretty good.

16. If it isn’t, most people would prefer that you lie about it.

17. We are lucky to live in a country where medical care is available and very effective.

18. Children who get ALL in some other countries have small chance of survival.

19. No matter how hard you try, memorial services for three-year-olds are, at best, gut wrenching.

20. I am still honored to have known Maya and Morgan for a short time in their lives no matter how painful it was to say goodbye.

21. St. Jude is a place of hope, love and miracles.

22. There are angels who walk this earth and a great many of them work at St. Jude.

23. My blessings far, far outweigh my trials.

24. The hospital part of St. Jude is actually very small (around 70 beds) but the complex is pretty big.

25. St. Jude is in need of a margarita machine for the parents of inpatients.

26. Evan looks pretty handsome in his baseball uniform.

27. It is possible for me to get sick of eating delivery pizza and fast food burgers and fries.

28. Zofran is a pretty great medical break though but it costs a gazillion dollars a pill. Someone is getting rich off our kids’ nausea.

29. Some of the most courageous people I know, can’t even say courageous much less know what it means.

30. Heck, some of them aren’t even potty trained.

31. Just because someone else’s problems aren’t life threatening doesn’t mean that they are not problems.

32. I could practice a bit more empathy before I become a bitter old hag.

33. It takes approximately 40 minutes to get to the hospital from my house in rush hour traffic.

34. I can cut that in half at 4 am with a child running a fever.

35. There are more good people in this world than bad and a lot of them have shown us great acts of kindness.

36. Danny Thomas must have earned himself a primo spot in Heaven. He lived the original ‘Purpose Driven Life’.

37. It can take approximately half an hour to crush and dissolve medicines, wrestle a two-year-old down and force them to take them.

38. It takes 10 seconds for that two-year-old to vomit them back up.

39. Some people I thought I could count on, I can’t. And, some I never would have dreamed would be there for me, are.

40. Shaun Micheel, Loren Roberts and the entire Memphis Grizzlies organization are sports figures that care and are worth supporting.

41. I will spend the rest of my life trying to repay all of the kindness that has been given to me.

42. Steroid induced rages are worse than PMS.

43. Some negatives are really positives: negative MRD, negative CNS.

44. Doing the ‘Remission Dance’ is more fun than doing the ‘Dennis Quaid Dance’ especially if Dennis isn’t there in person.

45. Cancer Sucks.

46. But Emily is tougher! And she is worth it all!”

See? Didn’t I tell you it was a great list?? Be sure to go to Emily’s site and sign in the guestbook, letting Mikie know you enjoyed it, too. In the meantime, have a great week!

Love, Kristie


Taking that nasty Decadron twice! My mom thinks she is so sneaky by crushing it up and putting it in applesauce ... like I'm a little baby who is not going to notice a trick like that???? I told her tonight it is even worse than the "Yofran" but she made me take it anyway. And I'm still a little annoyed that she didn't have any dry underwear in the glove box. I might need to put out some feelers or applications for a new nurturing Mother character, if this keeps up.


Even though I told my mom I wanted another frozen Coke after she so rudely spilled mine, I didn't really so I didn't drink it. And I didn't eat the second order of Chicken Strips I asked for. Probably any other time that would have made her mad but I'm starting to catch on that during Steroid-Week she cuts me a little more slack than normal. Hmmmm, wonder what I can get her to do for me tomorrow???

Friday, June 04, 2004

"Aloha from the Land of Sunny Beaches, Warm Sands, and .... wait ... what am I talking about? We're vacationing in Oklahoma!"

Week #9 (extended a week for vacation)of IM #2

Yep, we're still hanging out with friends and family in OKC for our vacation, which has consisted primarily of swimming, whining, staying up too late, whining, drinking gallons of caffeine and sugar-loaded pop, whining ... and of course that's just the way the KIDS are behaving! You should see the grownups! I'll regale with you with full details and pictures next week after we return to Georgia; I'm sure you can hardly wait.

In the meantime, however, I want to let as many people as possible know about an incredibly worthy event taking place next Saturday, June 12th, all over the country, and how each of you can help. Let me back up a little:

Last April, our family attended a weekend family cancer camp at Camp Sunshine in Georgia. We met lots of wonderful families there, all with children stricken with some form of cancer. One family we really enjoyed meeting and visiting with was the Connor family, whose young son Brandon had been afflicted with neuroblastoma. You can go to his web page for the complete story of his miracle. Brandon's mom Kristin and I have kept in touch via e-mail and Caringbridge, and she recently let me know about a touching, inspiring, amazing thing that will be happening around the country on June 12th, which she will be helping with right here in Georgia. Here are some background details:

Alexandra “Alex” Scott is the 8 year old founder of Alex's Lemonade Stand For Pediatric Cancer Research. Two days before her first birthday she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer. Since that time Alex has continually fought her cancer, with doctors and researchers still trying to achieve a cure. At the age of four, Alex decided to do something to make that cure more likely. She opened her first lemonade stand in July of 2000 with the idea of donating the proceeds to “her hospital.” Each year since, Alex has held an annual lemonade stand in her front yard. As word has spread, donations have poured in from around the world, and she has raised over $200,000 for pediatric cancer.

Alex's goal for 2004 is to raise $1 million for pediatric cancer research. To help her acheive this, lemonade stands are being held in every state in the country. Kristin is organizing one in Atlanta, on the outskirts of Centennial Park. You can go to Alex's Lemonade for more information on lemonade stand locations, or how to donate, if there is not a stand near you. Alex also has a new book out; information on the site. I'm more than a little humbled by an 8-yr old who has the vision and tenacity to raise so much money for pediatric cancer research. I'm happy with myself if I get a load of laundry finished and dinner on the table each night ... and this 2nd grader is aiming to raise a MILLION dollars in one day, all to help other kids with cancer, just like her.

Personally, I'm toying with the idea of driving all the way to Atlanta just to buy some lemonade. Kendrie starts DI #2 on Monday, so we'll wait to see how she's feeling (hmmmm, Saturday will be day 6 of steroids..... is spending two hours with her in a minivan a wise idea???) Even if we can't go, I'm inspired, hearing about kids like Alex, who have such wonderful goals, dreams and stories, and the adults like Kristin who help make those dreams a reality. I know at the minimum, I'll send in a donation to help Alex reach her $1 million goal. I hope all of you who are able, will too.

Thanks, Kristie