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!

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