Thursday, November 18, 2004


(and/or) ONE YEAR LATER, THE CRAP SANDWICH DOESN’T SEEM AS BIG ....... (see last year's Thanksgiving entry if you have no idea what I'm talking about!)

Week #14 of Long-Term Maintenance Therapy

Q. Which is the most elusive, most sought-after, most hard-to-find thing in the entire universe?

a. The Fountain of Youth
b. The Meaning of Life
c. A single ounce of talent or humility or modesty in the life of Paris Hilton
d. A 2004 Flu shot

Can you guess which one we discovered today? Here’s a hint: We’re old …. We’re not very profound …. We don’t watch the Simple Life …….. but hopefully we’re protected from the flu this year!

That’s right, the Escoe clan managed to get flu shots today. And we didn’t even have to threaten, bribe, steal, or beg. The immunization clinic on base accepted the letter from Kendrie’s oncologist, stating that her immediate family members should be considered “priority” since she herself is “high-risk” and the clinic took us as priority patients once their shipment of shots arrived. Isn’t it nice when something actually works out the way you hope it will?

Sore arms aside, things on the medical front have been pretty normal. For you chemo-junkies out there, I don’t think I mentioned that at Kendrie’s clinic visit last month, her counts, for the 3rd month in a row since starting long-term maintenance, were higher than normal.

Quick cancer lesson: “ANC” actually has two meanings in the land of childhood cancer--"A"bsolute “N”eutrophil “C”ount, which is some sort of medical math equation that doctors use to figure some measure of infection fighting ability times the square root of zero carry the one and multiply by the white count and eventually you will figure out the strength of chemo … blah blah, it’s something medical. The other definition, used more commonly by cancer-parents everywhere, is “A”ny “N”umber below 1000 or above 2000 makes us “C”razy. We are always shooting for that window between 1000 and 2000. We’re not really sure why, again with the medical stuff about if it’s too high the chemo might not be strong enough and if it’s too low than the chemo is too strong plus the child’s infection fighting ability is in the toilet …..

Anyway, Kendrie’s had been high for three months in a row despite her being on 100 percent of the recommended dosages of chemo. So after her last visit they increased one of her oral chemo drugs (methotrexate) by twenty-five percent. We had her blood counts checked today, and the ANC level is at 1183 -- perfect. Hopefully when we check again at the next visit in two weeks it will still be perfect, otherwise we’ll increase or decrease one or the other meds by however much is necessary, and stand on one foot and howl at the moon and spin around three times or whatever we have to do to shoot for that magic number again. (I’m sure it’s a very scientific process if you’re a doctor and know just what the heck these drugs do. For us, it’s more about how much applesauce will we need to get the drugs smooshed up and into Kendrie each night!) So that’s that.

In the non-cancer portion of our simple little lives, we are getting BEYOND EXTREMELY EXCITED to leave on our Thanksgiving Vacation! Not only will we be staying with some of our dearest friends in the world (they’d have to be pretty dear to put up with our thundering herd for seven days!) in California, but we are also getting a chance to meet two of our online friends in person. Andrew and Alex, there's a Georgia whirlwind headed your way that just might measure off the chart of one of your fancy-California richter scales! Hang on to your hats ... we're on our way!

Speaking of friends, a few entries back I told you about two local families we are getting to know through our middle-Georgia area support group. Well, (warning, profanity ahead) one of the shittiest things you will ever hear in your life is the pronouncement your child has cancer. (This, I can tell you from experience) Probably the one thing that is shittier, because your bubble of naivetĂ© and ignorance is gone after awhile, is the pronouncement that your child has relapsed and the cancer has returned. This is the case for our new friend Baby Jay, who finished his treatment for medulloblastoma last April. He’s cruising along, not a pre-school care in the world, when WHAM, a check-up scan shows the tumor is back. Jay’s treatment plan is still being decided at this point and I’m sure his parents would appreciate all the words of support and encouragement they can get. Please stop by Jay’s website and let them know you are thinking of them. T.H.I.S.S.T.I.N.K.S.


In keeping with the holiday spirit, here’s a photo from Kendrie’s Thanksgiving Feast at school this week. I have to tell you that I think “feast” is a generous term, considering the kids ate popcorn, raisins and candy corn. But they sang a song, churned butter, read stories, and made lollipop turkeys. Not sure how authentic it was, as I doubt the original Pilgrims and Indians had glass baby food jars for liquefying the butter ….. but we still had fun.

And lastly, I wanted to share some words of Thanksgiving insight with all of you. As you may or may not know, I scrapbook (obsessively) and try to write down a few nuggets of wisdom from my kids about the holidays each year. So, I asked each of my family members what Thanksgiving means to them, and will leave you with the following conversations:


Kristie: “What is Thanksgiving all about?”

Kendrie: “Turkey”

Kristie: “Anything else?”

Kendrie: “Steak”

Kristie: “Well, what about being thankful?”

Kendrie: “I think being thankful means helping people when they get hurt.”

Kristie: “What are you thankful for?”

Kendrie: “I’m thankful for Kellen and Brayden and Mommy and Daddy and Lager (our dog) and me.”

Kristie: “Anything else?”

Kendrie: “I’m thankful when Nurse Mary accesses my port because I want to get better. {I swear I am not making this up. I almost cried when she said this ….} Two more things. Four, actually. What else should I say? I was thankful when Fosters (our old dog) was alive. And I’m happy because you let me be born. I’m thankful for when my Dad worked on the airport. (what????) And I’m thankful because Jesus died on the cross so we didn’t have to do it.”

Kristie: “What holiday is coming up?”

Kellen: “Thanksgiving”

Kristie: “What does Thanksgiving mean?”

Kellen: “You have a feast.”

Kristie: “Are we having a feast this year?”

Kellen: “Uh-huh”

Kristie: “What are you thankful for?”

Kellen: “Food. Toys. Pets. Money. That’s it.”


Kristie: “What can you tell me about the history of Thanksgiving?”

Brayden: “It’s about when you celebrate the people in your family and your friends. It’s when you have a turkey. And you give thanks to other people. And you have a feast with your family.”

Kristie: “What are you thankful for?”

Brayden: “My home. My family. Friends. My dog. My whole family. That’s it.”


Kristie: “What are you thankful for?”

Blaine: “God. Family. Beer. Fishing. In no particular order.”


So that about sums it up, although for the record, Blaine has never worked at an airport. I hope you all enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday as well. Eat a little turkey, watch a little football, and hug your family a little closer for the day.

Take care,


Having to get my arm stuck with a needle to get blood drawn. Plus, they were slow in the lab and it made me late for school today!


Well, it might not be nice to admit it, but it was nice to go to the immunization clinic after I got my blood drawn and see Mom and Dad and Brayden and Kellen all get flu shots. For once, *I* was not the pincushion!!! I also want to thank Debbie E. for the ultra-cool baseball bracelet, and thank Jennifer C. for sending us cards with our OWN names on the envelopes!

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