Friday, January 28, 2005

Conversations with Kristie

(or, Proof Positive that I am Certifiably Insane)

321 Days to Go

Kendrie had her monthly clinic visit to receive the chemo drug vincristine in her port (the device in her chest) on Tuesday. This was an even-more-special day, as every third month, she also gets “sleepy medicine” in her port and they put another chemo drug, methotrexate, in her spine. Yippy-Skippy! (oh, sorry, that little “splat” you felt was the sarcasm dripping.)

Life is indeed different, now that we are only going to the clinic once a month. I’m sort of out of my clinic groove, if you know what I mean. Used to, as I drove the 225 miles round trip each week (sometimes twice a week,) I had meticulous planning and forethought …. the right bags packed with the right snacks, activities, meds, etc. The correct “extras” in the van …. stroller, pillow and blanket, port-a-potty (hey, those steroids at the beginning were vicious!) and enough antibacterial wipes to clean every restaurant booth from here to Atlanta. I had the exits up and down I-75 wired --- I knew which exits had the best restaurants and the cleanest gas-station bathrooms, not to mention the fast food places that sell pop in the Styrofoam cups like I prefer. And, I knew the exact areas where I did and did not get cell reception.

Tuesday, as I made the trip with Kendrie to the clinic, it occurred to me that while some things are the same, many things are different. I made sure to pack a snack bag since she wasn’t allowed to eat before the spinal tap and I knew she would be hungry afterwards ….. but it wasn’t until I was actually packing the bag I realized I no longer have a stockpile of her favorite snacks and drinks. I didn’t even mess with an activity bag, just threw a few books and her favorite stuffed animal in the car. I remembered that I needed to pack a blanket, so I could cover her up for the half hour she is required to lie flat after the spinal …. but couldn’t find the fleece blanket I used to take. Our online friend Lisa from San Diego was kind enough to make and send the kids “rag” blankets last month ---- thank goodness that was close at hand because that’s the one Kendrie insisted on taking. (Lisa, your thank you note is on its way --- the kids LOVE them!) I forgot the pillow entirely. The port-a-potty was thrown away a long time ago. Thank Goodness.

Perhaps the biggest change I noticed, however, was my own mind-set. Kendrie watches movies on the portable dvd player while we’re driving, so I’m left pretty much alone with my thoughts. Used to, I spent most of the two-hour drive preparing myself for the visit; thinking about what procedures she’d be having done and planning my list of questions for the nurses and doctor. On this Tuesday, instead, my mind was really wandering. Just to show you how harebrained this whole leukemia journey has made me, I thought I would share with you some of the conversations (plural!) I had with myself, at various times throughout the drive, and throughout the day:

Kristie: “So, how’s it going?”
Self: “Oh, fine, thanks for asking.”

Kidding. It was more of a meandering, aimless, one-sided conversation that went something like this:

“Wow, look at all the dead kudzu on the trees.” (If you don’t live in Georgia and are unfamiliar with this anomaly of nature, kudzu is a vine-like plant that grows up and over anything that moves at less than 5 mph and chokes the very life out of it. I’m pretty sure turtles and elderly people will both be endangered species here before too long.) “I don’t ever remember seeing kudzu dead like that on the side of the highway. Was it dead last winter when I would drive Kendrie to her chemo appointments? Holy cow, last winter? It’s amazing to me that we’ve been doing this for over a year. I’ll have to remember to check next year to see if the kudzu dies again. Wow, that’s even more amazing, that we’ll still be doing this a year from now. Well, no, technically we won’t. By next January, she should be done, woohoo! Yep, that’s good news. Shoot, there went the exit with the drive up ATM. Damn it. Gotta remember to pull over and put the numbing cream on Kendrie’s port and her spine before too long …. what was the exit with the Chick-Fil-A again??? That way we can grab some lunch since it’s almost 11:00 …. no, wait, she can’t have anything to eat until afterwards. Just who schedules a five-year old to be NPO for an afternoon spinal? Hey, look, there’s a shoe in the middle of the highway. Who *does* that, anyway? Why would anyone throw a shoe in the middle of the road? Are they just driving along and decide they don’t like these shoes anymore? And why is there always only ONE shoe in the road? Where’s the other shoe? Crap, there goes that other exit I wanted. Boy, I’m really talking to myself a lot today … is it considered talking to yourself if you’re doing it in your head? Isn’t that actually considered thinking? I’ve got to remember to bring that blanket into the clinic with me, and my camera, too, since Catie and Mary-Grace will be there. I wonder if we’ll be able to go to dinner with them today. If we can’t, maybe I can order pizza from the new Pizza Hut Delivery Location that just opened by our house. Sure wish they had opened that thing back in our Induction Days, when all Kendrie would eat were those breadsticks. Wow, remember how obsessed she was with those breadsticks? Speaking of eating, where is that exit with the Chick-Fil-A? Where the heck did I put the numbing cream?”

And so on and so on.

Then, I had another bizarre conversation with myself while Kendrie was getting her spinal. They had her curled over on her side, fixing to start, while one nurse held her down and the other nurse made sure the meds were ready. The nurse-practitioner, who is performing the procedure, sits behind Kendrie and I sit in front of her face, trying to be a soothing presence, while at the same time not block the big screen that is showing Scooby Doo 2 (total crap, by the way.) The child-life specialist comes in and introduces me to a child-life intern, asking my permission for them to stay and watch the procedure. So there is a pretty full room, and Kendrie has started crying like she usually does with the “sleepy medicine” (some kids report feeling sort of drunk or giggly when they get it …. If this is how Kendrie acts when she gets drunk, she will be ostracized from every sorority function, as she is a mess.) As a mom, of course, it breaks my heart to see her upset and to hear her asking me, in that pitiful, slurred voice, “Are they done yet?” when I know they haven’t even started. So, as is our usual routine, I started rubbing her forehead and singing “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine” to her, in a voice I hope is comforting and calm. Thank goodness Simon Cowell isn’t there, is all I can say about it. Maybe because this was her first spinal in three months and I had sort of “forgotten” about them, maybe it was remembering exactly what we were doing to her, and why, and the fear of a relapse diagnosis each time she gets a spinal …. I don’t know …. But all of a sudden I started crying. Then my conversation with myself went something like this:

“Oh, for God’s sake you loser, pull it together. You have to be stronger than this for Kendrie, it’s certainly not going to help her any to see you cry. Why are you crying anyway, you dork?? Things are fine, she is fine, things will BE fine. Besides, that intern is going to see you cry and think you are a bonehead. So? What do I care what some stupid college intern thinks of me, anyway? Does her kid have cancer?? How would she know? Now why are you calling the intern names? Is it HER fault you are a cry-baby loser??? For Pete’s sake, pull it together woman!!!”

You know, I go along fine for months at a time, then wonder if the staff at Scottish Rite is surreptitiously calling child-welfare on me. Or perhaps Bellvue.

Then, like that isn’t proof enough of what a weirdo I’ve become (my long-term friends will perhaps raise an eyebrow at the past tense of “become”) let me tell you about the third and final conversation I had with myself at dinner. Well, no, it wasn’t the final conversation of the day … I still had the ride home from Atlanta to get through, but it’s the final conversation I’m going to share with you!

We had really lucky timing on Tuesday and had clinic appointments on the same day as two of our friends. Catie and Mary-Grace and Kendrie were all finishing up about the same time, so we decided to go out to dinner together. I’ve said all along that one of the perks (if you can call it that!) of having a kid with cancer is meeting other families going through the same thing. It’s a bizarre little fraternity, but we’ve met some amazing people this way.

"Kendrie and Catie, photo taken 01-25-05"

So we went to a local restaurant, than sat around talking afterwards. Mary-Grace’s dad Todd won all three girls stuffed animals from “The Claw” which pretty much made him the hero of the hour (thanks, Todd!) and the three moms were visiting about some of the other mutual friends we have all made. Mary-Grace and Catie both have lots of scheduled inpatient chemo, and have met lots more families, and know many more patients personally, than we do. So as we were talking about how they knew this family, or how they knew that family, and how everyone was doing, the following words actually came out of my mouth: “In a weird way, you guys are lucky to be inpatient so much. We haven’t been inpatient since diagnosis and I haven’t met anyone.” A few seconds later, when my brain caught up to my mouth, I wondered ….. holy cow, did I really say that?????

So I spent the next few moments vacillating between the self-recrimination of “You Idiot! What a completely thoughtless …. Not to mention STUPID, thing to say!!!” and the other thought process going on inside: “How odd is it that I’m sitting here with these two moms that I had never met, or even heard of, six months ago, and under different circumstances would never meet. Between the three of us, our kids have almost three years of chemo under their belts, brain surgery, shunts, radiation, more surgery planned next month, scans, MRI’s, more oral meds than any of us can count, spinal taps, bone marrow aspirations, one extremely undignified rectal exam earlier in the day (I won’t mention names, but let’s just say that a certain 2-yr old handled it with much more poise than *I* would have!) and yet, I’m having a perfectly lovely and wonderful time!”

Like the chorus of this song says …..
“But we're never gonna survive, unless...
We get a little crazy
No we're never gonna survive, unless...
We are a little...”
The lyrics might be dark, but the chorus is right on!! :)

So, maybe I’m a little crazy. (Perhaps the word “maybe” is un-necessary!) But if talking to myself and having inane conversations in my head gets me through it, which in turn gets Kendrie through it, then so be it. I feel blessed to have such wonderful people to get a little crazy with. Jenny and D.D., (Todd, too!) thanks for a wonderful meal ---- we think the world of you!

Love, Kristie


Well, it’s day 3 of Steroid Week, which loosely translates into “start crying the minute I wake up, until Mom gives up convincing me to go to school, so go back to bed, and then when I finally do get up, lay around on the sofa all day eating my weight in American cheese slices.” Hey, hang on …..

BEST PART OF HAVING CANCER TODAY: Same thing. Especially the part about the cheese.

KRISTIE'S PERSPECTIVE: But did she mention the 45-minute tantrum she threw yesterday because no one would play "Break the Ice" with her??????

Saturday, January 22, 2005


Part Four of a Four-Part Series

Aka; Kendrie; the Do’s of Time

OK, anyone born after 1975 is probably not going to get the extreme social relevance of the following celebrity hairstyle comparison, but I think my fellow age 30 comrades will grasp the connection immediately, and, dare I say, enjoy a bit of nostalgia at the photos and music..........

At the rate Kendrie’s hair is growing, I’m concerned we’re going to be looking like this before too long:


Dare I say the images have an eery similarity???? Are you flashing back to your Saturday nights, laying in bed with the sheets pulled over your head, sweating, terrified there are sleestaks hiding in your closet, after watching Land Of The Lost re-runs all morning????

Then there was my mom, the eternal buster of the imagination balloon, who wanted to know why these people (Marshall, Will and Holly, in case you've forgotten their names) were "plunged down a 1000 feet below" (although I swear the words were: "stranded in a valley deep below") and yet never got their clothes dirty or needed haircuts??? Geez, mom, way to ruin the pretend for the rest of us!

And so ends our journey through Kendrie's "Hairstyles of Leukemia". I hope you enjoyed the trip!!!

Love, Kristie

"Marshall, Will and Holly,
On a routine expedition ....
met the greatest earthquake,
ever know ...................."



Isn't it obvious? That I have a mom who would compare me to a youthful neanderthal creature from a Saturday morning cartoon show so campy that there are actually cult internet sites devoted to it's following???? Oh well, at least she didn't compare me to the sleestaks.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

More serious and personal (ie, boring and self-involved)

On a more serious, personal note, I’d like to ask all of you for some good thoughts for Blaine tomorrow. I know I don’t talk about it a lot (or, maybe I do and I’m so shallow and self-centered I don’t even realize it) but for those of you who are perhaps recent visitors to our site, and who aren’t familiar with our family’s history, let me share a bit of it with you. (those of you who know us, yawn and bear with me, I’ll get to my point in a minute!)

In Feb of 2003, Blaine was diagnosed with cancer. During a routine dental visit to get his wisdom teeth removed, a dentist discovered something abnormal on an x-ray. Further testing revealed what is technically called a “poly-morphous low grade adenocarcinoma”. (whew!) Basically, a malignant tumor that had grown and grown until it completely filled his sinus cavity.

Prognosis was excellent, but to remove the entire tumor (which the doctors estimated had been growing for fifteen to twenty years!) surgeons also had to remove Blaine’s gum, teeth, uvula, soft palate, hard palate and cheekbone. You’ve heard the phrase “I need (blank) like I need a hole in the head”??? Well, there you’ve got it. Blaine, literally, has a big hole in his head.

A few weeks after the surgery he began the long, tedious process of being fitted for a prosthetic device called an “obturator”; AKA, The Retainer From Hell. This device allows Blaine to eat, drink, talk, etc, like a normal person. It’s also awkward, ill-fitting, painful at times, and a complete pain in the ass to upkeep. He hates it, but is so grateful to have it. (Hey, kind of like how cancer-parents feel about leukemia treatment!) Anyway, thank goodness the doctors told him that after remaining cancer-free for one year, he could consider having permanent reconstructive surgery and would be able to ditch the much-hated obturator. He began counting down the months.

At the 8-month mark, Kendrie was diagnosed with leukemia. Obviously, Blaine’s reconstructive work was put on the back burner, although the process required to keep the obturator fitted, and in working condition, is never ending. Blaine has spent more time in the dentist’s chair getting that thing tweaked every time a piece breaks or it rubs his mouth the wrong way or a wire gets bent .. . he went without teeth for about six months while they tried to fix it …. it's rubbed scar tissue that has looked "suspicious" that he's had to have biopsied ... he has to remove it and clean it after every meal or snack (and you thought flossing in a public bathroom was embarrassing; try taking out part of your head and cleaning it in the sink!) … has to drive six hours round trip every week or so to see the dentist …. Well, you get the picture.

ANYWAY!!! Once Kendrie hit the one-year mark in her treatment and we could see that things were going well for her, we decided it was time for Blaine to get the follow-up work he so desperately needs to improve his quality of life. ---Enter the Air Force Medical Institution, a beaurocratic process otherwise known as “Tricare Insurance".

Blaine’s surgeons and dentists at Ft. Gordon Army Medical Hospital in Augusta, Georgia, are fabulous and I credit them with saving his life (or at the very least, his vision) when the cancer was discovered. However, the extreme, extensive scope of reconstructiveness (is that a word?) of this type of surgery is beyond what they can do. Blaine’s primary surgeon recommended Blaine go to Seattle, WA, and have a specific doctor there perform the surgery, a doctor who is one of the leading experts in this field of oral/maxillo-facial/reconstructiveness. In fact, this guy flew to Augusta last year and has examined Blaine already and agreed he can do the surgery. But, in an attempt to cut costs, the Air Force wanted to try and find someone more local to perform the operation. As a taxpayer, I appreciate that. As a wife, UUUGGGGHHH!

So first he was told to see a plastic surgeon in Atlanta. It took over a month to get an appointment, then the first appt was cancelled because the doctor didn’t have the records he needed, and then when he finally met with Blaine, he took one look at him and said, “Why on earth did they send you to me? I can’t do this. You need to see my colleague at the Reconstructive part of the other facility.” OK … another month for another appointment. Then, when Blaine finally saw *that* guy, he said, “You do know that I do BREAST reconstruction, right?” Blaine figured “great, they can put a boob on my head and I’ll just blow my nipple every time I get a cold!” In fact, this doctor’s exact comment to Blaine was, “Are you actually aware how major your defect is? You are lucky to be alive.” Well, thanks for the warm fuzzy, Mr. Boob-guy.

Needless to say, although the Air Force STILL wouldn’t send him to Seattle to see the doctor we wanted, they did agree to send him to MD Anderson in Houston, TX. As luck would have it, after getting an appointment, getting his records and cat scans and MRI’s ready, and flying to Texas for the appointment last week, the doctor he was supposed to see was out of the office because his wife had a baby the night before. That’s some great timing on our part, wouldn’t you say? So, Blaine was examined by a resident whose exact words were, “I have no idea if we can do this or not.” Wow, that’s really encouraging, isn’t it? He called the other doctor, who responded with a bit more enthusiasm, “Well, I don’t know either, but we’re sure willing to give it a try!” Um, yeah. Somehow, NOT the level of confidence we were hoping for.

So finally, after foot-stomping and yelling and outrage (on my part) and a calm but decisive discussion (on the part of Blaine and his doctor) they agreed to fly him to Seattle for a consultation with the expert. And that’s where he is now.

His appointment is tomorrow and it would mean a great deal to me if you would all think really, really positive thoughts that this doctor can answer our questions and say with confidence that he has performed this exact surgery before, many times, with great results. Is Blaine’s life on the line? Shoot, no. But if it goes well, the surgery could bring about a drastically improved quality of life. And if it were to go badly, we’d be right back at square one, with an even BIGGER hole in his head and lots more dental work to face. So we are very hopeful, and a little bit nervous, since we’ve pretty much put all our faith in this guy and can’t see anyplace else to go if he turns Blaine down.

That’s probably way more information than you wanted or needed, but I felt compelled to write it all down. If you’re still reading, thanks for sticking with me through the entire journal entry! In light of everything Kendrie has gone through since her diagnosis, I have to admit that Blaine has gotten the short end of the stick. Instead of being the supportive, empathetic, compassionate wife that I always should be, I have pretty much left him to fend for himself in his own treatments and rehabilitation process. So maybe this public plea for good karma is my way of making it up to him!

I’ll keep you all posted on how it goes.

Oh, and don’t forget to check back and see the fourth and final installment of “Celebrity Hairstyles for Kendrie”
Thanks for stopping by, and especially for signing the guestbook. We read it every day and love seeing messages from friends, both old and new.

Take care,
your long-winded friend,

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

More Hair Stuff


Well, here I am on the first day of Long-Term Maintenance -- and I'm back in ass-kicking mode! Plus, my mom is hoping I see that girls can be bald and beautiful and tough at the same time, just look at the lady below!

Don't tell mom, but I already knew that. ALL kids that fight cancer are tough and bald and beautiful.


You know what I love about this picture of me, and the picture of the girl below me? When *SHE* went out in public like that, people all around the world commented on how bald she was and how on earth could she go out without being embarrassed?? We look almost exactly alike, and when *MY* hair finally got this long, I quit wearing hats --- I thought it was a long, flowing mane at this point!!! Heck, I've even started using shampoo again!


Yep, those hats are G.O.N.E. !!! Check me out, baby -- Farrah Fawcett's got Nothing on me! (wait, who's Farrah Fawcett?)


At this point, I thought my hair was so long that it upset me when some boys at school said I looked like a boy. I like to wear it spiky sometimes, but not every day. Do you think I'll actually have to get it cut at some point in the future?????


OK, mom says there is one more celebrity comparison photo left, but you'll have to come back later to see it. I guess this is sort of like one of those "cliffhanger-who-shot-JR" sort of things --- so check back in a few days!!!

Love, Kendrie

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Hair Part 2


Well, it's March, and its DEFINITELY gone now! Here I am, bald as a cue ball, practicing medicine on my poor dolls and stuffed animals (who, by the way, are much better sports about getting stuck and poked and prodded than I am.)

Check it out, though -- this guy was pretty kick-ass, from what my mom tells me about TV shows back in the 70's. And if HE gets credit for being so tough just by chasing bad guys and sucking on a lollipop, shouldn't I get even more credit for kicking so much cancer butt?????

And this guy is well-known for kickin' alien-ass .......

Hey! She kicked ass, too!! These people are all tough just like me! Maybe being bald is a badge of courage in this case! (do you think I'll get in trouble for saying "ass" so many times?)


Well, I guess Dad figured if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. We make a pretty cute team, don't you think?

My dad must know how to handle dirt just like this guy. In fact, sometimes I hear him saying "What do you think I am, Mr. Clean????" At least that's what he mumbles when he's mopping the kitchen floor.


This is what Mom officially calls my "Duckling Fuzz" stage. All I know is Whew! Am I glad to have hair back!!


Hmmmm, why does mom start humming "White Wedding" every time she lubes up my head with suntan lotion before we go swimming??? Can anyone tell me????


What the heck??? It's gone again! How did that happen????

I heard a rumor that this guy is pretty noble. Or at least he plays somebody noble on tv. So maybe I'll go for "nobly bold." Ugh, stinks anyway.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Hair -- A Year in Review

337 Days to Go

Well, so many people have commented, both online and in person, on the speed at which Kendrie's hair is growing, I just thought I would give you a little timeline pictorial of "The Year in Review" -- A Hair-Raising Experience, To Say The Least. (apologies in advance if you're on dialup!)


Wow, it's hard to remember when I had this much hair! What I DO remember is fussing every time Mom tried to brush it!!

But Mom always said she thought I looked like the Little Dutch Boy.
(((do you think she heard me saying this, and that's when the gender-confusion began???)))


Oh, geez, the hair is really starting to come out now -- see how thin it's getting? You can actually see my scalp in certain places. (Mom was surprised to find this photo ... she doesn't remember me smiling, let alone laughing, any time before mid-December!)

But hey! If Donald Trump can pull off the comb-over from Hell, I think I should be able to do the same thing!


Yeah, it's getting hard to avoid the truth .... it's definitely on the way out.

But you know what? This Mark Miller guy sings lead for a band called Sawyer Something and *HE* looks pretty cool with his bald head and a microphone -- maybe there's still hope for me with my karoke Christmas present! I just have to work a little harder to pull off the rock-star thing!

to be continued ....

Friday, January 07, 2005

“Proof that Hell exists on Earth” and/or "Why we hate steroids”



In case you couldn’t guess, it’s Steroid-Week (otherwise known as “Has anyone seen our normally well-behaved daughter and who is this freak who has taken her place-Week”) at the Escoe household. And if you’re one of those people who understands better when you have a picture to see, let me explain it to you this way:

"This is me"

"This is me on steroids"

Yes, yes, I admit I blantantly stole this idea from Julianna Banana's dad Terry, when he used the This-is-me-adorable-kitty-cat and This-is-me-on-steroids-ROARING-LION to describe their own situation a few months ago. Truly, parents of children on steroids anywhere can relate.

Perhaps an even better example is what happened at dinner a few nights ago, when we were serving up an exquisitely well-balanced and nutritious meal of grilled cheese sandwiches and left-over macaroni & cheese, and after Kendrie demanded her good-sized portion of mac & cheese I commented there wasn’t much left. Brayden said, “But I want some, too” and I turned to ask Kendrie if I could share some of hers with Brayden. She, I swear I am not making this up, started leaning over her place at the dinner table, arms surrounding her plate and bowl like a paranoid gambler in Vegas protecting his chips at the craps table. I just sighed, and turned to see if I could somehow scrape another serving out of the bowl, and the next thing I heard was Brayden ….. “Ewww, gross! Mom, she’s licking all her macaroni & cheese and then putting it back in her bowl so she doesn’t have to share!!!”

And in case you think greed at the dinner table is the only ugly side effect from steroids, let me also share with you a story about our neighborhood friend, 4-yr old Nicholas, who is in Kendrie’s class at school. They hit it off as chums right away at the beginning of the school year and we’ve gotten together a few times as families to let the kids play. This Christmas, while we were home visiting my parents, Kendrie announced to my mom that Nicholas was her boyfriend. Oh really??? That was news to Blaine and me.

Fast forward to yesterday, when we were watching Nicholas and I could tell throughout the day they were starting to perhaps get on each other’s nerves a little. It was the third day in a row they had been together, so that’s understandable (hey, I know *married* people who can't stand to be together three days in a row), but suddenly I heard screaming and yelling. Being the pro-active, involved parent that I am, I sat in my computer chair and waited for one of them to come to me and tell me what was wrong.

Nicholas shows up, yelling, “She pinched me ….. really, really hard!” ( think it was the *really, really hard* part that bothered him) immediately followed by Kendrie screaming, “He started it by punching me in the port!!!” (she has figured out that any intentional horseplay that involves her port area really makes me crazy and uses it to her full advantage.) I had no idea who actually did what to whom, so I told Nicholas to come with me and sit in the living room for a few moments, and told Kendrie to lay down on her bed until she could behave properly. Oh. My. Gosh. Did the dam ever break! She was laying on her bed, thrashing about, kicking, flailing, screaming all the while:

“You don’t love me anymore!”

”Nicholas started everything!”

“You care more about Nicholas than you do me!”

“I don’t want to be in this family anymore!”

and the ultimate, most painful threat of all,


Like I said, thank heavens only 55 days of the upcoming year will be spent on steroids.



“Taking those little green pills that my mom says make me cranky. I don’t think they make me cranky ………….. I just think my mom DOESN’T LOVE ME ANYMORE!!!”


Hey, this is Kristie talking ---- the best part is that the kids went back to school today and I’m betting ten to one that Kendrie is so happy to be back with her friends (and yes, even back with her boyfriend Nicholas) that she is pleasant and happy and distracted all day. And tomorrow is the last day of steroids!!!

Saturday, January 01, 2005

New Years Day 2005

(348 Days to Go)

New Years Day --- a New Year, a Fresh Beginning, a Bright Start, the Launch of an Unsullied Time …..awww, who am I kidding? I’m going to be trying to lose those same 20 pounds and doing the same old laundry as always. But today certainly *seems* optimistic, doesn’t it?

Thanks to all of you who checked in on us during the holidays. I certainly hope you all had a wonderful time, no matter how you chose to spend them. (It would be un P.C. of me to actually come right out and say the words, but at the risk of offending anyone …… Hope your CHRISTMAS was MERRY!!!)

We had a really nice time with our family and friends in Oklahoma and Texas and actually survived the all-night drive in both directions without any major meltdowns (mine *or* the kids). For the record, though, just in case it helps anyone in the future, there is apparently not one single McDonalds with an indoor play-place anywhere in the entire state of Alabama. We only know this because we were driving through Alabama, at dinner time, with whiny, cooped-up kids, in the rain. Somehow, letting them run through the parking lot at the Pilot gas station wasn't quite the same thing.

Otherwise, though, no mishaps. The kids loved spending time with their cousins and were completely bummed to leave. Here is a picture of all of them clowning around one night at a walk-through Christmas light display that we try to attend every year when we are home:

Yeah, you should see the looks my sister and I get when we go places with this motley crew. They are fun, though! Usually. When they're not fighting or throwing mud on one another.

As far as the holiday itself, everything there was fine, too, although the lesson we learned this year was to request that in the future, our kids not be given **ANYTHING** that has more than one single piece to it. Not so much Kellen and Kendrie, but Brayden was like a tornado on Christmas morning, not only opening the gift, but also opening up whatever *was* the gift in a span of seconds. We looked away for only brief moment and suddenly she had her new Digi-Draw, new Scrapbook kit, new Grow-A-Frog kit and new make-up kit all opened and scattered everywhere, amid the bows and boxes and bags. When there are seven kids between the ages of 2 and 9 all ripping frantically into their presents, lets just say my anal-control-freak personality gets a little wound up. (For the record, the damage to the Grow-A-Frog was unsalvageable …. Those poor tadpoles never stood a chance.)

The calm before the storm. :)

Anyway, despite the chaos, or perhaps *because* of it, we had a great holiday, and hope you all did, too. Now we face forward, ready to get this New Year started. Not that I’m wishing our life away (ok, maybe just a little) but I am so hopeful that at this time, NEXT year, I am writing about our new life WITHOUT CHEMO. Like the line above says, only 348 days to go!

Speaking of chemo, we are driving up to Atlanta on Monday for Kendrie’s monthly appointment. The kids will still be out of school, so it should be fun with all of them along for the ride. (I’m actually not being toooooo sarcastic …. They got new movies for Christmas so thanks to the genius that invented the portable DVD player, the ride up and back should go smoothly.) She's had a cough for a few days (running around that stupid parking lot last night probably didn't help much, do you think?) Also, wish us luck that her counts are good. Actually, wish us luck that her counts have come *down* a little. They’ve been high ever since she started long-term maintenance in August and in the back of my head I have the worry that the chemo isn’t strong enough. Silly, perhaps, but what would I do if I wasn’t worrying?

Well, darn it, I already broke New Years Resolution #2 with that sentence. Here is my list in its entirety:


1. Skip more. (See journal entry of Dec 4th, 2004)

2. Worry less. (See journal entry of Dec 12th, 2004)

3. Lose 20 pounds. (Do you realize that I’ve had the same resolution for the past twenty-five years and have never lost a pound? In fact, at this rate, I should weigh NEGATIVE 400 pounds or so!)

4. Don’t wait until 10 pm on Jan 1st to come up with lame list of resolutions.

That about sums it up. If you guys have any suggestions for resolutions, maybe I could just piggy back onto yours ….. then I wouldn’t feel so un-ambitious!

Enjoy what is left of the holiday weekend and I’ll check back in after the appointment on Monday,


Well, I sort of was goofing around during dinner and didn’t eat much and now I’m really hungry but my mom won’t let me have anything to eat until at least an hour after my chemo …. All these silly food rules are putting a damper on my ability to put away the last of the Christmas candy before Brayden and Kellen get to it!


I got some of the COOLEST Christmas stuff from people that my mom has met online! I know, I know, it’s not about the gifts ….. well, yeah, when you’re five, it IS about the gifts! My mom wants to take some photos before I can tell you about them but they were waaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy better than the lame Grow-A-Frog thing that Santa brought!