Saturday, April 23, 2005

Notes from Julianna

(Note from Kristie: If you don't know who Julianna Banana and her dad Terry are, or what they represent to the world of CaringBridge, well, that's one big rock you're living under! You guys are going to get a kick out of the following journal entry ---- although I'll admit that now I'm a little worried about the security of my position as author on this site ..... would Caringbridge actually allow an overthrow just because he's funnier???)
We interrupt your normal eloquently-crazed rantings for a Special Caring Bridge News Bulletin:

The ballots have been cast and burned, and the white smoke has billowed out the chimney. The Escoe Family has given in to my pleading and has agreed to let me commandeer this wonderful journal for one day. I’m Canadian correspondent Julianna Banana filling in for Kristie. If you’re looking for Kristie and Kendrie, well, you’re just going to have to slum it over at my Caring Bridge page where the Escoe gals have agreed to class up the place and update my journal for me.

So let’s get this party started the best way I know how…in song! Start humming the Brady Bunch theme song and please, please feel free to sing out loud in your chair with me.

Dada da dada da…

Here's the story of a lovely lady,
Who was bringing up two very lovely girls.
Both of them had hair of gold, unlike their mother,
The youngest one’s getting back her curls.

Here's the story, of a man named Blaine-y,
Who was busy with one boy of his own.
They were two men, clearly outnumbered,
Surrounded by chick hormones.

Till the one day when the lady told her fellow,
That the world must know of Kendrie’s non-stop steroid lunch.
So she started this up this page to share her family.
That's the way we came to know the Escoe Bunch.
The Escoe Bunch, crazy Escoe Bunch.

That's the waaay we came to love the Escoe Bunch!

As I said above, my name is Julianna Banana. I am a 4 year old button-cute girl fighting off the same kind of leukemia as button-cute Kendrie. My personal assistant/man-servant is my poor dad, who types for me as I dictate. I first had the good fortune of “meeting” Kendrie and her mom Kristie thanks to the wonderful ALL-Kids email discsussion group. Kristie joined ALL-Kids about a month after my parents did, and I’ll never forget those words from her first email…

“I’m trying to come to terms with my daughter’s cancer diagnosis. Are there any fat, balding men out there who can comfort me?”

Or something like that, I’m paraphrasing. Not long after that, Kristie started up this Caring Bridge page to help her spread out family and friends stay up to date with Kendrie’s treatment progress. Almost from the get go, the rest of the world could tell that this page was going to be a little, um, shall I say, “different” than the others!

One of the misconceptions about us pediatric cancer families is that we are fate’s helpless victims, that we need to be treated with kid gloves. We somehow become relegated to the sucks-to-be-them, “how are YOU doing” class (cancer families, you know exactly the tone I’m talking about). Well, there is some truth to that, but maybe not for the reasons that the “doesn’t-suck-to-be-them” people realize. Yes, fate kicked us in our collective groin. But this not-so-glamorous job of cancer fighting, particularly leukemia, isn’t always a 24-7 job. In between the clinics, chemo and hospital stays, there’s a whole bunch of living to do! Us kids, we still need to learn to read, we still need to paint pictures and eat glue, and we still need to make friends and play. And we still need to laugh! Yes, cancer changes our lives, but our lives are a lot more normal than you may think.

Enter the Escoes!

There’s no glamour in the steroid-induced 3 a.m. cheese run to Krogers. There’s no laughing when we won’t eat our 3:30 a.m. grill cheese sandwich because we wanted cheese SLICES. There’s no life lessons at the bottom of the 4:00 a.m. puke bucket.

Or is there? Somehow, when Kristie tells it, it IS glamorous, it IS funny, and there IS something profound that seemed to give purpose to it all! We relate, we relive and we connect. And, of course, we laugh. For every documented Kendrie adventure, there’s hundreds of people spread out across the globe saying, “oh don’t I know it, sistah!” And there’s hundreds more who no longer say “sucks to be them”, they read this journal and say “sucks to have cancer, but I bet I would totally do the same thing if my kid wouldn’t eat my grill cheese sandwich because I cut it into triangles instead of squares!” Kristie once told me that she re-read through her journal history, and to her, it seemed like all she did was complain about her kids. Far be it from me to disagree with my elders, but this journal isn’t a crab session, this journal is an entertaining and insightful transcript of an ordinary family living through extraordinary circumstances. It’s like a shelter for us pediatric cancer familes, it’s a place that we can feel normal.

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been over a year and a half since I first came to know of my long distance Georgia peach sister Kendrie. I guess time flies when you’re eating crap sandwiches!

Julianna Banana

P.S. – By now you are probably thinking to yourself, “Hey, where’s the rest of this entry? Kristie doesn’t get out of bed for under 5000 words!” Just between you and me, I think Kristie must be on the juice to have as much digital endurance as she does. But you don’t have Kristie today, you’re stuck with me :-) If you want the major verbage, go check out the full screenplay that Mama Escoe wrote back on my page!

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