Saturday, July 23, 2005


144 Days to Go

We are back from Ohio, safe and sound and in one piece, all persons accounted for. The kids and I had a great time visiting our friends and I think Blaine enjoyed the five days of peace and quiet around the house (although since he knows what’s good for him, he keeps insisting that he’s glad we’re home again.)

Something I don’t think I mentioned was the weekend we spent in Atlanta prior to driving to Ohio. We attended our first-ever CURE Family Picnic and certainly saw what all the fuss was about! We missed last years when Kendrie was in Delayed Intensification and too sick to go; I was so glad that this year’s picnic wasn’t ruined by her hospital visit earlier in the month …. although it *was* almost ruined by steroids. Certain moments were trying, to say the least, and my patience span, while short to begin with, became embarrassingly shorter during our two-day stay.

I found it ironic that in February, when we attended the Camp Sunshine Circus and stayed the night with our friend’s Brandon and Ryan, Kendrie was on steroids and acted obnoxiously. This time, it was definitely S.S.D.D.! But that’s ok, luckily Ryan and Brandon’s parents are understanding, and we all managed to have a great time. So to Mike and Kristin, thank you once again for having us in your home and looking the other way when necessary!

The CURE picnic was lots of fun, with plenty of activities, games, prizes, food, and music.

Kendrie enjoying one of her favorite activities, mini-golf.

These Atlanta cancer get-togethers are starting to feel a little like a high school reunion, only instead of “there’s Joe from math class” or “there’s Rachel from the swim team”, it’s “Hey, there’s Chandler, who we’re supposed to go to the Lighthouse with!” and “Look, there’s Keegan, the new Atlanta ALL kid who moved here from another state!” and “Wow, everyone, look how big Camp Jack is getting!” It’s a bizarre little club, but what truly outstanding club-mates we have!

Kendrie hanging out with our friend and fellow ALL patient ... who recently finished her treatment ... way to go, Madie!

The next day, after staying with Ryan and Brandon, eating all the food in their house and playing with every single toy under the roof, we attended a birthday party and had lots more fun. The BEST kind of fun, in my opinion as a parent --- the kind that wears kids out and leaves them in a state of physical exhaustion! Especially since after the party I packed the kids up in the van and started the drive to Ohio. I’d much rather tire the kids out with good ole’ fashioned exercise before a road trip, as opposed to whipping out the Benadryl, which I have been known to do on occasion.

Exploring at Jump Zone .... what a great place! And happy birthday, Ryan!

"Can I help it if I'm so cute? It doesn't even matter that I stink at air hockey, at least I look good when I'm playing!"

Kendrie had only a few days of steroids left after that, so the last half of our time in Dayton was definitely more fun. And more peaceful. And less stressful and exasperating and infuriating. I’ll put Ohio pictures in the journal in a few days. To close, for now, I thought I would share with you a few of the lessons I learned while driving from Georgia to Ohio, and back again, by myself with the kids. Especially with a kid on steroids.


1. There is no better way to see all the scenic side roads and beautiful images of Kentucky than desperately searching for an exit off I-75 that has a Pizza Hut. We never found any pizza, but saw a lot of pretty trees.

2. Pulling off to buy a McDonalds Happy Meal every third exit gives you the satisfaction of knowing you are doing your part to boost the local economy. A LOT of local economy’s.

3. Attending a cancer event like the CURE picnic with a sullen, disagreeable, unfriendly child who refuses to make eye contact or talk to anyone? Nothing more than a quick “Sorry, she’s on steroids” explanation is needed and fellow cancer parents everywhere will nod their heads in sympathetic understanding.

4. The steroids will give the child the steely, stoic, brave, courageous attitude they need to survive an attack from a mutant lobster-beetle thing in a public park at ten o’clock at night. (Don’t even ask.)

5. When steroid-child refuses to get in the pool and play at the water park, she can sit in a chair and save the “good” table with the umbrella and shade. Pouting and saving at the same time ... great time management skills in action!

6. Nothing says to a waitress, “Hey! Come spit in my food!” quite like a child who orders double entrees and double glasses of milk and then refuses to eat anything because the chicken is too crunchy and the mashed potatoes are too spicy and the macaroni & cheese isn’t cheesy enough and the chocolate milk isn’t chocolaty enough.

7. Truly, can you think of any way to make happier family memories than stopping at every gas station within a five-hundred mile radius to use the restroom? Again and again and again?

And can you believe that despite my groaning and complaining, I’m still upset and sad about the Lighthouse retreat being cancelled for this week? But hey, Kendrie would have been off steroids by the time we took *that* road trip!

Thanks for checking in,

PS. These links actually should have gone at the top of this journal entry, as we have some online (and in person) friends who could use some extra prayers and happy thoughts right now. Please take a moment to visit their websites and drop them a note of encouragement. The messages in the guestbook do a lot to brighten our days .... and even more for families who are facing an extra-tough time. Thanks!

Our good friend, and Kendrie's buddy, Catie, who found out this past week that a "suspicious" spot on her scans in indeed the same cancer she was diagnosed with two years ago. NOT a relapse, which is a blessing, but still a challenge for the doctors (and parents, our friends Jenny and Tre') who now have to make treatment plans for Catie with no clear path blazed before them. Hell, forget "clear" ... no path at all. Jenny, Tre' and Catie, we love you guys and are praying for Catie every day!

Our online ALL friend Cameron, who is headed for his second transplant for his second ALL relapse. Once again, his older brother Chad will serve as his donor and our hearts and prayers go out to both Chad and Cam for a smooth process and total healing.

Another online friend and fellow ALL patient, Clare, who is only days out from her transplant for ALL relapse. The transplant went well, but Clare is feeling pretty crummy right now (normal, but not fun). Adding total insult to injury is the fact that today is CLARE'S 7TH BIRTHDAY!!! and she's spending it recovering in the hospital. Please drop by and wish her a happy birthday!

An Atlanta friend and fellow Scottish Rite ALL patient, Jake, who relapsed in May and is back at the "beginning" of treatment. We got to visit Jake in the hospital two weeks ago and understand that he is doing HIS part to boost the local McDonalds economy as well!! :) Jake, (and Elle and Brent!) we are thinking of you!

I've kind of gotten away from posting so many links to these great kids, and to some amazing social service organizations, since Caringbridge cracked down with their new policies. I'm feeling a little bit rebellious tonight and want to be sure and remind everyone that you can still get a Monster Links Page link from Julianna Banana's site and visit about a bazillion kids thanks to the ENORMOUS efforts of her dad, Terry. Another great site is Share the Love, a website that lists hundreds and hundreds of links to kids' sites.

Please take a minute to make a new Caringbridge friend (or two or three!) in the next few days .... tell 'em we sent you! :)

Thanks, Kristie

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