109 Days to Go
There are many positive aspects to the long-term maintenance portion of Kendrie’s treatment plan. Fewer clinic appointments, fewer spinal taps, and fewer port accesses, to name a few. But the one teeny, tiny thing that makes LTM difficult is that often, there just isn’t much to talk about medically! So, to fill in the gaps for this journal, I often share with you the funny, charming, adorable things that my delightful children do and say on a daily basis that keep me entertained and amused.
(Hmmm. I'm thinking …. thinking ….. total silence....)
SO!!! Then, there are journal entries like this one, where I’ve searched high and low in our life for something interesting to share, and come up completely empty-handed. So, instead, I thought I’d take you on a little stream-of-consciousness tour through my disjointed, rambling, long-winded life; enhanced, of course, with pictures.
Speaking of pictures, first I’d like to bring your attention to the new picture of Kendrie at the top of the page. I took this photo earlier this week to show off her new hairdo courtesy of Blaine and his magic clippers. It really looks SO much better; I can’t even tell you how glad I am she agreed to let him do it. What you might not have realized until you looked at this picture is that Kendrie wears glasses. Not due to poor eyesight, but because she found this cheap pair of costume glasses at the bottom of her toy bin and announced that she needs them to see. And so now she wears them all the time. It’s hysterical, really, because her new favorite past-time is “accidentally” knocking them off her own head and then crawling around with her eyes closed, patting the ground all around her, pretending she can’t see well enough to find her glasses. I made the mistake of laughing the first time she did this, and now, of course, she does it all the time. So really, it probably won’t be so funny in another few days.
But glasses aside, the picture of Kendrie with her fresh haircut leads me to show you a recent picture of Kellen. Blaine buzzes the bottom of his bowl cut every week or two, and has been pestering me for years to get rid of the bowl cut and give him a normal little boy cut. What I have tried, unsuccessfully, to explain to Blaine is that women (like me) pay great sums of money to get our hair as straight, fine, and naturally highlighted as Kellen’s is, and no WAY am I cutting it. I’ve been defending my position for years …. But that is all about to change. Since birth, Kellen has been a hair twirler when he is tired, or (used to) when he would drink a bottle or sippy cup. All of a sudden, about a month ago, he started twirling the top of his hair all the freakin’ time. At home, at school, at play, even in his sleep.
His teacher pulled me aside the first week of school to ask me if she made him nervous, or if there were any problems at home, because he twirls his hair so much! He has no problem or pride whatsoever about walking around with the aftereffects, looking like a hurricane has blown through his head, or that small animals must be nesting up there:
But it is making me crazy and if he doesn’t watch out, I’m going to have it cut after all. Of course, I have a girlfriend whose little boy was a hair twirler and when she cut *his* off, he started twirling another piece of his anatomy that was much less socially acceptable, so maybe I should allow Kellen's hair twirling and be done with it. What do you think?
But these pictures of Kellen and his hair “problem” leads me to the following picture of Brayden, no stranger to “The Challenge of the Tresses” herself. Her hair is not straight enough to be styled in any way, but not curly enough to be considered “naturally curly”. She desperately wants to grow it long, but is stuck with these waves that, I'll admit, look pretty cute when she’s hanging out in a rain forest and can take advantage of the natural humidity, but just stringy the rest of the time. So maybe I should buzz cut all three of them and be done with it.
But that picture of Brayden I didn’t take to show off her hair …. I took it to show off the look on her face, which was very grumpy, and completely justified, after she had four baby teeth extracted this week. The look came the next morning at the breakfast table, when she discovered her favorite granola bar was a tad too crunchy for someone with four gaping, fresh wounds in their mouth. Thank goodness for children's Tylenol!
And that leads me to tell you how she asked me to pack her a “soft” lunch for school that day, and I agreed, even though my kids normally eat the school lunch. Kendrie, of course, wanted me to pack a lunch for her too, although Kellen said no. (Why is it such a treat for kids who don’t usually take their lunch to get to do it? Probably the same reason my “car rider” kids are always begging me to let them ride the bus!) I put a mini bag of m&ms in each of their lunchboxes and winked, telling them not to tell Kellen or he would change his mind and want to take his lunch, too. Kendrie, being the little **helper** that she always is, said out loud, “Don’t worry Kellen, we don’t have m&ms in our lunchboxes or anything like that!”
And that story leads me to share with you further proof that my kids have no rational behavior. I took them to the grocery story on Friday and promised them if they acted nicely we could go to the toy aisle and pick out something “small”. Kellen wanted a Match Box Car; Brayden selected a small diary; Kendrie, naturally, gravitated to the most obnoxious thing there: a Whoopee Cushion. Not only did she insist on buying it, but she carried it around the store, squeezing it at every opportunity and laughing hysterically. The fun and frivolity continued until she got home and got a little too enthusiastic with it, and popped it. Oh, dear Lord, the tears and wailing that ensued were unbelievable. So then, like it’s not obnoxious enough …. like finding such ultimate, pure joy in a whoopee cushion isn’t distasteful to begin with ---- BLAINE FIXED THE THING WITH DUCT TAPE AND KENDRIE DECLARED IT WAS BETTER THAN EVER! Seriously, could we be any more white trash? A duct-taped whoopee cushion???? She is sleeping with it as we speak, and happy as a clam.
And that leads me to tell you about another moment of happiness that came this week thanks to an inanimate object, this one in the mail, and much more pleasing to the sensibilities. Once again, SuperSibs! surprised both Kellen and Brayden with new t-shirts, much to their delight and Kendrie’s chagrin. They are such a marvelous organization and I strongly encourage anyone who has a child with cancer to submit their siblings’ names to SuperSibs! and let them support your children the same, wonderful way they have supported Brayden and Kellen these past two years.
And talking about one wonderful organization leads me to mention another: The American Red Cross. As you know, next weekend is Labor Day, the last big holiday of summer. Labor Day means cookouts, get togethers, travel, car wrecks, and accidents. Which equals a big strain placed on an already strained blood supply. I received the following e-mail from the Red Cross this week and would encourage everyone to make a donation this week, in preparation for the holiday, or donate between Sept 1st and the 9th to take advantage of the following offer:
“As the prices of gas soar, you’ve probably experienced a dent in the wallet from summer travel. Delta Air Lines and the American Red Cross are thinking ahead, and want you to have the chance to fly your family home for the holidays. From September 1st to September 9th all presenting blood and platelet donors will receive a free gift and be able to enter a drawing to win Four Roundtrip Delta Air Lines tickets! Sign up to donate today, or if you have donated blood in the last 56 days, please ask a friend or family member to give in your place. Thank you for saving lives!
For locations and hours of an American Red Cross drive or donor center convenient to you, call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or visit us on the web at www.givebloodredcross.org or contact your company’s blood drive coordinator. Blood donors may give every 56 days and platelet donors may give every 14 days. To donate you must be at least 17 years of age and weigh at least 110 pounds.”
And that leads me to think about the blood and platelet donors who, without a doubt, saved Kendrie’s life when she was first diagnosed with leukemia and needed numerous transfusions at the beginning. She’s had transfusions on three separate occasions since then as well. Please know that no matter where you live, your single donation can save up to three lives. Which leads me to show you just how precious the life you save might be:
Kendrie, “reading” to her stuffed animals. (Notice the glasses, which she swears help her to see the book better?!)
Thank you to all of you for checking in on our family and leaving us notes of encouragement in the guestbook. We really get a kick out of hearing from you, and hope you are all having a great weekend!
WORST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY:
Um, probably the Bactrim medication I have to take (four times!) on Saturdays and Sundays. My mom even pays extra for the Pharmacy Man to flavor it with cherry, but I think the man must sneak in “Yucky Flavor” when we’re not looking --- it's really craptacular!
BEST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY:
Can you believe my mom took me and my brother and sister swimming for FOUR HOURS today and didn’t put sunscreen on my head??? Thank goodness I have duckling fuzz, is all I can say, because my cheeks are downright pink, but my head doesn’t seem to be burned. Yeah, duck fuzz!