Thursday, October 06, 2005


71 Days to Go

We have attended Camp Sunshine Family Weekend Camp a total of three times now. The first two times we went, there was this awesome singer (how embarrassing that I can’t even remember his name) who played guitar and sang silly songs during mealtimes. The song that is playing now, “Love Is”, is sort of the theme song for Camp Sunshine. Everyone stands up and does the hand motions and sings along …. feeling a little self-conscious and embarrassed, but enjoying themselves nonetheless. I was quite indignant when I found out this weekend that Mr. Guitar Man (John? Joe? What the *heck* is his name???) moved to Texas and isn’t able to come to Family Camp anymore. What’s up with that? Does the guy think he has a LIFE or something? Doesn't he realize we enjoyed that?? As much as I used to roll my eyes while making my “faster than a jet plane” movement, deep down, I was having a good time! I missed him this weekend, darn it!

But absence of silly songs aside, Family Camp was once again, fantastic. Held at Camp Twin Lakes in Rutledge, Georgia, it is the perfect compromise for me (Mrs. City Mouse) and my more “rustic” family members. Lots of outdoor activities, but running water, beds complete with mattresses, and electricity in the cabins … now that’s my kind of camping. Although I’m hesitant to return, as I found out on the last morning that the cabin of our friends, Mary Grace’s family had visitors ….. of the cockroach variety. SO not something I would have been happy about! We had our share of grand-daddy long legs …. those, I can stomach …. but roaches? Um, no thank you. To put it mildly. I know there is a camp doctor in attendance each weekend, but I don't think resuscitating me with CPR from the HEART ATTACK I would have if I found a roach in my shoe like Mary Grace's brother did is part of their job description!

I’ve talked before about how great it is at Camp Sunshine to meet other families, and also for the kids to spend time with other kids whose lives have been impacted by cancer. Most of the volunteers are former campers themselves, so they have a great connection to the children. And it goes without saying that it’s inspiring to Blaine and I as parents, to meet these young people (who seem young to me but are actually in their 20’s, out of college, working, living as adults!) who serve as a testimony to not only surviving cancer, but embracing life afterwards.

One thing that struck me this weekend, as compared to the previous two weekends, was how "ready" Brayden and Kellen both were to go off with friends and do their own thing. We've always hung out as a family before, but this weekend it was all about playing football for Kellen (not well, I might add) and spending time with "her new best friend Cheyenne, and her new best friend Kacee, and her new best friend, etc" for Brayden. I've never broached the subject of the Camp Sunshine Weekend Sibling Camp held just for the siblings .... but I think next summer we might check into it. I don't know whether to be excited, or a little bit sad. :)

Our family was a “middle” family this year ---- sunk into the cancer world two years ago; not new, but not finished yet either. I loved seeing the kids there who had finished leukemia treatment four and five years ago …. And I hope the parents of the kids diagnosed as recently as July found hope in the other families, as well.

So, kudos and thanks to Camp Sunshine for providing us with another fabulous weekend out of the way, I wanted to share with you some of the lessons learned by the Escoe Family this weekend:

No stretch of monkey bars is too long if you’ve got a strong shoulder helping you along the way. Of course, even the strong shoulder will get sick of it after your three hundredth trip across .... just remember that.

It is important to have a nice smile when you’re fishing ….. makes the fish less suspicious.

It is even more important to be willing to actually **touch** the fish when you catch it … a concept that still doesn’t make sense to Kellen aka “Girly-Girl” Escoe.

While mastering the “touching the wildlife” concept, it is also important to realize when you are entertaining yourself with the wrong end of the food chain. I'm sure these poor worms were relieved when the time came for them to be impaled on the hooks --- probably less painful that the Worm Olympics that Kendrie was putting them through.

Falling down a lot does not automatically make you a football expert. Kellen is the "butt" in the middle, in case you couldn't tell.

Getting in the baby swing and swinging is fun. Getting out is sometimes a problem.

Sometimes slightly blurred photos can be a blessing. Wrinkles and extra pounds are not as noticeable this way.

I mentioned our friend Mary Grace above …. If you’ve never visited Mary Grace’s site, now might be a good time to do so. The day after they returned home from Family Camp, MG went in for a routine scan, after completing her treatment for a germ cell tumor this past February. Doctors found a spot on her lungs …. Chances are it’s nothing more than congestion ….. I imagine if most kids had scans run, you’d see all sorts of funky stuff going on at any given time. But to a child with a history of cancer, this is a scary thing. They will have a repeat scan in a month, and are hopeful it is nothing serious, but I know the family would appreciate some encouragement to get them through this stressful time.

And thank you in the meantime for the support you have offered to the families of Haley and Clare. I’m still struggling to accept these losses and can only imagine how their parents and siblings must be feeling. A few people have asked me about obtaining a copy of Haley’s CD. I’m not sure how, but I’ll try to find out and spread the word. I’m sure it would be comforting to her family to know that we can continue to enjoy her music, and she'll continue to touch others with her talent.

In the meantime, have a great weekend!

WORST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: You want to hear something gross? (even if you don't, I'm going to tell you) I threw up this morning! That hasn’t happened in a while and I think it took my mom by surprise … but then she remembered that last night was my weekly methotrexate night. Anyway, one zofran and breakfast later, I was raring to go, so no harm done, right?

BEST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: Well, at least I don’t have to take any more methotrexate for another week!

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