Friday, November 11, 2005


35 Days to Go

Thanks so much to all of you who responded to my nervous ramblings as kindly and empathetically as you did. It’s comforting to know that more experienced cancer parents have “been there done that” and that all parents, those whose children have other illnesses, and even those whose children are healthy, sometimes get caught with dark thoughts in their head. Thankfully, like almost everything else in my head, nothing sticks around long!

And so, because Rule #1 in Creative Writing Class is “Don’t Depress People on a Regular Basis” (Actually, I have no idea if that’s rule #1. I don’t even know if there ARE any rules in creative writing. I dropped out of college. What a loser. Kids, do NOT try that at home! ) I was feeling pretty unsettled with my last entry, so I’m giving you guys good news with today’s entry. No more depressing babbling. Otherwise, coming here to visit this site would be about as appealing as your annual proctologist’s visit. So read on for much cheerier stuff!

Kendrie had her next-to-last clinic visit for chemo yesterday ….. it’s getting very surreal, to say the least. She will continue to go to Atlanta once a month (or perhaps once every other month, getting local labs drawn in between) for a year after she goes off-treatment. Then the visits will gradually get spaced out more and more …. Once every three months for a year, once every four months, every six months, etc. I was so busy talking to her oncologist, in a half-joking-but-not-really sort of way about “is he absolutely, positively sure it’s ok for her to go off chemo?”, that I completely forgot to get a school excuse, a note for the flu shot, and an excuse to get out of jury duty next month. (Scheduled the same week as her final chemo.) So if I wind up sick with the flu, sitting in court with an expelled child by my side, you’ll know why. Oh, and he turned down my request for additional chemo, with a bemused, “I *think* this lady is joking” sort of look on his face.

But that’s not my good news ---- are you ready?!? OUR FRIEND CATIE HAD HER FINAL RADIATION TREATMENT YESTERDAY AND IS FINSIHED WITH HER MEDULLOBLASTOMA TREATMENT!!!! Or, as Kendrie so nicely put it, “Catie is finished with cancer!!!” (Of course, first she cried because Catie is finished and she’s not and that’s just not fair and why does she have to have cancer longer than anybody??? Then I reminded her that Catie *started* cancer before Kendrie did, so then it all balanced out and Kendrie was fine with it. Obviously, she’s six.)

Yep, Catie was diagnosed on her first birthday with medulloblastoma, a brain tumor. Now I don’t care who you are, that timing just SUCKS! Her mom Jenny and I met online, then our families got to meet in person at the 2004 Lighthouse Retreat, and Kendrie and Catie have been fast friends ever since. Honestly, I could not have been happier for them yesterday! I even shed a little tear on her behalf, although if you had asked, I would have insisted I had an eyelash stuck in my eye because everyone knows I am not the touchy-feely type and I don't cry in public.

After living for seven weeks at the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House, four hours from home, they were packing up the Explorer and heading home! We treated them to a gourmet lunch of McDonalds Happy Meals a) because it seemed fitting since it would be Catie’s last meal at the Ronald McDonald house b) because Kendrie really wanted the Chicken Little toy inside and c) because I only had $10 in my wallet and that’s the best I could do.

Kendrie, posing outside the Ronald McDonald house.

Catie is by no means finished, as she will continue to have speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, not to mention follow up visits, scans, bloodwork, physicals, Brain Tumor clinic, etc, etc. BUT NO MORE CHEMO!!! And she has made a public declaration that she is getting herself some hair for the first time ever, and Santa Claus is bringing her some bows and ribbons this Christmas!

Catie, dear, you deserve no less. All our best wishes to you and your beautiful family.

Please drop by Catie’s site and leave her a note of congratulations on finishing over two years of chemo, surgeries, and radiation to kick cancer’s butt!

Woo-hooo, Catie! You get the party started, girlfriend!

Take care, Kristie

PS. Thanks also for your encouragement and support for Keegan. The best news of all is that his bone marrow results from yesterday came back clear! Now they are still waiting on some other test results (that are inconclusive at this point .... talk about a head game for his poor parents) before charting their course …. Keegna, Audra, Mike and all, we are continuing to think of you guys during these stressful days!

No comments: