Monday, December 05, 2005


Photo taken December 2005; Only ten days of treatment left!!! Wahooooooooooo!!

(not that we’re counting down, or anything)

First things first, thanks so much to all of you who checked in over the weekend and helped push our Caringbridge visitor counter over the 500,000 mark. What a nice milestone to hit right before going off-treatment (have I mentioned we only have ten days to go before Kendrie is done????)

I have a sneaking suspicion that five or six or you might have pushed refresh a time or two …. but that’s ok! Whether it’s half a million different people checking in on us once, or ten or twenty family members and close friends who check in on a regular basis, we’ll take all the support we can get! Special thanks to Dagny D. from Powder Springs, GA, for being right on the money with 500,000 and letting us know who our special visitor was. Ironically, 500,001, Pam D, was ALSO from Powder Springs, GA … they must have some speedy internet connections in their neck of the woods. I also want to offer a shout out to Cindy, the Postcard Lady from Sonoma, CA, who has been a great support to our family …. She was number 500,002 and is blaming the Fed-Ex man who rang her doorbell and made her late for checking in.

So, with only ten days of chemo to go, what is going through our minds? Here is a snippet:

Mom: “Kendrie, do you realize that you only have to take chemo for ten more days and then you are done with cancer? What do you think of that?”

Kendrie: “Does that mean I can eat ice cream before bed again …. Finally???”

Kellen and Brayden: “Woohoo, if she can, that means WE can, too!”

(Happy dance around the living room, in anticipation of the ice-cream frenzy that is sure to take place next weekend.)

No profound, life-altering declarations about the strength and courage of our cancer survivor ….. it’s all about the chocolate and sprinkles, baby!

So since I can't depend on my kids for any kind of wise, sage comments, I thought I would share with you the TOP TEN THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN MOST DIFFICULT FOR ME. (After all, I might *pretend* this site is about Kendrie, but surely you have figured out by now that it’s Really. About. ME.)

1. First thing that was difficult:

This photo was taken about three weeks before Kendrie was diagnosed. She had been complaining off and on of leg and arm pain for a few weeks and on this day, we took the kids to an amusement park as an end-of-summer treat. Kendrie didn’t even last an hour before she started complaining about her legs and begging to be carried. I remember snapping this photo not because I thought she was cute, but because I was annoyed with her for being so lazy. In fact, I think my exact words to her were, “You are annoying me by being so lazy … there is nothing wrong with your legs …. WALK!” I planned to scrapbook the photo about “Our 4-yr old lazy kid who still wants to be carried everywhere”. Of course, you can imagine my guilt when we found out what was wrong.

2. Second thing that was difficult:

I took this photo in the hospital on the day after she was diagnosed. I was in shock, Blaine was in shock, and she was NOT a happy camper about the needles and tubes and wires everywhere. I remember feeling morbid about taking my camera to the hospital to take pictures of my daughter who had just been diagnosed with cancer, but (no drama intended) I honestly thought she was going to die. No-one had explained to me yet that there were relatively successful treatment options for leukemia. We weren’t sure what kind of leukemia she had, and I remember thinking if she only had a few weeks to live, I needed to take lots of pictures of her. I have never been so sick to my stomach with fear. I hope I never am again.

3. Third thing that was difficult:

The physical changes that the Induction stage of treatment – and more specifically, the boat-load of steroids we gave her – brought about. This photo would almost be funny, if you could get past the sad, chubby look on her little moon face. Hmmmmm, let’s take stock, shall we? Grilled cheese, French fries, cheese and crackers, mac and cheese, Pringles, apple juice, Pepsi … anything else? By now, 28 days later, I understood better that we had a good chance of beating this. Kendrie was in remission …. I could take photos with a slightly lighter heart (although I was still sick to my stomach most of the time in private.)

4. Fourth thing that has been difficult for me: Accepting help in all the varied ways it came to us. Whether it was my scrapbooking friends and military wives who cooked us meals at the beginning, my friends who watched Brayden and Kellen while we were in Atlanta, sometimes even overnight, the gifts, cards, toys, and everything else that poured in …. Accepting help means you have a NEED, and that’s never easy to admit. At least not for some of us.

5. Fifth thing that has been difficult for me: Acknowledging that I can’t fix this. I can’t trade places with her, take away the pain, make her feel better. All I can do is be the best parent I know how to be, and show up for my job with Zofran and a warm, loving touch. Listening to your 4-yr old beg and cry, “Mommy, please don’t let them do this to me anymore” when the nurse is coming at her with a needle is something NO parent should have to go through. I still feel nauseated just remembering it.

6. Sixth thing that has been difficult for me: Knowing we have sometimes neglected our older kids throughout this ordeal, and wondering if they are scarred for life because they got the short end of the stick for twenty-six months. Are there unflattering tell-all autobiographies in their future? Counseling? Shock therapy? Family reunions on Jerry Springer???

7. Seventh thing that has been difficult for me: Accepting that nothing I did or didn’t do could have prevented this, or caused this. I took pre-natal vitamins, ate well, breastfed, immunized, rocked, cuddled and loved. Was it the landfill we lived on in Ohio? I hope not, because that means Brayden and Kellen are at risk, too. Was it some defective gene I passed on in utero? I hope not. Am I being punished for some prior transgression? Nope, that’s not how I think. But as a parent, it’s your job to protect your child and it’s hard to think of yourself as a good mother when something like this happens.

7. Eighth thing that has been difficult for me: My total and complete loss of empathy for other people and their petty problems. Well, that’s not completely true. I’ve always hated self-absorbed assholes. It’s just now I can blame my lack of empathy/sympathy on cancer, instead of some personality defect of my own. I don’t CARE if you’re having car trouble, or in-law trouble, or school trouble, or work trouble --- JUST SHUT UP! (Oh my gosh, it’s a miracle I have any friends left!)

9. Ninth thing that has been difficult for me: Some people just don’t get it. They never have; they never will. The people who (true story) twenty five months and twenty days into Kendrie’s treatment plan, who are shocked to find out she gets chemo EVERY DAY at home --- what?!?! They thought it was just once a month at the clinic?!? Not only have they just outed themselves as someone who never checks our website … and someone who has no idea what is going on … they are also the ones who will ask in the most ingratiating way in public, “So, just how is she doing? Really, truly doing ??” like they really, really, really want to know.

10. Tenth thing that has been difficult for me: Listening to myself bitch and moan and whine like this. I drive myself crazy --- tomorrow’s Top Nine List is going to be the Top Nine things I am most grateful for!

Hope your week is off to a good start!

PS. Did I mention that we only have ten days to go?!?!?!

No comments: