Tuesday, December 06, 2005


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

Thanks to all of you for your kind words in the guestbook and private e-mails you sent me, congratulating us on reaching the “10-Days to Go Milestone.” Believe me, we would be celebrating and counting down the days even if we lived alone in a shanty in the back-woods of Alaska with no phone or TV or computer or radio, scraping out an existence for ourselves by setting wolverine traps, churning butter ourselves, hauling water from the stream and making our own furniture out of corn cobs. But the fact we can have all of you celebrating WITH us (Man, I love technology. And furniture that’s not made out of corn cobs) makes it even more special!

So, today, we have NINE DAYS TO GO!! (Have I mentioned it's only nine more days to go?) And in keeping with my theme (it’s always me and a theme, isn’t it?) here is my list of the Nine Things for Which I am Most Grateful with Regards to Kendrie’s Leukemia:

1. Emla cream. Topical numbing agent, aka “Magic Cream” at our house. At this point in her treatment, I guesstimate Kendrie has been stuck with a needle in her chest, arm, finger, leg, or spine, approximately 115 times. She has either cried, fussed, whimpered, whined, or protested, or a combination of those things, 115 out of 115 times. And that is WITH the Magic Cream. Can you even imagine my life without it??? I considered using it myself for my flu shot last week but Blaine called me a wimp. (Have you **had** a flu shot? I’m telling you, they sting!)

2. Zofran. Anti-nausea pills, worth their weight in gold. And considering they cost $25 a pill, they practically ARE. (Obviously, this list is in no particular order, because believe me, if it was, Zofran would be in the number ONE spot!)

3. Good health insurance. (See number 2.)

4. Julianna Banana and her ghost-writer dad, Terry. I can still remember going to her site for the first time and seeing a cute little photo of an adorable kitten titled “This is Me”. Then, the corresponding photo was of a huge, roaring lion, “This is Me, On Steroids.” I think it was the first time since Kendrie’s diagnosis that I laughed out loud. Thank you, Julianna and Terry, for showing me that it was not only OK, but therapeutic to poke fun at ourselves. Or at other people, which isn’t as nice, but lots more fun.

5. ALL the Caringbridge sites I have visited over the past two years, and the families who opened themselves up and allowed me to follow along on their journeys …. And the people (YOU, if you’re reading this!) who have been kind enough to follow along on ours. I’ll be honest, there were close friends and family who let us down, and I was severely disappointed about that in the beginning. But, I never reached out for support on this site that I didn’t get it. For that, I am profoundly thankful. (And a little bit concerned that you people can’t find something more interesting to read than stories about my dysfunctional family and my corny analogies all the time! You know, CNN has their own website that would probably be LOTS more informative!) :)

6. The friends I have made via my online support group, All-Kids. I have sympathized, laughed, worried, grieved, gotten advice, given advice, and celebrated with these families. I talk with some of them more than I talk to my “old” friends and relatives. (What, exactly, does that say about my personal-relationship skills?) I have made arrangements to meet them in person from coast to coast --- California, DC, New York, to name a few, and there are several families in Canada that aren’t safe yet, if I ever get my passport updated! I’m so sad about the common thread that brought us all together, but so grateful for their support.

7. To my children, as bizarre as this might sound, for their fighting, bickering and arguing. For letting me know, in a million disagreeable ways, that they are still normal siblings with the normal urge to kill one another on a regular basis, or more likely, band together and thwart me in the process. If they were *too* nice to each other, I’d know that the thought of cancer and its possible consequences was always on their minds. Instead, although they drive me crazy with their skirmishes and attitudes and power struggles, I know that they are typical, ordinary kids. Usually. Or, sometimes I just think they’re insane.

8. Oncologists, nurses, med techs, lab techs, nurse techs, child life specialists, appointment clerks, physicians assistants, nurse practitioners, researchers, secretaries, receptionists, insurance specialists, triage specialists, ER nurses, ER docs, pharmacy techs, hospital kitchen staff, janitors, maintenance people, Volun-teens, pediatricians, fundraising specialists, corporate donors, private donors, psychologists, and anyone else who has ever given even a single penny or a moment of their time --- or, made it their life’s work to take care of these kids and work towards the day when pediatric cancer is 100 percent curable and not so miserable in the meantime. For my daughter’s life, I thank you.

9. Georgia’s Toll Authority Speed Pass. I love that little device on my windshield that lets me zip through the tollbooth on the way to and from the hospital more than anything.

And there you go. I know there are others --- many, many others. Perhaps I should have started this countdown list several weeks ago. But that’s it for today. Check in again tomorrow, when I list the eight …. Um …. the eight, ugh, well, I’ll think of eight of something!

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