Thursday, June 30, 2005


We are still here.


Just watched Cheaper by the Dozen.


(bigger sigh)

Hopefully going home in a day or two ..... thanks for the well wishes,


ps. Have I mentioned that despite the fact I love her dearly and want to do everything I can to help her feel better, after six solid days and nights in a hospital room together, Kendrie and I are really getting on each other's nerves? Maybe that's a sign she's feeling better. Or, that I am incapable of cutting up spaghetti properly, as she informs me, twice every day.

(biggest sigh of all)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Still here

Well, last time I left Kendrie long enough to update this journal she had a reaction to her IVIG infusion and I returned to a room full of activity --- Blaine was with her but I still felt a little neglectful. This time, I left her alone, eating a bowl of Froot Loops, and the update will be even quicker. (I doubt she will notice that I am gone!!!)

We're still here, obviously, and probably will be for another day or two. Her counts aren't coming up as quick as we would like (as quick as *I* would like) but things are going fine. She's still getting IV fluids and antibiotics, and a breathing treatment for the cough, and the general consensus is that it's nothing more than an annoying virus. But we wait and see, just to be sure.

Thanks to everyone for the calls and notes in the guestbook. I don't have e-mail access here, so I'll be way behind, at least until we get home. Which hopefully will be sooner rather than later.

She is mainly sleeping. When she's not sleeping, she is whining and crying that she wants to go home. When she's not doing either of those two things, she is watching Cheaper by the Dozen on the dvd player. Over and Over. And Over. If I have to watch it one more time I will slit my wrists.

Keep us (and my wrists) in your thoughts.

Sunday, June 26, 2005


Hey you guys -- I just wanted to say thanks for all the warm thoughts and nice guestbook messages, and wanted to update on Kendrie. We are now on the oncology floor, and have a computer in the parent's room, but I don't have lots of free time to get on it, and don't like leaving Kendrie alone in the room, so the update will be quick for now.

Her doctor assumes it is just a virus (cough, diarrhea) that she can't shake because her body isn't producing any white cells (or much of anything else, for that matter!) :) They gave her a transfusion yesterday and her hgb went from 6 to 10, so that's good. None of the other counts went up much, so they are giving her an IVIG infusion now and he says that will be a monthly occurrence for at least the next two or three months.

I have to admit that I haven't paid much attention to the IVIG discussions in the past on my online list serve because it didn't apply to us .... looks like I will be searching the archives when I get back home, ha! I just know it helps boost the production of white cells (lymphocytes) which will help her fight off illnesses like this. As her doctor explained it to me (Cliff notes version) her bone marrow is just tired from twenty months of chemo and needs a little boost.

Thanks to all of you who have called and offered help, and especially to Regina and Madie who have visited and brought snacks and crafts (and caffeine-free Diet Dr. Pepper for me, the best gift of all!!) :)

We should be going home either Monday or Tuesday, depending on how she responds to the IVIG. I'll update then ---- and thanks again for all your support and warm wishes.
Take care,

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Hi everyone, this is Blaine. Kendrie was admitted to the hospital last night for F&N (fever and neutropenia, which is the medical definition for "feels like crap itis.") For all you CBC junkies, her hemoglobin is down to six, platelets are 100 and her A&C is 50. But, hey, not everything is low -- her fever is 103!

She is in Children's Hospital in Atlanta hoping to be moved to the oncology floor when a bed opens. They have started her on IV fluids, IV Antibiotics and a blood transfusion, and are doing blood cultures to check for various infections and virus'.

Thanks for checking in. I'll update again when I hear from Kristie. And, yes now I regret not buying her a laptop for Christmas, since she is the most beautiful, intelligent, sexy woman on the planet (Kristie made me say that!).

Love to all


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Disappointed when its over

174 Days to Go

Kendrie’s first season of T-ball is over, and I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed. Partly because our social life is SO pathetic that we actually *enjoy* going to the games … partly because she looked forward to it and had so much fun …. and partly because she went out with a whimper and not a bang.

Am I disappointed that the team went from a six-game winning streak, only to lose to the undefeated first-place team … then lose again in the first round of the single-elimination tournament by playing like a bunch of kids who had never seen a ball or a bat? Never heard of catching a pop up or fielding a grounder? Couldn’t tag a base to save their lives??? Oh, wait, that was KELLEN’S team this year! And I’m kidding, actually. Except for their dismal final game, they had a great season and finished tied for second … so all in all, not too bad for his first year of coach-pitch.

No, I’m disappointed in the end of Kendrie’s season because she felt so lousy she sat out the final two games on the bench. She insisted on going to the games, in full uniform, to cheer on her team-mates, but did much of the cheering from the stall in the ladies restroom. Luckily, I took lots of photos the first part of the season (was there any doubt?) and can share these with you …. showing Kendrie at her healthy, robust, t-ball finest.

“Because you can never have too much fun running for first base ……….”

“Because you can never have too much fun batting ………”

“Because you can never have too much fun running to tag someone out at first …..”

“Because you can never field too many ground balls…….”

“Because you can never lead off the base too much ……..”

“Because you can never have too much waiting around in the outfield ……….”

“And waiting around some more …………….”

“And some more ……………….”

“And because it’s all worth it in the end, when you get that trophy in your grubby little hands!”

As you might have gathered from my last couple of journal entries (or should I say, the kvetching in my last couple of journal entries), Kendrie is still feeling under the weather. At this point, I don’t know if it’s the same bug the rest of us had a couple of weeks ago and she is simply having trouble shaking it, or if it’s something else. She’s taken enough Imodium to clog a horse, was put on Diflucan for the mouth sores, and started using an inhaler last night for the cough --- something that did NOT go over well, to put it mildly. We’ve been giving her over-the-counter tylenol for the stomach cramps, and acidophilus to try and fix that, in addition to force-feeding her yogurt. This morning she woke up with a fever of 100.6, so now we’re just sitting back watching. She’s very upset because I promised to take them to the local matinee of Racing Stripes today, which isn’t going to happen. Plus, we’ve cut her off milk in an attempt to help her stomach and she asked me today, in a pathetic little voice, “What if I never get to drink milk again?”

If the fever gets to 101 (the magical number in the world of pediatric oncology) then she’ll have to get blood cultures to make sure it’s not any infection involving her port. I don’t think it is, but I know we are all tired of her feeling punky and just wish she could shake this virus. We bitched and moaned the first two weeks of summer that the sun didn’t shine … now we have beautiful, hot, sunny weather and we’re still sitting inside watching endless episodes of Kim Possible and the Cartoon Network.

This is rapidly turning into the Summer Vacation That Wasn’t.

Wish us luck,


WORST PART OF HAVING CANCER TODAY: Well, if you could just look at me, you’d know. My mom took Brayden and Kellen and me swimming on Tuesday and I had to call my dad to come get me. What five-year old voluntarily sleeps on a chaise lounge and then asks to go home from a swimming playdate??? All I’ve done is lay on the sofa, and run to the restroom, and cough my fool head off and cry because my stomach hurts. AND I missed playing in my last two t-ball games --- that was the ultimate injustice! I can take a lot of crap, man, but missing those games really stunk!

BEST PART OF HAVING CANCER TODAY: I’ll get back to you on that.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Sadly, the Inevitable

177 Days to Go

Sadly, the inevitable has happened. My husband left me today. Yes, I knew it was coming and tried to prepare myself, but it just isn’t possible to be totally “ready”. No, he didn’t leave me for a younger, leggier blonde. Or even a brunette. He didn’t leave me for a wild boys’ outing to Vegas, to “find himself”, or for a mid-life-crisis-grow-out-your-hair-take-a-cross-country-adventure-on-a-Harley. He left me (sigh) for The Land of the Gainfully Employed.

Back in early March, when he was clearing out his office, welcoming his replacement and making plans for his reconstructive surgery in Seattle, the three months of convalescent leave seemed to stretch out before us, boundless and never-ending. He had visions of reclining on the sofa, watching endless games of college baseball on tv, and fishing to his heart’s content. *I* had dreams of honey-do lists and derived great satisfaction checking off those items in my mind. Repaint kids’ bedrooms …. Check. Power wash mold off outside of house …. Check! Fix leaky spot in roof ….CHECK!!! Ah, the power of the dream.

Instead, thanks to an unexpected staph infection, two additional surgeries, and six weeks of heavy-duty IV antibiotics that left Blaine feeling as though he was in his first trimester of pregnancy, he spent a good portion of his leave … yes, laying on the sofa, but not reclined with the remote in one hand and a bowl of Doritos in the other. Rather, he was fatigued, nauseous, chilled and hurting. He lost fifteen pounds and became an expert at showering with a plastic bread bag covering his IV line to keep it dry. Not even the three extra weeks of convalescent leave his doctors ordered did much to fulfill his fantasy of fishing the local lake dry.

I never saw a person so glad to be done with antibiotics. When home health couldn’t get the picc-line out of his arm last week at the house, he pulled it out himself rather than wait until he could get to a doctor … that’s how eager he was to be finished. Sadly, he didn’t even get to enjoy the last few days, as he had his right eardrum perforated on Friday (with nothing more than ear drops to numb the pain) to help with his hearing, which has been clogged since the surgery last March.

“This might hurt a bit”
the doctor said.

“That was the understatement of the century”
Blaine replied.

I’m not sure why he so gaily hurried to his truck this morning on his way back to work, skipping like a small girl in a daisy field. Perhaps because his convalescent leave really wasn’t that “convalescensable” …. especially once the kids got out of school for the year and we were all trapped inside together for the two weeks of rain. Perhaps he actually missed working. Perhaps he was tired of days like yesterday; Fathers Day; where he spent his afternoon doing three loads of laundry so I could take a nap. (Hey, in my defense, I laid down with Kendrie who is still coughing her head off and chaffed raw from the non-stop diarrhea …. Is it *my* fault that I went to sleep and she didn’t???)

All I know is that now *I* am stuck at home with three kids by myself. I no longer get to sleep late because Blaine gets up with the kids. I no longer get to play on the computer as much as I want, or ask Blaine to “pick something up for me while you’re out”. Now I have to find ways to entertain these three, and worst of all, I’ll have to take them WITH ME when I run my errands. To be pestered, non-stop, all day long, fixing snacks and juice and trying to referee endless arguments, with never a quiet moment for myself. Truly, the injustice. Is that what I signed up for when I asked to be a Stay-At-Home-Mom??? Well, um, yes. I guess it is. Lucky me.

But I have to admit it’s been more fun being a Stay-At-Home-Mom while I’ve had a Stay-At-Home-Dad here with me. Even one that laid on the sofa a lot, complaining about how crappy he felt. I’m sure the kids and I will be back in our groove in just a few days, sans dad from eight to five (or seven to six, or whatever) but it sure would be nice to win the lottery and have him home with us all the time. I would just hope that next time, he feels better. And can get that Honey-Do list taken care of.

Happy Belated Fathers Day, Blaine. Thanks again for finishing up the laundry.

I love you,

Sunday, June 12, 2005

We're not quite sure how to behave with all this sunshine!

182 Days to Go

Can you believe it? Three days of sunshine in a row! Woo-hoo! Of course, temps are in the high 90’s, the humidity is at about a thousand percent, and the sweat running off my face and down my back could possibly be *mistaken* for rain …. But I’m not complaining! We were able to swim on Monday, play in the sprinklers on Tuesday, and swim again today. My kids are sunburned, happy, and exhausted. Come to think of it, *I* am sunburned, happy and exhausted as well.

I just wanted to update and let you know Kendrie has her monthly chemo visit in Atlanta tomorrow. Thanks to summer vacation, the whole family is going … then we’re all driving to Augusta tomorrow evening and spending the night in a hotel. Blaine has an appointment with the Oral Surgeons on Friday morning and is having a minor (baby, teeny, tiny) procedure done, but they won’t let him drive himself home afterwards, so going all together as a family just seemed the easiest way. And, this way we’ll get to do something fun in Augusta tomorrow night.

Speaking of fun, my kids had friends over this morning … then we all went for lunch to a local pizza place that has arcade games. Then, it was almost three hours of swimming this afternoon. On the way home from the pool, the kids asked for Happy Meals (hoping for some Shark Boy and Lava Girl toys) and when I said no, they started in with how they never get to do anything. Can someone please tell me at what age this warped sense of entitlement will stop??

Oh, and speaking of the friends my kids had over this morning, it was funny to me when I heard Kellen and his friend Jack discussing the words to the song on the CD I was playing. Jack said, with great authority, “I’m telling you, Kellen, it’s ‘put another dime in the juice box, baby”. Ha! These kids just crack me up. Even the ones that belong to other people.

OK, and let’s clear something up right now --- those of you who think I am weird because I don’t like feet? Just take a look in the guestbook -- you are WAY outnumbered! There are LOTS of people ready to join my Foot Haters Anonymous Support Group. Now, despite what a few of you think based on the (hysterical!) private e-mails you have sent me, I am not *afraid* of feet --- I just think they are disgusting and nasty and ugly and I would prefer that the entire world wear clean socks at all times.

However, this brings up another issue for me. (I know, there are so many!) If you’ve been following along on our journey since last summer, you might remember we were lucky enough to attend a very special beach retreat for pediatric cancer families called The Lighthouse. You can go back in the journal to last July to read about it, but it is fabulous! They have all kinds of activities and games and outings planned … and one thing they do is a Moms Morning Spa. OK, just the word “Spa” is enough to give me the heebie-jeebies. I mean seriously … it’s not just feet. I don’t want anyone touching me anywhere. No massages, no neck rubs, nada, nothing, zilch. I’m not a big hugger, (except for my kids, who think I hug way too much) I’ve NEVER understood the “kissing on the cheek hello and goodbye” thing --- I have no idea where it comes from (I’m a Virgo, does that explain anything?) but really, a “spa treatment” could not be FARTHER from my type of thing.

Since last summer was our first time attending the retreat, I was completely unprepared for this. I panicked and refused to take my shoes off (they were washing and rubbing people’s feet ---- OH MY GOD CAN YOU IMAGINE?????) but they still suckered me into the neck rub and hand rub and manicure. And because these people are, from the bottom of their hearts, doing this as a service, and trying to give us cancer moms a peaceful and relaxing break for a few hours ---- how much of a bitch would I have been to say, “Oh, thanks but no thanks! Not really my scene!!!”

But, this year, I plan on being better prepared. I appreciate what they are trying to do …. I really do. But when my blood pressure is through the roof and I’m having heart palpitations, it’s hardly calm and relaxing. I just have to practice now …. Say it with me …. Thank you, but I prefer not to take part. Thank you, but I prefer not to take part. Thank you, but I prefer ……….. oh, the heck with it. I’ll just tell them I’m allergic to people touching me. And thanks to the many people who wrote in the guestbook that they feel the same way, I don’t even have to feel weird saying it! Thanks, you fellow-feet haters!

Have a great rest of the week, and enjoy the sunshine if you’re lucky enough to have it!


WORST THING ABOUT CANCER TODAY: I think my mom has gone a little sunshine-crazy. She’s sort of forgotten I’m still a cancer patient and getting chemo, *and* still have this cough and am feeling a little run down. She’s running me here and there, and then expecting me to play t-ball games every night this week! I just got tired tonight, and felt worn out, and when I got tagged out at first and that umpire yelled “You’re out!” that was the last straw and I started crying. Slow down, mom, there will be more sunshine in the weeks to come! We don’t have to squeeze every outside activity known to mankind into this week!

BEST THING ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: I wasn’t real happy when I heard I had chemo tomorrow; despite having done this for the past twenty months I still get upset when I have to have my port accessed. But then my mom told me that before my clinic visit, I get to have lunch with Madie and Keegan tomorrow --- that *almost* makes it worthwhile!

Saturday, June 11, 2005


186 Days to Go

Well, I went out of town for a few days this week to visit friends. I’ve flown a few times since 9/11, but not many times since Kendrie was diagnosed. Still, the upgraded security procedures weren’t entirely new to me as I prepared to go through security at the Atlanta airport on Tuesday morning. I made sure all my tweezers, scissors, fingernail files, pencils, q-tips, tubes of chapstick, or anything else that could possibly be construed as a weapon was safely packed in the luggage I had checked. I had one purse and one carry-on small enough to fit in the overhead compartment. Boarding pass and photo ID at the ready. I turned off my cell phone, took off my jacket, removed my keys from my pocket, and placed all my items in the little plastic bin to put through the security camera machine. I waited my turn in line and did all of this without grumbling --- enhanced security measures are an unfortunate but necessary evil in this day and time and I certainly don’t begrudge airport security for trying to ensure my travels are safe ones.

As I was preparing to step through the metal detector, the following conversation took place:

Security Guard: (in an extremely bored and uninterested tone) “Ma’am, your shoes need to be placed in the bin.”

Me, sounding extremely intelligent: “Huh?”

Security Guard: “Shoes in the bin, please”

Me: “Oh, there’s no metal in them.”

Security Guard: “Shoes in the bin, please”

OK, let me explain two things right now.

Part One, I have a thing about feet. Mainly, that I hate them. They are ugly, disgusting appendages and if it weren’t for the fact they are necessary to stand upright and walk, I would prefer never thinking about them at all. I don’t like the way they look. Especially other peoples. Unless I am in the pool or the shower, or wearing sandals, I ALWAYS have socks on. I don’t get pedicures or foot massages. I hate feet. The only feet I have ever loved were my childrens’ when they were babies and they looked like little pork chops. I would get them out of the bathtub, wrap their clean, sweet-smelling bodies in a towel and kiss those adorable little feet, which is proof of how much I love my children. Everyone else’s feet gross me out.

Part Two, the floor of the security area at Atlanta Airport is a bunch of dirty, filthy, icky, “who knows when it was mopped last-linoleum”. A place where God only knows how many people have sneezed on, coughed on, and done who knows what else on???

Security Guard: “Shoes in the bin, please”

Me, realizing that if I take off my sandals and put them in the bin, and the bin goes through the conveyer-belt-camera-thing, that means I have to walk through the metal detector BAREFOOT …. on that nasty floor where a million other peoples dirty nasty feet have been walking. Oh my God, I almost had an anxiety attack.

Me, getting a little panicky now: “No, really, they’re just plastic sandals. They won’t set off the alarm.”

Security Guard: “Shoes in the bin, please”

Me: “Can’t you let me wear my shoes and then use that little wand to check them? I’ll happily submit to the little searchy-wand thing, but I prefer to keep my shoes on.”

Security Guard: “Shoes in the bin, please”

Me, trying to sound stern: “Listen Mister, having every one of my body cavities strip-searched by a fat lady with a mustache is preferable to walking on this grimy, disgusting, germ-laden floor barefoot, and I SERIOUSLY would like to keep my shoes on!”

{crickets chirping}

So, after I walked through the metal detector barefoot, mentally slapping myself for every sock-and-sandal wearing tourist I’ve ever made fun of, it was all I could do not to stop right there and soak my feet in Purell. For the parent of a cancer child who has spent the past twenty months avoiding germs at all cost, do you have any idea how difficult that was for me? I was sweating like a hooker in church, and practically hyperventilated right there, just imagining all the bacteria and dirt and SHIT that was attaching itself to the bottom of my feet. Feet, let me remind you, that I’m not particularly crazy about in the first place. It was, hands down, more discomforting and stressful than my last cavity filling or pap smear.

I’m amazed and impressed that terrorists did nothing in their attempt to stop American travelers through fear and intimidation. We fly anyway and snub our noses at them. But the linoleum floor at Atlanta airport might be my undoing. Not that carpet would be any better. All I could think was ….. “Would Kendrie’s oncologist give me some of those shoe-booties to wear on my feet the next time I travel? Or, how silly would I look if I pulled a pair of socks out of my purse next time …. socks that I could burn when I reached my destination?”

So, on my return flight home, I braced myself. I knew what was coming. I squared my shoulders, hiked up my fortitude, and said to the security guard at the Baltimore airport, “Do I need to put my sandals in the bin?” to which he replied, “No. Why would you?”

Obviously I need to move to Baltimore and never fly out of Atlanta again.

Anyway, foot-and-germ phobia aside, I returned home Thursday night to the sight of my oldest human-pet retching in the toilet, and then the middle human-pet started in last night with the upset tummy. Earlier, when I thought Kendrie’s antibiotic had upset her tummy and the cough was making her throw-up, it appears I was wrong (imagine that). Must be some three-or-four day virus going around.

We (meaning the three of them) have done nothing the last two days but lie around, take naps, and moan. I’m not sure if the moaning is because they feel crummy, or if it’s because they are so bored.

Yes, let me beat this dead horse a little longer and gripe about the fact that the rain is continuing to come down here in middle Georgia. It's raining as I type this. It’s no longer non-stop, but it is daily. And when it’s not raining, it is overcast and depressing. But again, I’m glad we’re not wasting upset-tummy days on good weather. We still have eight weeks of summer. Statistically speaking, the odds are in our favor that the sun will shine at least a day or two before school starts again in August, right?.

Thanks also to all of you for the nice notes in the guestbook about Kendrie’s hair thinning. It makes me feel better to hear about the other kids who have lost hair during maintenance. Not, of course, because I’m glad *anyone’s* hair is falling out, but there is a definite sense of security in knowing your child is not the only one. Ashley’s mom mentioned in the guestbook that when Ashley lost her hair during maintenance, she had been fighting a chronic sinus infection. That makes sense to me, that the immune system is low and the hair would go. Kendrie has had this cough/bronchitis(?)/diarrhea thing for almost two weeks now, so that could very well be the answer. It’s still coming out, but not drastically. We’ll wait and see what happens.

Oh, speaking of warped perspective, Blaine came in the kitchen this morning holding the thermometer and said to me, “One hundred point eight” (as in, 100.8) I look at him, wild eyed, and said, “Oh my gosh, I better go pack a bag and get ready to call the oncologist!” and he said, “No, it’s Kellen, not Kendrie” Immediately, relief flooded through me and I said to him, “Oh, good. Don’t ever scare me like that again.” Now, how sick is that??? My poor son has a fever, can’t stop running to the bathroom, and I’m *happy* about it??? Truly, the mind of a cancer-parent will never be the same again! Or at least MY mind, anyway!!

Well, I’m off to soak my feet.

Hope you are all having a great weekend.

WORST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER: I’m still just not feeling real perky. I just woke up from my second nap today, and it’s not even 3 o’clock in the afternoon. And I don’t *take* naps! Oh well, at least Brayden and Kellen both feel like dog poop, too, so it’s not like I’m missing anything.

BEST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER: Convincing my mom or dad to lay down with me for these naps is proving easier than I anticipated. Either they are suckers, or they’re lazy. Or both!

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Sun’ll Come Out… Tomorrow …. Don’t Bet On It.

191 Days to Go

Anyway, after much debate, and to the bafflement of our local meteorologists, the fiery globe in the sky was, indeed, positively identified as the sun. It made an appearance again this morning for several hours. Did we spend those hours making sun-tea on the porch … or risking melanoma by basking in it? Playing in the sprinklers, or working in the yard? No, we spent those hours taking Kendrie back to the pediatrician, where her previous diagnosis of “Early, possible, maybe, early pneumonia” was downgraded to a simple “Bronchitis”. Ok, fine, but anytime a kid coughs so hard and so long that they throw up, it’s time to take them back to the doctor. Just my opinion. But maybe my opinion was tainted by my lack of sleep, since her infernal coughing has kept us up the past three nights.

So after the doctor gave us the basic shoulder-shrug-not-much-you-can-do-watch-for-fever-let-it-run-its-course speech, I decided to take my girlfriend Renee up on her invitation to swim. Kendrie wasn’t contagious, all three kids (and mom) were going stir-crazy being stuck in the house so long, and best of all … the sun was finally shining! So we ran a few quick errands, went home, ate lunch, got everyone dressed, hopped in the van to drive to Renee’s, and yep, you guessed it, it started raining again. We got poured on.

All was not lost, as we waited half an hour or so and then let the kids swim anyway. I figure a few raindrops never hurt anyone, and as long as I’m not letting them swim with a metal umbrella during a lightning storm, things will probably be ok.

I did notice something a little disturbing when Kendrie got out of the pool. Actually, I noticed it this morning at the doctor’s office. She was sitting in my lap with her head under my chin and I kept getting hair in my mouth. At first I thought it was my own (I do shed more than a St. Bernard in springtime) but they were short and blonde. Mine is long and, well, NOT naturally blonde. I ran my fingers through her hair and sure enough, it was coming out. Not a lot, but a little. More than normal. When she got out of the pool, I realized she has thin patches on the top of her head. Not bald … but definitely thin.

What I find interesting is just yesterday another mom on my All-Kids list posted a question about kids losing their hair in maintenance, since it had happened to her daughter. I thought, “Wow, I don’t think *that* happens very often” and the next day, I realize it’s happening to Kendrie. I’m going to hope it’s just thinning …. She IS still on chemo, after all, and it IS still killing those quick-dividing cells. Naturally, if going bald again, or even just a psuedo-bald-Donald-Trump ‘do is the price we pay, so be it. Of course, that’s easy for me to say; I’m not the one it’s happening to. But maybe we’ll get lucky and it will thicken up again, without leaving us entirely.

In an effort to prepare her, I casually mentioned tonight, “So, Kendrie, you know what I think? Your hair might be falling out again because of the chemo”. She didn’t take it real well. Not even Dad’s comment about “Now we will look alike again” cheered her up. And I know how much leukemia has warped my perspective when all I could think was, “Well good grief then, hurry up and fall out NOW so we have a chance to grow some of it back before school starts in August!” How sick and twisted is that?!?!? (wait, don’t answer)

Hope your week is off to a good start, and rolls along smoothly! Thanks for checking in on us and leaving us messages in the guestbook; we love hearing from you guys,

WORST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: Going to the stinkin’ doctor, still having this stinkin’ cough, and mom hinting to me that my stinkin’ hair is falling out again. I wish she hadn’t said anything. I was fine until she mentioned it, and then tonight in bed I noticed it was on my pillow. That just stinks!

BEST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: It’s a tie. Swimming at Ms. Renee’s (even though that doesn’t have anything to do with cancer) and going to our Camp Sunshine Middle-Georgia Area Support Group Meeting tonight … those child-life specialists sure are nice!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Fiery Globe in the Sky

“The villagers stumbled from their homes, blinking rapidly and shielding their eyes against the blinding, radiant orb that had suddenly appeared in the sky. What *was* this mysterious object … this glowing ball of fire? A sign from the heavens? A portent of danger? Or … dare they dream … ??? ... that long-forgotten object of folklore from generations past, heard about only in tales told 'round the hearth-fare …. that entity, sunk in oblivion, from days of old called “The SUN” ????

Alas, the truth would never be known, for after caressing their faces with its warmth and teasing the villagers with the hint of its gleam … the Temptress of the Glowing Orb disappeared once more, never to be seen again.”

That is my Creative Writing 101 attempt to tell you the sun came out for half an hour today, just long enough to ratchet the humidity from “unbelievably high” to “off the charts”. My hair now rivals Don King. About the time I quit squinting and remembered I owned something called “sunglasses”, it started raining again. (sigh)

Hope your weekend is going well,

Thursday, June 02, 2005



194 Days to Go (but how many of them will be rainy???)

So, as you can tell from the whining that has already begun in this journal entry, it is still raining and gloomy here. Five days in a row; not insignificantly, I might add, it's also the first five days of summer. Does that bite or what?? So, we’ve made a list of the "Top ten fun things we’ve discovered to do on your summer vacation when it’s rained every single day":

1. Watch a lot of tv and eat a lot of junk food.

2 through 10. See number 1.

Well, kidding. Sort of. The kids have also been busy playing “Stuffed Animal Baseball” and cutting and coloring lots of pretend money for their pretend toy store. I think even *they* are sick and tired of Kim Possible re-runs. I’m just really annoyed because I spent a good portion of winter and spring sucking up to my girlfriend Renee who has a pool in her backyard and what good has it done me? Absolutely none! (Kidding, Renee, you know we’ll be there the first sunny day!)

Thanks for all the nice e-mails and guestbook entries asking how Kendrie is doing. In between coughing her head off and the Hershey Squirts, she’s managing to find time to fight and play with her siblings, so I think she’ll be fine. She’s been running a very low temperature which we are keeping an eye on, but her oncologist says the antibiotic that her pediatrician gave her for the “early, pre, maybe, possible, early, pre-pneumonia” in her lungs should do the trick. She was complaining last night that her ear hurt, but again, the antibiotic should take care of that, too. The clue that she’s not just faking it all is the fact that last night she (gasp!) slept through her T-ball game! Didn’t matter, though, because (can you guess?) it was rained out! But for her to take a two hour nap before dinner means all is not completely well yet. So, its probably just as good that it’s raining since she wouldn’t be able to get out anyway. And, the humidity from all the rain has made my hair so big I don't think I could fit in the van to drive them anywhere, anyway. So perhaps this is one of those “blessing in disguise” things … you think?

OK -- all of you who author a CaringBridge site need to go to Julianna Banana’s site and sign up for her dad Terry’s Monster Link Page. And whether you’re an author or a Caringbridge visitor (or lurker, if you’re like me) if you’ve never heard of The Monster Link Pages … like, say, you’ve been held hostage in Bolivia these past eighteen months without internet access, then you definitely need to go to Julianna’s site and check it out!

Like Terry said, thanks to Caring Bridge’s new policies regarding linking on our sites … or the prohibition against linking, I should say ... well, that bridge isn’t much more than a footpath now. And not since Roosevelt’s Army Corp of Engineers showed up to get the job done in the Tennessee Valley (or whatever) has someone strapped on a hard hat (virtually speaking, of course) to fix the problem --- Enter Daddy Banana Terry! His Monster Link page is going to become the glue that holds Caringbridge together from this point forward.

Don’t get me wrong … Caringbridge provides a fabulous service and I will be grateful for it for years to come. How else would I have met all of YOU?!?!?!? I even donated today to help them with their current fundraising campaign, as I know providing a free service like this to millions of people don’t come cheap. But if I can’t link from site to site anymore, then I plan on book-marking the Monster Link site and bouncing around from there. So a huge shout out and thank you to Terry for making it happen! Don’t forget, be sure to visit Julianna’s site and sign up to get your child represented on the Monster Link Page!

Have a nice weekend. We plan on bike riding, playing outside, flying kites, exploring a park and wildlife area, using sidewalk chalk, and charcoaling dinner on the patio. Or, maybe we’ll just look out the windows and watch it rain.


WORST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: Today’s worst part is not really cancer -related, and is a tad too delicate of a subject for me to discuss publicly. Desitin, anyone?

BEST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: I heard my mom on the phone with Nurse Mary up in Atlanta this morning and I got a little nervous …. But I guess they were just discussing who is hotter, Brad Pitt or Jesse Metcalfe, because Mom hasn’t mentioned me having to go up there any time soon. Good thing, too, because my Curious George monkey is rounding first and really turning it on now … he’s not letting up at all he’s going to try for second ….. the ball is bobbled out the center and here comes the throw and what a throw ……….

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Summer Starts with a BANG!

196 Days to Go

Just so you know what a caring, fun-loving, entertaining kind of Mom I can be, let’s re-cap the schedule and activities I have arranged for the children this past week:

Thursday night: Swimming and dinner at a friend’s house, complete with trampoline time (Heaven on Earth, as far as they are concerned.) chicken nuggets, and watermelon. Really, does it get any better?

Friday: Final day of the school year; complete with requisite end-of-year partying and frenzy. (Which for mom, entails making two dozen cupcakes for one class; buying and providing ice cream and topping supplies for sundaes for another class; cold hard cash for the third and final class to pay for party supplies; trying to help with three parties being held at the same time in different classrooms; four end-of-the-year teacher gifts; one end-of-the-year nurses gift; and one end-of-the-year Pre-K Resource coordinator gift …. No wonder the parents are as tired as the kids are on the last day of school!)

Friday night: Dinner with friends and an evening at the movies --- Madagascar, complete with soda pop and smuggled M&Ms.

Later Friday night: Receive phone call from parent of Pre-K classmate of Kendrie’s, explaining classmate has been diagnosed with chicken pox after spending two days since breaking out (with what the parents thought were ant bites) in close proximity to Kendrie. (Wow, that’s a really bad run-on sentence, isn’t it?) Luckily, the late-night phone call to the oncologist reveals Kendrie’s chicken pox titers still show “good”, or “immune”, or whatever, so we don’t have to do anything. Whew! I would hate to start the summer off with an illness or medical stuff! (Ominous last words ………………..)

Saturday: Neighborhood cook-out (at Kendrie’s boyfriend Nicholas’ house), complete with playing in the sprinklers, picnic-ing outside, birthday cake and grab bags.

Sunday: Birthday party for our friend Jacob, complete with a moonwalk and swimming. Realize half-way through party that I didn’t think to ask oncologist if it was OK for Kendrie to be around other kids ….

Monday: Have plans to take the kids fishing, but weather is gloomy so we postpone; spend the rest of the day listening to kids complain, loudly, that they NEVER get to do anything fun. Kendrie starts coughing; assume it is a rebellious plot since she’s really mad about the fishing.

Tuesday: Begins raining; Kendrie still coughing; take kids to go bowling with friends since it’s an indoor activity. Kellen has a ball game that evening, but Kendrie’s cough is starting to sound worse so keep her home and out of the drizzle; listen to her fuss about not being allowed to go.

Tuesday night: Cough is bad enough that Kristie gets up in the middle of the night to give medicine (hey, you *know* it’s bad if I get out of the bed and everything!)

Wednesday: Have plans to go swimming with friends, but it’s still raining. LOTS of tv time today. Kellen doesn’t get out of his pajamas all day. Suddenly, our fun-and-activity-filled summer is looking bleak. Will the rain ever stop??? Decide to take Kendrie to the doctor for cough, which continues to worsen.

Which brings us to this afternoon: Can you believe her lungs sounded gunky enough to warrant a chest x-ray, which showed “pre-possible-maybe-early-pre-pneumonia” ??? So, ok, a course of antibiotics is not too much trouble. But now, as I type this, she is laying in my bed, coughing her head off, and running a slight fever.

I *thought* the chicken pox exposure was a wee bit of a scare …. I *thought* the non-stop rain, forecasted for the next ten days, was kind of a nuisance. But I’m making public my stance that I DO NOT WANT TO SPEND THE FIRST WEEK OF SUMMER VACATION IN THE HOSPITAL WITH A CHILD WITH PNEUMONIA!!! Kids with ports usually get a free pass to the ER if their temperature goes above 101. Hers isn’t that high yet and I’m saying a prayer tonight that it stays at 100, which is where it is now. We haven’t had to go to the ER for an unexpected fever one single time since this whole leukemia thing started … and that's a track record I'd prefer to KEEP, if that's ok.

I promise not to complain about the rain anymore ….. I promise not to gripe about our plans for swimming and playing at parks and bike riding that keep getting messed up …. Just please, please, please, please let the antibiotic kick in so she starts to feel better! I won’t even gripe if I have to watch “The Buttercream Gang” one more time! Shoot, Kellen can stay in his pajamas AGAIN, just let her start feeling better soon!

Thanks for checking in on us,

WORST THING ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: You name it, I feel it. Coughy, wheezy, (hey, aren't those two of the dwarfs???) my head hurts, the medicine is upsetting my tummy, which is causing a distinctly unpleasant occurrence in the restroom ... ugh. Is it some kind of bug??? This is NOT how I want to start my summer!

BEST THING ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: Well, I have to admit that it was pretty cool when they did that chest x-ray and you could see the big ole' round thing on the picture that shows where my port-o-cath is located in my chest! My doctor printed out a copy for me to bring home and I think it looks neat!