Friday, March 31, 2006


Kendrie -- Day 106 OT
Blaine -- gearing up for radiation

OK, confession number 1: Yes, yes, I admit it! I made my kids dress in matching green outfits so I could take pictures of their little coordinating selves at the strawberry fields for my scrapbook. All you scrapbookers out there caught me. (But I’d bet ten bucks that “it takes one to know one”! Ha!) Actually, when I woke up that morning the kids were already dressed in play clothes, so I made them change into their green clothes. Then it started raining and we decided not to go, so I made them change out of their green clothes. Then the sun came out and we decided to go and I made them change back IN to their green clothes. They were *really* not very happy with me and my anal photography tendencies. It’s amazing I got smiles out of them at all.

Confession #2: Fourteen POUNDS of berries. Need I say more? I feel like Violet in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. If I eat one more strawberry, I’m going to swell up and turn red, and they’ll have to roll me down to the de-juicing room.

Clarification #1: Blaine, although he is going to Seattle next week, won’t actually start radiation for a few weeks. Next week is his orientation/consultation/get-fitted-for-your-ever-so-pretty-Jason-from-Halloween-radiation-mask session. But we’ll still take all the prayers we can get for a safe trip, and that all our questions are answered. My close friends are sick of hearing about this, so I won’t yammer on, but I’m not allowed to travel with Blaine due to the pregnancy. So if you could spare a few warm thoughts for me …. that my head doesn’t explode from being kept out of the loop ….. that probably wouldn’t hurt, either.


We woke up this morning, the sun was shining, it was the last day of Spring Break, the kids were all in good moods (pretty much the miracle of the century) and Blaine felt good (hit or miss most days lately) so we decided to take advantage by doing something so wonderful, so extraordinary ….. so “making the MOST” of our life …………. So totally normal. Like take the kids fishing.

Sound silly? Well, since we only had about six weeks from when Kendrie finished treatment until Blaine was re-diagnosed, I don’t feel like we had much of a break from our preoccupation with cancer. First finding out his had returned, then his surgery, then finding out the tumors couldn’t be removed surgically, then recovering from the surgery, then the surgery complication, and since then, researching his treatment options, conferring with all his doctors, and doing the leg-work for the trip to Washington ….. well, we hadn’t taken the time lately to “do normal”.

And I hadn’t even realized it, until I got an e-mail from a friend of mine --- Haley’s mom Cheryl. Haley was a bright, beautiful, sweet, much-loved, musically talented young lady who passed away last fall awaiting a liver transplant. Through the blessing that is Caringbridge, I met Haley and Cheryl both online and in person. Cheryl reminded me recently that despite the small, medium, or extremely HUGE challenges we might face in our lives, taking pleasure in the little, daily stuff is what matters and what helps us get through life. In fact, it’s the best part OF life.

So Blaine and I decided that today, we were going to take advantage of the perfect temperature, the sunshine, the {moderately} cooperative moods of our children, and enjoy a simple day of spending time together as a family, NOT obsessed with cancer for a little while, getting out on the water and catching some fish.

I could tell it’s been a year since the kids have gone out and it made a big difference in their patience. We actually spent two hours on the water, with very little complaining or whining about how bored they were, or how hot they were, or how their life jackets were choking them, or that we must be at a bad spot on the lake because there are no fish, or how the lines keep getting tangled, etc. At one point, Blaine asked if they were ready to go home, and they all three exclaimed “NO!” I was so surprised, I about fell out of the boat. Usually, once we run out of Teddy Grahams to feed the ducks, and the soda gets warm, they’re done. But this time, they hung in there for the long haul. (Hey, when you’re six years old, two hours of fishing IS a long haul!)

The funny part of the day (if you’re the kind of person who thinks it’s hysterical when one family member is hugely insulting to another family member, especially one who is a little stressed out to begin with and extremely hormonal) is when we were putting the boat in the water. Now, it’s not a yacht. Or a speedboat. Or the kind with sleeping quarters. Or even anything you could inter-tube behind, much to the chagrin of the children. In fact, it’s about one step up from a canoe. Although at least we **DO** have an engine, and a trolling motor, thank the heavens because really, can you see me paddling?? Ha!

Anyway, Blaine had the truck backed down the boat ramp in the water and the kids were jumping around on the dock, all excited to get in. Blaine looked at the boat, looked at me. Looked at the boat, looked at the kids. Looked at the boat, looked around the lake, looked at me again. Looked back at the kids. Looked back at the boat. Seemed to be thinking hard, doing some kind of mental calculation.

“What?!?!?” I finally asked, “What is it?”

“Um, you don’t weigh over 200 pounds, do you?”

Oh, gee honey, let’s think about it. I’m seven months PREGNANT --- my thighs and butt ALONE must weigh close to one hundred!

Affronted, I replied, “Well, yes, at this point I’m pretty sure I *do* weigh over 200 pounds, you want to make something of it?” to which he responded, “Well, my boat limit is only 550. Me and the kids combined weigh about 350, so you’re going to put us over the limit. Let’s just hope we don’t get stopped by a warden.”

OK. That's good for my self-esteem.

Then, the only thing that could make me feel any worse, happened. Kendrie got in, Kellen got in, Brayden got in, Blaine got in. I stepped off the dock into the boat and sat down in my seat, only to have Kellen heave a BIG sigh of relief and announce, LOUDLY, to the public in general, “Good news, everyone! Mom got in and we’re NOT SINKING!!!”

The skinny members of our family. Blaine offered to take my picture with the kids, but since I didn’t bring my WIDE ANGLE LENS, I turned him down.

Today’s total fish intake: Zero. Not one. Not one-that-got-away. Not even a nibble. Good thing, since that extra pound and a half would have sunk us right to the bottom!


Now, I already had this update written when I received extremely sad news this evening. Baby Jay from Macon lost his battle with cancer today. Jay and his family attended the same Middle Georgia Support Group, sponsored by Camp Sunshine, that we attended. Although we didn’t know them well, their family made a great impact on Blaine and I, as I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed two people whose faith, during difficult times, has been stronger. Our hearts are breaking for Cindy, Jason, and Jay’s siblings, Kaitlyn and Tanner.

After Blaine pulled the boat and trailer out of the water today, and we began to head home from the lake, I asked him what time it was. He replied 2pm … the only reason I remember that specific time is because I made the comment we had been out on the water for two hours, the kids had acted nicely, and it was a fun way to spend an afternoon. According to Jay’s website update, he passed away at 1:59 this afternoon. So while our family was taking pleasure in the beauty of “normal”, Jay’s family had just started down a road I can’t even imagine.

It makes me even more grateful that I took Cheryl’s advice to enjoy the small, daily things and find happiness in normal. Sometimes normal seems boring. Sometimes normal doesn’t seem worth updating this journal about. Sometimes I worry normal is trivial, or even insulting to those people whose challenges are greater than my own. Lots of times, I forget to appreciate normal while I have it.

This evening, especially, I appreciate it. I hope no matter your own situation, you can find a minute or two of normal and get pleasure from it for yourselves.

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