Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Kendrie -- Day 131 OT
Blaine -- Radiation starts one week from today

Well, I tried. Tried hard. Tried hard and failed. (Sounds like me and my history with dieting) No matter how much I wanted to wait and update, and not blurt out the fun news from last weekend, I just can’t stand not updating the site and letting everyone know what we got to do. A few of you guessed (correctly) in the guestbook, but in case you’re not sure, let me fill you in:


Having ice cream for lunch -- not as dessert *after* lunch, but as lunch itself -- at 10:30 in the morning --- YOU WOULD BE WRONG.

Getting to play dinosaur putt-putt --- YOU WOULD BE WRONG.

Getting to interact with the dinosaur putt-putt because the balls kept disappearing down in this one particular dinosaur --- YOU WOULD BE WRONG.

Getting to play with Daddy in the swimming pool (although it was awfully fun) --- YOU WOULD BE WRONG.

Getting to go on a mighty lizard hunt --- YOU WOULD BE WRONG.

Realizing that the UV protection we were giving our eyes was at the expense of our soon-to-be-cauliflower-ears --- YOU WOULD BE WRONG.

Getting to treat Dad like the pack-mule he is --- YOU WOULD BE WRONG.

Getting to stand around in our new sunglasses and look cool --- YOU WOULD BE WRONG.

Getting our faces painted (althoug this was the end of the evening and the faces underneath the paint were pretty tired) --- YOU WOULD BE WRONG.

Have you guessed? Huh? Huh? Have you???? Any ideas at all????

How about: Getting to hang out with the entire Clan Banana for the day at Give Kids the World Resort Village in Kissimmee, Florida!!!

You guys, seriously. I know they think we’re stalkers. They flew down from Manitoba on their Canadian-U.S. peace envoy, and we totally showed up and crashed Julianna’s Wish Trip!! Not only did we follow them around like puppies, sitting with them for dinner, attending Mayor Clayton’s birthday party, and inviting ourselves to go swimming with them, but we even invited ourselves to their villa where my kids drank all their juice and ate all their Pringles! No wonder people think Americans are greedy and selfish and insensitive --- we totally are!

But they were gracious and hospitable, and had the decency to at least pretend they didn’t mind. And their family is just as funny, just as nice, and just as friendly in real life as they are on Caringbridge. Julianna and Nicholas are great kids, sweet, even-tempered, and much better behaved than those Escoe hooligans, I can tell you that. I don’t know what the hell kind of excuse I’m going to have to use to wrangle our way up to Canada so we can visit with them again, but I’m sure going to do my best to make it happen.

We were even lucky enough to witness Julianna’s inaugural swim after getting her lines removed. I got some great photos, but out of respect for her First Bikini in Years Event, will send them directly to her parents. I was a little worried that Proclaiming Myself as the Great American Nuisance was bad enough and didn’t want to repeatedly point my camera in their faces as well. So I waited until the very end of the evening to ask someone to take a group shot --- and wouldn’t you know? My camera wouldn’t take in the dark. I have NO idea why that happened, but I was extremely disappointed and hope their camera worked better than mine.

Well, I’ve probably gushed enough. Terry, Mary, Julianna and Nicholas, thank you so much for allowing us to suck the life out of your first full day in Florida. I hope the rest of Julianna’s trip is awesome ---- and much easier for you to enjoy without us five obnoxious leeches hanging on.

Your bestest, best new friends from Georgia (are you terrified yet?)

The Escoe family.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Ok, I think this journal has gone on long enough with talk about depressing stuff like cancer. And more cancer. And cancer again. It’s time to take an insightful moment and truly reflect on situations that require a deeper plane of thought. Life-altering things. On states of current affairs that require us to search our inner core for our value and significance as human beings; our emotions, our morals, our true principles. Am I talking about world peace? Or world hunger? Or world anything?

No, I’m talking about the recent claim made by the media that Disney’s High School Musical is to this generation what Grease was to mine.

I know! The audacity!! Can you even believe it? The exaggeration is so absurd it almost doesn’t warrant consideration. But since I’ve complained alluded in the past to how much my kids are obsessed by enjoyed High School Musical, I thought it deserved a comment or two.

I came home from {what seems to be my daily run to} Target last week and made the comment to Blaine, “You know what’s funny? I was in the music department, buying my {completely inappropriate for children and totally deserving of the explicit language parental warning advisory} cd by Pink, {which I love, by the way,} and noticed that the soundtrack to High School Musical was in the Top 20 section. Not Top 20 Kids, or Top 20 Musicals, but Top 20. Regular music. Like on the charts with Bubba Sparxxx and Ne-Yo and Busta Groove and other performers I’ve never heard of.”

And since we not only own the soundtrack, but I enjoy it so much myself that I’ve listened to it even without kids in the car (gasp!) I thought it was kind of sweet that Disney was keeping up with Mary J. Bilge and MC Smash Your Angry Face and whoever else currently comprises the Top 20 Billboard.

To which Blaine responded: “I know. I saw on the Today show, or Good Morning America, or whatever, something like that, how it’s this surprise blockbuster hit, and taking over as this generation’s Grease.”

What? Taking over as this generation’s Grease? No, no, no. That is just WRONG.

Now, I’m willing to admit the storyline for High School Musical is ok, and there are some humorous moments, and the music is actually pretty good. But there is no way a silly little fluff Disney musical (with absolutely no sex or violence, I might point out) can come even close to touching an institution like Grease. Grease is an ICON of pop culture for anyone between the ages of 35 and 45. Admit it, who amongst you out there didn’t want to BE Sandy? (Or even Rizzo, in your more rebellious moments?) Who didn’t want to race for pinks? Or attend Rydell High? Or kick Cha Cha’s ass after that dance competition?

I remember seeing Grease in the theater for the first time when I was 12. It was Brenda Strahan’s 13th birthday, and her dad (brave soul that he was) took ten or eleven of us pre-teen girls to the movie theater to watch Grease. I fell in LOVE with the movie, and made my mom and dad take me again the next night. Being products of the 1950’s themselves, they also enjoyed the movie, although I think my mom was a little worried I would see the characters and situations in Grease as a true representation of life in the ‘50’s. Which of course, I totally did. And became convinced I had been born in the wrong generation.

My obsession continued, after I bought the record (yes, kids, before cds, before cassettes, before 8-tracks, we listened to round black things called RECORDS. On something called a RECORD PLAYER.) I clearly remember hanging out at my friend Jani Bales’ house, listening to Greased Lightning and Beauty School Dropout and making up really cheesy dance routines in her living room, which we subjected her poor mom to watch us perform, over and over. In fact, the only time in my life I’ve been drunk brave enough to perform karaoke without a group of girlfriends surrounding me, was to Summer Lovin’. So that should tell you how deep my affection for Grease actually runs. Or my affection for Amaretto ..... I'm a little confused by the whole hazy memory.

But my point is, for “them” to claim Grease is being replaced by High School Musical for the pre-teens of today ….. well, that’s one claim I’m going to have to refute. There’s just no way to compare the two!

Sure, Disney and Grease both tackled class consciousness and social order, but Grease had leather pants! Condom talk! Tacky dream sequences! Frankie Avalon! A drive-in scene! Who doesn’t love the drive in scene???

I’m telling you, take my word for it, no movie will ever surpass Grease as the coming-of-age teen-angst (which is ironic, considering how old those actors were when they made that movie …. What was Kenickie, like, 40?) rite of passage. And in case you don’t believe me, or don’t have the rose-colored view of Grease that I do, here are a few quotes, some of which have gone down in history, that you KNOW Disney doesn’t have the cahones to use:

1. “A hickey from Kenickie is like a Hallmark Card: When you care enough to send the very best.”

2. “I feel like a defective typewriter.”
“I skipped a period.” (yeah, like THAT one’s going to be in a Disney show?!?!)

3. “Oh, bite the weenie, Riz”
“With relish”

4. “And remember, if you can’t be an athlete, be an athletic supporter.”

5. “We have pictures of you so-called mooners. And just because the pictures aren’t of your faces, don’t think we can’t identify you.”

6. “Do you think these glasses make me look smarter?”
“No, you can still see your face.”

And the classic:

7. “Tell me about it (pause for dramatic effect and to stub out a cigarette with the toe of her insanely high heeled shoe) S-T-U-D.” (My gosh, I would have killed to be Sandy at that point in the movie! Until they drove off in the magical-flying car, which was the one part of the movie that I admit was totally stupid. Well, if we're being honest, the second part. The dream sequence with Frankie was pretty dumb, too. That's when I would get up and go to the bathroom on subsequent movie showings.)

The most risqué line I could find in High School Musical is “Shake your booty”. See? No comparison. Grease is the clear-cut winner, when it comes to shaping minds and morals of the youth in this country. Don’t you agree? Leave me a note in the guestbook with your favorite quote from Grease (you know you have one!) or if, for some inane reason, you liked High School Musical better. Although I can tell you in advance that you are totally wrong and nothing you can say will change my mind.

In the meantime, I am packing our bags for an event, taking place this weekend, of such magnitude, I can’t even breathe a word of it, for fear I will jinx it happening. I can’t let out a peep and blow the surprise -- I can’t even tell you until after the fact. (Yet notice I am still talking?!?!?) *******************************************
PS. I guess I should point out that I appear to have done a really lousy job conveying information --- I'm not having this baby until the 19th of MAY. While I appreciate the notes of encouragement and support that I got yesterday, the 19th of April, it's still a little early for me to be serving up any kind of eviction notice for the little guy or girl. So, four more weeks. :)


Kristie, driving through a McDonalds drive-through: “OK, Kendrie, what do you want?”

Kendrie: “A cheeseburger, with ketchup only and pickles”

Kristie, “You don’t like pickles”

Kendrie, “No, I don’t like pickles. But I like pickle crumbs. So order pickles and I will take them off and have just the pickle crumbs.”

Kristie, “ I have no idea what pickle crumbs are, but OK, so you want just ketchup and pickles?”

Kendrie, “Yes. But no mustard. Or Onions. Or Caviar.”

Kristie, "OK, pretty sure they don't serve caviar at McDonalds."


I returned home one afternoon this week to find Blaine laying on the sofa, atop a heating pad.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

Blaine, “I pulled a muscle in my back”

Kristie, “What exhausting, strenuous activity were you doing that made you pull a muscle in your back, you big hunk of man-candy, you?”

Blaine, “Brushing my teeth.”

I swear, I’m not making this up. How could I make this stuff up? He pulled a muscle in his back, brushing the few teeth he has left. I don’t even know what to say, so I’ll just end this now. Where the hell is the Ben-gay?

Saturday, April 15, 2006


Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport! The thrill of victory...and the agony of defeat! The human drama of athletic competition! This is Byron, Georgia’s: Wide World of Sports!

The always-tricky balancing a ball on a spoon race. I think it's supposed to be eggs on a spoon, but thank goodness it wasn't. As many times as those kids dropped the balls, that field would have reeked like Sulpher City by the end of the day.

I guess this is good practice for when they start stealing street cones in their teen age years????

Kendrie told me the night before she hated this event, the "Kangaroo Hop". Now I understand why. With all those short little kindergarten legs, it took almost fifteen minutes for all those kids to hop down the lanes!

The hurdle relay. One of the trickier events for kids who (unfortunately) get their Athletic Gene from their uncoordinated mom.

Ah, yes. A true test of athletic prowess --- the Beanbag on the Head relay.

And of course, the scene that took place repeatedly throughout the day, Kendrie doing whatever event was taking place, always, with her tongue hanging out of her mouth.


OK, believe it or not….. (wait, I have to throw some salt over my left shoulder with my right hand) …. Believe it or not, I think I have some good ……. (hang on, I need to find my lucky four-leaf clover before I say anything out loud and jinx myself) ….. some good news ….. (hold it, where is my unicorn horn? My leprechaun broach? My Aladdin’s lamp?) I really want to tell you what has happened, but I’m afraid if I don’t rub my rabbit’s foot, nail a horseshoe over my door, step over the cracks in the sidewalk, find a heads-up penny, break the long half of the wishbone, drop an eyelash onto my cheek, sight a shooting star, blow out an entire dandelion, coerce a ladybug to land on me, cross my fingers, and knock on my wooden computer desk in juuuuuuuuuuuuuust the right way, then it will all blow up in my face.

Yesterday was NOT Friday the 13th. It was Friday the 14th. And apparently the planets aligned, the prayers and good wishes of all of you were heard, and the Gods of Diving Timing smiled down upon us, because believe it or not, I think Blaine’s unexpected tooth extraction will wind up being a blessing in disguise! (OK, so maybe *he’s* not feeling that way, eating mashed potatoes for the last six meals in a row, but I sure am!)

We got a call from the radiation department at the University of Washington last night, and taking a “better safe than sorry” approach, they want to delay Blaine’s radiation by an entire two weeks. So instead of starting this Tuesday, he won’t go until the beginning of May. Which means, if you drag out your pocket calendar and count out the days, like I immediately did, his final two weeks of radiation, when they predict he will start to need help, are the two weeks AFTER the baby is due to be born! So I can pop out this kid, then hop a flight to Washington and help him myself, instead of sending my (completely willing but slightly overwhelmed) mother to do it. Instead, she will come here to be with me for the delivery, then stay with the kids while I go to Washington. I mean really, had I scheduled it myself, the timing couldn’t have worked out more perfectly.

Blaine is not happy about the delay, just because he had his mind wrapped around the treatments and was in his “mental happy place” and prepared. Now, he’s got to wait; unpack his suitcase (and his worries and concerns) only to re-pack in a few weeks. Plus, like he keeps telling me, “I’m walking around with cancer in my head. Excuuuuuuse ME if I want to get it out of there as soon as possible!” Yeah, ok, whatever. It’s all about ME, and this works out perfectly!!!!

Things we specifically need to go right (so those of you in the kneeling position, please keep right on slinging the happy thoughts upstairs):

1. That my body cooperate so the baby can show up on the 19th. Due to a previous c-section, I can’t be induced if I’m not physically “ready”.

2. That the delivery be uncomplicated. I need to be out of the hospital in time to catch a flight three days later.

3. That the baby be born healthy, beautiful, and happy. Wait, this should be moved up to the number one spot. It’s the most important.

4. That I immediately drop fifty pounds after the delivery. (Ok, so technically this is more of a vanity request than a legitimate prayer request …. But if I’m asking, I might as well ask for everything I want, right?!)

I realize the timing of everything leaves us with a very small window for error, and the way things seem to go for us, plans will change two or three times between now and then. But for TODAY, I feel huge relief. Seriously. Like someone has taken Stonehenge off my shoulders.

I wanted my mom here for the delivery; looks like I’m getting it. *I* wanted to be the one in Seattle helping Blaine, looks like I’m getting it. I’m like the spoiled rotten Paris Hilton of the cancer world, getting everything she wanted! The only thing I’ll miss is the kids' last week of school, but since Grandma will be here to cater to their every whim help out, they won’t miss me one bit.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for all your good thoughts and concern. It worked!

Well, I better go fix some more mashed potatoes for Mr. Crabby McHole in the Mouth. I guess I should feel sorrier for him. I mean, I like mashed potatoes, also, but I suppose after two solid days it **would** get a little old. He started our grocery list this week with the following items: oatmeal, ice cream, yogurt. That’s just sad, isn’t it?

Thursday, April 13, 2006





Kendrie -- Day 119 OT and covered from ankle to knee in bruises, front and back, but I can’t even worry about it because I’m too busy feeling like my head is going to explode.

Blaine -- who freakin’ knows? Does anybody know? Really? ‘Cause I would love for you to tell me if you know.

Once again, I find myself having to apologize for the delay in updating this site. I confess that I’m struggling lately with whether or not to keep it going, and if so, in what fashion. I thought after Kendrie finished her treatment, I would continue to journal in more of a blogger form; detailing our experiences with the Disney channel, sports travails, humorous anecdotes, travel plans, homework sagas, and life off-treatment. With any luck, providing hope and optimism for those families still in the thick of their cancer journey, and maybe even giving the rest of you a laugh or two at our expense in the meantime. I figured I would utilize Caringbridge for six months or so, then make my way over to Typepad or Blogger and carry on there, in true mommyblogger fashion.

Now, given Blaine’s situation, I’m not quite sure where to go or what to do with this site. We still have chaos and insanity and fun stuff in our normal lives, but to blab about that without mentioning him seems rude. And fake. Because really, we’re completely distracted by what is happening with him. But to blather on about his trials is depressing. And I struggle with finding a balance. Plastic and entertaining? Gloomy and truthful? In the meantime, apathy strikes and I write nothing.

Here’s where we are now, with regard to Blaine. Let’s get the exploding head stuff out of the way first. Although, I must warn you. Only *MY* head is exploding. Yours will only explode out of dullness if you read the following, because even I am tired of listening to myself whine and complain. So if you have something better to do …. ANYTHING … like re-grouting the bathroom tile or cleaning out the bottom mildew-y vegetable bin in the refrigerator, I would go do it now. Otherwise, read on at the risk of boring your brain cells. To a mind-numbing, painful death. And really, if that's the end result, shouldn't there be alcohol involved????

He returned from his consultation in Seattle last week, sobered by the reality of what five weeks of radiation will entail, but almost excited, in a sick and twisted way, to just get things started so it would be over. The good news is the success rate he was quoted in using neutron beam radiation against this type of cancer: 80 percent. “Success” is defined as total remission. That’s a pretty respectable quote. Same statistic Kendrie was given in her ALL treatment. (Conveniently, he didn’t ask about the other 20 percent.) Not as good news are the side effects he can expect from the treatment: extreme fatigue, a permanent 10 percent hearing loss, greater risk of secondary cancers later (where have we heard that one before?) a permanent loss of the ability to produce saliva, therefore, chronic dry mouth both during the treatments and for life, severe mouth sores, possibly necessitating a feeding tube, possibly a permanent ban on solid foods, and life-long dental problems on the teeth he has left (yeah, because he hasn’t had THAT already for the past three years?) So, in a perfect world, he’ll be a tired, deaf, dry-mouthed, toothless cranky man existing on chicken soup and food in a blender. But hey, he won’t have cancer anymore. It’ll be like being married to my dad. (Those of you who know Calvin can laugh, right?)

But that’s ok, right? Because a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do. So it’s fine. Timing has become tricky, since radiation was scheduled to begin next week, last five weeks, and he will need a support person there, at a minimum, for the last two weeks. Obviously, at 38 weeks pregnant, it won’t be me. So my mom was elected, which is fine, except she has always been our “helper” person during my deliveries, watching the kids while I am in labor …. So if she’s in Seattle with Blaine, I’ll be here by myself. Which is fine … I can give birth by myself, and pass the kids off to babysitters for a few days while I’m in the hospital, although that’s not an ideal situation. So, although it took an extreme amount of childcare coordination on her part, my sister offered to come here for the delivery, just so I wouldn’t have to go it alone --- problem solved, right?


First, Blaine has had an inordinate amount of problems getting the legwork for his Seattle trip taken care of this week. The military is great about our coverage, and what they provide for us, but Blaine has to do every bit of the groundwork and gophering himself. Travel forms, finance, hotel arrangements, hospital arrangements, medical records, etc. First, he went to the travel office to get orders so he could actually make the trip, and realized they put the wrong dates down for air travel. But they can fix that, so it’s fine. Then we found out the Air Force will pay for my mom to travel to Seattle, and to help Blaine back to Atlanta at the end of treatment, as his "official chaperone" but getting her back home is our problem. There was no working that one out. So we’ll either drive her home, or fly her home, which is no problem and fine. Just something we’ll worry about later. Because of course we don’t know exactly *when* they’ll be coming home, so we’re not able to make plans for that now. Then, he needed a few prescriptions refilled, but there was an exercise going on this week in the medical clinic on base, so his doctor didn’t return his calls for four solid days. This is the same doctor who has literally made house calls for us, so I know he wasn’t avoiding Blaine, he just wasn’t available. But in the meantime Blaine was getting panicky that he was leaving on Monday with no pain meds and no-one seemed able to help.

Then, on to today’s drama.

In an effort to protect his remaining teeth during this radiation, Blaine had to get fitted today for what is called a hidden bite block (I envision some sort of mouth guard like football players wear, but really, I have no idea what it is. For all I know, it’s like the dental equipment my sister wore all through junior high ….. wouldn’t that be unfortunate? A Jason radiation mask AND head gear???) His initial appointment with the dentist was this morning, then he planned on joining the kids and I for the annual Field Day Extravaganza at their school. He called me mid-morning to tell me the dentist found a cavity and they absolutely had to fill it before he could have radiation, so he’d be running late. Fine. Then, they got in there and discovered the cavity was so large there was no way to salvage the tooth, so it would have to be extracted. Today. Ok, well, he’ll miss Field Day, but that’s fine. But (there’s always a but, isn’t there?) radiation can’t take place if there is an “open” wound in the mouth …. So unless Blaine wants to risk some kind of radiation-poisoning-infection-scenario, and spend time in a hyper baric chamber, (I swear to you, they actually mentioned a hyper baric oxygen chamber!) radiation will have to be postponed by a week to ten days. Ix-nay and ancel-Cay on all the planning and reserving and coordinating Blaine had done this week in order to leave on Monday. All down the crapper.

Which would be fine …. But my mom and my sister have already gone to great lengths to clear their schedules and make travel arrangements for the days we told them we would need them. I arranged my delivery, and let the baby’s parents know exactly when to come, based on the supposed radiation schedule. And now, we have no idea when Blaine will be rescheduled. Naturally, the radiation-oncologist wasn’t available today to talk this situation over with us. Naturally. Why would he be? Why should one freaking thing go smoothly, or as planned. Why should we have any stinkin’ clue when he’ll be getting his treatments? Ten days later? Two weeks later? How does that affect my sister’s travel? My mom’s travel? This delivery? Seriously, I would throw my hands up in the air at this point, but the carpal tunnel is so bad I’m afraid I would never get the feeling back in my fingers.

You know the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons, whose face you never see, and whose voice is just a monotonous “Wah Wah Wah--Wah- Wah”? That’s how I feel, listening to myself. Every plan we have has a flaw. Every contingency plan has a flaw. If we do plan A, then **this** is our dilemma. If we move to plan B, then detail #3245 bites us in the ass. Plan C doesn’t work because *that* would be too logical.

OK, so, a couple of things I have to apologize for:

1. That this is so boring. Don’t deny it. I see some of your eyeballs rolled back in your head. I’ll get back on the site this weekend and post some photos from the kids’ Field Day …. Much cuter and more entertaining than the details of Blaine’s ongoing medical saga.

2. If it sounds for one micro-second like I am complaining about Blaine’s treatment. We are blessed and hopeful for full recovery. Thank goodness for this type of treatment, the people who can do it, and the opportunity it gives him for remission, even if it’s in Seattle. I just wish things were a little less complicated.

3. If it sounds for one micro-second like I am complaining about this surrogacy. I am blessed. This pregnancy has been uneventful and special. All that matters is that the parents get to welcome a beautiful, healthy child into the world. I’m lucky to be a part of it. I just wish things were a little less complicated.

4. My comment about the hardship of single parenting in my last post. First of all, I was only “single” for four days ….. I think even Mommy Dearest could’ve handled four measly days. And I sincerely want to apologize to how insensitive it must have sounded to my friends D.G. and K.E. (You know who you are, and why I need to apologize.) I am blessed. I love my kids beyond measure, even when I want to staple their little mouths shut. We will manage our five weeks alone just fine.

5. If it sounds for one second like I am complaining about the military. I am very proud and grateful for what the military has done for us. It’s just difficult to make arrangements, for major life events like this, when our family is so far away. As a "dependent spouse", I love being a peripheral part of the Air Force ---- but, have found myself gazing longingly at my “There’s no place like home” Dorothy-slippers more in the past three years then I did the previous fifteen military years combined.

6. If it sounds like I’m complaining because my crystal ball isn’t working. We’ve been dealing with this shit for three years. I just want to know the end is in sight. Right now, the end is so far away we couldn’t find it with both hands, a blow torch and a periscope. I know there are no guarantees in life ………….. but I would sure appreciate a “Get out of jail free” card right about now.

Well, there’s a 2000 word limit on Kvetching Posts, and I’ve exceeded it tonight. So I’ll sign off for now. I’m going to go bury my disgruntlement in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie, sleep off the sugar low, and hopefully awaken tomorrow feeling refreshed and cheerful. Of course, my kids are out of school for Easter Break, so my cheerfulness most likely won’t last past 9am, the estimated TTBFWOA (Time To Begin Fighting With One Another.)

But a girl can dream, right?

PS. One happy parenting moment today, proving I am a child of the 80’s: I taught my kids the words:

"Alfalfa, will you swing me before we have lunch?

Sure, Darla.

Say Romeo, what about your promise to the he-man woman hater’s club?

I’m sorry Spanky, I have to live my own life."

To my delight, they love the song as much as I do.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Kendrie -- Day 112 OT
Blaine -- countdown to radiation

Sorry for the delay in updating --- I just have to say, in my defense, doing this single parenting thing stinks. Not so much the manual labor; the feeding and bathing and chauffeuring them to and fro …. that's the easy part. It’s the being all things (mediator, cheerleader, band aid-applier, guidance counselor, homework helper, social coordinator, father figure, referee, sympathetic shoulder, etc) to all different people, 24/7, and trying to do it with a cheerful attitude and a smile on my face that I find tiring. Tiring? Shoot, I’m exhausted, and I’ve only been at it 48 hours! What happens when Blaine returns to Seattle for those five weeks of radiation??? I’ll never make it! So anyway, the first thing to go this week has been my late-night computer time, because heaven knows how crabby I get when I’m sleep-deprived, so I’m on self-imposed early bedtime, hence holdup #1 in updating this site.

Ironic that because of cancer, Blaine has not been deployed with the military, and now, because of cancer, he will be gone from us for five or six weeks, which I’m totally complaining about (and it hasn’t even started yet …. what does that say about my positive attitude?) Yet, given the hindsight of 20/20 vision, I would give back the cancer and take a six-month deployment for him --- in a second. Obviously, I am way too fickle (something Blaine has claimed for years, and might actually be right about!)

Anyway, on to my topic of the day -- Caringbridge blessings.

I hope that those of you who take the time to surf Caringbridge pages, whether it’s two or three favorite sites, or two or three dozen, and sign notes of encouragement in the guestbooks …. I would hope that you know how wonderful that support is to the families going through whatever comprises their personal trials. I would also hope that as a Caringbridge supporter, you get something in return; whether it’s a smile at a funny story, the joy of seeing a child you care about finish treatment and re-start their “normal” life, or the good feeling that comes with knowing you’ve helped make someone’s day a little brighter, just by stopping by and saying hello.

As for me, it’s a win-win situation. Actually, win-win-win-WIN! I receive happiness in following along on the sites of families I’ve come to care about, the satisfaction of knowing I can make someone’s day brighter by signing a guestbook and saying hi, the cheap therapy of using Kendrie’s site as my own, personal “Lie down on the Internet couch and vent about my feelings” remedy, and also, one of the biggest perks of all, the friendships we have made, both online and in person, through this service.

Georgia … specifically, the Atlanta area, has lots of really great social support organizations. Since we only live a few hours away, we’ve been able to take advantage and meet other families, who we’ve come to care about in a way I would never have understood prior to our induction into this crazy world of pediatric cancer.

Local (or psuedo-local) Caringbridge blessings:

Kendrie and our sweet friend Catie.

Our weekend Atlanta visit with Brandon's family.

Camp Sunshine circus with Madie, Camp Jack, and Jacob.

An Atlanta Braves game, courtesy of CureSearch, with Brady, Keegan, and lots of other kids.

North, south, east and west Caringbridge blessings:

Tyler from Oklahoma.

Jacob in New Mexico. (although he was still in Georgia when we met his family!)

The entire group of All-Kids who attended the Easter Egg Hunt and Egg Roll at the White House in DC, 2004.

Andrew from California.

Alexis from Minnesota, who we met at Give Kids the World in Florida.

And there are other blessings as well, that I didn’t get photos with, but whose families I’ve met, such as Molly from New York and Jill from Missouri.

Our latest CB blessing came on Saturday, in the form of Finn’s family, returning to Ohio from their vacation in Florida -- I just KNEW living right off I-75 would pay off some day! When I found out they would be traveling only a few miles from our house, I begged, pleaded and groveled until they agreed to visit. Good thing, too, because I **totally** am not above putting a magneto-tron-ometer force field around their car and setting up a giant magnet in our driveway, if I had to.

I have followed Finn’s CB site for quite some time, partly because he’s cute as a button, and partly because his mom Natalie cracks me up. She reminds me of ….. ME! and a little narcissism never hurt anyone, right? Sure enough, their family is just as great in person as I thought they would be. Although I don’t think Finn thought too highly of us, seeing as how we didn’t have a SINGLE Thomas the Tank Engine train in the entire house --- what is wrong with us? But we had a great visit and I completely want to move to Ohio to hang out with them some more. Shoot, I’d move to Ohio just to listen to Finn’s dad Eamonn talk, since he’s British and has that really cool accent. (You know us Americans are suckers for a cool accent.)

Declan and Kendrie, the only two kids we could get to willingly sit on the sofa and pose for a photo.

The kids actually had a great time playing together, not that you can really tell in this photo. Kellen, aka Mr. Cheerful McSunshine, had just been awakened and wasn't real cooperative. And Finn, well, what can I say? He was NOT feeling the love on the couch! But I still think he's adorable.

Yes, this is how we treat our children when we think no-one is looking. Sometimes we get lucky and spare change falls out of their pockets.

Thank you Rooney family, for extending your vacation (or more accurately, your I-75 Endurance Marathon) long enough to spend time with us!!!

Then sometimes, the blessing that is Caringbridge is bittersweet, as it was for me on Monday when I attended the Celebration of Life Service for Baby Jay. I had never attended a memorial service for a child before and quite frankly, I was a wreck. It was too easy to watch the wonderful slide show presentation they had of Jay’s life … and see those pictures of him in the early days of treatment, swollen from steroids, laying in a hospital bed … or later, photos of him bald …. and realize I have many similar photos of Kendrie while she was on treatment. You hear about a parent who loses a child, and the first thing to come to mind is “I just can’t imagine” when the truth of it is, any parent whose child has been diagnosed with cancer, CAN imagine.

Of course, cancer parents don’t have a monopoly on caring, as evidenced by the many, many wet eyes around me during the service. And the pain I felt sitting there was only a drop in the bucket compared to the ocean of sadness that I’m sure Jay’s parents are feeling. It was a really shitty reminder that while Kendrie has finished her treatment and we’ve moved on, pushing the fear of relapse to the back of our minds and living our lives in as normal, hectic, and chaotic a fashion as possible, cancer has marched on as well and is still claiming innocent children.

And that’s the other reason I haven’t felt like updating this site with rainbows and bunnies and funny stories this week, despite our great visit with Finn and his family. It seems almost insulting to the memory of Jay. Hmmm. Maybe we should substitute “fickle” for “dazed and confused”; might be more fitting, no?