Tuesday, May 30, 2006





Kendrie -- Day 166 OT

Blaine -- Home from Seattle, burned like a crispy French-fry

Kristie -- Fat (see the PS. But getting my energy back!)

The rest of my family --- oh dear heavens, just read the update!

So, let’s see, this is one heckuva story … where do I even begin? Let’s start with the birth and go chronologically from there. Again, I don’t want to give too many details out of respect to the baby’s family (and let’s just face it --- it’s too disgusting to hear about someone else’s labor pains and epidural and hemorrhoids and vomiting and stitches unless you are REALLY close friends!) but I will at least tell you the fire-department part.

I had a doctor’s appointment for one final check up on Thursday the 18th at 2pm, with plans to induce on Friday morning. As my journal entry at 3am on Wednesday/Thursday filled you in, I started having some pretty intense pains (or at least what counts as intense for a weenie like me) during the middle of the night, so on Thursday morning I called the baby’s parents, who were staying in a hotel near the hospital, and told them to meet me at the doctor’s office when it opened at 9am. I was pretty sure I was in labor (in some form!) and didn’t see the sense in waiting around until that afternoon. I mean hey! God invented pain medication for a reason and no sense martyring myself, waiting to get me some.

So my mom and I dropped Brayden and Kellen and Kendrie off at school that morning, then headed downtown to the hospital. It’s about a half hour drive, and naturally the parking deck was under construction, so we had to detour all over downtown Macon, me grimacing in the passengers’ seat the entire time while we searched for a space. Finally we found one and walked across the street to the doctor’s office (which is situated next door to the hospital) only to be met by a steady stream of people exiting the building. I felt like a salmon, trying to swim upstream, just getting in the doors.

We walked in the building and were told that the elevators were off-limits due to a fire alarm, but I was welcome to walk the nine flights to my OB’s office if I’d like …. Uh, yeah. I don’t think so. So we sat down in the lobby for about fifteen minutes, as the fire trucks started lining up and down the street and fire fighters came into the building (and promptly got into the elevators. … I ask you, where is the justice?) until we were told, lo and behold, there really WAS a fire, and we would need to vacate the building.

By now the baby’s parents and grandma had joined us in the lobby, as the entire building was being vacated, so we headed outside. We asked a security guard if he knew how long it would be and of course he didn’t, so I sat down on some steps to wait -- not so graceful, but at least I was sitting down.

Suddenly, a woman magically shows up with a wheelchair and asks me if I would rather sit in something more comfortable, since it’s obvious from my volcanic-sized stomach and occasional panting that I’m in labor. I’m embarrassed and say no, but she insists, and then wants to push me around to labor and delivery in the hospital, but I really want to see my doctor and confirm I actually AM in labor and not suffering from some e-coli poisoning or something ….. But eventually I give in and let this woman push me in a wheelchair, through the throngs of evacuated medical workers crowding the city streets, fire engine lights flashing in the background, with my mother bellowing “Lady in Labor! Step Aside People, Lady in Labor Coming Through!” the entire time. Very low-key. Just like I like it.

And from there, I’ll spare you the gory details except to tell you that Nicolas was born at 11:24 p.m., the delivery of whom culminated in my epidural being turned off and me trying to push out a 10 lb, 2 oz, sunny-side up baby, for the final two and half hours of labor, with no pain medication. None. At all. Whatsoever. (until the last two pushes!) Not that I’m bitter or anything.

I had been given a shot of Phenergan after the delivery (again with the disgusting vomiting details) and was knocked out like Rocky Balboa in whichever movie that Russian guy kicks his ass until the next morning, at which time I woke up to a monstrous ache in my neck and the back of my head …. The result, I assumed, of a neck muscle I must have pulled in my marathon pushing session the night before. I slept most of the day, but had this same migraine-type pain in my head whenever I awoke (Aha! Here’s where it gets interesting!) but only if I was sitting up or standing. As long as I was lying down, my head felt just fine.

I still had the pain the next day when it was time to be discharged; in fact, it might even have been worse. I told the nurses my head was killing me, and I thought I had pulled a neck muscle, but they released me with Motrin and told me I would be fine. By the time I was wheeled from my room to the front doors of the hospital, and waited for my mom and the kids to drive up and pick me up, the pain was so bad I was sitting there just crying … nothing to be done for it. And for the record, I might gripe and whine and complain and bitch about a lot of things, but I am NOT the kind of person who sits around crying in public for the fun of it. I was DYING people, dying.

By the time I got home that Saturday afternoon, I told my mom I really thought my head might explode. You should have seen me trying to lay down in the passenger seat of Blaine’s pick up truck during the ride home, to alleviate the pain. (Naturally, my van was being detailed when I went into labor a day early so we hadn’t gotten it back yet.) My mom suggested, considering it was almost 5pm on a Saturday, and knowing that nothing would be open later except the ER ….. that I go to our local MedStop. So that’s what I did, explaining that I had just given birth, and obviously pushed for so long that I pulled a neck muscle and could they please, please, please help me with the throbbing before I voluntarily drank a cup of Raid to kill myself and dull the pain. So I got a shot of something and some muscle relaxers …. And came home and basically went to bed for three days.

Now, if you’ve ever head of an “epidural leak” or an “epidural headache”, you already know where I’m going with this story. But if you’re like me, and had never heard of such thing … well, you lay in bed for three days, thinking that you’re going blind every time you sit up or stand up. And you take a lot of drugs. That really do no-one any good. Especially your poor mother who thinks you’ve overdosed in the back bedroom.

There were two exceptions to my “Don’t get out of bed and Do drug yourself into oblivion” situation …. Sunday, when the baby’s parents brought him for a visit, and Tuesday, when my mother cut off half of her thumb and I had to drive her, pain not-with-standing (hers OR mine) to our local emergency room for stitches.

Oh, and did I mention, that when my mom came to visit me, she brought her dad with her (my grandpa) who planned to spend these three weeks visiting my uncle in Atlanta. Ninety years old and in fair health, both mentally and physically, he unfortunately fell down, was admitted to an Atlanta hospital, and unexpectedly died the next day. We got the call Sunday while Nicolas and his parents were visiting.

And here is where things started to get bizarre, to say the least.

Sunday we found out my grandpa had died, and my uncle began arrangements to get the body back to OKC for burial.

Monday, I lay in bed and moaned a lot. That’s about all I remember of Monday. Painkillers. And moaning.

Tuesday, my mom had her unfortunate Cantaloupe Cutting Incident and had to be taken to the ER.

By Wednesday, I had figured out that if taking a boatload of pain killers wasn’t getting rid of my neck and head pain, in fact, not even making a dent in it, it probably wasn’t a pulled muscle after all. I listened to the girlfriends who explained what an epidural leak was, decided that was probably what I had, and spent ten hours in the local emergency room/operating room getting something medieval called a Blood Patch to take care of it. Basically, another epidural where they take blood out of your hand and inject it into your spine to close the hole from the original epidural, where all the cns fluid is leaking out and causing the pain. Who knew? Even more basically, I had the same spinal tap procedure, more or less, that Kendrie and her fellow ALL kids have done week after week, month after month, year after year. I certainly didn’t enjoy it and feel more respect than ever for these kids who undergo such a procedure dozens of times ….. but it DID work to get rid of my pain and therefore was the greatest thing ever.

On Thursday, my uncle, aunt and cousins arrived in OKC for the funeral and decided to stay with my dad, since my mom was visiting me and the house had two empty extra bedrooms.

Funeral was Friday.

Lucky for us my aunt and uncle were staying there, as when they arrived back at the house Friday night, they discovered my dad had fallen out off his wheelchair (or scooter, I’m still not clear on the whole story) (for those of you who don’t know, my dad has muscular dystrophy) and had laid there for about an hour, unable to get himself up. Subsequent visit to the ER revealed, fortunately, nothing more than some bruised ribs.

We were sitting back, thinking how providential it was my aunt and uncle were there, since my sister and her husband and their kids (you think it’s hectic at my house? They have four boys, ages 3, 5, 8 and 10) had gone out of town for Memorial Day Weekend ….. my dad would have lain there all weekend, with no one around. We joke about it, but I guess one of those “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” gadgets for him to wear around his neck is next.

As seems inevitable at this point, my sister’s gang was destined to join the melee these past few days. It happened when her 3-yr old son fell off a bunk-bed at the lake house and broke his elbow in two places. Still in their swimsuits, smelling temptingly of sunscreen and fishy lake water, my sister and her husband had to rush him to Children’s Hospital and spend the night, before his surgery the next day to set his elbow with pins, plates, and a full-arm cast he’ll have to wear for the next five to six weeks. Now *that’s* a fun way to start off the summer for a three year old! (NOT!)

And although there wasn’t a thing we could do from here to help my uncle, attend the funeral, help my dad, or help my sister and her family, we DID at least get to greet Blaine when he returned home on Saturday night.

My plans to join him in Seattle were thwarted by the epidural headache --- I could barely manage to stay upright long enough to use the restroom, let alone try to navigate the Atlanta airport and sit up for a five-hour flight. So he pushed on alone, thankfully able to manage his final week of radiation treatments without help, me feeling like a pile of neglectful, guilty dog shit the entire time. Well, you know, if dog shit had a head that hurt like hell.

In a nutshell, he’s happy to be home, but feeling pretty crappy. Although on the outside he looks like he fell asleep in front of one of those 1980’s home-sunlamps (was I the only one who had one of those?) he admits it's the burns on the inside of his mouth, nose and throat that are the most painful, not the ones on his face. Eating is difficult, as swallowing is near impossible unless he completely numbs his mouth with medication first. He’s got a bald patch on the back of his head where the radiation shot out behind his ear …. I made a joke about a dog with mange, but he didn’t seem to think it was very funny, so I knocked it off.

Sleeping basically IS impossible, as breathing through his mouth for more than a few minutes at a time results in the inside mouth sores drying out, which is extremely painful. So the poor guy goes to bed and sets his alarm so he’s not sleeping more than an hour at a time; that’s about all he can stand. He’s a walking zombie and they say the side effects will culminate and continue for another two weeks before they start to improve. Quite frankly, I don’t know how he’s going to make it. I know he **will** but he’s feeling pretty grim right now. He does have home health nurses that (we think) will be coming out starting tomorrow and I’m hopeful they have some suggestions for pain management and for him to be able to get some rest.

On a happier note, the kids are thrilled to see him again, and I know he’s glad to be back. We just keep telling ourselves, “This is probably the worst it will get, so once he gets through it, everything is downhill from there.” Right?

I hope that’s not too depressing of an update, but many of you have been kind enough to inquire about him in the guestbook and I figure at the very least you deserve an honest report. If you could keep the prayers and happy thoughts moving in his direction, specifically that he could get some relief from the pain from the burns, I know he would appreciate it. I read online somewhere that sometimes, the treatment for cancer is worse than the cancer itself. Blaine says at least for now, he definitely agrees.

Hopefully it’s like labor, though, and if we ask him again a month from now, he’ll insist it wasn’t so bad. Much like I intend to downgrade the epidural headache to nothing more than an annoying little twinge, and go on to blissfully have dozens more surrogate babies (ok, perhaps dozens is a bit of an exaggeration, but as cute as that little guy is, how can I NOT want to do it again???)

For now, we’re enjoying the start of summer (my kids lasted until 9:15 Monday morning before I heard the first “I’m bored!” --- how about your kids?)

Hope your Memorial Day was wonderful.

PS. One final funny thing. Well, funny to me, anyway. According to my bathroom scale, I am two pounds away from reaching my pre-pregnancy weight. NOT that that is really anything to brag about, considering I was thirty (ahem, forty) pounds overweight to start with. But regardless, I have apparently lost 38 of the 40 pounds I gained with this pregnancy. The funny part is that no-one took the time to give my uterus this information. Hence the reason I still look six months pregnant and I’m still wearing elastic-waistband maternity clothes. Hence also the reason I’ve been asked who knows how many times (I quit counting at a dozen, I swear) “So, when is your baby due?” from total strangers, and even worse …. “Well, I thought you already had that baby, but obviously not!” from people who know me. Including my kid’s teacher … and one of the moms on the baseball team tonight …. And countless others. Could someone let my uterus know …. “Elvis has LEFT the building!”

PSS. May 30, 2006 Dear Blaine, Happy Anniversary. I love you dearly. Wow, nineteen years, and the laughs just keep on coming. Truly, how can we stand this much fun? :)

PPSS. In reading through the guestbook entries the past few weeks, I saw several of you were kind enough to offer up your birth weight guesses for Nicolas to a charity of my choosing. Although there are so many wonderful pediatric cancer organizations, what really drew all of us together was this site, so I would suggest that if you are so inclined, please make your contribution to Caringbridge. There’s a link (I am pretty sure) at the bottom of every CB site you can click to make an online contribution. I owe so much to this great web host that has allowed me to connect with so many of YOU!

Sunday, May 28, 2006




obviously, we have forever lost the battle against the tongue hanging out of the mouth .... Kendrie and Kellen are both lost causes

Hope you have a WONDERFUL Memorial Day!!!

PS. To our fellow military families, past, present, and future ..... thank you!

Thursday, May 25, 2006


No, despite what you might think, I’m not so vain that I feel updating this site is worthy of the Hallelujah Chorus. The Chorus, instead, is intended to properly portray the attitude I have today, as opposed to the way I felt the week following the delivery. It's as if a televangelist thwacked me on the forehead and today …. I choose life. Like coming out of the world’s worst hangover and discovering the birds are still singing and the flowers are still blooming and I do, indeed, have reason to go on living. You know, a minor attitude change like that.

I’ll post more details later (and I promise not to take a week this time) but for now, rest assured that no story from the Escoe Camp would be complete without something bizarre happening. At the very least, I can promise fire trucks and ER visits for pretty much everyone in our family.

In the meantime, please join me in welcoming God’s newest littlest blessing:

Nicolas Ryan

Born: May 18, 2006

Weight: 10 lb 2 oz

Length: 22 inches

To all of you crazy people in the guestbook who have been guessing 12 and 13 pounds ---- WERE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME????? I thought 10 pounds was pretty impressive, but after reading about all the rest of you and your giant mutant babies, I’m thinking it’s not so remarkable after all!

Thanks for sticking with me through this week of no updates …..

Thursday, May 18, 2006



Page 1:

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And then the little shit had the nerve to charge me $2.99 for the privilege of BUYING the book from him!!!

Well, we’re having a wee bit more than twinges here, which is why you’re getting this update at 3 in the morning. My not-too-bad-now-but-getting-stronger-all-the-time desire for pain medication is tempered only by the fear of calling my girlfriend in the middle of the night to come watch my kids, waking my mom up, waking up the baby’s parents, and everyone driving the half-hour to the hospital, only to be told I’m not really in labor; go back home.

So I think I’ll sit here and pant and swear under my breath a little while longer, at least until a more humane decision-making time. Like 4 am. Then it will DEFINITELY be time for the epidural. Or at least if I’m sent home from labor & delivery in shame, it will be at an hour reasonable enough we could stop somewhere and have breakfast.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Update on Blaine: As of today, he has finished half (eight) of his sixteen total radiation treatments. We’ve been lucky and have found some people online who are willing to share their experiences with us, but it’s still a little frustrating because everyone we have “met” has had traditional x-ray radiation, whereas Blaine is having neutron beam radiation, and comparing the two is like comparing apples to oranges. But at least it’s good to have *something* to go by. We know the side effects he is experiencing at this point in treatment are most likely all normal, although to be honest, they are starting to get a little rough.

The specialized location of the radiation zaps the salivary glands, reducing them to non-functioning. Imagine the dry mouth from the worst hangover of your life, and then multiply it by ten. THEN add another zero, and try to go through each day, sleep through the night, or eat anything in that condition. The term “I don’t even have enough spit to swallow” has taken on a whole new meaning for the poor guy. Luckily, since Blaine is only getting radiation on one side of his head, the doctors are hopeful that he will regain salivary function on the other side at some point in the future. Besides the convenience function, did you know saliva contains enzymes that keep your teeth healthy? That’s why so many head & neck radiation patients wind up losing their teeth afterwards. So we’re extra hopeful one side begins working again. In the meantime, they’ve got him on a special medication to promote gland function, and he’s drinking like there’s no tomorrow. (Well, I guess technically if you were drinking like there was no tomorrow, you’d be downing the gin and tonics …. And he’s guzzling milk and water. But you get my drift.) In fact, his comment to me was, “Now I understand why you complain when you’re pregnant about getting up to use the restroom four and five times each night.”

He’s having some nausea, which they are giving him Zofran to combat. (Hey, he and Kendrie will have something else in common!)

The worst side effect so far, though, are the burns in his mouth, throat and nose. The sunburn on the outside, he says, is nothing compared to the burns on the inside …. pretty much par for the course with radiation, from what we’ve heard and read. He says it hurts to talk, eat anything with any kind of spice or acid in it (and did you know that even a nutritional beverage like Boost has salt and acid in it? Blaine found that out the hard way) and it’s difficult to sleep, so he’s up a lot at night, which makes him fatigued during the day …. Vicious cycle.

As I understand it, after these sixteen treatments, he will have received his lifetime maximum dose of radiation and it will no longer be an option for further treatment, if it’s necessary. We won’t know for four months, the time of his next set of scans, whether or not this worked, or how well. Now I understand a little better the frustration of waiting for scans that all the parents of kids with medulloblastoma, neuroblastoma, etc, must feel. On the one hand, I can’t wait for the scans so Blaine can get the “all clear”. On the other hand, I’m nervous for him to get the scans because what if this didn’t work? Look up ambivalence in the dictionary, and you’ll find the photo of a cancer patient in just this situation, I imagine.

But the good news is that all of these side effects should be temporary, and at least for now, he is still able to eat. Avoiding a feeding tube is one of his top priorities. That, and dating a supermodel sometime in his life.

He asked me to tell all of you that he appreciates the good thoughts and prayers. He’s checking this site from the computer at the hotel and sees the kind notes in the guestbook ---- so thank you for the support! I’ll keep you posted as more happens.

Update on Kristie: Fat. Waddly. Excited it’s almost over. Sad it’s almost over. My mom is flying in today and of course the kids are ecstatic to see Grandma again. The baby’s parents are flying in tomorrow; final doctor’s appointment on Thursday; and we’ll be induced sometime Friday. Out of respect for the family’s privacy, I won’t post a lot of details, but I will let everyone know how things have gone as soon as I get home from the hospital. Hopefully that will be Saturday; Sunday at the latest, because I am leaving on Monday to fly to Seattle and join Blaine. And hey! If taking a post-partum cross-country flight to help my radiated husband through his final treatments doesn’t just scream FUN, then I don’t know what does!! But I also appreciate the kind comments and warm thoughts.

So, on to my Tuesday ramblings:

Most Bizarre Moment this Week: I went into a public restroom in the mall yesterday and thought the room was empty, except for perhaps the far stall whose door was closed. I sat down, minding my own business, and then heard, “Hello?” I sat quietly …. Were they talking to me? Again, “Hello?” so I tentatively responded, “um, hello?” Then I heard, “Who’s that?” Again, hesitantly, I replied, “its Kristie” All I could think was maybe this lady needed toilet paper or something ….. Then I heard, “What did you say?” and I realized she wasn’t talking to me, she was talking on a cell phone! Who **does** that? Who goes into a public restroom stall and sits on the toilet to make a phone call? Am I the only one who thinks that is bizarre? Plus I felt like an idiot for answering her.

Moment this Week When I Most Questioned My Own Taste: I went into Kirklands yesterday to buy some home decorations I had been admiring …. Three metal-brass-something-ish stars to hang in the entryway. I was standing back, admiring my good taste while the cashier rang them up, and the lady in line behind me said, “Those are neat … are you having a Western Party?” For the second time that day, I wondered, “Is she talking to me?” so I turned around and sure enough, she was looking at my stars. A Western Party? What do stars have to do with a Western Party? Does my entryway now look like the hallway of the Ponderosa????? Will I be startled if Little Joe himself sits down in the living room and watches tv with us later???

Most Nostalgic Moment this Week: I was browsing through the music store at the mall and for whatever reason wound up in the “S” section, and I spied, with my little eye, a copy of one of my favorite cd’s from long ago (of course, back then it was a cassette) Survivor’s Vital Signs. Oh, how I used to love that cd. I immediately bought it and have been playing it non-stop ever since. I'd put a song from it on the site, but it's late and I'm just too lazy. But I have been digging it the past few days.

Most Cringe-Worthy Moment this Week: OHMYGAWD!!! I just remembered that the period in my life when I listened to this album was right after my freshman-year-of-college boyfriend dumped me and broke my heart! Worse, I took all the sappy love songs off the cassette and MADE HIM A COPY AND MAILED IT TO HIM! WITH A LETTER TO TELL HIM I WOULD PINE AWAY FOR HIM FOREVER!!! OH DEAR HEAVENS THE MORTIFICATION THAT I WAS EVER SUCH A DORK AND DID SOMETHING SO INCREDIBLY HUMILIATING!!! I AM SO EMBARRASSED JUST REMEMBERING WHAT I DID THAT I MUST TELL YOU ALL NOW AND SHOUT ABOUT IT IN ALL CAPS!!! (Dear Lord, please let a tornado have hit his house and while not causing any real damage or injuring anyone, please have let the tornado suck away that tape and humiliating letter because I would just die if I thought it still existed in print.)

Most Are You Kidding Me? Moment this Week: I was getting my nails done (I know! I can’t bear the thought of a massage or anyone touching me, in any way. Ever. Yet I get my nails done. Believe me, sitting there for half an hour while someone else holds my hands is about all I can handle and even then, some days I want to just jerk my hands away, but that would be rude, so I don’t.) and the tv was on in the salon, turned to The Bold and The Beautiful soap opera. Did you know that Mario Lopez, that kid from Saved By The Bell, is now playing a doctor on that soap opera???? I mean, come on. The Saved by the Bell kids as serious actors?? First you had Tiffani Amber Thiessen on Beverly Hills 90210, then Elizabeth Berkley in that God-Awful Showgirls. Now I’m supposed to believe Slater is some kind of neurosurgeon? What’s next? Screech as Othello???

Most “Well, *that* was awkward” Moment this Week: I dropped my cell phone in the Kroger parking lot and it bounced under the car next to mine, right about the middle of the trunk, a good two or three feet inside from every edge. I can barely squat down at this point in the pregnancy, let alone bend over and pick up a cell phone from underneath a car. So I had to stand there until some lady pulled up on the other side, and then ask her if she would mind getting my cell phone for me. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but from the look she gave me, you just know she thought I was either panhandling, or about to give her a Jesus pamphlet right there. Really, I don’t think being connected in the digital age is worth it. Especially with reception as spotty as mine is.

Most Proud Moment this Week:

Was it when Kellen got up to bat and hit a home run in last night’s game? (Never mind that he was the first batter at bat and no-one else was on base ….. one run is better than none, right?)

When Kellen perfectly fielded the ground ball that came his way? (Holy crap, is that tongue hanging out of his mouth? Here we go again………..)

When Kellen easily beat the runner to first base after fielding said ball?

When Kellen ran up and caught a fly ball with the greatest of ease??

No, it was the moment AFTER Kellen caught that fly ball, and I was sitting in my chair, pumping my arm in the air, doing the WOOT-WOOT yell like Julia Roberts did in Pretty Woman, when suddenly, I saw a stray ball out of the corner of my eye, headed right for my head. It happens occasionally, with the ball fields so close together. Although I was a little offended that no one bothered to yell “Heads Up!” as a warning, I managed to flinch, duck, jerk my body around, almost overturn myself in my chair, and escape just in the nick of time …. Only to realize ….. to my horror ….. that the white round thing I saw headed towards my head was not actually a Ball, but the flab from my upper arms gyrating around while I was making the appropriate arm gestures to go with the WOOT-WOOT cheer.

There was no real way to explain what had just happened to the parents around me who were clearly startled by my sudden chair-calisthenics, so I played it off with a loud comment about “A bee! I thought I saw a bee!” and then tried to act for the rest of the game like nothing happened. How embarrassing.

So, are you waiting for a clever remark to tie all my random thoughts together here at the end? Because I can’t think of one. Which pretty much sums up the word random. The End. :)

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Kendrie -- Day 150 OT
Blaine -- Still hanging in Seattle, but not feeling quite as perky as he was

I was so encouraged by the comments in the guestbook from the other parents who chimed in on “loving one kid more or at least claiming to on a regular basis” from Friday’s journal entry, and I’m happy to know my kids will have lots of friends in therapy some day. Ya’lls guestbook entries always make me smile …. I think I get a bigger kick from reading those, and hearing from you guys, than I get from actually writing the journal entries some days. Most days, I get a fair amount of hits on this site (well, "fair" by my standards, anyway) and not very many guestbook entries. So thanks for letting me know!

Today, as you know, is Mothers Day. Invented by {insert historical characters name here, I don’t even know who} and marketed to death by Hallmark and FTD. My day has actually gone pretty well. I was awakened by giggling children … no, scratch that. Technically, I was awakened by an insane dog who apparently had to go outside to use the restroom three times between 6 and 7 am ……. making me wonder if grabbing a hacksaw and cutting an impromptu doggie door between my bedroom wall and the backyard would greatly depreciate the value of the house.

After that, I lay there and pretended to be asleep, as per the instructions I received from my children last night, in preparation for whatever “special” thing it was they had planned. So, the day began with them bringing me breakfast in bed, a gourmet meal that would surely have Martha Stewart sobbing in jealousy; cold toast served on a paper plate and lukewarm milk. I professed my greatest appreciation and choked down a few bites, then we proceeded to the living room where I was bestowed with gifts worthy of a queen: several hand-painted candle holders and a new sleep shirt decorated with magic markers, courtesy of the arts & crafts building from Camp Sunshine a few weeks ago, a purple vase that Kendrie apparently bought at the dollar store (thank you, Renee’, for taking them, that was very nice of you. But next time …. Pier One, maybe, or Crate and Barrel???), a necklace that Kellen bought direct from the Mr. T line of Jewelry for Beautiful and Gaudy Women, which will come in handy the next time I star in a 50 Cent video, and the final gift, two books Brayden purchased with her own money from our School Book Fair last week ---- two of the books I had actually DONATED to the fair myself.

So there you have it, proof positive that my children love me beyond measure and harbor little to no resentment for all the yelling and fussing that has gone on lately. So far today, I managed to remain calm when Brayden spilled not one, but two glasses of milk on the rug (and then she acted offended when I suggested perhaps she should go back to drinking from a sippy cup!), when the kids fought over what movie they wanted to watch (Hello??!?! Whose day is it, people?!??! Someone check the calendar!!!) and when I vacuumed the rug, only to have it littered with granola bar wrappers, goldfish crumbs, and empty Capri Sun drinks not ten minutes later.

I did not, however, remain calm when the kids tried to watch old home movies while I was attempting to take a nap. (I know, what was I thinking?) Apparently the tape got stuck and while trying to cram, force, gently insert it into the camcorder, the entire top of the camcorder popped off, completely unfixable and all three of them insisted on waking me from my nap to swear *they* were not the one who did it.

Never mind that Blaine and I have had that camcorder for ten years and it’s probably the only one on the planet that still uses 8mm tapes. We’ve been talking about buying a new one for a few years ….. so even my griping then about how come nothing ever stays nice around here and everything always winds up broken or dirty or in a million pieces, was a little half-hearted.

Well, I had planned to make Shrimp Fried Rice for dinner tonight, but its 4pm and Kellen is bugging me to go to McDonalds, so now I’m thinking I’ll let Ronald cook for me this evening. Even if it’s only a McFish Filet, at least I wouldn’t have to fix it, right? Which is the beauty of Mothers Day, cold toast and all.

Happy Mothers Day to you, too!

Thursday, May 11, 2006



Kendrie -- Day 147 OT
Blaine -- Hanging tough in Seattle

Growing up, there was never any doubt that I had zero desire to go into teaching, tutoring, mentoring, education, instruction, coaching, training, or any kind of childcare or home daycare. Why? Because Lord knows I don’t have the patience. Yet, I thought it would be ok for me to have children of my own???? What the **heck** was I thinking???

Specific examples of why my children will need therapy when they are older. Or maybe sooner than I think:

#1. Kendrie was playing in the backyard the other day in her favorite tennis shoes and stepped in dog poop. She ran into the house, still wearing said shoes, tracking said poop on our new living room rug, to tell me about it. Exasperated, I told her to take OFF the shoes and leave them on the back patio. The poop would harden somewhat overnight and in the morning I would clean off the bottom of her shoe. Seemed like a foolproof plan at the time. Unfortunately, it rained a little that night. The next morning, the poop was a runny mess on the bottom of a soggy shoe. A shoe that Kendrie was emphatic she wanted to wear to school. While I did go ahead and clean the shoe, very unhappily, I might add, it wasn’t with the cheeriest of dispositions. No one-sided conversation has ever taken place at a kitchen sink with as many variations of the word SHIT inserted as I put forth that day. Perhaps I can still be a role model for my children. Just not before 8am and not if dog poop is involved.

#2. Around here, we have a system where every day is assigned to a kid. Families with only two children, I suppose, could do an even-odd day system, but since we have three kids, we just go in order. For example, if Monday is Brayden’s day, then Tuesday is Kellen’s, Wednesday is Kendrie’s, and Brayden starts over again on Thursday. It just goes continuously and I mark the calendar every month. Whoever's day it is, that person gets to choose which tv channel they watch, take their bath first at night, pick where they want to sit in a restaurant if we go out to eat, select which color bowl or plate they want with their dinner (yes, my kids argue over stuff as inane as that) …. Etc. You get the picture. We’ve been doing it for about two years now and it actually works pretty well at eliminating some of the arguments whining discussion over “She got to choose last time” or “It’s my turn to pick”.

Earlier this week, I took the kids with me to Kroger. At our local Kroger, the empty carts are kept outside the store (you might remember my rant a while back about all the carts being out in the rain one night and me taking some of Kendrie’s steroid frustration out on the poor innocent bagger whose bad luck it was to be standing there as I came inside with my wet cart and wiped it off with hand towels from the restroom) and as we walked up, the following conversation took place:

Kristie, “Whose day is it?”

Brayden, “Mine”

Kristie, “OK, would you go over there and get us an empty cart?”

Kendrie, “No fair!”

Kristie, “It is fair, it’s her day. You know how it works”

Kendrie, “How come I never get to push the cart? How come we never go to the store when it’s MY day?”

Kristie (feeling exasperated), “Oh, for Pete’s sake. I’m not going to let her push the cart in the store, I just want her to walk over there and get one.”

Kendrie (stomping feet, stopping at the door, and crossing arms against her chest) “I’m not going inside if she gets the cart!!!”

Kristie, “Get inside the store now, I’m not having this discussion with you.”

Kendrie, “It’s not fair, it’s not fair! Brayden always gets to do things on her day and I never do!”

Kristie, “I can’t help that today is her day. That’s just the way it worked out.”

Kendrie (voice at an intolerable whining level now, in the middle of the produce section) “You always choose fun things on Brayden’s day, why does she always get to do stuff?”

At this point, I had had it. Annoyed, frustrated, and losing what small bit of patience I indeed posses, I threw back over my shoulder as I walked off:

“Because I love her more.”

Yes. That’s right. I said it to one of my children, IN PUBLIC. I’m surprised the Gods of Fair Parenting didn’t smite me down right there next to the bananas.

As soon as I said it, the guilt began. Even though I was being sarcastic, it was wrong to say, as evidenced by the 6-yr old tears that had already started. Thus began an immediate rectifying conversation about what sarcasm entails, and did she REALLY think that I love one kid better? Honestly? Truly???? I knelt down right there in produce and made sure she understood. Although *I* know that **she** knows that I didn’t mean it, I did feel terribly guilty for even saying it sardonically. Really, shouldn’t parents …. Especially ADULT parents, know better?

#3. Blaine, I must confess, is a much better housekeeper than I am. And the kitchen is most certainly his territory. I cook almost every night, and he cleans. It’s a long-standing arrangement we’ve had, that has worked well for us since we were first married. Now that he’s gone, I admit that it’s the one chore I hate doing the most. I can take out the garbage, get my van worked on, water the yard, sweep, vacuum, whatever I need to do, but I despise cleaning up the kitchen each evening.

Last night, after dinner, I had the kids take showers, and I was helping with homework and reading. The dishes from dinner were still on the counter when a rainstorm came through and “POP”, our cable box was hit by lightening. My normal routine is after I put the kids to bed, I get online for about an hour, then clean up the kitchen and go to bed myself. Since we had no computer last night, or tv, I thought to myself, you know what? I'm tired, and I’m going to bed, too. The kitchen mess will still be there in the morning.

And boy, was it. It looked even worse in the glaring light of morning. Dishes that hadn’t even been rinsed, let alone put in the dishwasher. Glasses still half full of milk, sitting on the counter, and a half of a homemade chicken pot pie that I forgot to put in the fridge. Ga-ross! I was standing there, berating myself for being so lazy the night before (but berating myself in a well-rested fashion because I got eight full hours of sleep.) Kendrie walked in the kitchen, took a good look around, and announced to me, “Ewww. It looks like we live in a troll’s house.”

Ok, that really didn’t help things any.

#3. Fast forward to thirty minutes later. The kids, dressed and ready for school, had gone out in the backyard to get the dog some fresh water. Brayden came back inside, and thanks to that little rainstorm last night, tracked mud all over (you guessed it) our new living room rug …. Which at this point, is seriously not looking so new anymore.

I glanced around, trying to locate all the mud damage so I could clean it up, and saw toys on the floor, and book bags strewn about, and shoes and dirty laundry and now here comes the dog with more mud on his paws ………. AND …… I ….. JUST …… SNAPPED.

I’m not really sure what came over me. I made all the kids sit down at the kitchen table, and then I just went off. About how there are five people living in this house, but only two of us ever do anything around here, and one of those people is gone and so now I’m doing everything and I’m sick of it. SICK OF IT DO YOU HEAR ME????? And you know what the little rugrats had the audacity to do? Giggle. I really don’t think they were laughing *at* me, but by then had gotten the giggles and just couldn’t stop. And the more they tried to hide it, the angrier I got.

So then I launched into that speech that all parents deliver at some point in time: “What if I just decided to go on strike? What if I just quit doing laundry, or helping you with schoolwork, or buying you stuff, or shopping for food, or cooking food? What would you do then, Mr. and Ms. Smarty Pants?”

And Kellen looked me dead center in the eye and replied, “I would go to my school counselor and tell her you’re not taking care of us.”

OH. SO not the right thing to say. (Although, actually, I was sort of proud of him for coming to the conclusion that he would go to another adult with the problem. Proud of him in a twisted, demented, great-then-I’d-have-to-hide-from-Children’s-Services sort of way.)

But anyway, back to his comment. It was like I stepped outside of myself and could look over and see my own head spinning around. I snapped, “Well, hey, if you want to go live somewhere else, where people would take better care of you, you just let me know because we could sure arrange it!”

Yet another mature and reasonable comment from the adult in the house.

Anyway, much like the “never go to bed angry” rule, I also believe in never letting my children go to school with any of us angry, so we worked it out before we left the house. I mean, it’s not like we came up with any peaceable solution, whereby the children offered to take over all the household chores from now until eternity, but they did at least clean up their rooms before we left. And I didn’t even have to threaten to withhold dinner tonight. Which consisted of Pizza Hut, served on paper plates, because I’ll be damned if I’m going to wake up to another mess like I did this morning.

In the meantime, I’m off to clean the rug. Again.

Monday, May 08, 2006



Kendrie -- Day 144 OT

Blaine -- One week of radiation down, three and a half more to go

It’s true; I have nothing of interest to say today. I was going to update you on how things are going for Blaine …. But figured that could wait until later, when he’s further into his treatment.

Then I was going to tell you about Kellen’s baseball game tonight, which his team was winning with a score of 17-1 (until the coach let all the outfield kids play in the infield, and the other team managed to score eleven runs in their final at bat!) but realized you would never believe I’m not a competitive person (which I swear, I am not) if I started bragging about his baseball team so early in the season. Plus, I understand this might be the only game they win all year so perhaps I better not open my mouth too big, or I risk having to put a foot in it later.

Then I considered doing an entire journal entry about my weird oldest child, and the new RULES she has suddenly instituted with regard to her pancakes at breakfast each morning: they must be micro-waved, not toasted, and they must be nuked whole, not cut in pieces. They must be nuked for exactly one minute, THEN you must cut them into pieces. Then and only then can you pour the syrup, but then the cut-up, syrup-coated pancakes must be micro-waved for another twenty seconds, and then more syrup must be added to make up for the syrup deficit that gets absorbed during the second heating ….. seriously. I want to rip my own hair out. Is it not enough that I COOK the pancakes each Sunday morning and make extra to heat up during the school week? Now I must either endure having her bark orders at me and my obvious-lackluster-mediocre-sub-par-pancake-heating skills, or risk her wrath by having the audacity to suggest she DO IT HER DAMN SELF???!?!!

So, you see? Really, nothing too interesting. So I decided to flood you with photos instead.


In the meantime, happy belated Easter!

And, proving you can take the girl out of the boys clothes, but can't take the boys activities out of the girls, I give you "fishing for tadpoles in the wading pond in the park where we took the photos" ..... can you guess how many of these outfits had to be dry-cleaned afterwards???

Thursday, May 04, 2006



Kendrie -- Day 140 OT
Blaine -- One radiation treatment down …. Many to go

As I am fond of telling my girlfriend Renee’, I have never in my life seen two children LESS equipped to be military brats than Kellen and Kendrie. Blaine left Monday for Seattle, and his final vision of our home was of our two youngest children trying to crawl under the garage door, in tears, arms outstretched, for one final hug. They sat at the kitchen window and cried the entire time he was pulling out of the driveway, and have, at some point, cried every day since he left. And they *know* he’s only going to be gone a little over a month. Heaven forbid Blaine is ever deployed for six months to Iraq, or tasked to serve a one-year remote assignment in Turkey or Kuwait ….. the two of them would simply melt into little puddles. How can THESE children be Air Force kids?????

Brayden, on the other hand, is so independent she could be living in her own apartment right now. Blaine calls every afternoon and evening, and if she’s not “too busy”, she’ll agree to talk to him for a moment or two, but only if a commercial is on. That’s not to say she doesn’t miss him, because I know she does. She just doesn’t fall apart on a daily basis like her two younger siblings. Although, she does use it to full advantage whenever she is angry with me …. Tossing out the “Dad is so much nicer than you --- I wish HE were here!” comments when I make her do some despicable chore like brush her teeth or put on clean underwear. Of course, Blaine assures me that she does the same thing, in reverse, when *I* am the one who is gone, so I don’t take it too personally.

However, when Kellen and Kendrie aren’t busy weeping about how much they miss their father, they do have some pretty clever ideas for dealing with his absence. Apparently the first night he was gone, they decided we needed some added protection around the house. I guess they didn’t feel as safe with their dad not here. Out of courtesy, I elected not to tell them that *I* am the one who wakes during the night and comes to check on them …. their father sleeping the sleep of the dead, oblivious to all the bumps and noises in the night.

Kristie: “Blaine, wake up! What was that noise?”
Blaine, mumbling: “It’s the ice maker dropping a load of ice. Roll over and go back to sleep”
Kristie, more urgently: “No, I don’t think that was it! I really think I heard something!”
Blaine: “What you heard are the voices in your head. Now for the love of Pete, shut up and go back to sleep”

And who gets up and walks through the house, double-checking the locks and windows, risking death and dismemberment at the hands of the roving band of axe-murderers who have just broken into our home? ME.

Like I said, although I have no idea where the younger two get this crazy paranoia, they apparently felt we needed some added protection, so they devised a fool-proof anti-burglary system in our hallway:

Stuffed animals, army trucks, and motorcycles, ready to spring to life and defend our home from invasion. When I asked exactly “how” these things would protect us, Kellen simply replied, “They’ll protect us if strangers try to come in the house.” Um, ok. I especially like the Camp Sunshine mascot cow tucked into the tank and am confident that a thief would also find it terrifying and flee in the night.

Something else I should point out to the kids is that there is no way anyone would break into our home because:

a) We don’t have anything worth stealing, and

b) Better than our motion sensor lights, our alarm system, our prickly bushes under the windows, our locked doors, and a mother who sleeps with the cordless phone next to her bed, 911 on speed dial, we have this: the Mount Everest of home protection, the safety and security that comes only with top of the line defense systems …. The fortification of the canine world:

Lager. Our deaf, old, arthritic dog, who stays in this position ninety percent of the day and night, getting up only long enough to eat and move to another spot on the carpet. Really … who *wouldn’t* feel perfectly safe and secure with this ferocious beast around, safeguarding your family?

On second thought, maybe the cow in the tank is a better bet.

PS. A MOST sincere Thank YOU to the people who responded to my request in the last post for hook ups with people who have radiation experience. I was pleased to receive several responses and have been able to ask questions of quite a few people. Also, I’m a little embarrassed to admit there was an online support group (right in front of my FACE!) that I overlooked, which someone was kind enough to direct me to. So hopefully between the people who have been nice enough to e-mail me personally, and the people on the support list, we’ll be getting a better idea of what Blaine is in for with these radiation treatments.

He started this week and things seem to be going ok so far, although he admitted yesterday that having his head bolted to the table in the Jason-mask is a little disconcerting. (His actual words were, “I had no idea I was claustrophobic, but this sucks!”) I reminded him of all the young cancer patients who have the same thing done and have to be sedated because they are only children …. And gave him a gentle reminder that perhaps he should be grateful that although it sucks, he *is* an adult and at least in better control of the situation. He agreed, and thanked me for always being right and wise and smarter and all-knowing.

(OK, so that last part isn’t true, but you know what I mean. He SHOULD have thanked me for all that, because I totally AM!)

Monday, May 01, 2006


Kendrie -- Day 137 OT

Blaine -- Quick! Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane!! It’s, it’s ….. well, shoot, it IS a plane, with Blaine on it. He’s probably over your head right now on his way to Seattle! (Radiation starts tomorrow -- if you have a spare good thought you could direct to the northwest part of the country, I know he’d appreciate it.)

Yep, that’s right, we headed to our FOURTH Family Camp Weekend on Friday, courtesy of Camp Sunshine, at Camp Twin Lakes in Georgia. I could go on and on (and on and on and on) about what a great support organization this is, and how much our family has benefited from the outings and support groups run by them …. and how fabulous the workers and volunteers are …. and how much we cherish the friendships we have made with other pediatric cancer patients and their families …. and how we always have such a great time at camp ….. and how we hope they never kick us out even though Kendrie is off-treatment at this point …. As I know you all must expect me to …. Considering I never shut up for anything …. But I won’t this time.

Instead, just like our Florida trip, I’ll give you the highlights instead, in pictures. So that those of you on dial-up can permanently remove me from your favorites list since Lord knows all these photos will never show up for you.


Family Group Activity: painting birdhouses. Ours started out a very cheerful yellow and green. But then the kids wanted to “add details” and they got too impatient to rinse out their paintbrushes between colors, so we wound up with an interesting greenish-brownish-dingy-colored birdhouse that no bird in the tri-state region would nest in unless there was a hurricane coming and they had no other option for survival. I’m sure the Martha Stewarts of the bird world would choose death, rather than hunker down in something so ugly. But the kids had fun, and that’s all that matters.

Playing Frisbee on the lawn with all the other kids: Kellen had a great time, but unfortunately never figured out that the probability for actually *catching* the Frisbee would have been much higher had he kept his eyes open. Oh, well, at least (unlike Kendrie) he keeps his tongue in his mouth.

Hanging out with friends: Brayden and our friend Mary Grace spent all weekend in one another’s company. I’m not sure which one of them enjoyed it more …. Mary Grace, for having a “big kid” to carry her around, or Brayden, for having a “little kid” she could be the boss of for two solid days. Unlike Kellen and Kendrie, Mary Grace actually listened to what Brayden had to say. Quite a difference from the treatment Brayden gets at home from her unappreciative siblings.

Ahhhhh, the bloom of eternally happy siblings ………NOT! I think Blaine was standing behind me with ice cream bars and we told them they couldn’t have any unless they posed for a photo together …. Smiling ….. arms around one another. I am SO not above bribery.

Kendrie and her “new best friend” Keegan. They were inseparable this weekend, with both of them pushing hard for a “sleepover” at the other one’s cabin. Keegan, as many of you know from following his CB site, is currently undergoing some pretty harsh relapse chemo, and I was impressed with what a good job he did keeping up with the other kids this weekend. I don’t know if it was because of Kendrie, or in spite of her, but they both ran pretty hard the entire time. Which, or course, is better for us parents come bedtime, when they’re exhausted and fall immediately off to sleep, which is all that really matters in life.

This was one of the kids’ favorite activities this weekend: paddleboating. One which, by all rights, should have brought me a great deal of shame, since I refused to go in one (after Blaine’s rude weight comment the last time I went in HIS boat, I wasn’t about to risk having a camp lifeguard tell me I’m too fat! Plus, have you ever tried working those pedals? It's hard!!) and so my kids blatantly begged other adults, some who were total strangers, to take them. And people did. Wondering all the while, I’m sure, why my fat-ass was on the dock taking photos as they huffed and puffed by.

Another perennial favorite; gold panning. I keep hoping each time that the kids will find a nice diamond ring, or perhaps an emerald pendant or a pair of sapphire cufflinks, but no such luck yet. In the meantime, we’ve got a nice collection of shiny pieces of glass, plastic, and ornamental rocks, which they guard with their lives and think is truly valuable.

Not to leave all the fun up to Brayden and Kendrie, Kellen snagged another member of Mary Grace’s family for the weekend: Grant. The two boys had a great time playing sports together, and were surprisingly well behaved, considering the mischief they *could* have gotten into, if they had been so inclined. Luckily for us, they weren’t.

A new adventure for our family this weekend: tennis. Well, "adventure" in the sense that Blaine did nothing but throw thousands of balls for the kids to hit, and I sat on a bench and took photos. Considering none of them had ever so much as picked up a racket before, they enjoyed the quick bit of playing we did.

Kellen enjoyed it especially, once he figured out that a tennis racket is NOT the same thing as a baseball bat.

Kendrie never really got the hang of it, and decided pouting on her side of the court was a better outlay of energy than actually chasing the balls around.

Judging by the cheerfulness, cooperation, and gratitude our children showed us for taking them to Family Camp this weekend (I guess they think those suitcases just pack themselves? And unpack themselves at the cabin? And the van loads itself? And all the luggage and bags of crap schlep themselves to and from the cabin? And the dog walks himself to the kennel before hand? And the snacks and drinks just magically appear? You get the picture…….) Blaine and I have decided that our next few vacations will take place at Couples, or Sandals, or some other type of resort that doesn’t allow anyone under the age of 25 to step foot on the property. Not that we don’t love our kids, we do. We just have no desire to travel with them again until they are old enough to vote, pay their own way, sleep in their OWN hotel rooms, and NOT argue with us 24/7/365.

A few of the photos from this weekend that I didn’t take, but that would back up my version of the events:

1. The photo of our kids fighting over whose turn it was to select the movie for the DVD. For Pete's sake, it's not like they haven't seen ALL those movies a dozen time apiece!!!

2. The photo of our kids arguing vehemently with their father and me that Fruit Gushers and Gatorade are a HEALTHY and perfectly rational breakfast choice.

3. A photo of our kids fighting over who got which bed in the cabin (never mind that there are TEN beds to choose from!)

4. A photo of our kids protesting that to walk eight feet to the suitcase to get their own pajamas was simply too exhausting.

5. A photo of the kids fighting over whose turn it was to ride in the wagon, and whose turn it was to pull.

6. A photo of the kids repeatedly, REPEATEDLY, smacking their gum in the van, despite my frequent requests for them to chew with their mouths closed.

6 1/2. A photo of my face turning red as I scream at them politely and lovingly ask them one last time to quit smacking their gum!!!!

7. A photo of me (I am so not making this up) throwing a cup at my children and yelling at them to spit the damn gum out. In my defense, it was a plastic cup so there was no real chance of bodily harm. And I didn’t technically throw it AT the children, I just threw it over my shoulder in the van, towards the general direction of the smacking children. The fact that it hit Kellen in the arm was really more bad luck and unfortunate aim than harmful intent on my part.

8. A photo of Blaine rolling his eyes at the entire lot of us.

Thank goodness the weekend ended on a high note, as finally, in a scene eerily similar to last weekend, we stalked another Canadian family who were visiting the United States on vacation, and showed up on their holiday doorstep. This time, it was Katie and her family, staying with relatives in Atlanta.

Also an ALL patient, Katie was diagnosed a few months before Kendrie and went off-treatment a few months after. Her protocol was slightly longer than ours, but now Katie is reveling in her life post-chemo, and we were so happy, after “meeting” online over two and a half years ago, to get a chance to meet their family in person.

The kids had a great time playing together for the afternoon (or at least *my* kids did … perhaps I shouldn’t speak for Katie and her brother Alex!) Just like right after we met Finn’s family, and Julianna’s family, my kids want to know how much longer until they can get together and play again with their new friends. Obviously, they haven’t quite yet grasped the concept of borders, passports, and ve-e-e-e-e-e-e-errrrry long car rides. And after this past weekend, we’re taking no car ride farther than their elementary school or the local grocery store. But maybe after we win the lottery, we’ll buy ourselves an RV (with a soundproof cabin for Blaine and me) and tour North America, re-visiting these great families, and so many others. We can be the dysfunctional cancer family version of MTV’s Road Rules.

Until then, Blaine and I figure at the rate of one family a weekend, we will be able to party-crash all the families on our All-Kids list in a short five years or so.

So, who’s next??? Any volunteers??? :)

PS. All kidding aside, I am looking for a little bit of help here. Blaine starts his radiation tomorrow, and as WONDERFUL as the support and information I found online for pediatric leukemia has been, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction for head and neck cancers. I’m not sure if it’s because people are more inclined to step up when their children are involved, or perhaps adults are more private ….. I just don’t know why there isn’t a support network to be found (and believe me, we have looked!)

Specifically, we would love to talk to someone who has undergone radiation for salivary gland/sinus cancer …. Even more specifically, neutron beam radiation. But we’re not choosy, we’ll take anything in the ballpark. We would just like to hear from someone who has “been there, done that” and would be willing to give us their know-how with regard to treatment difficulties, severity and length of potential side effects, long-term experience, etc.

It’s too bad there’s no way to “search” these Caringbridge sites by diagnosis. Privacy issues aside, it sure would be helpful! So if you know of anyone, or know of anyone who knows of anyone … etc …. And wouldn’t mind passing our names along, we would certainly appreciate it. Thanks!