Sunday, October 01, 2006


(Yeah, I wish ice cream had no calories and cured heart disease, but that’s another story.)

I’m sorry it’s been so long between updates. I appear to have been stricken with a severe case of Jamaican Sleeping Sickness …. About 8:30 each night, I fall asleep on the sofa and dream I am on a cruise to Jamaica. Instead, I am sprawled on the sofa, surrounded by take-home projects from my kids’ teachers. Put some reading glasses on my nose and a newspaper across my stomach, cue snoring in the recliner, and I’ll have turned into my dad at the rate I’m going.

Anyway, on to bigger and better things:

I have never been in a bar brawl or a street fight (shocking, I know) and I’ve never been struck by another human being in my life. Unless you count those “this hurts me more than it hurts you” spankings I got as a youngster, or the fact Blaine let go of the truck door last Thursday night in a wind storm and I was standing at the perfect wrong spot and the damn door blew shut right on my face and I swear I thought it broke it my nose …. But, I’m rambling, and that’s another story, too.

My point is that although I’ve never been physically hit by anyone else, I don’t think any sort of uppercut to the jaw could possibly hurt worse than the shock and pain of that first gut-wrenching moment when you’re told your child has cancer. Only really, it was more like a sucker punch to the stomach, because I walked around the first two weeks feeling like all the breath had been knocked out of me and I could vomit at any second.

I’ve talked about it in this journal before, but it was close to a week after Kendrie’s initial diagnosis before I found out leukemia isn’t always fatal. The day after diagnosis, all I knew was that we were being sent to Atlanta because our local pediatric oncologist said he couldn’t take on her case. Then, a few days into things in Atlanta, the social worker came in the hospital room to meet with Blaine and me and discuss the resources available to us. Kendrie was out getting a heart function test, or ultrasound, or x-ray, or something {one of the many tests they have to perform before starting chemo treatment} and it gave us a quiet hour to visit with the social worker. We were SO overloaded with information, and still in shock, and most likely not asking any intelligent questions yet. I’m sure she could sense we were overwhelmed, and to close the meeting on what she must have thought would be a cheerful note, she said, “Well, just think, at least your daughter will get a wish from Make-A-Wish!” And I promptly burst into tears. And thought yet again about vomiting.

Ironically, about a week after we got home from that initial hospital visit, I opened the mailbox one afternoon to find an envelope from our local Make-A-Wish organization. Although by this point I knew things were not quite as dire as they seemed initially, I was still pretty deer-in-the-headlights and reeling from the changes that had taken place. Opening the mailbox and seeing that envelope wrecked me. I thought, “Oh my gosh, do they know something I don’t know? Is that why they’re sending me information on getting the wheels in motion for her wish NOW?” Once again, I was struck with the inability to take a deep breath …. the nauseous, sick-to-my-stomach feeling …. It was pretty much becoming a theme for me by that point. Come to find out, though, it was nothing of the sort. It was a fundraising letter; I’m sure everyone in our town got one that day. But how ironic that it arrived just a few weeks after finding out Kendrie would be eligible for a wish of her own.

If you’ve followed this journal for very long, you’ll know that Kendrie’s wish was for a trip to Disney, and to stay at Give Kids the World in Florida. MAW handled everything. We took the trip in February of 2005 while she was half-way through her treatment. I wish I could say it was the best trip EVER, but it wasn’t because my children acted like the spawn of Satan and I seriously thought about leaving them on the side of the highway with “Free to a Good Home” signs around their little necks.

But regardless, the Make-A-Wish organization did a wonderful thing for our family by making the trip available, at no cost to us. So when I heard that Cold Stone Creamery was having a fundraiser night for MAW last Thursday night, there was no doubt in my mind that we would go. A fundraiser? Combined with ice cream? Really, the only thing that would have made it any better would have been for Brad Pitt to personally scoop up my Rocky Road,then feed it to me with a little silver spoon. Naked. (Him, not me.)

So the kids and I had ice cream for dinner that night, then I let them run off the sugar high at soccer and baseball practice.

I made a point of letting the CSC manager know we were a wish family and thanking him for having the fundraiser. I also thanked the two MAW interns who were there passing out flyers and told them how wonderful GKTW is. I also told the CSC cashier that we had gone on a wish trip and that I wanted to donate, when I purchased the “star” to put on the wall and show our contribution.

By the end of the visit, everyone in Cold Stone thought I was a lunatic. A lunatic with a camera. A lunatic with a camera who never shut up.

I suppose they’re probably right. But if I could figure out a way to get those calories out of the ice cream, I’d be the genius blabbermouth lunatic who had the last laugh, wouldn’t I? Of course, it would help if I could stay awake past 8:30 pm.

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