Finally a post from mom! Life has been extra crazy these days. The boys have started soccer again this year, and Adelaine unofficially too. Coach Doug looks pretty silly in his cast hobbling around the field. Yes, he has on a leg cast for his broken toe! I guess the doctor knew to get any sympathy next to Adelaine, they’d really need to draw some extra attention to it! If he would have broken his ankle he’d probably be in a full body cast!!!

While were on the Doug topic, his toe is healing nicely and the pain is much improved. We went camping with CCC the weekend of his birthday. It was a lot of fun. I always thought I’d like to get the family into regular camping trips, but I learned something about myself that weekend…. as much fun as it was, I’d much rather camp out at the Don Cesar Resort, and enjoy a restful sleep on their cozy down feathered pillow top mattress! Doug completely agrees with that one. For his birthday, we got him The Magic Bullet miracle mixer!!! You’ve probably seen the infomercial for it on television. The guy with the British accent says “You can have an omelet in ten seconds”, or “You can have homemade Pesto in just 3 seconds”, or “crushed ice, powered sugar, homemade soups all in 5 seconds”. I would sit in front of the television mesmerized thinking, “Wow, we have to get that”. So for Doug’s birthday, (remember he’s the chef in the family) we thought it would be the perfect gift. I can honestly say that we have used it every single day since he opened it. We make smoothies (the most amazing smoothies), salsa, soups we chop and dice like mad! It came with this great recipe book. My favorite part is hearing Doug talk in the British accent while he uses it!!! He says stuff like, “Look I made this Ham Salad in just three seconds!” Unfortunately he didn’t get the Bucs leather helmet he wanted which would have proven to be equally as useful, but Christmas is just around the corner!

Today was full speed ahead as usual. I came home from getting the boys from school and started dinner so everyone could eat before practice. It was pleasing to see that we had a full hour to eat and enjoy dinner. Tonight’s menu was homemade Chicken Noodle soup. The table was set and the soup had cooled enough to eat so we all sat down. As I looked into my soup mug, I thought, “Hugh, something’s missing”. Then it dawned on me…. the noodles! So we took a vote and poured everyone’s soup back into the pot and dinner was prolonged by about another 15 minutes. So our relaxing meal was a little rushed, plus I got a nasty burn on my hand when dishing it out the second time around. If I had it to do all over again maybe we’d have had Chicken Noodleless soup instead. But, it all worked out and every one is out the door on their way to the soccer field and I’m home alone for the first time since I don’t know when!!!!

I’ve missed posting these past few weeks, but just can’t seem to get caught up. Right after the Pirates and Princess Party I began working doing overnight caregiving for an elderly lady. She is 94 years old and honestly her mind seems a bit sharper than mine, it’s her body that can’t seem to keep up!!!! Apparently mind slippage is an epidemic for parents of with children undergoing cancer treatments, so at least I’m not alone I guess! In the beginning I worked full time and worked over 80 hours a week, but now I’m down to 3 nights a week. It’s going well and I probably get more rest there than I would at home. The problem is it’s just not enough, but do any of us really get enough rest these days?

As for Adelaine, she is doing pretty well. Her hair is growing like crazy. Before she looked like Julie Andrew’s from “The Sound of Music”, but now it looks more like Kitty, on “That 70’s Show”!!! Almost three weeks ago she went to All Children’s Hospital for her every three months spinal injection. It went as usual, but honestly every time I’m shocked by how harsh it is on her little body. It really scares me and reminds me just how real this whole thing is. Thursday she got the flu vaccine, and Friday her counts were a lousy 600. She has been fighting a strange rash for a few weeks and it is finally under control. This Friday we go in for a recount to see how her blood levels are. She has 11 more months of chemo treatments to go, which includes only four more spinal injections. Every time we go in for one I feel like she’s back on the fence, an easy target for things to go wrong. All we can do is pray, but in reality that’s the most powerful tool any of us have, right?

This year is going great for Mason and Bowen. Both boys are loving school and are extremely happy. Ironically enough, Mason and Bowen’s classrooms are directly across the hallway form each other’s. They see each other throughout the day and are very excited to tell me about it when they get home! Mason just loves his teacher and he started going to Gifted two weeks ago, they meet every Monday. He has been looking forward to that for an entire year, finally it happened. Also Mason got in to the Young Astronauts Club at school. He is doing Space projects and building Space Shuttle models, he is really enjoying 2nd grade.

Bowen is equally as happy. I prayed so hard for the boys to have great teachers and God truly answered. Both boys’ teachers exceed my wildest expectations. Bowen’s teacher, Ms. Griffin, is an art teacher and teaches at Art Camp during the summer. She brings a little something extra to the classroom, which in only two month’s time has impacted and enriched Bowen’s life. He has developed a true love for art and drawing. Bowen is an amazing artist and he has a real passion for drawing. Today I offered to let the boys watch TV in the bedroom for ½ hour and Bowen chose to draw instead. His teacher has also commented on his abilities. It is so wonderful to see him develop into his own little person and have something that is his and he loves to do. He does come home and teach Mason the things that he is learning to draw. It is wonderful for them both and I know it helps build Bowen’s self confidence. As for Bowen’s Gifted testing, we decided to not have him privately tested over the summer, but to wait and let the school system test him. Doug thought maybe he needed Kindergarten to just adjust to school life without the once a week interruption from class. I bet he’d rather be in class with Ms. Griffin than anywhere else on the planet, so that was a good call on Doug’s part!

As for our fundraiser, we had an amazing turnout with over 300 people! The Carrabba’s owner said it was the best fundraiser he’d ever had. Both our families had so much fun and everyone else seemed to as well. There were over 50 items we raffled off, face painting for the children, the Disney Princesses were there, Jack Sparrow, The Star Wars Storm Troopers, it couldn’t have been more perfect. The food was excellent too of course. Annike and I were blown away by the turnout and the amount of support our community has shown. We raised above and beyond what either family could have wished for. Thank you to everyone who helped make the event a success. We were truly blessed and amazed. Doug and I are so thankful that we were able to keep our home. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support and prayers. It’s the people in our lives that have supported and loved us through all this that have kept us going. You have been our answer to prayers.

The Two Snow Whites, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty at Adelaine and Liem’s Pirates and Princesses Fundraiser Party

Annike (Liem’s mom) was over today, we had a nice visit and spoke of how life would be off treatment. We look forward to when this is all behind us and her Liem and my Adelaine can move on with their lives. For the next five years we both will be taking our babies, very regularly, to the Oncologists be tested for relapse. Every month at first, then I’m not really sure. It’s hard to spread your wings and fly away if you have to keep going back to test the “What If’s”. Please pray that neither Liem or Adelaine, or any other child in treatment has a relapse of cancer. I feel in my heart that once Adelaine is done in September 2008, she will be forever done with this horrible disease. If we live our lives worrying about a relapse, we will continue to be bound by cancer and never truly freed from it. Please pray, that we truly will be released from cancer in September 2008, that we will embrace and own our freedom completely, not just freedom in Adelaine’s body but in our hearts and minds as well.

Now the children are home again from soccer. Mason and Bowen had dinner for the second time (apparently soccer makes you hungry), and the children all had a smoothie, (go Magic Bullet)!

Before I say goodbye, I do have some sad news to share. Last week I attended a little girl’s funeral, her name is Hannah Deal, and she was to turn five on October 30th. We met her and her family at the Children’s Cancer Center and Hannah and Adelaine played together every week. She was an amazing little girl all princessie and girlie, outgoing and full of life. About 1 ½ years ago she was diagnosed with Diffuse Pontine Glioma which is a cancerous tumor wrapped around her brain stem, inoperable because of its location, they gave her only 1 year to live. She was a strong fighter and gave it her all. It was her strength that kept her going an extra six months. Please pray for her family. Although they recognize that she is completely healed and with Jesus and will never suffer again, I can only imagine how they must miss her seeing her, holding her, giving her kisses and tucking her into bed at night.

Hannah Deal 10/30/2002 – 10/14/2007
visit to read her story

Before Hannah went with the Lord she and her mother, Lisa, started the Ladybug toy drive for children in hospice. The toy drive benefits the many children who are at hospice and have no toys. Without our help many of these children will not recieve any Christmas and birthday presents this year. The toys will go to The Hospice of the Florida Suncoast Pediatrics Unit, where Hannah spent the last few weeks of her life. Lisa and Hannah were overcome with compassion for those children who had literally nothing. We all have been given the chance to warm a heart and bring a smile to one of God’s precious children who’s life here may be ending soon. The toy drive will be held until November 17th. I would like to encourage each of you to send in a toy, or even start a mini toy drive to send to honor little Hannah. Please visit her website to get the details. Thank you and God bless.

Thank you for your love and support. It’s love, compassion, mercy,and grace that makes this world a better place!

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