Reincarnated As A Mother

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Paging Doctor Freud

If you've been around us much, you'll know Byron and I 
half joke that we don't save for college for our girls.
Instead, we save for their counseling bills!
Today was one of those moments that remind us maybe we shouldn't joke.
Reese's fourth grade class had a "Poet in Residence" work
with them for the past few months.
Today, they presented their book of poems to the parents
and each read the poem they had created.
 Some were great.
Some not so.
Reese's shouldn't have surprised me but it did.
She wrote her poem about Kean and of course, his cancer.
Stupid cancer- as much as we try to not let you rule our lives,
somehow you are always there!
Reese's was very sweet.
It was as if she was taking us through a photo album of Kean.
I'm glad she was the one to read it.
I couldn't have gotten through it.
 While all the other kids seemed to write about
friends, animals, TV shows or video games--
here she is writing about her brother.
 I can't help but wonder how much of an
impact this has had on her little personality,
her outlook on life and her future.
The children were all so little when it started.
Kean was 2, Reese was 5, Greer 8...
 and Holland only 10.
So very much has happened in those years...
 I was thinking about this today.  Cancelling Reese's birthday
party with her friends and having a cake and pizza in the play room
at the hospital.  If anything, I guess it will be memorable.
But I still worry.  These girls have sacrificed, lived like hermits and
been ignored at times.  How much have they  internalized of their
parents' stresses about Kean's health, the never ending bills and
the monster sized fears that accompany cancer?
That still haunt our home..
I comfort myself with the knowledge they've seen first hand
a tremendous amount, no make that, a mind-boggling amount of
love and service shown to our family.
They've made friends in our world of cancer-- with nurses, doctors,
other families, Boise State students who put on dance fundraisers,
and of course, with all those involved with Camp Rainbow Gold.
They've had experiences we never expected (Make A Wish, Share Your Heart Ball, Baldapalooza)
and never could replicate.
They have huge hearts, are all three compassionate little souls
who want to reach out and hug any person they meet who has cancer.
Hopefully, all that will far outweigh the bad.
Hopefully, all that will help them overcome seeing several
family friends lose their children to cancer.
Hopefully, this will make them all better members of the human race.
Hopefully, they will someday be able to remember this time with fondness
(and that their parents were just doing their darn best to survive).
Hopefully, they will remember all the bright spots, the kind hearts, 
the incredible opportunities.
And hopefully, they will block out the darkness that
some days creeped into every corner of our lives.
We did try to protect them from those days.
But dang, these kids are smart and pick up on more than we think.
Maybe I think too much
and they'll be just fine.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Disney Idaho

Lucky boy.
Kean had a play date yesterday with our friend Colleen Riggs
while I had my first board meeting for Baldapalooza.
We are determined to go to the next level.  We've pulled
together an impressive group of men and women to serve
on our board and ratified our legal paperwork to become
a 501c3 non profit.
We also played our new video we will be using to gather support.
It tells the story of Kean and how Balda got its start.
It is on our website at:
As I mentioned, Kean had such fun.
His day started off a bit rough.
He, for the first time, didn't want to go to school
and his aid texted me about 45 minutes into their day
telling me that Kean just wanted to sprawl out on the floor
underneath a table and rest.
I guess he pulled it together because I never heard back
from his aid after she said let's give him a little more time to come around.
You'd  never know he was in a sour mood
by looking at these pictures.
Colleen said he was wonderful.
And who wouldn't be.
An afternoon with her is almost up there with Disneyland.
She took him to McDonald's for lunch (where I'm told
he had a grand time dipping everything in his sauce-- his
McNuggets, his fingers, his straw)!
 Then it was off to the library where he made friends with
the statues out front.
I can't tell you how much I love these pictures.
It is as if he is trying to get the little girl to get that mouth 
in gear and get reading to him!
Then it was back to her house for a four wheeler ride
(I'm sure he's in love) and a visit with the horses.
What a day-
and what a night.
He slept great!!!

Friday, February 5, 2016

This Is Me!

A fellow cancer mom sent me a link to a letter.
This letter had me nodding my head one minute and crying the next.
Whoa, did it drag up the memories.
And bring back all these nightmare moments we somehow survived.

The letter is written by a mom who has a daughter who fought cancer-- a letter written to all the moms out there who have children who are healthy.
IT IS POWERFUL
In fact, it is as if this mom got inside my head, scooped out my thoughts and put them onto paper-
in a very eloquent and heart felt way.
Here's the link.

http://herdingchaos.com/2016/02/04/dear-normal-moms-a-letter-from-a-chemo-mom/

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Pins and Needles

Kean's following continues to grow.
This kid is a super star.
Today, we recorded a half hour interview with one of our local DJ's
for our St. Luke's Children's Hospital and the Children's Miracle Network Radio-a-thon.
While I answered questions, Kean powered through
a banana, Goldfish crackers, Triscuits and Veggie Sticks.
(I guess the Chicken McNuggets I'd bought him on the way
were just an appetizer).
Kean had his big monthly testing at the hospital today.
Not only did we have a lot of waiting ...
 but our visit fell smack dab in his nap time.
 My friend and neighbor, Cathy McCarthy came along
to help herd the boy.
 And even though he has been "off" for the past week and not feeling good-
he still gave us a run for our money.
 Did I mention it was nap time?
 Did I mention we had to wait a lot today?
 When we finally went back-- his blood draws went perfectly.
Why, oh why was I worried about him losing his port?
Of course, it helped to have his favorite Cars book they
keep at the hospital.
 His vitals are all good.
He now weighs just over 41 pounds (Reese is a whopping 47 and
she's 9 years old)!
We had a lot more waiting in the doctor's office.
And perhaps that was a good thing.... it gave us time to prepare
for the crazy news.
One of Kean's white blood cell counts is "very high"--
the doctor said something weird is going on so we are 
starting some testing.
He said he is not worried about the cancer coming back yet--
but we will try and figure out what in the world this means.
I'll keep you posted (if I'm not in an insane asylum)!
Remember, as I tell everyone, there's no reason to worry
until we have a reason to worry, right?
Right?

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Den of LOVE

There is no way we have been married for seventeen years!
Part of me feels like it was yesterday
but the bigger (and more tired) part of me feels like
we've been married for centuries.
Oh, how I love this guy. 
 And out crazy girls.
They sent us out on a date last night
with homemade fabric wallets (courtesy of Reese)
and twenty bucks inside each of them.
 We went and had yummy Thai food on them
and then a movie (The Martian-- which was great-- intense but great)!
Look what we came home to-
as Byron referred to it:  "the den of love"!
 The girls went streamer crazy in our room...
left chocolates and other treats on the pillows
(well, in front of them anyway)..
 I kinda had the theme from Mission Impossible going through
my head-- our room looked like we had infrared beams all over it.
 This was my favorite part-- we thought it was a B with an L
through it- but it is actually the "&" symbol.  There are tiny hearts
on each side:  one says husband, one says wife.
 And then there was the 17 years sign...
 the chocolate hearts all over the floor...
 and this little gem:  Anniversary Barbie with an old
photo album they dug up from my bridal shower!
 Oh yes, and one glass of sparkling cider to share.
It made our night...
and the seventeen years we've been married
worth every minute!

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Possessed and the Obsessed

Spooky puppy update.
Gotta love those glowing eyes.
The girls are growing and sometimes, honestly, all I can say is-
it's a good thing they are so dang cute.
 Lola fell asleep like this tonight on an old towel.
(They'd gone out in the rain and gotten muddy - yes, again).
Lola and Monroe like to gang up on Kean and steal
whatever he's playing with.
I don't know who I have to watch closer.....
 Kean, by the way, fell asleep in this crazy position.
I guess it is not so crazy when you realize he was in the womb
like this for most of his time.  He still sleeps this way or completely
folded over on his front.
I have to put a barricade in front of the opening on his bed
(where his head is) so he doesn't fall out at night.
(Yes, we all learned the hard way- thump).
And in case you somehow missed this on Facebook - or you 
are one of the last few holdouts, this is worth your time.
Greer has been singing this song to Kean for the past
three years, especially when he was feeling particularly sick
from the Chemo.
Evidently, he was listening.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Cinderellas At the Ball

I've told you- every once in a while we see a huge blessing
come out of the fact our son had cancer.
This weekend was one of them.
We were invited up to Sun Valley for the big
Share Your Heart Ball to benefit Camp Rainbow Gold.
We were given two rooms at the Sun Valley Inn
(one for us, one for the kids-- oh and we opted to leave
Kean with my parents.  He wouldn't have enjoyed it and neither would
I -- if he'd come).  Our beloved friends from Camp left
all kinds of goodies for the children in the rooms.
 The girls have been so excited about this event for months.
They love getting all dressed up and getting to play princess
for the evening.
 This has to be one of the coolest fundraisers on the planet.
They have several activities to raise money to send kids
to cancer camp-- but also to give attendees a feel for
some of the fun of camp.
The girls all tried their hands at archery -- depending on where
they hit on the target determines how many raffle tickets they win.
(We didn't win the diamond necklace or the big trip-- but the parents who
lost their only child to cancer won the trip to Hawaii.  Isn't that the coolest?).
 They  had cow roping- we skipped that since we have enough cow roping
at home and opted for the crazy photo booth instead.
 We marveled at the items in a huge silent auction
and then got to sit with several friends at our table- 
including Miss Idaho Teen.  The girls know her from
sibling camp.  Her little brother had the same kind of
cancer as Kean.
Greer looks a little too comfy in that crown.  Heaven help us!
 The live auction was a thriller.
Almost every item went for over ten grand.
Sometimes, the items went for that huge amount twice, meaning,
they'd offer a trip or something again.
The sponsors were that generous.
 The final item was a piece of artwork-- made by children
battling cancer while up at Camp.
My girls (and two other friends we know from camp)
were asked to go up on stage and show off the art.
It went for 15 grand (I think Reese's mad Vanna White skills
helped) and it included a one night visit to camp (can we 
say Tater Tot Casserole?).
I was touched by the generosity of so many at the ball.
The same guy who bought this artwork, raised his paddle a
short time later and donated another 25 grand to camp.
There are some big hearts in Sun Valley!
 Once the dinner and auction were over, it was time to let loose.
The girls were on the dance floor for the first song
and Greer and Holland were on the floor for the last.
(Reese ran out of gas half way through).
 One of the things that made it so fun-- is everyone was
incredibly friendly.  Every time I turned around, the girls 
were dancing with someone new.
Let's just say we made a ton of new friends.
 Our late night called for a lazy morning-
we tried to sleep in a bit..
But the girls wanted to go check out the newly
remodeled pool at the Sun Valley Lodge.
 Everything is beautiful-- and I had to include this picture
of the girls in the new work out center--- all on the treadmill
in their snow boots! 
 We had the best weekend getaway and loved seeing all
the support shown to the amazing Camp Rainbow Gold.
One of the moms of a child with cancer put it perfectly:  she said,
Camp heals a part of our family that medicine can't.
We couldn't agree more.