Reincarnated As A Mother

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Good Changes

This is something you wouldn't have seen a few weeks ago--
Kean out and about at a Burger King getting ice cream.
 The crew felt they all deserved to be crowned (and get treats)
 after suffering through flu shots-- one for each of 'em.
You can tell they weren't too emotionally scarred.
 Oh, and the lovin' continues.
Look what Kean got in the mail?
His own FBI shirt and hat from our favorite G-man
Jonathan Riggs and his family in Virginia.
He's gonna be the coolest Kindergartner for sure.
 And our dear Lindsay Pennington dropped by
the other night to bring Kean a new Car's backpack
to reward him for making it through years of Chemo.
Trust me, he was excited about the back pack--
even though he was "too busy" to be in the picture.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Party At the Park

I'm quite late in writing up Kean's big end of Chemo celebration.
But I have a good excuse- I've been down with some horrific
stomach bug.
Trust me, you don't want any details.
As for his party?  It was wonderful.
I hardly took any pictures but here's a few--
we set up a table with some of Kean's "highlights" from his cancer journey- 
including a portrait for everyone to sign.
(What a treasure that will be).
 We had two cakes-- both with, yep, you guessed it, motorcycles.
 We had so many dear friends and sweet surprises drop by
during the evening--
like this young lady, Drea Burton ...
 and Sydney Montgomery.
Both are from Boise State's Dance Marathon.
They raise huge amounts of money every year for St. Luke's Hospital 
by dancing around the clock for children like Kean.
 One of our favorite people in the world-- the Pied Piper
as we call him, Jason Hosick from Camp Rainbow Gold
came and charmed all the kids, especially mine.
 This is such a blurry picture but two of Kean's friends
from therapy, Abbey and Mika and their families
came to help us celebrate.
 And finally, (I'm out of the few pictures I took or was sent),
we have Kean's buddy, Alex Hill.  Kean calls him Axe.
 And I don't think I need to use words to tell you
how much this little boy loves this big boy!
 I wish I would have taken pictures of all the
friends, neighbors, church members, therapists, motorcycle men
 and all who stopped by to help us
mark this milestone.
We couldn't help but feel very loved
as we put an exclamation point on this 
long, long journey.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The First Hurdle

I don't know that today could get much bigger.
Shortly after Kindergarten, we whisked Kean off to the hospital
for his first check-up and testing now that he is done with Chemo.
He was tired but happy to see his nurses, doctors and friends.
 Of course, we Barker's don't know how to do anything small or boring.
Kean's port once again decided not to cooperate.
Initially, we got some brown blood (not a good sign) and then
his port just up and refused to share any of the red stuff.
 So he earned a dose of TPA, which earns all of us a good
extra hour of ordering the stuff and then waiting for it to "un-clot"
his port.
And thankfully, it worked!
 We met with Kean's Oncologist and had a very interesting conversation
about what the chances are that his cancer will come back (about 15 percent)
but, and this is a big but, new and huge developments in the cancer world
have come up with a process of re-engineering T-cells to attack the cancer cells
and they now have a 95% cure rate (instead of 60 something).
So that was quite a comforting conversation.
Kean's counts look good, they'll continue monitoring and testing him
every month and I will work on relaxing and not living in fear 
of the big C coming back to my boy.
As we finished up the exam, Kean was led down the hall...
 to the Chemo suite where many of the nurses and staff members 
were waiting.
And I think you will understand why this is my new favorite song!
So, so cute!
Kean was hilarious-- eating it all up. 
 My two favorite moments?
When he took the tissue paper out of his present and took off
like a champion waving his flags to the crowd.
 (They gave him a bear, a train and a hand made blanket).
 And then here's my second favorite moment.
He walked over to his regular Chemo chair, clapped his
hands (as if saying let's get this show on the road)
and hunkered down for Chemo.
Oh what a silly boy.  It will sink in one of these days.
 After all the excitement, we headed up to the 4th floor
to see for the first time the Hall of Heroes portraits all hanging
on the walls.
 It was powerful
And the perfect way to finish off the day.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Big Boy

So not only is he now a big Kindergartner
but as of tonight, Kean finally opted to sleep in his
"big boy bed" rather than his crib.
(He was almost too excited to go to sleep).
  And don't forget, this Thursday night is Kean's big party at the park.
He's giving the thumbs up to each of you who have supported him, loved on him
and shared this journey.
We hope you will join us as we kick cancer to the curb.
   We have reserved the Sunrise Shelter at Stephen Guerber Park (2200 E Celia Ct, Eagle, ID-- just off Highway 55 and Hill Road) for Thursday, September 24th from 5 to 8. Pot luck. We will provide dessert. And if you'd like, bring some art supplies to donate to Camp Rainbow Gold, Inc.. please do.
Oh, and motorcycles are more than welcome.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Writing On the Wall

Oh, are we ever in trouble.
We were up at the cabin this weekend and went to church
for the first time as an entire family in over three years!!
So much for good intentions.
Kean lasted about 20 minutes.
His sweet big sister, Greer, took him out.
When I heard loud squawking, I went out to the hall to help
(and was joined by Reese).
As Byron told Holland-- so much for
all of us going to church together.
It was just Holland and Byron- a partial family -like old times.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Wiped Out

Today being Friday, means Kean skipped Kindergarten
and went back to his old therapy school for three sessions:
OT, PT and Speech.
But before we went, we stopped by to see Motorcycle Jeff
at work.
His architecture firm is literally across the street from Kean's therapy.
 Seeing Motorcycle Jeff also means seeing Motorcycle Bill
(his boss).
 And it means going through the ritual of the ol' fist bump-- (the secret 
handshake of real motorcycle men).
Kean took the opportunity to show off to the entire office.
 Nothing like a few somersaults
to dazzle the crowd.
 Guess all that dazzling, all that working at therapy and
a long week of Kindergarten and big changes will wear
anyone out.
Look who didn't even make it ten minutes in the car.
We welcome the weekend!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

So Good

Three days down and all is still good.
In fact, I swear he already looks and acts healthier.
His eyes seem brighter.
He no longer frequently grimaces in pain and he is talking up a storm.  
He even without prompting calls his
aid by her name.  Well sort of.
Her name is Mrs. Baker and he just calls her "Baker".
I don't know why I find that so hysterical.  But to think of
him throughout his morning referring over and over again to her as "Baker"
makes me laugh.
Greer made this poster for Kean-- of all his favorite things:
Maximus from Tangled, a motorcycle, bacon-- you get the idea.
He's coming home each day-- happy but completely exhausted.
 And Holland and Kean didn't set out today to be twins.
 But they somehow dressed alike- only Kean
wanted nothing to do with taking pictures.
 And everything to do with giving his "Hottie" kisses.
 Life is so good.
Oh yeah, and I almost forgot.
We were on TV again.
This time not about Baldapalooza--
but about vaccinations.
An interview we did a while back hit the airwaves today.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Party Time

For all of you who have "shared the ride", supported Kean, loved on him, prayed for him and cheered him on-- it is time to celebrate the end of 3 plus years of Chemo!  We have reserved the Sunrise Shelter at Stephen Guerber Park (2200 E Celia Ct, Eagle, ID) for Thursday, September 24th from 5 to 8.  Pot luck.  We will provide dessert.  And if you'd like, bring some art supplies to donate to Camp Rainbow Gold, Inc.​.  

The Empty Nesters

Oh was it ever surreal at our house this morning.
Kean's bud driver (and the aid) found our home this time around
and picked him up.
 But geez, it was strange to have them all gone. If you
think about it, Kean and I have basically been attached at the hip
for the past six years.
He had another good day at school.  The report came
back "good" rather than "great" like yesterday.  I guess he
pinched a couple of kids that got in his personal space.  The good news
is they told him "no" and to be nice.  
He'll catch on one of these days.
He came home all smiles-- didn't seem quite so tired
but still took another 3 hour nap.
 The girls were about beside themselves waiting for him to wake up
because a mystery package was delivered while Kean was napping.
 The box was from a group of students at Boise State--
student leaders who put on the Boise State Dance Marathon each year
to raise funds for St. Luke's Children's Hospital and the Children's
Miracle Network.
These amazing and kindhearted students sent him a shirt,
a BSU football, bubbles and a toy motorcycle.
 He was absolutely thrilled.
While we were absolutely touched.
Our future is in good hands with these students coming up to the helm.
They are sharp, sharp, sharp.
Oh, one more thing.  I have come to realize that with all the craziness,
I never mentioned that on the second day of school, Greer withdrew
from her science, technology and engineering magnet and was accepted
into the Fine Arts School in our area (audition only).
She comes home with the biggest smile on her face every 
single day.  She LOVES it!!
Tonight, they had her school's open house.
Here's Greer and her fellow middle schoolers singing
a song they just learned last week.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Big Boy School

Is it possible to be so excited for a day and yet dread it at the same time?
That was today.
I wasn't sure how Kean would do out on his own in the big world--
and guess what?  He did fine.  No, he did great!
We got him all excited to go down and get on the bus.
Even my dear friend, Pam Brown joined us for the big step.
The only problem is the bus forgot to join us.
We waited and waited and waited some more.
Only to finally get a call from the bus driver that she was lost.
So Pam and I drove him to school where we were
met by his aid, Mrs. Baker.
By then, he wasn't too excited to leave his mom
and go into the school-- but he did it
(and I only got a little choked up).
I am so lucky to have a group of girlfriends who threw together
an "emergency support group".
And it worked beautifully-- it was just what I needed
to settle down after a crazy morning.
Kean's Kindergarten teacher had asked me to come
talk to the class about Kean's special needs and the importance
of protecting him from germs so back to the school we went.
I basically asked them if they had little brothers or sisters
and for them to look at Kean that way-- he can learn to and
will be able to do almost everything they can do but it will take
him a little more time.  I asked if they were willing to help him--
and boy, you should have seen their hands all shoot up.
They all wanted to be his helpers and friends.  It was so touching.
We also talked briefly about how he'd been sick, lost all of his hair,
has a special port in his chest to get shots and needs to be super
careful with germs.
It was so fun to catch a glimpse of him in school.
He was thriving and doing just fine when I got there--
and joined right in with singing a song as we left.
 He did come home on the bus.
His aid told me he was a bit frightened to get on the bus
but once he was buckled in and met his "bus aid", he was fine.
 His bus driver and aid told me I had a very quiet kid
on my hands.
 Give him time.
I'm pretty sure he was just downright exhausted.
He snuggled up with mom
and then later with "Aunt Pam".
And get this-- took a three hour nap.
Sweet success for his first day.
I think tomorrow will be even easier on him!