Reincarnated As A Mother

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Another Freaky Thing

Exhale.
It's not that I hold my breath for every one of these
cancer screenings/follow-ups.
But I kinda  do.
We went back to the hospital yesterday.
I have to put a long sleeve shirt on Kean for
these days after I numb up his arms for blood draws.
Otherwise, he'll just pull the wrapping right off
and not have "sleepy" arms.
He was so funny, when it came time for his
"vampire draws" (as we so lovingly call them),
he pulled his shirt up to expose his chest for the nurse.
Now that his port is gone, he finally gets it.
Go figure!
 We had a lot of waiting time...
 Evidently, Kean's doc, Dr. Camilo had a very
complicated patient right before us.
We know what that's like-- so we gladly waited our turn.
 And we had the hospital's secret weapon-- Miss Jen.
 Her job is to play with the kids- and play -- or dance --
she does.  Kean loves her.  Heck, we all do!
 Kean's counts look good.
I wasn't sure they would, he's been sick an
awful lot over the past two months.
But he is plugging along.
There is a couple of discolored bumps on his spine 
we are watching.
One has been there for over a month.
The other, popped up the week.
 I told Dr. Camilo, we cancer moms are
ruined human beings.  Anything strange
pops up, and we fear the worst, that cancer
has invaded our lives again.
He doesn't think it is a tumor.  It is too
squishy and fleshy (and Kean doesn't wince).
So chalk it up to another freaky thing
to add to our long list of freaky things.
You'd think by now I'd be used to this stuff.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Almost Famous

Does it make us famous if we hang out with someone who is?
Hmmmm.  
We had a great weekend-- Andy Grammer was in town
to perform at the Boise Music Festival.
 Andy was our headliner last year for our Baldapalooza
(children's cancer fundraiser).  He agreed to meet with us
this weekend-- and we got to have breakfast with his Tour
Manager the day before.
That's Angie, our Baldapalooza Executive Director with
Welshie (Andy's Tour Manager) at the festival on Saturday.
 For some reason, he was charmed by we three girls
(Angie, myself and Calene- one of our main volunteers).
We stayed (in the heat) and listened to Andy wow
the crowd.
I, especially enjoyed relaxing and listening to Andy--
last year, I was running around and answering questions
for about a third of his performance.
 So this was quite the treat--  he puts on a fantastic show.
 Oh, and Monday morning brought some big changes to our routine.
Kean started Extended School Year today--
(I think it is a version of Summer School for those who really need it).
 It was kinda strange for the girls and I to push him down
to the ol' bus stop.  He rode his little therapy bike.
 I'm not sure he could figure out what was going on--
new bus, new bus driver, aid, school, teacher
and classmates.
He is such a creature of habit, I'm sure today
was quite discombobulating.
This was one of those times I really, really wish he 
could talk more than he does!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

"A Nice, Normal Family"

We have this plaque by our back door that says "Remember, 
as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family".
Clearly, this picture needs to be framed and placed right next to it!
 This is from last weekend at our cancer retreat to
Camp Rainbow Gold's Family camp.
Everyone dressed up for the big dance--
and I know, I know, Byron and I went a bit overboard.
But it's been soooo long since we cut loose.
 Our dearest friend, Jason Hosick who runs the camps
 (we call him the Pied Piper)
took these photos.
Remember, all my pictures are at the bottom 
of Lake Perkins!
 What a treat to get these sent to me tonight.
And especially this one-- it is my guy's birthday
(and Father's Day).
Sure love him.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Another Freaky Thing

Exhale.
It's not that I hold my breath for every one of these
cancer screenings/follow-ups.
But I kinda  do.
We went back to the hospital yesterday.
I have to put a long sleeve shirt on Kean for
these days after I numb up his arms for blood draws.
Otherwise, he'll just pull the wrapping right off
and not have "sleepy" arms.
He was so funny, when it came time for his
"vampire draws" (as we so lovingly call them),
he pulled his shirt up to expose his chest for the nurse.
Now that his port is gone, he finally gets it.
Go figure!
 We had a lot of waiting time...
 Evidently, Kean's doc, Dr. Camilo had a very
complicated patient right before us.
We know what that's like-- so we gladly waited our turn.
 And we had the hospital's secret weapon-- Miss Jen.
 Her job is to play with the kids- and play -- or dance --
she does.  Kean loves her.  Heck, we all do!
 Kean's counts look good.
I wasn't sure they would, he's been sick an
awful lot over the past two months.
But he is plugging along.
There is a couple of discolored bumps on his spine 
we are watching.
One has been there for over a month.
The other, popped up the week.
 I told Dr. Camilo, we cancer moms are
ruined human beings.  Anything strange
pops up, and we fear the worst, that cancer
has invaded our lives again.
He doesn't think it is a tumor.  It is too
squishy and fleshy (and Kean doesn't wince).
So chalk it up to another freaky thing
to add to our long list of freaky things.
You'd think by now I'd be used to this stuff.

We've Been To Hell, Now Time For Heaven

We are still basking in the glow of an incredible weekend
up at Lake Perkins, just outside Stanley.
Everywhere we looked, it was like looking at a picture from a postcard.
Seriously.
 We spent four days with our Camp Rainbow Gold Family
(they run camps for kids with cancer, siblings, and family retreats).
We were one of the lucky seventeen families picked to go.
We got our own cabin...
 our very own counselor (assigned to our family).
Meet Cori, a surgical nurse at St. Luke's.  
By the end of the four days, she was part of our family.
We love her!
It was a near perfect get-away.
Even Kean seemed to thrive.
Before every meal, we'd all gather in a huge circle,
hold hands and sing a sweet little song.
Every single time, without fail, Kean would make his way
to the middle of the circle.
That kid!
We spent our days doing everything-- relaxing, playing, smiling
and being together as a family.
 You can't believe all the activities they had for us--
archery, rock climbing, mountain biking,
fishing, hiking, geocaching etc. 
 The weather was also on vacation-- it was 
60's and 70's each day.
Lovely, lovely.
 One of our favorites was definitely the time spent on the lake.
We crammed in paddle boarding,
 kayaking,
 exploring...
 and canoeing.
 This was on Friday... when we were all happy and giddy.
The next day, while out on paddle boats, Kean (in lighting fast fashion)
dug my phone out of my pocket, tossed it away in an attempt to find
any left over candy.
It, and all the fabulous photos we took of EVERYTHING
are now resting peacefully forever at the bottom of the lake.
It will take me a while to get over the great phone incident of 2016.
(Our friend Trent lent us his underwater camera for the photos
we do have here).
 One night, we all dressed up in the craziest of costumes
and danced the night away.  I hope to track down
photos from that night.  Trust me, we really let loose.
Another night, we had the Wish Cone ceremony.
Everyone is given a pine cone and writes what they wish
on pieces of paper, ties the wishes to the cone and then
throws the cone in the fire to send those wishes up to the heavens.
When you are with all families who have been devastated by cancer,
you can only imagine what an emotional experience that evening is
for all of us.
But before that, we hold an absolutely wonderful
night of singing, sharing of talents, skits, and silly jokes.
My personal favorite by one of the little boys-- "what did
the fish say when he swam into a wall?  Damn!"
Greer wowed the crowd with a solo,
 Reese got up and sang along with the house band
and then all three girls sang their favorite Christmas song.
 What I love about this night is that it is a safe place
filled with nothing but love.
Anyone can get up and tell the lamest joke, sing off key,
dance like a newborn goat-- you name it-- and only feel
cherished, loved and supported.
Come to think of it, that's how the entire camp feels.
We all say words can't begin to capture what a magical,
loving place Camp Rainbow Gold is for all of us.
It is not worth having a child go through cancer to get
to experience this blessing-- but if you do, it is the most
beautiful place to be-- filled with the best people with the biggest hearts.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Hats Off-- Literally!

Even though we had a holiday on Monday, this week has
seemed so incredibly long.
Both Greer and Kean got some type of stomach bug on Tuesday
so there was an inordinate amount of laundry done
and a lot of time spent reading books and doing flash cards.
 Wednesday brought a problem with Kean still not feeling well
at school and an issue with his eye-- which led to an unplanned
visit to the doctor's!
By today (Thursday), my goal was just for him to make
it through the hour set aside for Kindergarten graduation.
Grandpa Bodily (Gobily) was my hot date.
 Kean had his own chair (with an aid behind him or beside him
the entire time).  He would never have made it standing on the risers
for an hour.
 He was surprisingly good, even somewhat participating
in some of the little songs they sang for their program.
 Just notice though, out of all the Kindergarten classes--
about 90 students, Kean was the only kiddo refusing to wear
his graduation cap.  And refuse he did.  We were quite
entertained throughout the program as his poor aid
tried her hardest to get him to put it on-- even for a minute.
He'd push is away, toss it, or turn his back on the hat!
He did cooperate when it came time to pick up his diploma though...
video
Oh, and he still wouldn't wear that hat- even for Gobily.
 That kid-- I always say, he has an extra chromosome
of stubborness.
 I did get a particularly sweet photo of him cuddling with his
Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Hymas.
 She is as loving and kind as she looks.
It is pretty obvious Kean adores her.
 And this is his buddy, Bobby.
Bobby's mom is Kean's aid and over the Special Ed program
at his school.  Bobby, thankfully, has taken Kean under
his wing, even playing with him at recess etc.
  And we can't have a graduation day without a picture
with his aid, Mrs. Baker (or Baker if you are Kean).
She has the perfect combination of love and firmness
to work with this boy of ours.
We hope, hope, hope she will be with him next year.
And yes, we did suggest to his teacher that she move up too!
By the way, next year-- he will move up to First Grade.
We feel it is best to keep him with his peers even 
though he is quite delayed.
He still gets exhausted before his 3 hour Kindergarten
class is over.  So he will be starting out with a modified
first grade-- only going three hours.
Hopefully, he will get stronger and we can add on to that.