Friday, December 26, 2008

Never a dull moment!

Let's cover the fun stuff first. We had a great Christmas. David read the Christmas story for the first time and Dawson was so sweet and hugged us all before he opened each gift. I tried cooking a rib roast for the first time and it came out delicious. It was a day I wish I could wrap up and peek at frequently.

Unfortunately, we also found out today that David has had mono. When we asked him, "Who have you been kissing?" we were not prepared for his answer - "Just Emelia!" I also had chemo today. The doctor's orders for David are lots of fluids and rest and no roughhousing. Dawson has some trouble with this concept, because he and David do exactly the opposite. Dawson just informed me he is sick, also. We aren't sure yet if this is him wanting to be like David or not. He has been more reserved this afternoon. Never a dull moment!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It has been awhile!

With traveling and getting ready for Christmas, my online time has been few and far between. We traveled to Arkansas a couple weeks ago and celebrated Christmas with my family. Unfortunately, my older brother had some traveling difficulties and wasn't able to make it. Otherwise, the only eventful news was my horrible cough and David lost his first 2 teeth on the trip.

We came home last Monday and I realized it was only 10 more days before Christmas. We had Dawson's Christmas program at his preschool Friday night and my "Rudolph" and "Angel" was adorable. I officially finished all shopping/wrapping last night and only have some grocery shopping left. David wasn't feeling well last night and has a fever today. I am hoping he feels better tomorrow because he has his Christmas party at school and he is so excited about it. I pulled up at Happy Harry's this morning to get him some medicine and saw their countdown calendar - only 3 more days!! Lots of countdowns in our house - Christmas and chemo (only 2 more treatments left!)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Quick Update

We have heat! That fan running is a beautiful sound, especially at 6 a.m. (The tile floors got pretty chilly during the night.) Dawson and I are headed out shortly to travel to Arkansas to visit with my family and Dave and David will be joining us later this week. We are looking forward to some time away. Hopefully, nothing too eventful will happen while we are gone!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

So, I did have chemo on Thursday and only have one more 3-week cycle left!! January 2nd is scheduled to be my last and I have a CT scan scheduled the beginning of January to see how everything looks. My doctor is pretty confident that it will be uneventful. We like it when there is no news, but good news!

Our heater broke on Thursday and we can't get the part to repair it until Monday. Through the kindness of neighbors, we have been able to keep the house warm enough with space heaters. We had already planned on the boys staying at Pop and Gam's for the weekend because of my chemo and Dave had a final to finish. He also had a meeting for school and we knew I couldn't handle the monkeys on my own. It has been a very quiet house!! They return tomorrow after church and I should be feeling better. This chemo wasn't as bad as we expected. It could be because I am actually resting!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I went on a field trip with Dawson's school today to Coleman's Christmas Tree farm. This is historically the coldest field trip each year but today was pretty mild and quite enjoyable. We both took a great nap when we got home.
Unfortunately, I already had a cold before the trip and I seem to sound worse since we got home. Tomorrow is a nasty chemo round and I am not looking forward to it, especially since I already don't feel well. Tomorrow is also the anniversary of my surgery. I kept trying to remember why Dave or I didn't go on the field trip with David last year. Then, another mom told me she was so happy I was on the field trip and not in surgery like last year. Duh, now I remember why we weren't there.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

It's that time of year . . .

We started decorating our home for Christmas today. I had to look at the weekends ahead and it seemed to be the most convenient. In years past, I usually crammed everything into 1 day and was exhausted and anything but cheerful by the end of it. This year, I am taking my time and spreading it out over a few days and it has been a much better experience. The boys were helpful and excited!! Dave's job was to make sure all of the Christmas tree decorations were not 4 feet high or below. It was funny to watch.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today was very low key with lots of napping. Our church had an informal service this morning and it was nice to get out, but also nice to come home and relax. Later this afternoon, I took a walk around our neighborhood at a time of day that is usually filled with a lot of activity - people coming home from work and school. But, not today - very quiet. I loved walking past people's houses and you can see the families gathered inside eating or watching football. I am also very proud of Dave - he didn't do any work or study all day! He has been working so hard at work and school and he really needed a day off.

Happy Thanksgiving and we wish you many blessings.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Need some movie suggestions

Someone gave us a wonderful gift at the beginning of our cancer journey - Netflix! Well, the last movie I watched had to do with cancer. I didn't realize it from the blurb and was engrossed in the movie by the time it was revealed. Then, I was watching some TV on Monday night and 3 out of the 4 shows I watched all had people with cancer stories - and one was a room makeover show! By the end of the weekend and Monday, I needed a light hearted movie, with no sadness. I just saw what is next in my Queue and it is "Tuesdays with Morrie." Every movie I have in my Queue right now has some tragic story! I don't know if I am just drawn to those types of movies or what, but I am in need of some serious FUN suggestions.

Thanksgiving plans

So David learned a new word today - ubiquity (ominpresence). He was sharing with Dave this new word while he and Dawson were working on some papers at the table. Dawson's response was "we can't say that word at the table." David explained to him it was not a bathroom word.

So, I will be celebrating this Thanksgiving with a dose of chemo tomorrow. Thursday will be mostly spent in my pjs, watching the parade and football and also napping. We will then celebrate on Friday with the big feast at our house. It will be a small group - the 4 of us plus Dave's parents. This actually doesn't sound like too bad of a plan!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Achoo! Achoo!

The other night, I had this horrible dream where I lost Dawson at a water park. I was frantically looking for him for 2 hours (in the dream). I stopped in front of a cafeteria and heard a sneeze. It was Dawson's sneeze. I thought, "Do it again!" He did and I found him. For those of you who know Dawson's sneezes, you know that he ALWAYS does it again and again . . . His sneezes have become legendary at his school because, like clockwork, he does it multiple times when he wakes up in the morning and after his nap. Oh, and there are always explosions. Who dreams about sneezes??

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

6 or 16?

David got back his school picture and Dave and I both did a double take. We could easily flash forward and see the teenage boy. We are having a hard enough time keeping track of library books. I can't imagine a teenage boy! I know we have a lot of time, but it just seems like yesterday and David was this . . .

This is one of my favorite baby pictures of David - not only because of the strategic placement of his arm but also because of his reflection in the mirror. (Every mom is supposed to have a bare butt baby picture of their kids, right?)

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Day at Kindergarten

I had the opportunity to volunteer in David's classroom this morning. I was so impressed with how his teacher takes everyday things and has these kids thinking creatively. I also enjoyed looking around the classroom at David's work. They had a "news" board in the hallway and how there are many different ways to report the news. David's paper said this, "David learned how to start his sentence with a question." This is what he wrote, "Do you know that my mom likes Republicans? John McCain lost and Obama won. My mom was not happy." I was speechless. The teacher told me she wasn't sure about hanging it, but David was so excited about his news. This is what happens when you talk politics with a 6 year old. He practically announced who I voted for when we left the booth.
Another student's paper said, "On Tuesday, Obama won the election. He beat John McCain. If you vote, you get free donuts."
I helped the class at their Listening Center today. This is where they listen to a story and then draw a picture and write sentences applying the story to their own lives. The story was about Thanksgiving and the students were to write what they were thankful for. Most kids wrote about their families and their toys, but my favorite was, "I am thankful for everything except the devil." If I was their teacher, I don't think I would stop laughing all day.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A day off

A lot of people asked me how I spent my day off from chemo - I went to the eye doctor this morning, browsed through some stores for Christmas ideas, and bought some Christmas presents. But, the highlight of my day was this - we bought our family a game system as a collective Christmas present, but the boys don't know about it. We bought it back in September and have been holding onto it, but we haven't "tested" it out yet. Since both boys were out of the house today, I made the personal sacrifice to play video games for about an hour just to be certain that the system worked properly. I am happy to say that it works well, but it may require further "testing" tomorrow.

When the boys came home from school, it was pouring outside. So, we spent almost 2 hours working on crafts and coloring and just enjoying some time together. But, what is really amazing to me is that they never asked to watch TV. It was a nice way to spend the afternoon, as opposed to how I usually spend Thursday afternoons.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Interesting day

We have had some more good news recently - my younger brother is now engaged and a dear friend had her second baby boy on Monday. To make my week even better, I don't have to go for chemo this week!!

So, I volunteered at a local radio station to help with their Sharathon. The Reach FM is a Christian station that totally runs on the donations of its listeners. Every 6 months, they do this to raise the funds to operate for the next 6 months. I listen to the station all the time and I wanted to help out with their Sharathon. I couldn't believe how small their offices were and how they really only run on the necessities. I met some wonderful people in the few hours I was there and will listen to that station very differently. I really enjoyed doing something different than the norm.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Halloween pictures

Here are our boys in their Halloween costumes. Dawson's question that night, "Next is Christmas?"

That is Dawson behind all of those muscles.

Captain Jack Sparrow. (David was funny to watch with all of that hair.
He kept pushing it out of his face.)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

It was merely a theory.

Dawson woke us up at 6 a.m. this morning - so much for an extra hour!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Good week.

Just wanted to share what a good week our house is having. It started with the Phillies' win! David is just starting to get into the baseball thing and has been into the Phillies, but missed the World Series games since they were past his bedtime. Dave and I were able to see the last inning of the game and there was excitement in the air. Dawson's birthday was Wednesday and he is really getting this present/birthday thing. Then, Dave got a promotion at work -a position he has waited years to get. He has been with MBNA/ Bank of America for 14 years now! And, Halloween was last night - still much excitement, but not so much from Dave and me. The boys were so excited with their costumes and Dawson loves the idea of trick-or-treating.

The best part of it all - an extra hour of sleep tonight (in theory - it doesn't always work when you have kids.) And next is the presidential election . . . .

Sunday, October 26, 2008

3 day memories

Today was my first day back to walking. I gave my feet a week off (except for bus stop runs) and it felt great to be back into it today.

Isn't it amazing what our bodies can do? Dave and I walked 23 miles the first day, 22 the second and over 15 miles the last day. We found out that our mileage cards were not correct the first 2 days and learned some terms used at the walks, "The 3-day mile" and a "real mile." A real mile is just that, really a mile. The 3-day mile is closer to 1 to 2 miles and sometimes it seemed like they were the longest miles of our lives!

We also enjoyed the many creative ways people integrated different terms for "breast" in their team names and signs. Our boys would have enjoyed the Pirate lady standing with a sign, "Pirates of the Cariboobian." There was a sign at the closing ceremony which David tried to read out loud saying, "You are boobalicious." After he read it, he wanted a full explanation for its meaning. I tried.

The 2 most memorable moments for me was the first few feet of the walk and the victory walk at the end. They have people begin the walk with just a few of us at a time, walking down a center aisle with people on both sides, cheering us on. The speaker's speech that morning, as the sun rose, was incredible and motivating. She basically said to remember the road we have traveled in our lives to get us to that moment and that is what would help us just keep walking. As I walked down that aisle, I removed my hat from my head, let my bald head shine and got tons of high fives for it. The victory walk was also exceptional, with tons of people we saw along the way, standing on the side, cheering us on again. Some of them came out and hugged us and there was such a feeling of community and support in the air. We had helped each other get to this point, whether it was helping a walker in need or just talking to someone about "why they walk." I had so many women tell me how they couldn't believe I was doing it and how inspired they were by seeing me walk. They did enjoy hassling Dave, who was in some pain the last day and moving slower than me.

Dave's most memorable moment was at the closing ceremony where the walkers, in white shirts held up their shoes and surrounded the survivors, in pink shirts. Dave said that sea of pink was something he will not forget.

Oh, I forgot something else. We received mail the first night from lots of friends, encouraging us in our journey and we had some friends come by the cheering stations on Friday and Saturday. we didn't expect anyone and were surprised to see familiar faces. It was a great taste of home.

I have been asked if I would walk again. I have answered yes without hesitation, but I am not so sure about camping outside in 40 degree wind again. It was difficult to get any rest and be ready for the next day. Dave has a new respect for the training schedule and knows with his internship next year and working full time, he will not be able to keep up with it. He said he would do it again, but will not be able to next year.
I'm getting pooped, but I will share soon some of the funny things we heard from other walkers along the way.

One of the local cable talk shows kept showing clips from the 3-day last week and I never tired of seeing them. I kept spotting people we walked alongside and heard many of their stories. It really was an incredible experience and we want to thank all of you for supporting us, through financial support, encouraging words, or just reading about the experience. We have some photos to share.

Before the Opening Ceremony - this photo was taken at 5:46 a.m., way too early (and cold) to think about walking!

This was a safety guy - easy to spot! My only purchase during the walk.

Showing off my victory shirt!

Walking into the closing ceremonies. We did it!!!! 60 miles!!!!

Seeing our beautiful boys again! The closing ceremony - raising a flag that says "A World without Breast Cancer."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

CT scan results

More good news - the scan showed significant improvement of the cancer spots. Everything is either resolved or improving. It is my naptime, but I wanted to give a quick update. I feel like I can stop holding my breath and move on. This means 3 more cycles of chemo (which should last until January) and then I will stay on the Herceptin, which doesn't have any side effects. Yea!!!

I hope to post more pics and stories about the 3 -day this weekend. We have just been trying to catch up on life since we got home and haven't had a chance to do it yet.

Monday, October 20, 2008

We did it !! Every mile!!

We are tired. David stepped on my foot today. Dawson woke up twice last night but it is so good to be home. We walked every mile of the 60 miles. I have pictures and stories to share but I am still waiting for my coffee to kick in. Dave took a vacation day today to catch up on rest and schoolwork. I honestly think we could have slept most of the day. (And maybe tomorrow too)

I was interviewed by CBS news yesterday about 2 minutes before we walked into the closing ceremony. Of course, the interview was much longer than the clip but they definitely picked the best part. There is also a shot of Dave and I walking in together. I have had my 13 seconds of fame!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

First day Of The Big Walk

Barbara, Dave, and about 3,000 other people started a 3 day 60 miles Breast Cancer Awarness walk on October 17. (I can hardly believe they can do this-60 miles in 3 days-very impressive!)

We heard from the walkers last night, on the 17th, and they had indeed walked the first 20 miles. When they called they were starting to set up their tent and then were going to stand in line for some food.

Barbara called this morning and said it was about 40 degrees last night and they had huddled together in their sleeping bags to stay warm. I think she said they walk about 20.8 miles today. Evidently their feet are still doing OK.

Above is a picture of the walkers taken on the 17th. Please remember them and the other walkers in your prayers. The boys are doing great and keeping Gam(Marcey) and I moving.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Are you ready?"

That has been the question of the day. I am crazy running around trying to pack my boys' things, my things, our camping gear, etc. Also, David is sick and stayed home from school today. This mama has enough trouble leaving her babies, let alone when one of them is sick! But, I was reminded today of why we are walking - a friend called and left me a message today on her way to her last radiation treatment and I did a little cheer for her. David asked me why we are walking and I told him so maybe when he is an adult, there will be a world without breast cancer, or any cancer at all. I explained to him how research costs money, etc. But, I look at it in terms of this - the drug I receive every week has only been available for a few years. 5 years ago, there may not have been something for me and the research paid off.

On a personal note, I ask for your prayers. Next week, I have a CT scan to see how the chemo is working. We don't know what that scan will show. We expect good news, but are prepared (as much as we can be) for other news.

12 hours from now, we will be on our way to Willow Grove and will begin walking by 7 a.m. When you wake up tomorrow, please think of us taking our first steps on this incredible journey. Dave asked me if there may be a few tears shed this weekend, and I said, "maybe a little." Ugh, I'm crying now and I haven't even started yet!

P.S. Pop will be filling in for me on the blog while we're gone and will give an update.

Monday, October 13, 2008

3-day route

Lots of folks have asked where the 3-day will take us. Click on this Journey Map and you will see where we're going.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk

Yesterday, the team, "Friends in Faith" walked in Making Strides in Wilmington. Over 5,000 walkers participated and over $400,000 was raised! I found it humorous that our famliy finished last from our team, considering we are doing the 3-day in just a few days. We had stroller issues (at one point, everything fell off the stroller), the boys had needs that required us to stop, and we were pushing 80 pounds of kids. The boys were very excited as we all walked across the finish line. I think it will prepare them for the closing ceremony next weekend, following our walk.

Thank you to everyone who walked yesterday and also those who supported our team. I ran into my high school volleyball coach, who also saw me last year. Last year, I had just finished chemo before the walk, so both years, I have had little to no hair. She hopes to see me next year with a full head of hair (and so do I)! I took a nice, long nap yesterday and am now ready for this weekend (almost - still packing).

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Some new unexpected challenges

Another friend going through chemo put it best when she said that sometimes it is hard to get your feet going in that direction, meaning the chemo room. I stalled as long as possible today - talking with a mom at the busstop, hanging out at Dawson's preschool, crying in my van, checking out the cancer center's library, until I was ready to go in. Someone asked if I need to be there by a certain time. I told them I sort of do but they can't get started until I get there.

My white blood cell count was low yesterday, almost the lowest it has been through these cycles, which means that nasty shot on Friday. Last cycle, the pain hit hard on the Sunday following the treatment and I am supposed to do the Wilmington Making Strides this Sunday. Dave talked about pushing me in a wheelchair or I could always kick my kids out of the stroller!

The chemo room was filled with some sad stories today - the volunteer dog who visits on Thursdays was hit by a car (it looks like he will be okay but how is that news supposed to lift our spirits? Lie to me next time!) , a woman younger than me was supposed to get married last weekend and is instead getting chemo when she should have been on her honeymoon, and another woman's cell counts have been too low for weeks to get chemo.

Before today, I was enjoying a good week - went out with some friends, got some new hats (which I am getting tons of compliments from them), got some new makeup that actually makes me look healthy, and just had some good times with my family. Tomorrow night, I am going with some friends to see Robin Roberts speak at the DuPont Theater. My joys will walk through the door with Dave within the next 30 minutes or so and give me big squeezes. I just love the look on their faces when they haven't seen me all day. It's one of those things I wish I could bottle up and keep forever.

BTW - 1 week from now, Dave and I will be packing the final supplies for our 3-day walk!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Life lessons for Mom

Before the cancer returned, I had visions of helping out in my both my sons' classrooms this fall. Instead, I now spend that time at the doctor. David came home the other day with an October schedule of the parent helpers for his classroom. I was not on the list and he asked, with great disappointment in his voice, "Why aren't you helping in my classroom?" I told him I was able to chaperone one field trip. Still, he wanted more. We talked about it and he understood why I wasn't able to help. I told him maybe next month and asked him where he thinks I would rather be. I just felt that pain in my heart because he wanted more of me and I couldn't give it to him. Now, I am sure he has gotten over it but I was still thinking about it today. While I was sitting in chemo, I was reading an article titled, "Top 5 Mom Myths." My favorite one was, "A good mom likes her children all the time." That one made me laugh at loud! But, the one I needed to read was, "A good mom spends a lot of time with her kids - and they like her because of it." I had some resistance from David when he first began school and I wanted to know every detail of his day the second he came home. Dave suggested giving David a little space, even though I didn't want to, and he would come around. Not long after I did this, he told me one Saturday that he wanted to spend some time with just me. The article says, "There are no studies that show punching a time clock with your children will guarantee their adoration. It's the nature of the interaction that counts. If you listen to your children, laugh and relax with them, make them feel loved, it teaches them that relationships are a source of joy. They'll like you because of that - not because you helped man the punch bowl at the school dance."

The time I spend with my kids now is different than before my original diagnosis. I do a lot less multi-tasking and just sit down and enjoy more. But, it never gets easier to say no to them when they want me and I can't be there because of something related to this disease. It makes me laugh when the boys say the reason why I can't do stuff - they call it "cancerd."

"Cancerd" has made me a different mom. One who doesn't look at asking for help as a weak thing but sees help as something to enable me to enjoy my good times better.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Weekly checkup

I saw my doctor today and he was very encouraging. I have a CT scan scheduled in 3 weeks and he told me he expects good news based on my progress. He also mentioned the 3-day and could tell I was excited about it. He has full confidence in me that I will be able to walk the 60 miles. He said I am in good shape and shouldn't have any problems (even though I will get chemo the week before). The running joke in our house is that I will probably outwalk Dave and the doctor said I would certainly outwalk him. Those of you who know my oncologist can chuckle - he openly admits he is not one to get on his patients' cases about being overweight.

I have a link on the side of the page called the "Supporter's Guide." It gives some information about the details of the walk. Thank you again to everyone who has supported this cause - so many people have been involved in different ways and we couldn't do this without your help and support.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Get ready for the pink!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, if you haven't noticed already. You will see pink everywhere! Before I was diagnosed, we joked that we didn't have much pink in our house since we had 2 boys. We never thought this would be the way for more pink. The cashier at the grocery store asked me today if I wanted to purchase a pink bag for breast cancer awareness. I pointed to my head and informed her I was already very aware. This led to a detailed discussion about my treatments and surgery because she had a friend who was just diagnosed. I don't know how the man behind us felt about it, but it seemed to help the cashier understand some of the process better. Anyway, she still couldn't understand why I didn't want the pink bag. I told her I sometimes like to leave the pink behind and just blend in, as much as possible. I bought the Halloween ones instead for the boys. They were a lot more fun.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk

A good friend and fellow breast cancer survivor, Vickie Robinson, formed "Team Barbara" last year and over 20 friends and family came out to support the team. I had to sit on the sidelines because I had just received my last chemo treatment and couldn't walk the 4.5 miles. This year, Vickie formed "Friends in Faith" to support me and another friend who is now going through treatments. On October 12, I fully intend on completing the walk in support of all of our friends at Faith Pres. who have suffered this disease. If you are interested, you can join our team or find a local walk in your area. It is incredible to see how many people are affected by cancer.



Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What wonders a nap can bring

I told Dawson yesterday at 11 a.m., "Time for Bed." Dawson's response, "Okay." We both laid down and I felt much better after a long nap. I am still struggling with this bronchitis and don't have much voice to speak of (tee hee), but my energy has returned.

Thank you so much for all of your encouraging words and prayers. Sometimes, when I feel so physically exhausted, I can't help but think of how many more times I need to do this and that overwhelms me. But, I am back today and I have no intentions of driving to Christiana this week!

Monday, September 22, 2008

I went to chemo on Thursday and got my shot on Friday. Saturday wasn't a bad day at all. And then Sunday came. I felt awful. I am on an antibiotic for my bronchial stuff but it is still lingering. By the end of Sunday's morning service, I was in tears. The physical obstacles were overwhelming. I hid in my room for the afternoon. Today is a little better. Dawson and I don't have to be anywhere today so I predict a lot of lounging and playing!

I have prayed for God to renew my spirit. I am feeling defeated and just sick and tired of doing this. We sang this Michael W. Smith song yesterday in church and I felt like I was crying out for His mercy. It is an incredible song.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Friendly update

Well, we had about 150 people come to our Friendly's night last night and it was a great success! Dave and I have met our goals! (The webpages don't reflect that yet, but soon will once the paperwork catches up.) Thank you so much to everyone who came out and supported us and the Walk. I had full intentions of sending out thank you notes to everyone who came but I have come down with some lovely congestion/coughing that is making me dread tomorrow's chemo even more than usual. I already feel wiped and I haven't even gotten it yet. I started an antibiotic today and my blood cell counts were okay so I'm hoping those little guys get to work, whatever is left.

Thank you again for a fun night. We took over the restaurant! It was hours of socializing and good times. My mom told me to just look around and see all of the people that love me (and I know there are even more out there!)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Birthday wishes

Here is one of my new looks. Generally, my head is out there these days but I wanted to dress up a bit for church today and the hair (or lack of it) didn't look right.

We had our family celebration of lots of birthdays today. I recently looked back at last year's blog on my birthday and it basically talked about how I was feeling from the chemo. This year's birthday included a round of chemo. My birthday wish for 2009's blog entry, "Cancer? What cancer?"

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Nothing like a chemo birthday!

"29 again?" was the question of the morning. Okay, this would be the 4th time I turned 29, but who's counting? All of the cards, emails and hugs definitely made the chemo a little easier to take today. Thank you so much for thinking of me today.

A friend walked David home from the bus stop today. I told how much I missed walking with him but the chemo really knocked me out today. He has played boxing on the Wii so he and I were imitating the boxing moves (and knockouts). He asked me if I fought back. I told him I will tomorrow when I walk 5-7 miles. That is my way of fighting back and telling this cancer that it won't keep me down!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Come Support a Friend at Friendly's

Most of you know we are participating in the Breast Cancer 3-day Walk in Philadelphia this October. The Breast Cancer 3-Day is a remarkable journey designed to raise funds and awareness for Susan G. Komen for the Cure and National Philanthropic Trust.
We invite you to support us and join the global movement to end breast cancer forever.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008
From 5-9 p.m.

The Friendly’s located at Brandywine Town Center, Route 202,
Wilmington, Delaware (this location only)
will donate 10% of the total bills to Dave & Barbara’s
fundraising efforts towards the Breast Cancer 3-Day.

Come and enjoy some dinner and ice cream
and support a friend at Friendly’s!

If you are interested in finding out more information, click on the links to our personal webpages.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Our Daily Playmates

Here's a photo of some of the neighborhood boys we play with almost everyday. All day today, some combination of these boys were outside, along with some others. A neighbor commented that these boys just don't stop!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Dawson's first day of school

Yesterday, Dawson began preschool. He just went in and sat down and joined in with the activities. He already is familiar with the room and faces since we go to church there.

He had some trouble the day before. We were playing in a neighbor's backyard, when Dawson seemed to stumble on a yellowjacket nest and made them angry. He had 4 stings, 2 of them in the eyebrow. When he woke up yesterday, his eye was swollen - you can tell in some of the pictures. The good news is he isn't allergic! He kept clarifying that they were yellowjackets, not bluejackets.

I also picked up my new look yesterday while Dawson was at school. I picked him up with my new wig and he didn't seem too phased. He told me today that I have girl hair now, and don't look like a boy anymore. I think that is a compliment. When we got home, I asked him if he wanted to see a trick and pulled off my wig. (I wanted to make it something fun since he hasn't seen me to do that since last year.) He then wanted to show me his trick which was a tumble on the floor. Today, I ended up buzzing what hair was left.

When I visited my doctor yesterday, he told me we would do scans the end of October to see how I was progressing and my next question was how much more chemo after that. He suggested 6 rounds as long as the scan shows good progress. That means 18 weeks of chemo and today was the 4th week. Ugh! If all stays on track, I will continue until the end of January and then stay on a maintenance drug. That was hard to hear, but I have advised others not to think about how many more chemos you still have to do, just focus on today. I should take my own advice!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I am feeling much better and ready for the next hit this Thursday! My hair continues to fall out everywhere and I am trying to decide my next step. I had it cut once but the top has become very thin. I am going to look into some new "looks" this weekend. Fortunately, we are beginning cooler weather and anything I place on top shouldn't be as bothersome.

I am back on track with my training for the 3-day. Even had to buy new shows because I wore out the first pair.

We are beginning to get into a groove with our early mornings and getting on the bus. Some of our friends' children are just beginning this week. I am glad we started last week and are getting used to it all. Dawson begins school tomorrow and he is also very excited but keeps thinking he is riding a bus to school.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Proud Sister

My younger brother Frank was on a show last week, X-Play on G4. His company created a game, The Maw, that was chosen for an independent game competition. Here is the interview and an article about it.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What is the best part about making brownies?

By 10 a.m., Dawson had brownie batter, paint, glue and glitter somewhere on his clothing and body. This is a day that 2-year olds dream of.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Back to school cake

A kind woman from our church wanted to do something special for David on his first day of school and brought us this cake. She said it was a tradition in their house until the last one went off to college. Our boys are very excited to dig in.

He's Off!

Yes, I was the mom crying at the bus stop today. A lot of the other moms' kids started school yesterday so they already went through this. On top of the trauma of my firstborn leaving, they changed his bus number and we only found out about 30 seconds before it showed up. So, I have his bus number on his tag and burned in his brain and they changed it!
Dawson is making sure my mind stays off of David today and is being especially peachy (not).

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's hard to get used to this part.

David came to the breakfast table and announced, "Mom, there is hair all over the bathroom." My hair started falling out over the weekend. Today was the worst. I have been told it will only thin, probably not to the point it fell out last year. It still is unnerving to see so much come out of my head. I can't keep up with cleaning it up. It seems like I have it all and more surfaces. Having hair seems to be my way of not being a chemo mom - it doesn't announce to the world how I spend my Thursday mornings.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

"Mild pain" is a nice way of putting it

So, I encouraged my husband to go fishing today to celebrate the end of his class and a way for him to relax. I thought, up until now, the weekend post chemo hasn't been too bad. No problem. He left last night for the friend's house so he could spend the night to arise early this morning. Just about the time I would have headed off to bed, my body started feeling the effects of the Neulasta shot. I have pain meds for it but my stomach hasn't been well the last few days so I was afraid to disturb it more. Sleep was not cooperating, even after I took the medicine. But, I am very thankful for Saturday morning cartoons which allowed me to take my time waking up today.

Our big plans for today were grocery shopping and going to a local circus later this afternoon. Since David begins school next week (still hard for me to say), we needed to get things for lunches, etc. Why don't they have benches inside grocery stores? My kids have a place to sit, but not me. I debated on leaving a full cart there to get home, but I had invested so much of my time already. I explained to my boys we were in, "Get the stuff and get out of here" mode. They did great!

Next problem, getting all of that stuff in the house. We have a split level and I have joked about moments when the stairs seem to multiply, like today. 2 of my wonderful neighbors and my boys helped me carry the things upstairs and helped me put the things away. Thank you so much, guys!

David already made me cry today when we were talking about him returning to school. I told him I was sad that he was going back but he has told me how excited he is. He told me that kids have to go back to school so they can learn, but I told him how much I will miss him. Who is the parent here?? Well, Dawson had his moment today too. He saw me with my head down and crying. He asked, in his way, "Sad cause cansird came back?" (Translation: "Are you sad because your cancer came back?" ) After I got over the shock of his words, I told him I wasn't sad, my body just hurt.

We still have plans for the circus later this afternoon. It should be easy because my job is to sit and enjoy the time with the boys.

Next week, I have off from chemo. I am so looking forward to the break. But, I think we will need to plan Dave's fishing trips on a different chemo week.

The cancer center can be fun??

I decided to take the boys with me today to get my Neulasta shot. They aren't allowed past a certain point in the chemo room and I wasn't sure how that was going to go with Dawson. Fortunately, there is a large window with a view of the pond and fountain. The chemo nurses don't see little guys much and were more than happy to entertain them while I was occupied. I think both boys really liked it there. It could be because there is a little stand at the entrance with treats and a cool magnet table in the lobby. I always looked at the cancer center as somewhere I dread most days. I pull up to the parking lot and hate that I am there. But, today was different. I saw it through their eyes and their innocence as a beautiful building and grounds, that just happens to sell chocolate.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Chemo life

I went to the doctor today for my routine pre-chemo visit. Nothing exciting except my white blood cell count is low. Sometimes, this can delay chemo a week but my doctor decided to give me chemo tomorrow and then a shot of Neulasta the next day. This shot helps boost my counts but can cause "mild to moderate bone pain." I experienced such "mild" pain the first go around and it felt far from mild to me. However, I only experienced this on the first shot and was okay after the initial dose. It seems I will need this every third week of chemo. My body just needs a little help and then I get a week off to replenish and recover.

So, we are washing our hands more frequently. Hopefully, my 2 petri dishes will keep their germs to themselves until this shot takes effect.

We are also preparing for the return to school. We timed our walk to the bus stop and it was actually quicker when Dawson was with us than when he wasn't! Now, we need to add a few minutes to the walk because I don't think any of us will have much spring to our step at 7:30 a.m. David begins his first full day of school on Tuesday and then Dawson begins preschool the next week. Next week is my week off from chemo and I am happy it fell on the first week of school. I won't have to be racing anywhere around drop off and pickup. David is very excited to go to a new school and ride the bus. Both boys are ready - but I am a different story . . .

Thursday, August 14, 2008

10 years later

Today, Dave and I celebrate 10 years together. 10 years ago today we went on our first date. We drove to Rehoboth Beach. That wasn't the original plan. He was supposed to pick me up at my parents' house in Middletown and then we were going to go to Newark for coffee or something. He comes to pick me up and asks me how adventurous I am and if I want to go Rehoboth. I'm thinking, "That is about 2-3 hours, there and back, with this guy in the car. I guess we'll see if we click." Apparently we clicked. One year later, he proposed to me in Rehoboth in a life guard chair, the same place where we had our first kiss on our first date. I'm not sure who was more nervous when he proposed - he asking the question or me trying not to drop the ring in the sand!

Monday, August 11, 2008

5 going on 15

This is a conversation I overheard today between David and a little girl at the playground. He had been playing with her for a few minutes when I heard this:

David: "What's your name?"

Girl: "Allison"

David: "What's your phone number?"

Me: "David, what are you doing?"

David: "Mom, I like her!"

Me: "David, you need to be a little more subtle."

The problem with trying to pick up 5 year olds on the playground - some of them don't know their phone number yet.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Chemo Update

3 days after my first chemo and I am doing pretty well. This drug didn't slow me down much. I had some moments to deal with but overall, it wasn't bad. I have more difficulty getting going in the morning but once my engine starts, I am okay. I have been able to exercise every day since Thursday and even took a brief walk that evening. I pray it remains this easy.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tomorrow is the big day

Tomorrow, I will begin chemo again. It was an uneventful day with the boys, just playing and getting some things done around the house. It was actually a welcomed change of pace. We went to the beach for a few days earlier in the week and I feel like we have been going most of the summer just to get in all of the fun stuff we wanted to do. It was nice to slow down for the day.

I have been getting a lot of questions about the drug I will receive on this round of chemo. This 2005 article has been very helpful to me. It explains the difference from the drug I did receive last year and the one they will be giving me. I have been told that I may not have any hair loss this time or it will just thin. But, I have my hats and wigs ready. I was also told it shouldn't knock me out the way the last round of chemo did. I will experience some fatigue, but it should be more manageable. We'll see. I don't think the 2 balls of energy I have are usually considered in these talks of "fatigue!"

In the meantime, we are getting ready for David to go to Kindergarten and Dawson to enter preschool. Fortunately, I was able to schedule my chemos and doctor's appointments around their school times. We only have about 3 weeks of appointments where I will need help with the boys until they start school. My week off from chemo is also David's first week of school.

We have begun noticing some wheezing when I need to take deep breaths and some discomfort in my chest, so I am ready to begin this process so I can feel better again. We are also very thankful for the encouraging cards, emails and comments we have received. We appreciate your concern and prayers. I am now off for my walk!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Hershey Park Happy

We took the boys to Hershey Park yesterday and to Chocolate World today. We found out a few things on this trip:

1) David loves roller coasters! Dave finally has someone to join him on most roller coasters. I have been advised not to ride on them (which is really okay with me). The two of them were so excited when David was tall enough to ride some of them.

2) The Park has a well-staffed First Aid Unit. 2 guesses which child spent about an hour being treated. (Hey, at least it wasn't me!)

3) You can actually get tired of looking at and eating chocolate.

Here are some photos from our trip: