Thursday, September 13, 2012

Half Way Mark

We are half way done with for Casey! I've been slacking on the blog so I thought what better time than now to update y'all.  That and it's Children's Cancer Month.

This  morning Jeff said it's just crazy how we now have 2 cancer survivors in our little, young, family. Not only that it happened with in a couple years. I have gotten so used to cancer and chemo being apart of our life it just feels normal and then I step back and realize it is very not normal. I don't like to think about this too often because then the questions come and my brain gets over loaded with "whys" and "hows" and "what ifs". It makes me question every thing I've believed in, how the universe works and then before I know it I'm watching Nova specials about the Big Bang theory. Then I realize I'm being nutty and need to lighten up so I turn on the real Big Bang Theory. And the "Universe" shouts at me "Bazinga!" And I laugh. Because that's all you can do. That and count my blessings. 

It helps to laugh when Casel (yes we call him Casel sometimes. Now that he's bald it's Vin Casel. ) is doing so well. He does get tummy aches almost daily but he's never thrown up and the anti nausea meds the doc prescribed have been really helpful.  He's had a two week break which has really brought his energy back. We no long have to stay the night at Doernbechers since he's done with the Citoxin. (However that's spelled.)  

We have been so blessed through out our battles. Recently we received news that the Make a Wish foundation will be sending us to Disney World! We are going for Casey's birthday in April. And the Papa's Pizza fundraiser was extremely helpful and it was great to see so many friends come out and support our family. We have an amazing family that has really step up to the plate for us and I can't thank you all enough. 

Whatever the meaning of all this is I have seen what some may call miracles in the timing that we were diagnosed and our prognosis' and the care we've recieved. There is a greater power out there that is watching over this family and I am so grateful for that because I know things could have been a lot LOT worse. Every time we go to Doernbechers I'm reminded of how blessed we have been. 

Casey at this moment is dancing to Barney on PBS and eating an orange. You'd never guess this kid had so much on his plate right now. He is one resilient kiddo. 

Our family's bond has been strengthened immeasurably and I know that we will conquer any storm that may cross our paths in the future as a family. 

Again thank you, a million times to everyone who has prayed, kept good thoughts for us or supported us in other ways. We love you and pray for YOU daily. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

First Round Done, Several More To Go

Just a little update on Casey, he is doing well. A little tired of all the nurses, docs and volunteers - except for the playroom volunteers, those are his best friends.  He's not really a people person any way, unlike Bennett, so all these people in his face all the time I think are starting to annoy him.  He woke up this morning with a tummy ache, not uncommon for nausea to start this soon but he got some Benedryl  and is out cold now.

So it looks like we will be coming up to Portland every week. Every 3 weeks he'll get his big dose of chemo and for the first 4x we'll stay overnight. His immune system won't be as strong and he's at risk for pneumonia so we would appreciate it if anyone who wants to see him be healthy and have clean hands.

We are so appreciative of all the prayers and love.   I really believe in the power of prayer and believe that is what helped us get the prognosis we did. He's in Group 1 of ERMS which is the best case scenario for his situation. He has a 95% cure rate and his CT and Bone scan were clear! As well as his Bone Marrow test. His oncologist did say he has a 50/50 chance of needing either a blood transfusion or bone marrow transfusion during his treatment but he doesn't take that kind of thing lightly and will do everything he can to prevent that. Let's pray we won't have to worry about that.

I feel so blessed with our situation, looking at all the other sick kids here at Doernbechers, it could be a lot worse. We're pretty lucky. My heart goes out to all the families here.  But there's a special kind of spirit here though and you can really feel angels walking the halls.  

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Casey's Cancer

As many of you know our sweet little Casey was recently diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma. You can watch a video that explains what rhabdomyosarcoma is here.  

It has been a long few weeks of surgery, tests and doctor visits, all either in Salem or Portland. He is now a patient at Doernbechers in Portland which we are so grateful for since this is a rare form of cancer and they have the best doctors up there. He is in great hands. 

We have had so many people praying for us and it really has been appreciated and felt. Our family has felt a strong sense of peace and comfort during this anxious time of waiting for test results. We also happened to move the weekend we found out and the move went hassle free.  We are also so appreciative of all the help our family and friends have provided. 

Some of our friends and family have asked how they may be able to help out financially.  We have set up a donation account for Casey at Northwest Community Credit Union, the account number is 5303879043. If you mail in a check you can memo it "to Casey's Cancer Fund" on the memo line and make the check payable to either Jeff or I. The address for NWCU is: PO Box 892 Albany, OR 97321. You can make a donation at any branch though. 

It has been a roller coaster of emotions the last few weeks. We thought we'd never have to hear the word "cancer" again after my battle with breast cancer last year. In a way I am thankful to have gone through that as it has prepared me to be a better support for Casey and understand a little of what he's going through.  But you can never prepare yourself to hear those words "Your child has cancer" or see their little bodies in a big hospital bed with IVs and monitors. We are bracing ourselves for the coming year and what it will hold. 

Again we cannot express our gratitude for all the help, prayers, thoughts and well wishes. 

Romans 12:12
"Let your hope make you glad. 
Be patient in time of trouble
and never stop praying"

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy Bee-Day Casey!

We were so excited for Casey's 3rd Birthday! The sun was shining, the cake was ready and the Happy Birthday banner done. A strange thing occurred before we left to set up at the park. Both the boys fell asleep on the couch. Strange. Casey rarely takes naps but it's not so unbelievable that he'd fall asleep but Bennett never takes naps anymore. Especially with so much excitement. I was happy though, maybe that would put them both in a good mood for the party and the rest of the day. Then Ben woke and was just shaking. We thought it was because he was excited Dad brought him home a yogurt for lunch from McD's. (He gets very excited sometimes) But he said he was cold. Then he fell back asleep.
At the party they were both so lethargic and didn't want to play, Bennett even said he wanted to go home. It was out of character for them to be like this I knew something was up. I decided to take Casey home and he went to sleep right away for the second time that day with a temperature of 102. Shortly after, Bennett came home and the party was moved to our house. Bennett went straight to his room despite all the kids playing in his backyard. The week went down hill from there. We all ended up sick. Casey probably had the worst of it, throwing up a few times the first night and ending up with a cold at the end of the week. Jeff stayed home a couple days from work. It was not a fun birthday. But now we are all better, the sun is shining again and the promise of summer is around the corner!

Happy Birthday Casel!

Favorite things to say: "I SAID PLEASE!" or "STOP BUGGING ME!" or "DON'T HIT ME!". All of these things are said when you haven't said please yet, no one is touching you or hitting you and they are all in your loudest Casey voice. You have been going through a bit of a stage lately and I'm positive it's because you get frustrated with not being able to communicate as well as you'd like. Even though at times you can be a bit bossy ;) you make it up with your sweetness and cuddles. You also say "because" a lot; for example, "I'm hungry, because I want some food." You're so smart and try really hard to communicate with us.

You love to sing. Some of your favorite songs are from Raffi: Mama's taking us to the Zoo, There's a spider on the floor, Robin in the Rain, Must be Santa Clause. But "your song" is the Banana Boat song - you know the one that goes "Day-O, daaaaay-O, daylight come and me want to go home!" Whenever it comes on you yell "My song!" You walk around the house singing little made up songs to yourself too.

Favorite movie: Pinocchio, The Adventures of Milo and Otis, you yell "look! they are sooooo cuuuuuute!" through the whole movie. You also like Curious George, the robot episode and of course Toy Story.

Favorite things to do: play outside in your tree house. You are so brave, you just climb up anything - I've always had to be careful about that with you. You also like to play in your sandbox, look for bugs, go to the library, read books, help me cook, play with your trains, take bubble baths and play with Bennett.

Favorite foods: Chicken Nuggets from McD's. Apples, cheese sticks, "bagos" (bagels), you also love meat. Pepperoni, hot dogs plain and bacon.

Casey quotes:
"Yesarooti, Positooti!" You got this from Bennett who got this from Pinky Dinky Doo, which you've never seen - yet. You look up to your big brother so much and learn to say fun words he says like that one and "Yowsers!" You also learned to jump when you're excited from Bennett. He's a pretty cool kid to look up to though!
"I broke my very own friend!" With an extremely sad face. You found a slug and brought it in the house without me knowing and played with it so much you squished it to death.
"Oh no my cookie! I yost it!" has become a family quote.
"I want to go to Casey's school" is what you call church.
"Bumble Bee" is one of your favorite words you love to say, which is why you had a Bumble Bee Party.

"No thank you and thank you" you're very polite, even if it's yelled sometimes, "I SAID NO THANKS!"

Casey I can't believe how big you are, you are my baby! You are growing too fast! We love you so much Monkey McBean and can't wait to see what this year has in store for you.

Chemical Reaction Experiment

I got this idea from Pinterest, you put baking soda in a dish and then color some white vinegar with food coloring. Take a medicine dropper and squirt the vinegar into the baking soda and fizzes. Lots of fun for the boys, kept them busy for a while. Then we did some sensory play and practiced writing letters with our fingers once the baking soda got all muddy. Killed 2 birds with one stone! :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Benny's Perfect Nutella Cookie Pizza

Bennett loves to cook so when I saw the library was holding a cooking contest I had to enter Bennett. He also loves pizza, cookies, bananas and Nutella. What better way to combine all those things than the Perfect Nutella Cookie Pizza? It's perfect because it kinda looks like him, freckles and all. We even made a pizza box to go with it.
Sadly he did not win but he was happy when I told him we get to go home now and eat his pizza.  We also had fun reading books about planets and taking an impromptu space mission to the moon and riding imaginary roller coasters to pass time.
And his Pizza was delicious ;)

My current obsession

Raising Cain, The Emotional Lives of Boys. Read it, just do it. It's only 258 pages long and it will change how you view and interact with boys. If you have a boy in your life, whether you're a parent, teacher, mentor or friend, you need to read this.
"...But as their manuscript progressed, Kindlon and Thompson realized a simple "how-to" would not do. "In the end," they write, "we found that the best advice we had to offer was simply to understand boys as they truly are ­ rather than as they appear or as we wish them to be. Our deepest wish is to pull aside the curtain boys so tenaciously draw around themselves and offer you a look inside their hearts and minds. If we succeed, we hope that you will see more clearly the ways in which our culture conspires to limit and undermine their emotional lives. We hope you will understand boys better, and above all, we hope you will enjoy them more"
Read an interview with one of the authors, Dan Kindlon, PH.D. here.