Tuesday, September 30, 2008

No Chips for Jack Today

This week, I've been going to work at 5:30am in hopes that I can leave earlier and be home more. Jon is going to work a bit later and staying later. So far, this schedule has worked (day 2, anyway).
This morning, I sat down at my computer to do a little work at 5am before I left for the office. I heard this rustling in my pantry. I thought, oh man, I have another possum under the house. Better call my guy to have him set another trap!

I begin to make Jack's lunch and head into the pantry for the chips. Well, all of a sudden a giant mouse/rat came running at me!

I screamed bloody murder!!!

Jon comes running in wondering what was wrong. "Chips. Pantry. Mouse." was all I could muster.

Turns out that my big strong husband has but one weakness when it comes to critters...rodents. I feel like everyone has something. For me, it is cockroaches. They scare the pants off of me. Maybe it was living in Savannah where they fly at your head or maybe it was just one too many times I swept one up thinking it was dead and it turned over and scurried away on my arm. I don't know but I don't touch them. At all.

Now, rodents on the other hand, I'm ok with getting rid of them as long as they don't come charging out of the pantry at me.

Time for me to put my big girl panties on and build a mousetrap, myself. I happened to have LOVED the game Mousetrap growing up. Maybe it was just good training for my future rodent extermination duties.

So, I immediately jump into game mode. Here is what I built in a matter of minutes. Not bad, eh?

Jon had to reach into the pantry to grab the peanut butter so that I could fashion the trap. That was HILARIOUS! Anyway, the mouse/rat was going to run up the ramp to get to the peanut butter and then tumble into the trash can. Jon was then going to carry the trash can out and set him free. Not that I want mice here but no need to kill it. However, Eva is immuno-compromised and I'm sorry, it had to go RIGHT NOW!

I leave for work and leave my hubby in charge of the disposal. I get to work and am sitting at my desk. Jon called. "It's in the kiiiitcheeeennn!!!" Somehow it had escaped my trap.

Alas, time for your demise mouse/rat. You had your chance. Now, for all you animal folks, don't go writing mean notes about how horrible I am to kill the mouse/rat. It CANNOT stay in my house and I have no time to mess with this. That mouse/rat chose the wrong house to enter. End of story.

So, I left downtown, headed to the Depot, bought my supplies and headed home. Set all the traps in the kitchen and then I looked at my watch. 7am.

We did not catch our friend today but I've reset all traps for tonight. Maybe tomorrow Jack can have his chips. We'll see....

Friday, September 26, 2008

Eva's First Haircut

Well, we're home. It was a harrowing 48 hours at home but it is over now and we have our little Eva back.

They told me that Eva's hair would be falling out in the next couple of weeks. Since I did not want Eva's first haircut to be chemotherapy, I thought I would go ahead and have her hair cut. My hairdresser Stephen was so amazing to do this for me.

Anyway, here are the results!



Bad Ass Eva and her kickin' cancer's butt 'do!

Not to be outdone, Big Brother Jack needed the same look.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

We're Going Home!

Wahoo! One day earlier than planned. Eva is currently getting her last chemo treatment of this round and we'll be home!

Here she is getting her last chemo treatment.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Jack Update pt 2

Well, no trip to the hospital for Eva would be complete without her big brother Jack having some sort of "episode". As you all might recall, way back when in February when we did not know what exactly was wrong with Eva, Jack had a trip to the hospital.

Today, he was sooooo excited to come to see Eva. We had planned all along that on Tuesday, he would come by the hospital and meet with the child life specialist to talk to him about Eva's port, treatment, hair loss, etc.

This week, I could tell that Eva was really missing her big brother. I had given her two dolls before we came. One, I told her was Eva and the other one was Jack. She has been snuggling with her Jack doll almost non-stop. She also kept looking at the picture in my phone and just saying, "Jack and Eeeeeva."

Angela comes up with Jack this afternoon and he is so happy to be there, his cheeks were flushed. He went to the store and bought Eva a balloon. We get him up to meet with the child life specialist. They come out about 45 min later and she immediately says that Jack is one of the most inquisitive children she has ever met. I was shocked by that statement! What? Jack, inquisitive?

Anyway, while we were sitting on the floor outside of Eva's room, Jack was explaining to me how Eva's port worked. I looked at his cheeks and they were still flushed. I asked Jack why his cheeks were red and he said that he was scratching it. Uh oh.

I immediately stripped him down and looked to see if I could see any red bumps on his body. He had a few. The nurse took him over to the regular ped side to see if someone there could identify what was wrong with him. It was "Fifth's Disease", a highly contagious virus. Every nurse on the floor jumped on the computer to find out what this meant. We immediately called Dr. Kennedy (our ped) to see if Jack could even see Eva at all.

It was a good news/bad news. Good news is that once the rash appears, you are no longer contagious. Bad news is that he's probably had this for over a week without us knowing so Eva is already exposed. Ugh.

So, just for precaution, we let Jack in the room to sit on the floor and just wave at his sister.

To say that Eva had been grumpy all day was an understatement. Totally understandable but an understatement. When Big Brother Jack walked into that room, Eva let out the largest squeal I have ever heard. Jaaaaaaaack!!!!!!!!! She just laughed and talked to him and laughed and laughed. He gave her (through us) his Dora balloon and she was so happy. It completely changed the day for her.

Ahh, the power of a sibling visit. I know this first hand. I don't know what I'll do when my sister goes home. Maybe I need an Angela doll.

Another Update

We're in Medical City on day 3.

As you know, Eva had a port put in and started chemo last night. We waited and waited all day to start the chemo but it finally began at 10p! Good news is that Eva slept through the whole thing.

She seemed to do ok last night but this morning was a bit tough. She threw up all over the place. We got her vomiting under control and she rested.

Last night, we gave her two of the four drugs that she will get. Each of these drugs has a different really exciting potential side effect. One of these drugs causes nausea (check). The other one causes heart issues (wahoo, not check). They have to closely monitor her during the time she is receiving this drug. She gets this drug tonight and tomorrow. The next two, coming in the next round, can cause leukemia and hair loss, respectively, so sign us up!

Today, we had a bone scan. My sister, Angela, and I had taken a moment to slip out to the Y for some exercise when she left. Jon had the pleasure. By pleasure, I mean Jon got to experience what we have learned is called "Emersion Dementia." Fortunately, it did not last as long as it did when I had her with the CT and MRI.

Dr. Lenarsky came in and told us that the bone marrow aspirate came back ok, her belly scan came back ok, and her bone scan from this morning came back ok. We are still waiting on the biopsy but he feels pretty good we're in the clear there. Here is what that means: the neuroblastoma has not spread to her bone marrow, her belly or attached itself to any bones. That is a good thing.

The plan is for us to leave tomorrow after her chemo treatment. It is overwhelming what we have to do for Eva at home care. Good news is that we are going to have our nanny trained tomorrow so she'll be ready and an extra pair of hands for us.

Anyway, that's the story. Thank you, again, so much for your thoughts and prayers!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Chemo? What Chemo?

Well, pretty much this photo says it all. Here's Eva this afternoon.

Surgery Update

Just a quick note. We're out of surgery and it went very well.

Eva is just coming around now and is READY for some food. I hope it arrives soon!! Girl likes to eat!

They are starting chemo at 3:30 today.

Thank you all so much for your continued prayers. More soon.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Greetings from Medical City!

Well, here we are back at Medical City. We arrived this evening in enough time to get settled before Eva had to go to bed. We got the room next to our old room. The good news is that this room has a full panel of windows so it is so bright and sunny.

Tomorrow, we have the port surgery at 9am and then start chemo in the afternoon.

We're doing ok. I am lifted by my sister's and my in-law's arrival. Last night, my mother-in-law was kind enough to keep the kids so Jon and I could go out for a bit. We went to the pub (no big surprise).

Today was a bit hard, I must admit. When my sister arrived, she brought Eva this tshirt that has a chick on it and it says, "One Brave Chick". I, of course, burst into tears at the table. Then, later on, I went to Target by myself to pick up just a few final things for our stay. When I was checking out, it hit me what I was doing and I burst into tears, again.

It was quite embarrassing dashing out of the Target, I'm not sure what the cashier thought was wrong. I mean, she was probably thinking, Mam, it is just dish soap and a sippy cup. It is ok!

You see, while I am a huge fan of PDA--Public Displays of Affection (I always hug and kiss my friends hello and good bye, I'm very french that way), I am NOT a fan of PDE--Public Displays of Emotion. Ask Jon. Nothing mortifies me more than PDE. An exception to this is Extreme Happiness, which I pretty much exude most of the time. But sadness, well, that's another story altogether. Privately, water faucet. Publicly, stone. If I happen to break down in front of someone, I spend the next three hours apologizing.

I guess, I'll just apologize in advance for my melt downs these next few months. For all my friends and family seeing me over the next several months, they might have to forgive me just this once.

I'll be back to my jovial self sometime in December when this is all over.

More on Eva tomorrow. Please keep Jack and her in your prayers.


Every so often, there is a movie you see that makes you say, wow, this is really me. For me, that movie is that 1989 gem, Parenthood. My family is very similar to the Buckmans, minus, of course, the horrible dad. My dad is just fine. Oh, and I don't have a nephew named, "Kool" but my siblings have not stopped having kids yet, so you never know, really.

Jon and I joke about that movie quite frequently. When Jack was little, we used to laugh that we had the Justin character. Jack would LITERALLY put buckets on his head and bang his head in the wall. We would say, "he likes to butt things with his head" and others would reply, "you must be so proud." Just like the movie.

Jack has moved from Justin to Kevin, the older boy, with the social problems. We sat in the school director's office the other day while they told us (what we already knew) that Jack has some social issues. He's disruptive in the class, hits other children and takes up a ton of the teacher's time. They are, by the way, so great and really want to help Jack. That said, I was thrown back in to that movie and almost shouted, "Jon smoked grass!"

On Saturday, we went to the soccer field for Jack's first game of the season. We played soccer for two seasons and in 16 games, Jack probably touched the ball twice. Maybe. We signed him up fully expecting the same "You made me play second base!" results. When we got to one of the practices, I heard another child say, "Oh, great, it's Jack B." I just died inside.

This Saturday, however, he was on fire. He was moving all over the place with the ball and even made one of the two goals that the team scored! Jon and I were so proud, we went screaming out to the field to hug him. When Jack scored the goal, I heard one of the kids say, "Did you see what Jack B. did? He scored a great goal!" I burst into tears.

Jack plays the field! (Thanks, Nicole for the pic!)

I was on a high about that game all day. I felt that nothing bad could happen to me. My son scored a goal in a four-year old soccer league!!!!

I keep thinking about the grandmother's quote when she was talking about carnival rides as a metaphor for life. She said, "I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it." You said it, Grandma, bring on the coaster.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Camp Chemo

Well, it looks like chemo for Eva. The tumor has grown and there is another one coming on as well on the other side.

Good news is that her cathecholimines (urine levels) were still normal which means that the tumor is calcifiying (turning into non-malignant tumors).

But, with the new growth, the doctor just felt that it was time to start attacking things. I'm ok with that!

Here's the info: We'll be admitted to Medical City on the 21st (sunday). Eva will have a port put in on the 22nd in the AM. We will stay at Medical City for four days while she gets chemo. There are four rounds of chemo, each 21 days apart. The doctor is hopeful that once this is all done, it is all done. No more cancer. Here's to hoping!

Anyway, that's the quick update. More to come.

I'm fine and thankful that my friend Whitney was at the appointment with me. Now, to turn the focus to Ike for a bit. Not that Dallas is going to get too much of it but you never know about the power.

Time to get those prayers started again!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Good Day, Sunshine

Well, just a quick note to tell you that yesterday's fiasco is nothing that a couple of cocktails and a bottle of wine can't cure.

I'm MUCH better today. Last night, my awesome sister-in-law came over and took us all to dinner. By then, I was coming around from the trauma. She made me laugh and relax.

Eva was perfect. She completely bounced back and was in great spirits.

I came home, put the kids to bed, settled down with Project Runway and my dear French friend Mr. Noir. You might know him, Pinot Noir? Anyway, we had a happy time together before I went to bed early.

New day! Time to put it all behind.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I'm home now. I'm trying to type this but honestly, my fingers hardly have the strength to work.
It was a trying day. First of all, they called yesterday and told me that I needed to be there at 7:30am for a 9am appt. Ok, so I get Jill (THANK YOU!) to come over and help me out and take care of Jack before Delfina gets here.

Eva and I get to the hospital and do our paperwork and head to the waiting room. There, you sit with other parents and play the usual "Whose Kid is Sicker?" game. This time, I did not win. Not even close.

One hour goes by, then two. Are they taking Eva soon, I ask? No, not yet. Three hours. Eva is REALLY getting hungry. But, you know that awesome girl, even though she tried to eat the plastic food in the playroom, she was really quite chipper. Three and hours and 45 min later, they take her.

So, I carry her into the room and hark and behold, who is the anesthesiologist? Senior Moment Lady! Oh, man. So, instead of letting me hold Eva while they put her to sleep like the other ones do, SHE made me hold her down while she screamed on the bed. It was awful.

I went down to the cafe because it was 11:30 and I had not eaten either. Jon called from Bangkok. I was happy to get to talk to him when I did not have screaming kids. Anyway, he did make me feel better about MY day so far because he told me that he was going to have to fly coach on a 13 hour flight and the only dvd he had with him was Hong Kong Phooey. Now, I love Hong Kong Phooey just as much as the next guy but for 13 hours, geesh!

I had finally recovered from the earlier incident and went back upstairs. They called me to tell me that Eva was ready for me.

What I left was an adorable child. What I got was a complete crazy person. Eva had a reaction to the gas that they gave her and because I really don't want to relive those horrible 40 minutes, I'll just say that it was such an awful experience I hope that no parent has to ever deal with it. I had to restrain her for a full 40 minutes while she screamed, clawed at my face and kicked me and anyone nearby. There are no words for it, really.

The good news is that once the gas wears off, she becomes her charming self. We were driving home and Eva was sitting in the back singing to the Imagination Movers (her request). Me? I was shaking and completely spent.

It has been two hours and I think that my adrenaline has calmed down. I'm heading off for some rest.

I'll get the results on Friday. AND Oh, hear me now, this is the LAST we will see of Senior Moment Lady, trust.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Confession Tuesday

Here I sit, Tuesday night. Day 5 of a Jon-Free Zone. Where is Jon, you ask? Well, since Friday he's been to Hong Kong, Hanoi, Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City. Tomorrow, he's off to Bangkok and then in London by Thursday. What a trip! I know he's exhausted.
Speaking of exhausted, I'm on Day 5 of a Jon-Free Zone.
Truth be told, I would really like to hear about what Jon is seeing but I'm honestly more interested in what he's eating. Our email exchanges go like this. Jon: "Today I saw____" Me: "yeah, yeah, yeah. What did you have for dinner? And before that, lunch? Oh and breakfast, don't forget about breakfast, tell me everything!"
The kids have been fine. It is so sad that I was so panicked at the thought of 10 days alone with my own children. How awful a parent am I? I have all these friends with husbands in the military and they have their kids with NO support for months and months on end. How do they do it? I'm such a baby.
Speaking of being a baby, I was going to write my confessions last night but Jack refused to go to bed unless I was with him. Although, admittedly, I was bummed that I could not get the mounds of work done I had brought home, there is nothing better than crawling into bed with that little guy. What a snuggle bug.
That is, of course, until he starts shouting in his sleep, which he does quite regularly. Last night, he just kept shouting the word "carrots!!!" Talk amongst yourselves.
Why is it that both my kids talk in their sleep? The other night, I heard this screaming from Eva's room. She was screaming "MINE! MINE!! MINE!!!" Talk amongst yourselves.
My 20th high school reunion is coming up in October. A HUGE portion of my former classmates have suddenly joined Facebook and have reconnected. Everyone has been posting pictures to the site and just talking away. It has been so much fun to see everyone and see where they have landed.
I was not hugely popular in high school. As a matter of fact, I was the opposite of popular in high school. For me, the reunion is the excitement of forging friendships that I should have done 30 years ago. I was pretty quiet back then. I'm much louder now. Maybe it is the old age hearing loss.
Back then, I have to say, I was so lucky that even though I did not have many friends IN school, I had many friends OUT of school. Many of those dear friends are still dear friends. Not dear friends that you remember fondly in the past, I mean, friends I speak to on a REGULAR basis. I'm so lucky to have them.
AND FINALLY, I'm off to the hospital with Eva tomorrow for her MRI and CT. I get the results on Friday. People keep asking me about going by myself for the tests and results. For the tests, I know it will be fine. I mean, it is two hours of me by myself in the hospital! For Friday, I know already what the doctors are going to say. I know that they will want to do something and I'll have to say that we'll just wait for Jon to return from his trip next week. Anyway, just keep Nubbin in your prayers.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Denial August

I had worked tonight's post in my head yesterday when we were at The Westfest Polka Festival in West, TX. We go every year and I was going to fill tonight's post with funny stories about the kids and how much fun they had doing the chicken dance. This is not that post.

When you look back at the posts for the past several weeks, you might notice that I have not been mentioning Eva's cancer very much. I think it is because subconsciously, I was enjoying what I have called "Denial August."

Jon and I just spent the month having fun as a family, doing our dance parties, naked racing (the kids, not us), celebrating our anniversary, watching the Olympics, etc. Just not focusing on Eva's illness at all.

Well, it is September now. Today, I was checking in one of the kids with NB that I follow, Max, only to find that he suddenly passed away last night. He was seven.

My heart breaks for the family. He's been progressively getting sicker and sicker but his passing was completely unexpected, yesterday.

I guess August is over. Eva gets a CT and MRI on the 10th. I get the results on the 12th. Jon is in SE Asia for that week but when he returns, we will have to decide our next move with Eva's regrowth.

Time to move to the next month.