March 30, 2006

Chemo Today / MRI Monday

It has been one busy day! Jack had his chemo bright and early this morning at 8:30am so he could be back at school for the spring musical this afternoon. We made it with about 30 minutes to spare. Jack's ANC counts are 1200. Anything over 1000 means that his immune system is strong enough to fight germs. He has one more chemo treatment then his 2 week break again. This month has gone so fast.
The musical was sweet and all the kids were very cute. Jack and Sophie had been practicing their lines daily for months. We were proud of them.

Jack and I go to Dallas on Monday for his next MRI, which will take place at 4:30 p.m. at Dallas Children's Hospital, then his Oncology visit with Dr. Bowers on Tuesday morning. It will be a quick trip, Rob can't go because he has to work, so keep us in your prayers, I so hate driving in the "big city" and am white knuckled the whole time. Although whenever I ask someone to pray for me to make the trip, I can always feel peace from the Lord, and am not quite so afraid. I am counting on you to pray for our drive there Monday and home Tuesday. The second prayer request is that you will pray for Jack's tumors to continue to shrink, and that this is a great visit medically for Jack. The third is to pray for Jack to be still during the MRI, the chemo has made him a bit twitchy and it is pretty hard for him to lay still, but if he can stay awake and not have to be sedated it is always better. He has never needed sedation for the MRI's, sometimes that twitchiness makes it hard for him to not move around, so if you will ask God to help Jack be very still.
Boy, I have alot to ask of you today. I am grateful for your prayers and kindnesses to our family.

I will post Tuesday after we get the latest results.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:6,7

March 27, 2006

Yellow Belt Day


A most glorious Yellow Belt Day!! Derek and Jack tested for their yellow belts along with the rest of their class on Saturday morning. It was an awesome morning. I was amazed at how much all the boys and 1 awesome girl had learned. The class did so great and it was a special time for each of them. I am so glad that Derek and Jack (and maybe Sophie in a couple of weeks) have the opportunity to learn Tae Kwon Do from Mr. Bulls and Ms. Broadhearst. They are great and commpassionate instructors. Thanks to Mr. Terrell for all he does too!
There are moments in a parents life when their heart swells to capacity, recitals, belt tests, seeing your child reach out to another child who needs help, sometimes just a simple thank you can make your heart feel like it might just burst, like there is no way you could ever feel more satisfied than just looking at your child, hugging them, or being a part of the journey God has set before them. This was one of those days for me. I felt like crying the whole time watching Derek, so big and strong doing his best, and Jack, living in the midst of chemo, a little weaker than most or all of the kids, not as light on his feet, and wobbly here and there, but doing the very best he could with a smile on his face. When Mr. Bulls had to help him make a turn correctly, he just accepted the gentle nudge on his shoulder with gratitude and a smile, never looking dejected or feeling like his pride was injured, just glad to be there, and doing the best he could.
I pray for a spirit for myself as a child of God who is wobbly and not always able or willing to make the turns where I should, to accept that nudge, without my pride getting in the way, without feeling dejected but just glad to be on the journey. God made me who I am and he knew my footsteps through my life, he knew my wobbles before I did, but he is just as thrilled to nudge my heart and help me get back on track, or raise me to an expectation he has laid before me, as Mr. Bulls was to help Jack get back on track. Gods heart is bursting for me to just be engaged in the journey of maturing in Him, wobbly legs and all.
Thank you God for the moments that my heart feels like it is overflowing with joy, please help me savor each moment, store those days like treasures in my heart.

March 23, 2006

Car Driving Dreams

Today's chemo went well. Jack's ANC counts were at 2300 which is great, much better than they have been lately. Today at chemo there were quite a few other chemo kids there. Nurse Sara asked the kids who wanted to make a trip to the snack bar in the hospital. All the kids thought that it would be good to stretch out their legs a bit, so everyone unattached from the power outlets, and wrapped the cords around the poles with the chemo bags which were continuing to drip on battery power.
Jack, Derek, Grace and all us moms, one dad, and a couple of nurses made our way through the oncology offices, through the day surgery area, through the tunnell and into the lobby at Hendrick. The snack area in the lobby is one of those "We serve Starbuck's coffee kiosk's" along with a snack bar of decadent chocolates and Mrs. Fields cookies, and a popcorn machine. Everybody made their selections, then we sat down for about 5 minutes in the lobby and let the kids eat their snacks. It was nice to have a change of scenery. Then we trapsed our way back to the chemo chairs for the rest of the chemo.
It was like a parade of kids and poles. We should have decorated the poles and gone for a parade with a theme, 4th of July is coming up, that might be fun.
Jack had a funny dream 2 nights ago, in his dream we were walking along a hiking path into the forest. He said that I went on the right path and he went on the wrong path and we got separated. He said that he found our van and drove around the city looking for me, he said he drove the van perfectly, and didn't even get into an accident. He did find me and that was a happy ending. When he told Rob about his dream, Rob pointed out that if Jack was on the path where the van was it seemed to him that Jack was on the right path and I was on the wrong one. Jack was pretty sure that was not how the dream went. He loved telling me about driving the van around town. I asked him if he wanted to drive us to church, and he thought it through, and said, "I will give it a try, I think I could do it." It was cute how he really gave it some thought and decided that he was up to the challenge. Well I didn't let him drive us to church, but I am sure that when he is turning 16 yrs. old and it is legal for him to drive us to church he will be up to the task. Isn't it funny when we dream about something it seems so real.
When I was a little girl, I was afraid to swim, I was afraid of the water. This story was told to me by my dad. I must have been very little, like 4 or 5 years old because I can remember swimming like a fish in my early elementary years. My dad and mom had tried to help me feel comfortable in the water, and I was just plain afraid. One night I had a dream that I jumped right into the water and swam across the pool just as if I had already mastered the task. That morning I woke up and went in and told my dad about my dream, I told him that I thought I could swim and I wouldn't be afraid anymore. He took me to a pool and I did just what I did in my dream, I jumped in and swam across the pool and back. I was sure that I could do it and I did. My dad was a lifelong salesman and he used that story when he was training new salesmen and women. He loved telling me that story. My dad passed away 6 years ago, he had a gift to tell stories and jokes. He could make a room full of people smile with his stories.
I better sign off because as I write this Sophie is sitting on my bed listening to an infomercial on the Oreck Air Purifier, and she is trying to convince me that her allergies could be healed if I would only buy her an Oreck.

March 21, 2006

T.P.'d


This morning we were getting ready for school and Jack peered through the curtains in the living room which look out to our front yard, and said, "Somebody decorated our tree with toilet paper!!!" The tone of his voice was more in line with the decoration of our Christmas Tree, it was beautiful. I immediately smiled and thought to myself of the women (not kids, but women), I know exactly who they are, decorated my tree with toilet paper late last night. It was Bunko night last night, for those of you who have not heard of bunko it is a reason to get 12 women together to laugh, fellowship and encourage each other, it is a dice game. Some people refer to it as the Christian women's alternative to gambling. Don't believe what they say, it isn't gambling, it is just clean fun. Anyway, at Bunko I needed a ride home and the gals who I coffee with during the week were all in their black clothes ready to decorate trees after bunko. I found another kind soul to give me a ride home because I was worn out. Too tired to think about decorating the trees of women I adore. (It is always a sign of affection, with this group.) So Nora gave me a ride home and I went to bed. I have to admit there was a twinkle of a thought that because I punked out and didn't go with them that they might take revenge on me and toilet paper my lone tree. I even thought of leaving the curtains open and turning on the front porch light, but dismissed this feeling to unneccessary paranoia. So to some of my favorite women who walk the earth, who encourage me with their friendship, who have helped me in my walk with the Lord, who never forsake me.....just wait your tree could be decorated at a very unsuspecting moment, because I love you all so.

Cousins at the Zoo


All the kids, Derek, Jack, Sophie and cousins, Lauren and Baby Zach at the zoo.

Zoo Pics




Here are pictures of the kids at the zoo last week. It was a beautiful day!

March 18, 2006

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Tonight we watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding with Rob's family who are visiting from Missouri and Albuquerque. I just love that movie. I love that they spit on each other for good luck, "ahh-too, ahh-too", I love Tulla's family, when they are all together there is never a dull moment. It reminds me a bit of my family, we always have a good time, it is never dull or quiet.
I also love the part when Ian's mother brings over a bundt cake and Tulla's mom can't pronounce bundt, nor does she understand why there is a hole in the center, later on she presents it to the crowd with a potted plant in the center.
This movie reminds me of the importance of loving your family, spending as much time together as you can, and not taking everything that everyone says so seriously, just have fun and laugh. Here is a quote from the end of the movie:

My family is big and loud but they're my family. We fight and we laugh and yes, we roast lamb on a spit in the front yard. And where ever I go, what ever I do they will always be there.

Here is to roasting lamb on a spit in the front yard!

March 16, 2006

Fun with the Family at Chemo

Jack's counts were good today, 1500 ANC. He had a great day at chemo. Alot of friends there to spend time with along with Derek and Sophie who came with us. Sophie loves to play with a little girl named Grace who is undergoing chemo. They have a great time. They colored and cut out paper, stickered, and did a bit of giggling. Rob's sister came to visit us today at chemo with her children Lauren and Zach. It was a big group gathering, which always makes it alot of fun.
After chemo we went to the NICCL to check out the latest artwork and let the kids play a bit, then we headed out for the ice cream store. Tonight the boys had their thai kwon do, and a week from Saturday they will test for their yellow belts, Big Doins'.
Thanks for keeping up with Jack, we appreciate you so very much.
Love, Tammy

March 15, 2006

Hello

Spring Break is about half over. The kids are enjoying some down time, watching some video's here and there, spending time at the zoo and different parks in town. Jack's counts were a bit down last week so we have stayed away from enclosed play places to be safe. Thursday morning we go to chemo, back into that routine. I will post tomorrow with Jack's counts.
This following poem came through on email today.

WHEN YOU THOUGHT I WASN'T LOOKING
(Written by a former child)

A message every adult should read, because
children are watching you and doing as you do,
not as you say.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw
you hang my first painting on the refrigerator, and I
immediately wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw
you feed a stray cat, and I learned that it was good
to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw
you make my favorite cake for me and I learned that
the little things can be the special things in life.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I heard
you say a prayer, and I knew there is a God I could
always talk to and I learned to trust in God.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw
you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick,
and I learned that we all have to help take care
of each other.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw
you give of your time and money to help people who had
nothing and I learned that those who have
something should give to those who don't.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw
you take care of our house and everyone in it and I
learned we have to take care of what we are given.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw
how you handled your responsibilities, even when
you didn't feel good and I learned that I would have
to be responsible when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw
tears come from your eyes and I learned that
sometimes things hurt, but it's all right to cry.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw
that you cared and I wanted to be everything that I
could be.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I
learned most of life's lessons that I need to know
to be a good and productive person when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I
looked at you and wanted to say, "Thanks for all the
things I saw when you thought I wasn't looking."

______________________________________

I know that when I was a child I learned alot just from watching my parents. It seemed like their actions stuck like glue, and their words did not.
Hope that your week is blessed.

March 11, 2006

Patchin' It

Jack and I just returned from the Opthamologist Clinic Visit. Lately and on occassion Jack's right eye has been slightly turning in, not drastic like before but just enough to notice that his right eye is not looking straight ahead. The visit today was a regular check up and I was glad to have already put it on the books before all this came about. Dr. Moody told us that Jack's other eye is really compensating well and helping that other eye to straighten out. So there is no immediate concern, just keep an eye on that eye. His vision is still a bit different between the two eyes, so Jack will start wearing a patch again just for a couple of hours a day this first week and then a couple of hours 2 days a week. Over the next 4 months that should help even out the difference in the two eyes. All in all it was a great visit. Short wait and alot of good information.
We are enjoying family, and beautiful weather today. These are the kinds of days that beckon you to be outside.

March 09, 2006

Countdown to Spring Break

Jack had his blood draw today along with his monthly oncology visit with Dr. Bowman from Cook's Children's Hospital. Jack's ANC counts are a bit low at 928. Last week I posted that Jack had a fever and has some other sinus stuff going on. He has been on a strong antibiotic all week to help that get better. There has been a little improvement every day but the illness is holding on, which means to me that it is probably a virus and not a bacterial infection. A virus will generally bring your immune system counts down. That is probably what is going on with Jack. He will continue with the antibiotic until it runs out, but I kind of think that if this is a virus it will just run its course until it is gone from his system.
Jack can still go to school, one more day until Spring Break vacation!!!! Yeehaw. So he will have one more week from today until his chemo starts up again.
All is well other than that with Jack. We will have family in for the next week and enjoying to the fullest the special time with them.
Blessings,
Tammy

March 05, 2006

Inspired Bravery

I had tennis practice today. I joined a tennis league in town and am having a blast playing tennis and making new friends. So today I was in the middle of a volley drill. I went after a ball that probably I should have in my right mind not tried so hard to get. But I went after it anyway, I gave it my best run, I pushed myself to get there, I stretched forward to see if I could get my racket to the ball before it hit the ground a second time. My racket came into contact with the ball, but before I could look up to see if I had made a successful shot I realized that I was continuing to go forward. There was quite a bit of momentum behind me and I had gotten off balance when I stretched out. The next thing I knew I was in slow motion and I was going down. I put my hands down first, then my torso and then my face hit. My chin was the only thing that got a bit banged up. All the women who were there came over to help me up and I did get right up, but I knew that I had scraped an amount of skin off my chin but how much I didn't know. There was some blood involved, but as there was no mirror I didn't know just how much. I followed Coach Scott to her office area and she helped me treat the wound. I got right up and walked back out onto the courts and was ready to get back to practice.
Coach Scott told me I was pretty tough. She was glad to see me get up and just deal with it, then get right back to practice.
Anybody that knows me well, knows that being tough probably does not come natural to me. The first thing that came to my mind was that I was embarrassed ofcourse, then mad because I fell, then I really wanted to cry because it hurt. The next thought that entered my mind was how brave Jack was. What is a scraped up chin in comparison to the procedures that Jack goes through? I stood up tall and just dealt with it, thanks to Jack and his strength and bravery I was inspired to do the same. Thanks Jack for helping your mom be stronger and braver than she has been before. By the way the ladies that watched the ball to see where I hit it said it was a great, smooth, shot and it was in! That made me very happy. Atleast I hit it in. Too bad it wasn't a game winning shot then it really would have been worth it!
Will I go after a ball again and not be afraid to fall on my face, I hope so. My kids were pretty impressed with me when they saw my battle wound, the first thing they asked me was if I cried...I said no I did not cry I got right back up and played, they were shocked, because they know that I am kind of wimpy. Not anymore!

March 03, 2006

Update for Jack the brave

Jack seems to be doing well. Still has a fever and headache. Took him to the doctor this morning and he said it is a sinus thing. He put him on some antibiotics and said that should take care of it. He is eating like he is well, and bored like he is well. He should be feeling better soon. Whenever he is still eating and drinking when he is not feeling good there is a reason to rejoice right there in itself. No need to worry about dehydration. Thanks to all who have prayed for Jack over last night and today. Keep sending those prayers up to God. I am grateful for all the long time prayers for Jack. We are in our tenth month since his tumor diagnosis and in one sense it seems like last month, and another seems like a lifetime ago. We are grateful for the joy and fellowship this year has brought to each of us.
I am continually amazed at how well Jack does in the doctors offices. He handles it like a champ. Today our doctor was not in her office so we went to the on call doc. Jack just takes it in stride...with a just tell me where to go attitude. He is very brave.

March 01, 2006

A Car Conversation

9pm Thursday night - Jack came home from Thai Kwon Do with a 101.5 degree fever. His head is hurting him....head cold, virus, flu....? at this point I don't know what this is going to turn into. Please pray that Jack heals quickly and stays strong through this. Because his counts were 1400 today, he can work through this at home unless he gets any worse. One thing is for sure things can change in an instant for better or worse. Seeking your prayers.
________________________________________

Jack's ANC Counts for Thursday 3/2 - 1400! Yea they stayed strong this whole month.
________________________________________
Tonight we were driving to church. We skipped the Wednesday night meal at church and ate dinner at home. This went over surprisingly well with the kids, normally they would have been sad they didn't get to play for a full hour before church. We did get there early enough for them to have some running around time before class began.
As we were driving to church tonight Jack asked when we were going to go to Dallas for his next MRI. I told him we would go on April the 3rd to the hospital for his MRI and then meet with Dr. Bowers his oncologist the next morning then head home. It will be a quick trip this time. Jack asked me if I thought his tumors would be gone by then. I told him I know that they will be alot smaller, but I don't know if they will be totally gone. Guess what Jack's next words were......
"I know that when we get the next MRI my tumors are going to be gone." He said it with such force, like there was absolutely not an ounce of doubt. They were going to be gone. Whether they will be gone by April or by August we are still thrilled that the chemo is working so well. They will be gone, Lord willing and the creeks don't rise. Thank you God.