Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stormy days… Day 867 31MAR11

We got the rain with a vengeance today. We had almost hurricane conditions for a bit and a ton of rain and wind throughout the day which made it a fine time to stay inside. The boys got their school work done amidst the power outages and then spent the rest of the day playing and continuing to get ready for the party on Sunday. The house is starting to look very party ready and the decorations are going to be really cool. As I predicted Joshua is already running around the house in his cast, his poor lonely crutches languishing in the corner. There really is no stopping that child. We all got together tonight to watch our Bolts clench a spot in the playoffs with a win over the Penguins, Joshua was very pleased. Tomorrow is more school and another day at work for me before we jump in to our exciting weekend. It looks like it will be awesome.
Birds of a feather

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rainy days… Day 866 30MAR11

We got the rain back today which was a welcome thing. Joshua got his school work done pretty quickly and then helped Renee and Jarrod start getting things ready for his upcoming birthday party on Sunday. They must have been pretty busy because when I got home the living room was all re-arranged and decorations were going up. Joshua is pretty excited about having all of his friends over to play. It should be a great time for all.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Limping along… Day 865 29MAR11

Joshua has been doing great with his cast and is already figuring out how to lope along without his crutches. I am sure that by the time it is scheduled to be removed he will have figured out a way to bolt wheels to it so he can skate :-) The boys did school work until after lunch and then headed over to spend some time with grandma while Renee and I ran some errands. When we went to go pick them up what Mary Ann was cooking smelled so good we decided to stay for dinner. We had a nice meal and then headed home to watch the hockey game. The Bolts won which was a nice finish to our day.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Overcast… Day 864 28MAR11

Today was one of those bleak rainy and overcast days. God knows we need the rain. It looks like we have been trimming our grass with a flamethrower. Joshua headed off into the drizzle this morning for clinic and his ortho visit. Clinic went fine and his ANC is over 5000 which tells us he is working to heal his ankle. The ortho said he has a mid-ankle sprain that is not too severe but he had him put in a hard cast for four weeks. Joshua picked blue because it is the team color of the Lightning. He will still need the crutches most of the time because his foot was cast at less than 90 degrees due to the tightening of his tendons from the vincristine. He can walk but it is kind of a mix of Quasimodo and Donald Duck ;-)

After they were all done Renee and the boys headed for home. I understand they took advantage of the rainy day and just relaxed after they got their school work finished. I made it home a bit early and got to spend a little time with everyone before they headed off for bed. As to the weather… Let it rain, we need it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lazy day… Day 863 27MAR11

Today was a day for all of us to rest a bit. Sure we had some chores to take care of but for the most part we all just did our own thing and relaxed. Jarrod and I ran some errands during the heat of the afternoon and after it cooled down a bit we built a cool project for Joshua's upcoming birthday party that involved robotics and wood. I won't spoil the surprise, you'll just have to wait for pictures later :) After our busy week a day of rest was just what we all needed to get a little recharged to start our next week.

Clinic in the morning for Joshua and a follow up appointment with the Ortho Doctor to take a look at how his ankle is doing. Staying off of it today helped with the swelling quite a bit and with any luck Joshua will be able to ditch the splint and the crutches soon.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Relay for life… Day 862 26MAR11

Alecia who is Joshua's aunt is part of a relay for life team this year and was walking in honor of Joshua. If you are not familiar with Relay here is a brief overview from their website:

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is a life-changing event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease. At Relay, teams of people camp out at a local high school, park, or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Because cancer never sleeps, Relays are overnight events up to 24 hours in length.

Relay began in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon in Tacoma, Washington, ran and walked around a track for 24 hours to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Since then, Relay has grown from a single man’s passion to fight cancer into the world’s largest movement to end the disease. Each year, more than 3.5 million people in 5,000 communities in the United States, along with additional communities in 20 other countries, gather to take part in this global phenomenon and raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer. Thanks to Relay participants, the American Cancer Society continues to save lives.

Relay starts with a Survivors Lap – a inspirational time when survivors are invited to circle the track together and help everyone celebrate the victories we’ve achieved over cancer. The Survivors Lap is an emotional example of how Relay participants are ensuring that more lives are saved each year – like those of each individual on the track. We also recognize and celebrate caregivers at Relay For Life. These individuals give their time, love, and support to friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers who face cancer. At Relay, people understand the frustrations and joys of being a caregiver, since the effects of cancer reach far beyond just the person diagnosed.

We went out to spend the afternoon walking with and supporting Alecia and all the other participants who were there. Miss Allie and Jamie came as well as Renee's mom and dad. Emma and her family were there as well. Joshua rode around the track in a wheel chair and even got to spend a little time with Carly who came with her parents. It was a great event and we really enjoyed being a part of the beginning. We left late in the afternoon but the relayers will be there all night continuing the walk.
Allie and Jamie came home with us and we enjoyed their company until late in the evening. Allie is turning into quite a cute toddler and never ceases to put a smile on our faces. We finished our long day off with a victory from the Lightning who were playing the same team away that they played at home last night.
Our little Miss Allie

Jamie made this fantastic shirt to wear!

Joshua with grandma who is a 6 year survivor!

Joshua with Miss Chrisi and grandma

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hockey!… Day 861 25MAR11

Joshua was a little mopey today because of his lack of mobility but managed to et his homework done before taking it easy for the afternoon. He was going to relax at home this evening but Renee got an email from Coach Raymond asking if we would like some hockey tickets for tonights game. The boys of course jumped for joy and they headed out for the game shortly thereafter. I was stuck at work so Renee took her dad to the game instead. They had a great time at the game, unfortunately the Lightning lost the game. Afterwards they headed down to see Coach Raymond and thank him for the tickets. I actually got home before they did which is pretty unusual and was here to put everyone to bed. Joshua did fine in his crutches and is feeling pretty good without a lot of pain or discomfort. We are hoping that with a restful weekend he will be on the mend quickly.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Emergency room… Day 860 24MAR11

Joshua left right before lunch to have a play date over at Wojtek's house. A little while later the phone rang and Renee told me she was headed to the emergency room. Joshua was jumping on the trampoline and his ankle folded up on him. I met them there as soon as I could. Lucky for us our friend Dr. Jim was working and he smoothed the way for us through the ER. After an x-ray and a consult the pediatrician informed us that he had sprained his ankle badly but nothing appeared to be broken. An ortho tech was dispatched to make a leg splint for Joshua and then we headed for home. He is doing good this evening and not in a lot of pain. He has to stay off of his foot for two days and keep it elevated to help with the swelling. You might remember that he did the same thing to his left ankle last July. We can probably thank the vincristine for the weakness in his ankles. So what was supposed to be a fun filled day turned into another trip to the hospital, just another day in our household. Thankfully it will heal and he will be back to normal before we know it. For now he will rest and hobble around on his crutches for the next few days.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Visiting a friend… Day 859 23MAR11

Joshua had a good morning with his teacher and did fine with his school work. He seemed to be feeling a little better today.

This evening he went up to the hospital to see Yan and hold his hand while Father John from Saint Ann's church gave him a blessing. Father John made a special trip at Renee's request to be there tonight. Renee said it seemed to help Joshua and he had a good night. By the time I got home everybody was sound asleep but luckily I get to spend tomorrow at home with the family.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kind of rough day… Day 858 22MAR11

Joshua had a little bit of a rough day. He was really battling his anxiety this afternoon when his teacher was here because Renee had left to go to a doctors appointment. He managed to get through it but it set the tone for the rest of his day. It pains us to see all that Joshua wrestles with in his thoughts, things that we cannot help or control. He is faced with the fact all too often that his friends are sick just like he is and some of them will lose the fight. I sit and talk with him to try and alleviate his fears all the while feeling helpless inside. He sees the world through much older eyes than his years belie. I wish it were otherwise.

After dinner he wanted to go out and play a little hockey so we had a spirited scrimmage in the street and both us came in out of breath but somehow much more relaxed than we we started. He finished his night cuddled up on the couch with me watching the end of the hockey game before heading off to bed. I hope that he finds a little peace in his dreams.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Maybe a little too much… Day 857 21MAR11

Joshua got an early start with a trip to the clinic for his pentam breathing treatment. His ANC was at 4000 thanks to the steroids so no worries there for at least a little while. The Doctor is upping his methotrexate dose so we will have to wait and see how his counts react. That means he has to take eight pills every Monday to get the right dose. Renee and the kids got home in time for me to see them for a little bit before I had to head off to school. Today starts a new semester for me with a busy schedule. Joshua did some of his school work and then headed off to Taylor's house for some playtime. He had a lot of fun from what I hear but he may have pushed himself a little too hard after his LP last week. He was pretty tired and achy tonight. With any luck he will feel a lot better tomorrow with a good nights rest.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Back at home… Day 856 20MAR11

We got up early this morning and walked up to the mess hall for breakfast before packing all of our stuff up and heading for home. Camp was great and the boys and all of us had a wonderful weekend. It was nice to relax a bit and get to know some of our cancer family better. It is always wonderful to watch the kids interacting in a place where they don't feel like the "different" one. After we made it home and got unpacked it was time to crash for a bit before Miss Allie came over. The kids arrived after lunch and we had a great afternoon relaxing and playing outside. We all spent a little time in the hammock and enjoyed the nice breeze that was blowing through most of the day. Jamie and Joshua took Allie out for a little roller stroller ride down to the end of the street and back. Jarrod got a chance to hep Christian with his remote control plane that he brings over to fly out on the golf course. We had a nice family dinner and then got a chance to visit with Grandma and Pa who stopped over to see Miss Allie. Speaking of which, she was a bundle of fun today and never slowed down, not even for a minute. From what I understand she made it just a little ways down the road before she was totally passed out. So although our weekend was busy it was also very relaxing and we really loved being with all of our family.

 Jarrod made the hat for Allie

Fly boys!

 All tuckered out :-)

Joshua with some of his buddies at camp.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Camp day two... Day 855 19MAR11

We continued wtih our second day at camp today. The morning started with arts and crafts followed by canoeing on the river before lunch. THe trip on the river was quite nice and we even saw an alligator up close. After a filling lunch we all trudged back to our cabin for a little down time before starting back up for the afternoon. Our afternoon activities were a nature hike and horseback riding. Joshua really enjoyed the horse ride and he looks right at home in the saddle. We had a big scavenger hunt before dinner and our team won with that emost points. THe kids were thrilled and all of us got a special camp hat as a reward. Dinner followed and then we took a short break before heading back up for a night carnival filled with games for the kids to play. By the time we got back to our cabin we were all pretty tired and the boys crashed without much fuss. In the morning we will get up and have breakfast before packing up all of our stuff for the trip home.

Flight Camp... Day 854 18MAR11

We are at flight camp for the weekend. The camp is sponsored by our friends at the Childrens Cancer Center and was something we attended last year. The kids had a great time last night exploring the camp and finished off their night with a drum circle around a roaring fire. I'm posting from my phone so no pictures I'm afraid until I get home on Sunday. Should be a fun filled weekend for all of us.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Catch up… Day 853 17MAR11

Joshua and Jarrod had to start catching up on the school work they have missed the past few days. The steroids made it particularly hard on Joshua and he was having a hard time sticking with it but he managed to get through. Jarrod had a rocky start but managed to get it smoothed out and keep going. AFter lunch I took the boys up to the library with me to pick up some books I had requested. They wanted to search for books as well so I helped them use the computer and then locate the books on the shelves. Joshua got some neat books on hockey and JArrod found a cool book on how to program his LEGO Mindstorm. He was pretty excited about his find and started reading it as soon as we got home. Joshua didn't even wait that long and began to read his books on the way back to the house.

This evening we headed in to the Children's Cancer Center for family night. We had a fun dinner and then got a chance to visit and catch up with all of our friends. Everyone is doing okay right now and it is a period of relative calm for all of the cancer kids which is great. We headed home as soon as we were done hoping to catch the end of the hockey game, which we did. Unfortunately they lost in a shootout. It was still fun to watch and a good way to wrap up our rather busy day. In the morning Joshua gets his IVIG infusion and then we will leave for camp.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New record achieved… Day 852 16MAR11

Joshua bested his record for how long he could stay awake before the anesthesia wins. His previous record of 24.1 seconds was eclipsed by his new record of 39.2 seconds! He even yawned right before he went under this time which he has never done before. The LP went smoothly and he was awake about an hour later. We had to go back to the clinic afterwards to get his Vincristine and his port de-accessed. All in all things went off without a hitch and he was headed for McDonald's, where he always stops to break his NPO fast, by two O'clock. Brandon and Roxie came over to visit a little while after we got home and stayed though dinner time. The boys had fun playing video games with Brandon and they even took him out for a little hockey instruction before it got too dark to play. We all wish that Brandon and Roxie were closer and could come visit more often. Maybe in the future. Brandon heads off for Georgia again tomorrow morning :(

Today also marks the beginning of another steroids cycle and Mr. Moody was already visiting this evening. Here's hoping the rest of the week goes by without any major eruptions from Mount Joshua :) We are scheduled to attend flight camp starting in Friday and it looks like the weather will be pretty accommodating. We went to the same camp last year without Jarrod and he is looking forward to a chance to go this time.

Jamie sent me these pictures of Miss Allie enjoying the sand at the beach and they are just too cute not to share.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Home again… Day 851 15MAR11

The boys and Renee made it home about one o'clock this afternoon after a long and tiring drive from Michigan. The boys said they got a little over four hours of sleep and everyone looked pretty tuckered out. We spent the afternoon getting them unpacked and taking it easy. It was great to have everyone back under the same roof again. I am the only one that stayed up late tonight for sure, they all zonked out pretty early.

In the morning Joshua has an early start as he is scheduled for an LP and chemo at the hospital. So it's off to clinic by 9:15 to get accessed, labs, and then head over to the day hospital to get his LP. Jarrod and I will head up in time to do what we have always done, sit and watch while Joshua gets sent to the land without dreams yet again. Afterwards we will take it easy for the rest of the afternoon and let Joshua rest up.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Headed home… Day 850 14MAR11

The boys and Renee are headed for home. They left Port Huron around 3 p.m. which should put them here sometime early tomorrow afternoon. I am sure they will be pretty tired when they get home and should really enjoy sleeping in their own beds for a change. As for me and Hobie, he is a great roommate but I can't get him to do the dishes… It will be nice to have the family home safe and sound, I have this week off from school and it will give me a chance to spend some good quality time with them all.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Kids… Day 849 13MAR11

The boys are doing fine up in Michigan. They have been spending their time with family and finding fun things to help pass some of the time. Marilyn's funeral is tomorrow morning and it looks like Renee and the boys will head for home later that afternoon which will put them getting home sometime late Tuesday afternoon. Jarrod had a particularly good time working on his snow fort this afternoon.

I had a wonderful afternoon with Allie and the bigger kids. Jamie arrived about three this afternoon with Allie and we had a fun time playing out in the yard and the sandbox. Allie really loves the sandbox and would probably have stayed there all day. A little later Roxie arrive followed by Brandon and Christian, Brandon is in town visiting for a few days. It was great to have all the kids together, I haven't seen Brandon and Roxie for far too long. It was a beautiful day outside and we spent the vast bulk of our time enjoying it. The kids were all hungry later so I cooked up some dinner for everyone. Allie really loves spaghetti and throughly enjoyed her portion.

She is a such a joy to have around and watch as she progresses. She is already saying a few words and has a mouth full of pretty white teeth. After dinner everyone packed up and headed for home leaving Hobie and I to each others company. What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Snowmen… Day 848 12MAR11

The boys and Renee made it safe ad sound to Port Huron. There is a bit of snow still around and the boys got a chance to make their first ever snowmen. We tried in Maine but the snow was just too dry and hard packed. I think they are awesome!

Renee and the boys were exhausted and they went to bed early tonight, hope they get a good nights rest. Hobie and I are doing great except Hobie won't let me leave the house. He blocks the doors by laying in front of them. I had to pick him up and move him so I could go get groceries earlier. He might own the house but I'm bigger :-)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Off to the cold… Day 847 11MAR11

Joshua got an early start this morning with his teacher who arrived right after breakfast. Joshua did well and stayed focused on what he was doing. I helped Jarrod with his history research while Renee got everything ready for them to leave later on. When I left for work she was still pulling things together which she does very well. They left late in the afternoon on their journey to Michigan. When I talked to them after the hockey game they were approaching Atlanta and the trip was going well. The bolts managed not to win even though Joshua was their "mobile" fan tonight. I kept him updated via text on the status of the game. They will drive through the night and should arrive in Port Huron tomorrow afternoon. There is snow on the ground and more forecast during their stay which should thrill the boys, luckily they still have all their cold weather gear from Maine.

A Happy Birthday wish for Renee's dad who is spending it driving ever northward. Happy Birthday Ed!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

T-Minus 365 days… Day 846 10MAR11

Today marks the beginning of our last year of treatment if we mange to end on our originally scheduled end date of 10MAR12. Let's hope we do. A year I say to myself, not all that long… Seems like forever...

Joshua spent today doing a little writing for his homework and studying some (not enough) for his spelling test coming up tomorrow. In the afternoon Renee and the boys ran a few errands to get ready to leave for Michigan tomorrow afternoon so they can attend the services for aunt Marilyn. I have to work so I will not be able to go with them and will stay at home to make sure Hobie doesn't eat all the food in the pantry and run up the cable bill. The rest of the evening was rather normal and after we watched a few shows on the TV the boys scooted off to bed.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sad day… Day 845 09MAR11

We received some sad news this afternoon, Renee's aunt Marilyn passed away up in Port Huron Michigan. She used to live down here in Zephyrhills and was a regular visitor at family get togethers. We used to always have her over when we spent summer vacations up in Port Huron and all of us will dearly miss her. She was a really great lady and the boys loved having her around as did Renee and I, she always brought a smile with her everywhere she went.

Our thoughts are with her family.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Kitchen help… Day 844 08MAR11

The boys had a laid back morning and decided to get started on school a bit later in the day when Joshua's teacher arrived. One of the neat things they can do is pick which part of their day they want to devote to getting school work done. Joshua did okay for a while with his teacher and then had a little "moment" out of the blue. We managed to get him through it rather quickly and he got back on task and did great. The rest of the afternoon went by without a hitch and we even got to play a little outside. Jarrod helped me grill out for dinner. He handled getting the grill fired up and cleaned of and while I was cooking some pork chops he took care of getting some carrots prepared as a side dish, they turned out great. He is a great helper in the kitchen and I enjoy cooking with him. We spent the rest of our evening relaxing a bit before trundling the boys off to bed or the night.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Better numbers… Day 843 07MAR11

Joshua had a good morning at clinic and came back with an ANC of 2397 which is a huge improvement over last weeks number. This puts all of us in a better place and lets us relax the germ patrol drill just a little. The germs are still everywhere mind you. We just don't go quite as far out of our way to annihilate them :)

When the got home from the clinic it was time for school work and both the boys worked with Renee to get their assignments moved from the to do stack to the finished stack.

When I got home they were all in our bed watching the final minutes of the hockey game. We lost in a shootout :(

Tomorrow Joshua's teacher will be here and it will be time to add a few more sheets to the finished stack.

Day of rest… Day 842 06MAR11

We all decided to have a day of rest today, the kids took it easy most of the day and so did we. It was nice to just kick back a bit and enjoy the nice breeze that we had today. My dad came over for a bit this afternoon for a visit and had fun playing on the wii with the boys. We had a nice light dinner and then everyone did their own thing until bedtime. What a nice way to finish off a weekend. Tomorrow is back to clinic for Joshua and we are hoping that his counts have jumped way up from where they were last week.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Visiting friends… Day 841 05MAR11

Joshua decided this morning that he wanted to go spend some time with his friend Carly so he called her and the next thing you know he was gone for the day. They had a lot of fun playing in her new tent and he managed to find time to catch a few fish as well. Her mom dropped her off right before dinner and as soon as we were finished we headed over to Renee's parent's to visit with Dale and Connie Conger who are down visiting from Michigan. We have know them for quite some time and it was really great to get a chance to see them again. We all watched the Bolts hockey game which unfortunately they lost before rounding up the kids and bringing them home so they could get to bed. Christian and Jamie didn't come over this weekend because Christian has a case of bronchitis and he didn't want to risk exposing Joshua. I am sure we will see them again real soon. So we all had a nice day filled with good friends and tomorrow the calendar is clear which makes for a relaxing day at home.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Good school day… Day 840 04MAR11

Joshua had a really good day with his teacher this afternoon. He worked hard and Renee said he did great at staying focused and on task. Awesome!

When I arrived home the boys were out skating in the street with a nice breeze blowing so I ran inside, put my stuff down, and grab a hockey stick to go out and play for a bit. It was fun. We came in at dark and settled down for the evening. After a bit of television the boys wanted me to read to them for a bit so we managed to get through a few chapters before their bedtime crept up on them. All in all a nice relaxing evening :-)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Family night… Day 839 03MAR11

Renee and the boys headed out early this morning because she had a doctors appointment to check out her shoulder. The doctor said it is sprained and gave her some anti-inflammatory pills to help get it feeling better. The boy's got the day off of school and just took it easy today which was a good break for them. This evening we all met at the Children's Cancer Center for family night. We had a big turn out and had a really nice discussion group after dinner. It is always ice to connect with our family and to welcome new members and hear their stories, help alleviate some of their fears. It heals us all a tiny little bit each time.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Grandma… Day 838 02MAR11

The boys got to spend a good portion of their day with grandma. Renee had a parent's advisory board meeting to attend and I had to go to work so grandma came to the rescue and took care of the boys for us. Joshua had good day with his teacher and did well from the report I heard. Jarrod had a productive school day and managed to help me get a bunch of information off my computer that I needed at work and had forgotten. It is great to be able to call on your child for help and they are able to provide it. He is growing up way too fast. The rest of their day was pretty run of the mill normal. Tomorrow is another busy day for all of us and it is family night at the CCC so we get to go hang out with our cancer family :-)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Solo day… Day 837 01MAR11

Joshua got a solo school day today because his teacher is a bit under the weather and couldn't make it out to the house. He worked on the computer for a while all by himself and did really well with his reading practice. Jarrod had a presentation to put together so he stayed busy most of the morning working on that. Our afternoon was divided between Jarrod and I running errands while Renee and Joshua headed in to the CCC to meet with Miss Leanne. They made it back in time for a quick walk at Joshua's request and then a bite of dinner before we settled in to watch a movie the kids had picked out yesterday. A few bedtime stories and the kids were settled in for the night :-)

Solo day… Day 837 01MAR11

Joshua got a solo school day today because his teacher is a bit under the weather and couldn't make it out to the house. He worked on the computer for a while all by himself and did really well with his reading practice. Jarrod had a presentation to put together so he stayed busy most of the morning working on that. Our afternoon was divided between Jarrod and I running errands while Renee and Joshua headed in to the CCC to meet with Miss Leanne. They made it back in time for a quick walk at Joshua's request and then a bite of dinner before we settled in to watch a movie the kids had picked out yesterday. A few bedtime stories and the kids were settled in for the night :-)