The Countdown is On…

This past Monday we were in at BC Children’s for another monthly chemo appointment. As of today, Angelica has 4 more monthly chemo appointments left until she is finished taking chemo and only 1 of those appointments will have a sedation procedure. This is SO exciting.

There is not that much that is new or interesting about the actual chemo appointment itself! Angelica goes in. They admit her and draw her blood. They give her the chemotherapy and then we see a Dr. and go home. At this point, as long as I don’t think too closely about the poison that they are giving her, it’s all very routine. I know that it’s a necessary evil and I’m so thankful that we are here and can get the medical help, but it’s still tough…..and that’s never changed from the day that she was diagnosed until now….

What’s been different about the last few appointments has been the issues regarding the bones. The news of Avascular Necrosis/Osteonecrosis has been tough. Dealing with how much constant pain Geli was in was so hard. She had a hard time walking, moving, dressing, doing her hair, bathing……Life was pretty tough and every report we were getting was pretty much preparing us that life would pretty much be like this and possible worse…..

Things started to change after our appointment with Dr. Brown the Pediatric Surgeon at BC Children’s. He gave us news that we received as god news….as positive news and in the middle of all the crap…it’s what we needed to hear.

Angelica is doing so much better. It’s not all butterflies and roses, but she is in less pain. She’s tired and her muscles are sore, but she is working SO HARD!

Geli is doing about an hour and half of physio a day…….on her own…..or mostly on her own…

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It’s pretty incredible. She is doing exercises 3 times a day – morning, after school and before bed. It’s making a HUGE difference. Instead of walking around like someone who is 90 years old, she is walking and standing more like a teenager. She is standing straighter and walking straighter. While there is still a bit of a wobble in her step, she looks AMAZING!

It’s exciting to see how far she’s come. Sometimes, it’s hard because she can’t see the change, but to us, looking at her and seeing what she can do now that she couldn’t do a month ago….the changes are astounding. For example, she couldn’t stand up in the kitchen to help with dinner or dishes for 15 minutes without being in pain and so tired. Now, she can do at least an hour. On Monday, she had the sedation procedure with the chemo into her spinal fluid (a Lumbar Puncture) and there has not been one day in the past 2 years that she has done anything other than lay around on an LP day. On Monday, she wanted to walk up to the store a few blocks away from our house to get something that she really wanted for dinner. It blew me away. So SO much different than a month ago……she also has SO MUCH MORE range of motion in her shoulder and elbow and it’s making a difference in the daily living things that she is able to do, like reaching for things up on shelves in the kitchen and doing her own hair.

She still requires help, but all of this change…..it’s only after ONE MONTH of exercise…..The physiotherapist at the hospital said she was doing incredible and our nurse COULD NOT BELIEVE how amazing she looked even all groggy after having the LP. She looked healthy and happy….in fact, more than a few nurses mentioned how great she looked.

It’s so great to see positive change and forward movement in this situation. We have our next appointment with the Orthopedic Surgeon on Tuesday June 14th….I’m looking forward to Geli going in and being in better shape than she was the last time.

One other AMAZING bit of news, is that the Physiotherapist at BC Children’s suggested that Angelica go THERAPEUTIC RIDING…..as in HORSE RIDING. Any of you who know Geli, know that she has been in love with horses for as long as we can remember. I have lost count of the number of horse calenders, horse bedding and other horse paraphernalia that Angelica has collected or wanted to collect over the years. To say that she was a horse fanatic is putting it mildly. Unfortunately, horseback riding has not been something that we’ve been able to do, but it has been something that Geli has wanted to do forever.

To have the Physio suggest that as another form of physio that Geli could go riding…..well, it’s pretty huge. Just talk to Geli about it and see the smile on her face when she talks about it….she has this amazing smile that just lights up her WHOLE ENTIRE FACE. She is SO excited! We’ve contacted the stable that does Therapeutic riding out here in Langley and have sent out referral forms to her Dr.s to get them filled out and as of last night we received them back so now we forward them to the stable and then set up a time and …………she starts riding.

What an amazing opportunity that is so perfectly picked just for her. What a blessing! We can see God’s hand in this.

There are other emotional side effects from this whole journey that we are working through and it can be tough at times, but there are a lot of things that are going so well. We keep praying and believing for miracles for Angelica’s physical body. It is so encouraging to be at a place where she rarely feels pain as opposed to the constant pain that she was in.

Thank you for your prayers, your encouragement, for your love, for your support. We couldn’t have done this or carry on without your support. We are so grateful to all of you.

Escaping it All

About a month ago, right in the middle of a whole bunch of really bad appointments regarding Geli’s bones….I decided that I needed a break from everything.

Jeremy had just been doing a section in his Social Studies on the Watershed and the rain cycle and I figured that a trip the Lynn Canyon was EXACTLY what we needed.

I didn’t tell Jeremy that we were “going on a field trip” until it was time to start school. He was SO EXCITED!

We packed up and headed out to North Vancouver. We started our adventure at the Ecology Center.

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The large majority of my pictures are blurry because the boys were having SO MUCH FUN and moving so fast that it was tough to get a good (clear) shot in.

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They LOVED the hands on exhibits and Jeremy loved how so much of it had to do with what he was learning. While homeschooling is not EASY by any stretch of the imagination, I love that I’m involved with him and his learning. It’s so cool because we were able to pull in aspects of Language Arts, Science and Social Studies into this one field trip. I love that. And he was excited to show me what he knew and how it tied in…..I especially LOVE that HE IS EXCITED about what he is learning. That just about makes up for all the frustrations that we go through.

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Siah LOVED the bones. He was enthralled by them.

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After we left the Ecology Centre, we walked down to the Suspension Bridge. It had been WAY too long since I had been to the Canyon and it was so good to just escape from everything and to get lost in the beauty of the forest.

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Jeremy helped Siah walk across the Suspension Bridge while Judah CLUNG to me for dear life. He really wasn’t sure that he liked the moving, swinging bridge.

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We took our time meandering down the trail. We stopped to check out the stumps and to count the rings on a recently falled tree. Jeremy thinks this one had 120+ rings? I didn’t count.

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Judah was desperate to get down to the water on the other side of this fence. He was pretty adamant that he should be in the water and not upon the trail.

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It was so much fun to have no time frame, nothing pushing us, no schedules to make….we just WERE….

I’m very much a driven person. I try so hard to stay present and in the moment, but so often I am thinking of what needs to happen or what should be happening and I’m so aware of what we aren’t doing and on this day, I was so very aware of us and where we were at mentally and emotionally and I tried so hard to just “BE”….to just be with my boys. To not worry about how long it took us or how many detours we took or what we stopped to look at. The boys were enjoying exploring and running and climbing and I was enjoying them just enjoying everything. There was really nothing that they could do wrong and so we just WERE….

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I remember us as kids (my brother’s and sister’s) climbing this rock and it’s fun that my kids now get to experience that as well. I remember how HUGE it seemed to me then and when I look at it now it’s still pretty big….

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It was nice to see the boys playing “together” instead of fighting against each other.

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We finally made it down to the 30 foot pool. Beautiful, isn’t it? And this picture does nothing to represent the actual beauty of the place. It’s incredible. I grew up doors away from the Canyon…I was so blessed.

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We climbed down the rocks and sat by the water and ate our lunch. I love the look on Judah’s face….mine – not so much, but man, is he cute!

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Josiah and his celery stick give it two thumbs up…

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We hung out for a while, threw some rocks, climbed on the rocks and then slowly started making our way back to the van.

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Josiah was much braver, crossing the bridge for the second time……

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It was such a nice and so needed escape from everything. We came home feeling slightly recharged and in the middle of all the craziness….that is such a good thing. We are looking forward to our next escape to Lynn Canyon.

seasons change……….

It’s been a while since I last posted.

We’ve been trucking along and then……. I don’t know what happened. This last week was horrible and by Saturday I fell apart.

We slept in until 8:30am (That’s a sleep in ’round these parts) and then I got up and went to my exercise class where I managed to finished the first third of the class and then I started crying. And crying and crying and crying. So much so that the girl in front of me stopped her practice and gave me a box of Kleenex. I managed to sort of pull myself together (or not) and hung out through the rest of the class and then went home. And then spent the rest of the day crying and crying and crying and crying.

It’s all just too much.

I don’t know how else to put it. There is too much. Too much for one person to handle. Too Much Stress. Too much pressure. It’s just too much.

Xani got sick about 2 weeks ago with some killer nasty cold. She made it through the first week hacking and coughing and sneezing and then the two littlest boys picked it up. Saturday night Josiah woke up unable to breathe. That’s scarey, eh? His panicking didn’t help the situation, either. But, what would you expect if you woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t breathe? He had a fever from Saturday until Wednesday when it finally broke. I figured that we were just dealing with some nasty virus. The Baby started in on the coughing on Sunday and rocked out a fever then too. By Thursday night when his fever was still in the 39-40 degree range, I was starting to get worried. He was so cranky. So whiny. So tired. So upset. Not eating, not drinking and starting to not wet his diapers. I took him to the clinic where the dr diagnosed him with a lower left lung infection and put him on antibiotics.

There was a massive issue at the pharmacy because they didn’t have the antibiotics that the dr had ordered and there was a HUGE run around trying to get a new prescription. It was unreal. The pharmacist dude was unreal and we know them by name – We spend a lot of money at this pharmacy. I’m not sure what the problem was today…maybe he had a fight with his girlfriend before he came to work or something….it was awful……we finally got it sorted out and started Judah on the antibiotics late on Thursday night. He was still feverish on Friday morning, but by late afternoon the fever was starting to come down.

Friday morning I got a call from Geli’s nurse, saying that her counts were really low and that we had to stop chemo and that they’d like her to be taken into our Dr or a clinic or something just to get her chest listened to. She started feeling crappy on Monday and didn’t go to school the whole week either. She had a low grade fever for most of the week. Just before we were taking her to the clinic, we took her temp and she was at a 38.1 – when she is neutropenic (has really low infection fighting counts) we have to take her into the hospital anytime she scores a temperature of 38 degrees or higher. If she has normal counts then we have to take her in, if she has a fever over 38.5. We chocked it up to the smoking hot bath that I had just pulled her out of and carried on down to the clinic. Her lungs sounded clear, but the clinic dr clocked her temperature in at 38.7…….so Jon called the hospital to let them know they were coming in and they came home to pack up.

We were not sure what to expect. Worse case – she’d be admitted for 3 days. Best case, they’d come home that evening but needing to go back for a 24 dose of antibiotics.

They did get to come home. It was viral, but it rocked us. We have been been so battered and beaten over this past year and half that we have no reserves to stay strong about this. I felt like I was in shock that night. Jeremy was crying off and on because they had to go. The babies were sick. Jon and Geli were gone for who knows how long. I just emotionally and mentally shut down. My mom came over and she helped with the boys and took Xani to youth and picked her up while I tried to clean the house so that we could “carry on” on Saturday. But inside I just felt dead about it all. I have to do this. I can’t just not. I have no time to just be. I have no opportunity to get away from this all. For the past 19 months, we have fought and fought and fought and fought and I don’t know how much fight I have left in me.

A friend stopped by to drop off a few groceries that I needed and we were talking for a moment and I shared with her how I feel like I’m in a bad dream or a horror movie. There is just one bad thing after another after another and I can’t see the end to it all. I know this sounds bad. I know this sounds down. I know this doesn’t sound encouraging and that’s how I feel.

I’m so tired. I’m so worn out. I’m exhausted. I don’t know how I will be able to make it through the next 9 months.

I feel like I’m barely existing. It’s a horrible place to be. There are so many things that are hard right now. I am trying to hold onto faith and hope and yet……..honestly……it’s really tough.

And that’s how I came to yesterday…..I spent most of the day crying. I crawled into bed at 6pm finally fell asleep at 8pm. I woke up at 2am, at 3am, at 4am, at 5am, at 6am and then slept until 8:30am…..sleep evades me this past year and a half…..even if the baby sleeps, I wake. There is so much going on. So many things that have gone wrong. So many things that I’m trying to organize and manage and sty on top of……so many other things that I can’t do anything about……

This is a very tough season…..I can’t wait for this season to pass…….it must!

Round Up

So, I have a few photos and videos to share with you….and so I thought I’d try to throw together a montage….or basically just a list of pictures and videos with some (less than) witty banter kinda wrapped around it…..

Last Sunday, my brother Tim and my sweet nephew Max popped over for a quick visit….Max is just SO darling and he’s smiling and coo’ing up a storm. He is just one of the most darling little men in my life.

Earlier in the week…..like possibly on Monday or Tuesday, Jon and I took the kids for a walk and when we got to the boardwalk there were young owls up in the trees. It was SO cool to see them so close. They were screeching if they felt scared and we tried to be as quiet and respectful as possible, but between Jeremy and Josiah…..we weren’t as quiet as I’d have liked to be….

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I think that it was Wednesday that Jack came over for a quick visit while Debbie ran some errands. Judah and him were having so much fun pulling the diaper wipes out of the container. They just kept coming and coming and coming…

On Thursday, the boys and I went for a walk. We go for walks to entertain the boys, to wear them out, to keep them from destroying the house……and to keep me from getting any fatter…..

Just across the bridge, on the path close to our house I came across these mushrooms. Aren’t they cool looking? Anyone have any idea what kind they are? We didn’t touch them, but they were too pretty to not take a picture of!

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We live in one of the most beautiful places, don’t we? This is literally 5 mins from my door. I LOVE British Columbia!

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We went to one of the many parks around our house and I watched Josiah climb this thing over and over and over. Every time he did it, I would panic a little (after all he’s only 3), but this kid is part goat (ha ha ha) and has been climbing since he was very little and hardly EVER falls….and so I try not to freak out and wrap him in bubble wrap and keep him tied into the buggy sitting beside me….

I forgot to put shoes on Judah and he was going all howler monkey on me at being stuck in the stroller and so I just let him play in the rocks……

Those rocks…….GROSS! Judah was FILTHY when I picked him up to walk back home. He looked like he was a powdered doughnut….only covered in dirt and dust and who knows what other filth. So disgusting! But he enjoyed himself and that’s what’s important, right???? I’m still not so sure of that, but oh well!

I also find that the days we go out for walks….the kids sleep SO MUCH BETTER! Case in point…..

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We had sat down to watch a quick video before bedtime and within 5 minutes of snuggling with daddy he was GONE! I love it when bedtime is that easy.

On Friday, my brother came over to finish my hallways and stairs, and Daisy and Max came for a quick visit too….I love sleeping babies….probably because mine hardly ever sleeps…..

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and with that…..we’re finished this session of Round Up!

Ponder Park Adventure

Yesterday morning, Jon and Geli had to be at BC Children’s Hospital at 8am…..this meant they had to leave our house at 6:30am……YUCK!!

We (Myself, Xandra, Jeremy, Siah and Judah) packed up and headed out to my sister’s house. They’ve just bought an acreage and it’s an unbelievably gorgeous piece of property and when they are done remodeling…it’s going to be an even more amazing home!

We decided to walk the pipeline in the park close to their house and if all went well, we should end up at a little creek where the kids could puddle around for a little bit.

Neither Debbie nor I had ever done this exact “walk” and yet we decided to take 5 children and one double runner stroller…..I’m not exactly certain what we were thinking and yet off we went.

We reached the park and then headed down the path. There were SO MANY berries and the kids were in heaven picking and eating…the huckleberries and salmon berries were delicious. We reached a fork in the road and veered to the right and headed into the tall grass. After about 2 minutes, we reached the pipeline.

By this point we were 4×4’ing with the buggy and I was just glad that it was a jogging stroller because there was not way that a regular stroller would have handled the grass or the uneven ground. As we looked ahead, we saw a hill sloping downward….

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That hill sloping away from me…..that the kids are running down…..that was just the small hill….it got worse, much worse!

There was a second much steeper hill, that I never ended up getting a picture of, because it required both Debbie and myself to hold to buggy. At one point, I looked up the hil behind us and commented on the whole “if we are going down we are gonna have to go back up and how bad that was gonna suck” business! But, we could see the creek and we were so close and so we carried on.

Of COURSE we wore appropriate foot wear……

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Here we are at the bottom of the hill. The boys laughed and giggled the whole way down the hill….

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Jeremy was the first one to get in the creek and everyone else followed quickly after. The water was FREEZING!!!!! Like, actual pain, hurt your feet freezing, but the little babies, didn’t seem to care…they just wanted to get into the water and to play with the mud…

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This little one was more interested in balancing on the rocks and trees than actually getting into the water…..at one point he fell and scratched his leg and then showed me the scratch and told me that the fish had bitten him….it was pretty cute.

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Diesel (the dog) was so funny. She kept sticking her head completely under the water and picking up rocks that were bigger than grapefruits and pulling them out of the water….at one point Jack decided to throw her a stick…

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So of course he had to pick up the largest stick the he could find…..

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He is just SO CUTE, isn’t he?

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The littlest boys were in HEAVEN playing in the mud…..

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Judah would FLIP OUT anytime I tried to remove him from the mud. This is the little boy who will settle instantly if you take him outside or put him in a bath….this combines the best of both….outside and in the water….

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The creek is in the bottom of a…….valley? There are two steep grassy hills on either side of the creek. This is the hill of the other side of the creek – the side we did not walk up or down…purdy, ain’t it?

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Here is shot of the creek……this is such a pretty, pretty area.

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We stopped playing long enough to have quick snack break….those dairy-free, gluten-free oreo type cookies are sure delicious and the extra sand and mud makes them even more delicious….

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Then we packed everything up and took a look up the hill….here is a god shot of it….can you see Josiah in the bottom left corner….yah, it was pretty huge. And after this hill……there is a second one to climb…

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We started out with both Debbie and I pushing the buggy together and that worked for a bit, but then it got difficult and Judah started screaming and the wheels kept turning around and wouldn’t lock still and I got tired and Debbie ended up wrapping the dog leash around the front bar on the buggy and pulling while I pushed….We had many rest breaks and at the top of that hill that I showed you….Josiah sat down and refused to go any further.

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On the trip up the first hill, he had been hanging off my back pockets and the buggy and whatever else he could find to get some help to get up the big hill and he was officially POOPED! I didn’t blame him and yet we were already pushing 50 pounds of baby up the hill added on top of the buggy and I didn’t need to carry another 40 pounds of Siah on top of that.

Aunty Debbie lured him up the second hill with promises of a piggy back ride once we reached the top….and HE MADE IT.

We finally made it back to Debbie’s house and had some lunch and then packed everyone up to head home.

On the way home, my little man fell asleep. He climbed the hill, but the hill won!

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I tried for about 5 minutes to get him to wake up and that was not happening. He was SO tired! And so I let him sleep.

It was a great adventure but I don’t think we’ll be taking the buggy back down to the creek any time soon…or ya know…like EVER!

You can see more pictures from our great adventure here!

As It Is……

I typed this earlier today and then didn’t have time to proof it….so it may be scrambly or not make sense in parts, but that is how things are going these days and if I try to take the time to work on this….then I may just give up and not post it….and so here it is….here I am…..there is where I’m at…just as it is….

These are some tough days that we are going through right now.

Angelica’s counts have been so low over the past week or so and it makes for some very stressful times. It feels very vulnerable and like she is unprotected. Because the “enemy” are unable to be seen with the naked eye…it makes this fight, that much more difficult. We don’t know where they are and so it makes protecting Angelica almost impossible.

Any open wound, no matter how large or tiny is an open source for infection and at this point, a tiny paper cut could send her into the hospital……

It’s not that the paper cut could send her into the hospital, but that the cut is an open wound and if she comes in contact with a bacteria and it gains entrance into her body…..she has no ability to fight off that infection.

The health that you or I take for granted……the cuts, and scrapes…the bacteria that we come into contact with and never think twice about,…..it all poses a very serious risk for her.

And right now especially, it’s tough….because she is supposed to be going to New York in 12 days. That’s less than a course of antibiotics (14 days) and throw in the 24-48 hours that it would take to culture the particular strain of bacteria or virus and you are looking at possible 16+ days in the hospital……none of this do we want on a good day…..much less when her trip is in 12 days.

Every time she mentions, not feeling well or that she has an upset tummy or a headache, or she feels hot or cold…..every time she coughs or feels like she might barf……we reach for the thermometer to take her temperature because when her counts are this low, a fever is often the only indicator that something might be brewing in her system.

I have been feeling so worn down as of late. I feel like I am reaching the absolute end of my rope. There are things that are just piling on top of everything else and making the end of this stage of the journey that much tougher.

I’m physically tired. I’ve mentioned this before but it’s true. I can keep putting one foot in front of the other because I HAVE TO, but that doesn’t mean that those feet don’t feel like they have been dipped into cement.

I’m emotionally tired. I’ve spent a good portion of this past week just on the edge of crying and every little “bump” has sent me over the edge and set off tears.

Probably the biggest frustration for me personally is the mental exhaustion……I am just not able to compute things right now. I am struggling with organizing and putting things together. This might sound so simple and ridiculous to you, but I walked around Superstore 3 times on Monday afternoon with my shopping list in my hand and yet……I just could not seem to make sense of my grocery shopping list. I had to double back to pick stuff up and in the end I had to get Jon to just walk me through the last bit of my list as I just couldn’t make sense of it……even then….we walked away from the store forgetting to pick things up.

I walk around my house forgetting what I was supposed to be doing and why…..

I’ve just gone too far and things that I used to be able to do on brain power alone, and then with lists and prompts and gadgets and reminders…….I find myself unable to do even with all the “help” and tricks that I’m trying.

And that inability to function at the top of my game it makes all of this that much tougher. I don’t’ even feel like I’m functioning “in the game” and that sets off those tears all over again.

I’m trying so very hard to be gentle on myself and yet, I expect so much because I am normally capable….but right now I’m not….and that’s hard for me to deal with.

We reach for the thermometer to take her temperature and inside I am freaking out….praying and hoping and wishing (and truthfully panicking) that the thermometer will read low numbers….that I wont see a number indicating a fever….

Just that stress alone is too much right now….

On Thursday her neutrophil count was not able to be counted (it was too low to be measured…lower than .02). Monday when we took her in for blood work, her counts came back at .1 and while this is much better than the previous count….it’s still WAY TOO LOW and she is still SO at risk.

She will get another set of bloodwork on Thursday and we are hoping that her numbers will be over .75 and she can start Maintenance…..

Did you know that exercise actually boosts your immune system? Like immediately there is a benefit……when oncology kids are getting their bloodwork done to be able to start chemo….they have to be at a certain level in order to start the next phase of chemo. If their levels are borderline low…they will actually have the kids walk around the hospital or walk up and down the stairs a few times and then run another set of bloodwork and it will be up and over the level needed…..amazing isn’t it? It’s huge incentive to exercise especially throughout the fall,winter and spring……just some thing to think about, eh?

We’ve been walking everyday. We are hoping to accomplish a few things with this. One, to boost Angelica’s immune system and to get that neutrophil level up. Two, to increase Angelica’s strength level. She’s spent a great deal of this past year on the couch and it’s time to rebuild up the strength and muscle that she lost. Three, we are getting a little bit of sun, which helps to get extra vitamin D into all of us. That “happy vitamin” is so necessary and good for all of us; plus it puts a little bit of color into Geli’s skin and again with the whole…”she’s spent most of the past year inside and on the couch” business…..between that and being chemo induced anemic…..she’s been looking pretty pasty. The color gives her a bit more of a healthy glow….which matches her new healthy position in life! Don’t worry, I’m a big fan of proper and safe sun exposure.

We are hoping, although we won’t know, that her counts will have come up above .5 (the level that she was allowed to safely go to school at) by tomorrow…..this would allow her to do a few more things like going shopping with us and running errands and things like that.

Once she starts Maintenance, then her counts will obviously be high enough and I will feel like I can breath and relax….

To be honest, I’m scared. I’m scared of feeling like I can relax. I’m scared of how I might feel were I to just relax…. I’ve been trying so hard to keep things all together and it feels a bit like a dam might explode and I don’t feel like I could handle that. I’m scared of the tidal wave of emotions that might be unleashed were I to just relax….

I just want to go and sit somewhere by the beach and let the wind blow in my hair ummmmm, well on my bald head, to feel the sand in my toes…..to just close my eyes, and smell the salt air and let the intensity of this past year just wash away from me with every wave that crashes.

I’m hoping that this summer will be a healing one….and that I’ll get a few chances to make it to the beach.

Friday Night Update From BCCH

Its Friday night here at BCCH and I thought I would update everyone on how things are going here.


Playing Settlers of Catan. We've each won one game.


Angelica’s cultures remained negative through the 48 hour mark. This is really good, because it means that we don’t have to stay here for another 14 days. Her temperature has remained normal for almost 48 hours, and so by tomorrow morning, that hurdle to leaving here will have passed.

On the negative side, Gelica’s WBC (white blood count) remains extremely low, and that needs to come way up before we can go home. Finally here CRP (C Reactive Protein), which indicates inflammation in the body is slightly elevated from yesterday, and that needs to trend down (This is an odd indicator, because any inflammation in the body will raise the CRP including bacterial infection, viral infection, sore gums, zits… A really high CRP is definitely a bad infection, but slightly elevated could be anything, so they just need to see that its heading down and not up.)


Walking helps to raise the White Blood Count


At this point, we are healthy and feeling fine, but can’t go home till the WBC comes up and the portion of that that indicates the immune system fighting cells needs to be above a certain level (right now the level is “sample not enough to even bother testing”).

This is the part that really bothers me. It seems that when we come in here, it doesn’t seem to carry on business-as-usual at home. Something has gone wrong at home each time we’ve been in here it seems. Now Patti is dealing with illness and kids that can’t come in and visit and everything while we are here, and I’m not able to help her, because if I find someone to come in here and be with Angelica, I can’t go home and pick up whatever Judah has and bring it back here and risk a setback with Angelica. (well I haven’t been able to… we have a plan for tomorrow that includes me decontaminating in a hospital shower before I come back to Gelica’s room)

We are tired. We function better when we are together. Please pray for a really good WBC and a lower CRP.

Thanks, Jon

Exhaustion and Low Counts

I’m tired.

I’ve started exercising again and while I know in my head, that in just a very short time, I will have more energy….at this exact moment I’m SO tired!

My legs hurt. My stomach hurts. My shoulders hurt. Stupid muscles in my neck that i didn’t even know that I had hurt! I hurt!

I know that the end result will be a definite gain in my life, but for the immediate…I’m tired!

Other than that, I’m doing well…..so enough about me.

Angelica has done 2 out of the 4 doses of chemo for this week. She went in yesterday and based on how well she seemed on Monday with her friends, we were expecting a short in and out. She had an LP and after that she needs to lay down for about a hour, but they could give her the chemo and so while her appointment was for 8:30am, I expected them home before noon.

The whole morning just kind of went screwy. The traffic was BRUTAL and it took them over an hour and a half to get in. Then is took a bit for her to get in for the LP. While she was sleeping off the sedative, Jon got the results of the blood work and her Hemoglobin was at a 72. This was a fair drop from the 95 that it was on Friday. Typically around a 70, Geli has higher blood pressure, a faster heart rate, feels like she just cannot catch her breath, has a hard time moving around and definitely has trouble going up or down stairs. Aside from her heart rate being slightly elevated, she was doing fine, but….seeing as her counts are just heading down, down, DOWN…. They ordered a transfusion and there began one of the LONG clinic days. The blood didn’t even get to the clinic until after 1pm and they didn’t get her hooked up until 1:30pm. It takes about 3 hours for the blood to run and so they didn’t even leave the clinic until 5:30pm and then there was the hours drive home.

If we are prepared for a long day it’s less stressful than when we are kind of blindsided with it.

All of her counts are headed south. There is a good chance that she will have low to NO infection fighting ability for most of the next 3 weeks. This is a bit scarey and I’m asking for prayer to really cover Geli and us during this time.

Obviously, we can handle anything that we have to…including a long hospital stay, but we don’t want to have to.

We’d just like for Angelica to stay healthy and strong.

There is a good chance that she’ll need another transfusion either Friday or Tuesday and she’ll most definitely need platelets before she gets the intramuscular shots on Tuesday. It looks like we’re in for a few long clinic days over the next little while.

We’re looking at the finish end and just needing the strength to stay strong until this “intensive” phase of treatment is over.

It’s my Party and I’ll Cry if I want to

I’m sitting in my room over in BC Women’s Hospital on the labour & delivery ward.

Judah and me are hanging out over here, while Geli and Jon are down the hall at Children’s, in the Oncology Ward.

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We’ve been over with Geli for a good bit of today and then resting while she was gone for her Bone Marrow biopsy and Spinal Fluid Tap and right now we’re just hanging low over here for a moment.

Today has been an “icky” day for Gelica and a “crying” day for me.

Between the excitement of the past few days, chemo treatment, tests, and wacked out sugar levels, Angelica had a barfy, yucky, nasty day……..she’s had no fever though and right now, her blood levels are within normal range – so for that we are so SO thankful.

I’m hitting the end of Judah’s second day of life and facing the lovely hormonal changes that brings. Add on top of that – very little sleep, a leukemia diagnosis, a week of stress and the looming unknown and you have a sure fire recipe for tears.

I’ve cried off and on today and feel some of the built up pressure has released, but I still feel like I could use a really good cry. Just to release all the pressure that’s built up since my last good cry about a week ago.

I hate this. This is nothing that I ever imagined for my daughter, for our immediate family, for our extended family…….it was unfathomable, until now………

I hurt for her. I hurt for Jon. I hurt for my other kids. I hurt!

I look back at some of the little life lessons that I learned over the last year and see how I can use those lessons in my life now.

Probably the biggest one with the HUGEST impact on me………..I learned through this past year in my exercise class!

Stay in the present!

You can handle just about anything that’s in front of you right now. It’s when you race beyond into the future that you can be overwhelmed. I can handle today. Tomorrow I will have the strength that I need to get through that day. If I try to imagine or figure out or plan for the next week or so, or month or 6 months from now…..its too much! The unknown is too great and overwhelming.

So today, I cry and I process and I hope and I cry some more.

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In the middle of my tears, I am aware of some blessings. I am off my feet, even if they have swollen up to elephant size again. I have some amazing quiet, one on one time with my newborn. I’m still with my “baby” even if I’m sleeping down the hall from her. We are being cared for and supported in so many amazing ways by so many amazing people. In the middle of all this chaos, I am blessed and I know it. That doesn’t mean I’m grateful that we’re walking this road, just that I can see some pretty rocks on the path in spite of the dark clouds and rain.

I’ll get through today and when tomorrow comes, I know I’ll be able to get through it as well.

28 weeks

The weeks are flying by. I feel like I just said that I have 13 weeks left and BAM! A whole week has passed by and I’m annoyed with myself that I’ve not “accomplished” anything on my “list of things to do before the baby comes”.

Recently I’ve painted my bedroom and my bathroom, BUT….I’m not finished the job. In my bedroom, I have to finish touching up the edges on two walls down by the baseboards and I need to finish up the trim in my bathroom as well. I have 2 small walls and around the shower and in a corner between my bathtub and a wall to finish touching up.

So, it’s not like I have a ton to do in either of those rooms, but the knowledge that it’s undone…..well, it’s weighing on me. Maybe I’ll try to get it finished up tomorrow……or maybe not.

I also want to paint a mini-crib that I’ll be using. I need to sand it, prime it and paint it. Then I need to pick up some fabric and make some sheets, a bumper and a blanket. I also want to make a few coordinating (with the crib set) covers for the change table.

I still need to get some curtains for my bedroom and to figure out what (art, photo, picture, etc) we are going to put on our walls. I also need to find a bed spread that fits in with the color and feel of my bedroom (not hard…I can just do all white or some combo of white, tan, chocolate and turquoise).

I do need to go through my baby stuff and figure out what I might need and what I want and to start to stock up on some of the disposable items.

Seeing how fast this past week flew by, I know that if I blink – then next thing I know I’ll be holding my baby and nothing will be done. Which, in the grand scheme of things is not the end of the world and I know that. Everything will eventually get done and even if it doesn’t, the baby will still come and we will make do and it will all be okay. BUT….I want to get all this stuff done – if I can!

Here is a picture of me from yesterday.

28 weeks side

For a fun comparison, Here is a picture of me at 27 weeks (it was either that or the next one I have is at 30 weeks) pregnant with Josiah.

27 weeks smile

On another note, I’m having a bit of a “Fat Day”. I just feel gross and fat and awful about myself.

I’m sure that I’ll change my thinking soon. I do weigh more than I did at this point with Josiah, but that’s because I had spent 3 months losing weight and prepping my body to be pregnant when I got pregnant with Siah. With this pregnancy, I was attempting to lose weight and to get healthy, but there were no plans of a baby anywhere in those plans.

I’ve been exercising during this pregnancy and for the most part, I feel amazing about myself. Yes, I know that I am at a heavier weight than I’d like to be, but I am WAY more fit and I’m certain that I have built muscle and that once I can work a bit harder at “losing” weight that I’ll be able to attain a better, more suitable goal for myself.

I do spend a total of 6 hours a week in a too revealing exercise outfit in front of floor to ceiling mirrors and have come to love my body (for the most part) over the past 8 months. I rarely have “bad” days in regards to my body image and I used to have a TON of them. I see how I have changed and toned and tightened and I am mostly happy with myself. I see beauty where I didn’t ever think that I’d see beauty – fat, stretch marks, double chins, under arm flab and all.

And then today…..I saw some pictures of myself working out and then took these pics and while I know that pics do show the truth, they often show a side of the truth and that the full, moving view of myself is different than a still shot, but….still……I guess I’m feeling sensitive today.

I’m determined that I’m going to throw off this funk and feel beautiful about myself again. I’m worth believing in myself and seeing the strength and beauty in my personal shape and form. I want to live like that for myself and to be able to pass that belief onto my girls especially, but also, I want for my boys to be able to see that I believe in my own strength and beauty and for them to be able to find and see beauty in everyone………28 weeks pregnant and all.