Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Camp Hobe and H2O

Earlier last week Taryn was lucky enough to go to Camp Hobe.  It is a camp for kids and teens who either have cancer or have gone though cancer, as well as their siblings. 

They really have it all figured out there... a lot of the counselors are nurses from ICS who volunteer to help.  Leaving Taryn there for 6 hours each day made me a bit nervous, but it would be really nerve wracking to leave your child who either has a central line or is on treatment.  It all made sense once I saw those familiar faces!  The volunteers and counselors make every child feel so special and welcomed.  The kids never want to leave!

Taryn did the day camp on Monday and Tuesday.... and by Tuesday she was ready to pack her pillow to spend the night!
I'm thinking next year I won't be able to convince her she's too little and she will end up doing the week long camp... which every parent says their kids are on cloud nine when they pick them up.

Taryn trying to ignore me when I came to pick her up - the girls after eating popcicles

Taryn with my cancer mom friends children.

Taryn and of the many buddies she became friends with

Tenley was too young this year, but might be able to do the day camp next year with special permission.  She was having fun running around the dirt trails when we picked Taryn up.  I was bummed because I didn't jump on the opportunity to spend the night at a nearby hotel with all the other cancer moms who I have come to love and adore.  They are a special group of ladies who always have a listening ear, and just "get it."  Next year I'll for sure plan on joining them!

In th meantime while Taryn was having a blast, Tenley was having some pretty nasty diarrhea.  Poor thing had been having it all weekend, and it was still a problem on Monday and Tuesday.  Monday we spent the day at the park with all the other cancer moms and Tenley ran around for a good two hours straight.  It was over 90 degrees out, and I could not get her to drink very much, and sh did not eat anything at all. - which for Tenley is not normal. 

By Wednesday she woke up throwing up and was hardly moving around.  She layed in bed with me all morning and I was so beyond worried about her.  It's hard to go from cancer world to normal world when these kids get sick.  I wanted to know what was wrong, but at the same time I didn't.  One thing was for sure though, it was obvious she did not feel good. 
I took her into our pediatrician and he gave her a normal look over.  He is always so kind with his words and makes sure I understand everything he explains.  The conclusion was she was dehydrated.  After the diarrhea and vomiting, and the day in the sun, she was needing fluids pretty badly.  He had me go home and sit with her while she drank gatorade.  I was going to have to try and get at least 24 ounces in her before the end of the day.  I'm certain we didn't make that goal...

Next day, she woke up in a better mood, but as the day went on she got more tired and just wanted to be held.  Again, another scary sign for me knowing that was one of her symptoms before being diagnosed with Leukemia.  I was a wreck about her that evening... worrying about my instincts, not knowing if I should just give it some time for her to bounce back, or if I needed to rush her to the ER for an IV.

Friday came and I had decided enough was enough... I was going to take her in and get an IV.  She was still acting whiny and tired, and had no appetite.  I couldn't wait any longer.  After her nap, my mom and I took her and got right in.  I think of hospital visits so differently now.  Some might complain about an ER visit and the wait that usually comes along with it... but getting in and out of there in 2 hours was major speedy to me.  Of course as soon as we arrived she was all about eating the bag of goldfish crackers I had in my purse... the ones I had been trying to get her to eat ALL DAY!  And she was more than happy to take sips of apple juice.  Little stinker.

The nurses were so friendly, as always, and I'm sure after examining her could tell she really was just fine... but they took my concerns to heart and went ahead with a litte blood draw followed by an IV of fluid. 

She just lets the nurses do their jobs!

check out all that georgous blonde hair!

K, seriously... Tenley is a total champ.  My mom stepped out of the room worried about seeing Tenley upset when they poked her and got her hand ready.  Tenley didn't flinch, cry, or even blink when they did it.  It was like la-di-da... just a normal day.  Then after 30 minutes of getting that good juice flowing, and a thumbs up on the blood work, we were on our way! 

Ahhhhhhhhhhh.... huge sigh of relief!  I can't even begin to describe the worry this gal gives me when she isn't acting 100%.  I wish so bad I could just think of her as a normal little two year old who of course is going to get sick and have a bug or two go through her system.  I know it's going to take time... and quite a bit of it for me to get past those feelings. 
But I'm happy to say she is most definitely back to 100%
Our summer days are back to running, playing, and swimming... and I'm making sure it's filled wlots of water drinking as well.

 Oh... and here are the twins.  30 weeks! 
The countdown is on!

Our next chapter

Wow we have come a long way. 
This summer is flying by, and even though we are still going through trials, I am grateful every single day that Tenley is healthy and continuing to stay that way. 
Whenever I find myself looking through pictures or reading old blog entires, I can't believe we actually went through all of that. 

Tenley is an amazing fighter.  She still is.  Normal things that should make every child upset do not seem to phase her.

Like slivers for example. 

She always has one or more on her little hands from our back deck.  I didn't even realize that's what they were because she never complained about them.  Taryn on the other hand can't handle the pain of one!  (and neither can I for that matter) 
It makes me sad to think maybe Tenley is just so used to pain she thinks it's a normal part of everyday life.  I guess going through cancer will do that to ya.   

We have done quite a bit this summer....

We ventured to Disneyland and it was such an amazing fun wonderful trip.
We celebrated Taryn's 5th birthday and I have to say her party was a blast.
We've been swimming, eating popcicles, playing at parks, and enjoying new splash pads.
We have all marveled at the rapid growing rate of my pregnant belly.
but really...
We usually spend our days from dawn to dusk in our backyard.

And the best part of this summer for me... We have settled back into a normal routine of life that I so desperately wanted and yearned for.  My family of four is all under the same roof with my role as mother and wife.  I truly find joy in wiping away crumbs from the kitchen counter after little mouths have been fed.  Picking up shoes and toys and crayons and lipglosses that my girls are always leaving trails of.  Nightly routines with bathtime, picking out pajamas, climbing onto Daddy's lap (not me, the girlies) and reading a bedtime story, then reading scriptures and having family prayer.  Rocking Tenley and holding her close.  Robbie tossing Taryn into bed. Giving goodnight kisses and telling my girls I love them sooooo much and to have good dreams.

That has been the best part of summer so far.

Monday, May 7, 2012

let them be little

Something about being pregnant just makes me not feel like blogging...
I think it's called extreme laziness.

But, there are too many things happening too fast that I can't let slip away.

Like my little girl that seems to be growing up into a big girl right before my eyes.  It is happening and I can't even believe it.  She is growing up and in a few months will be going to school at the elementary... wih other big kids, and just thinking of that makes my eyes tear up.

So for now, let's focus on the little girl I want her to continue to be.

She was awesome in her preschool cowboy program.  This was the darndest cutest thing and I couldn't believe how well behaved these children were.  So polite and respectful to their sweet teachers.  Every song was so sweet, and they said funny little jokes in between... like these.....

"Hey little partner, how do ya spell horse?"
"But what's at the end?"
"A Tail!"

Taryn's part was spelling horse and saying a tail... she was so cute!  She even filled in for a girl who was sick and did her knock knock joke....

"knock knock"
"who's there"  (Taryn)
"butch, jimmy, and joe"
"butch, jimmy and joe who?   (Taryn)
"butch your arms around me, jimmy a little kiss, and let's joe home."

She was such a darling little cowgirl, and was so excited to show us around Miss Palmers preschool class. 

And not only does she have one preschool class... nope, she has two amazing preschool classes. She's a bit more biased to Miss Denise. Maybe because she's known her longer. She did start preschool there two years ago, and has loved her evr since.  She even cried about missing her when she started school in Reno.
So to have Miss Denise welcome her back with loving open arms was like a dream come true.
Oh how we love her so!

This past Friday they celebrated her birthay at school.  She was in heaven having this special day.  We colored her birthday poster and made these yummy treats to take, then picked out her favorite story to have me read to her class. 

This little boy gave her his own special present. 

A long cardboard tag he colored birthday cakes on one side, and hearts on the other. 
Topher is his name, and he said Taryn is his very best friend in the whole wide world... then he made sure to remind me to take a lot of pictures of him and Taryn together. 

Another sweet boy who she's buddies with gave her a cinderella play camera.  Not sure if his mom knew he swiped it, but Taryn was thrilled and felt like the belle of the ball recieving all these gifts.

All the kids took turns saying what they loved about Taryn, and she wore a special birthday crown which Miss Denise had written all sorts of special things about Taryn on.
She was glowing.

Next up, her dance recital.  She loooooooves dance. 
Loves her teacher, loves the outfits, loves everything about it. 
She told me the other day that when she grows up and is a mommy she wants to be like Miss Natalie (which she really says Miss Matalie) and be a real ballerina.

She couldn't handle waiting around all morning for her recital.  It didn't start until 11:30, and she kept saying, "Hurry up Mom!  We are going to be late!!"

She got a little stage fright in the beginning, but once she realized what was going on, she followed along and danced her heart out. 

I leaned over to Robbie and said, we are going to have a lot of dance recitals.  No football practices to put on our calendar here.

Have I mentioned how much I love our new neighborhood.  It is almost too good to be true. 
We have THE BEST neighbors and there are a ton of happy go lucky kids on our street. 

Including a sweet little one named Charlotte, who happens to live right across the street from us.

She and Taryn are like a match made in heaven.  They play almost every single day and could go for hours.  Lately they have been playing outdoors with all sorts of polly pockets and barbies that are "swimming at the pool" in a big green bowl full of water.  I full on took a nap while they stayed entertained with this make believe world.

The neighbors to our east are building a treehouse, a full on magical treehouse!  And they have the cutest little boy who is in kindergarten and I'm already seeing the future as the flirty love affairs begin between all these girls and his little boy charm.  Plus he has a little sister who is a few months older than Tenley, and Charlotte has a little brother who is Tenley's age as well. 

It's perfect in every way... now I just have to make sure no one gets the idea of moving away.  Ever.

I love that we have all these buddies right here nearby. It brings me back to my own childhood days.
There isn't enough money in the world to buy that kind of friendship and the memories that come along with it. 

Charlotte and Taryn giggling over milk mustaches and eating grilled cheese sandwiches.

So you see... this little girl of mine is growing up, and in a blink of an eye she'll already be living her dream as a mommy ballerina. 

But for today, you are little, and I like it that way.

Monday, April 9, 2012

a very special birthday

I took a break.
A break from worrying, a break from thinking anything hospital related, a break from the word cancer, and a break from blogging.

It's strange to explain the feeling of being "done."  That first week was really hard for me.  The immediate fear of the dreaded word relapse sets in, epsecially when so many of our other cancer fighting friends have had it happen to them recently. 

So for my sanity and anxiety...
I needed a break.

Now that a month has passed since we waved goodbye to our room in ICS, I feel like we are finding our normal once again.

So many things I want to write about.  To tell you all...
Moving into our new house
Robbie losing his job, which has been a huge blessing
My ever growing belly and the two babes that fill it
The special second birthday of a very special girl
The love note that came home in Taryn's backpack from the boy she talks about often
The peachy fuzz that is coming in soft and blonde on Tenley's little head.
The trip we had to St. George and the crazy weather that came with it.
Our Easter... the first holiday I was back to being the Mom I love to be, doing it all the way I love to do.
Let's start with Tenley turning the ripe age of two.

I had been looking forward to this day for quite some time.    After learning Tenley would only need 4 rounds of chemotherapy, I figured out the time frame in my mind that we could be done right around her birthday, March 22nd.  Keeping that as an end date in mind made it somewhat easier.    Knowing we could celebrate so much once it was here.

As much as I wanted to make this party over the top, I have come to learn that the best part of celebrating is having those you love surround you.  So when panic set in the day of the party because I didn't have everything planned out and ready the way I had envisioned it, I had to remind myself that those things didn't matter.  Tenley was here and healthy and happy.  That is what we were celebrating.

We went with the Tangled theme.  That was her favorite movie for quite some time... she still loves it and after watching it over and over and over again in the hospital, we all have the show memorized.  I have to say the lantern song will always have a special meaning to Tenley and I.  At last we are seeing the light and the foggy days have lifted :)

This new place of ours has me so excited for get togethers.  We have a fun covered deck right off of our kitchen and a huge backyard and cement patio for the kids to play with bikes, scooters, chalk, or run around naked if they wanted to.  It's all there... fenced in and ready to have memories made!  This party was the perfect test for it all.  I'm so bummed I didn't take more pictures of everything.  I hung paper lanterns all around the deck from sparkly starry tinsel.  Robbie and Amy draped colorful crepe paper that ran above our heads.  And the food table was ready for feasting with the first BBQing of the season to take place.  Balloons were out, music was playing, banners were hung, oh and of course we had every repunzel doll and trinket set out as decor.

It was perfect, and having this sweet girl of ours home and running around with the other kids was priceless.

I'm amazed with how much she really has grown over these past few months. 
She is still the crack up at our house, always finding ways to make us laugh and keeping us entertained.

Some of her favorite things right now:
Taryn.  She loves her big sister.
Snuggling.  She'll cuddle into you and rest her head in the crook of your neck and say, "oooooooh."
Eating.  Yup, even through all the ups and downs of chemo, her appetite is here to stay.
Singing.  Her favorite song is called shoes.  She sings the word shoes over and over again.
Shoes.  Maybe this is why she sings about them!  Yep, this girl is mine, she looooooves shoes!
Justin Biebers song "Baby."  She loves singing baby baby baby in the car.
Playing outside.  She is always wanting to go out in the backyard and says, "side!" and wants to do everything independently once she's out there.
Licking her lips.  Well, more like just sticking her toungue out from side to side.  She does it whenever she is busy, or happy, or just being silly.
Making messes.  We have a play room in our new place, and when Tenley is playing in there... you can count on a huge mess being made.
Sleeping in a big girl bed.  The girls have a bunk bed and just this week we started having Tenley sleep on the bottom bunk.  So far we've only had one night of late night jibber jabbering (all started by Tenley being naughty and getting out of bed while Taryn strictly told her over and over again... No Tenley!  GO TO SLEEP!)
Being the center of attention.  This is something we will have to work on.  Two babies coming home and staying is really going to throw her off guard.

Her favorite words are...
Scuse You! (excuse you)
Bless you
Nama (grandma)
Taya (Taryn)
Cece (Lexi)
Meemee (Amy)
Cesa (Lisa)
Side (outside)
She nods her head and makes her eyes huge for Yes.
and her famous.... What's that?!

I am so grateful for this girl and all that she has taught me over these past two years.  I absolutely love her personality and the way she makes me laugh every day.  Seeing that personality rise again makes me sad to think it had been lost and buried for a period of time.  I didn't even realize it had so much at the time, but once it came back... It made sense looking back in the weeks cancer was a part of her body.  I never want to lose that personality or any part of her to that disease again. 

Enjoy being two my little one.  You deserve happy days filled with love and giggles and all that a two year old desires.   

Sunday, March 11, 2012

We finished the race!!

We finally did it!  Tenley FINALLY made it to the finish line!  I am so proud of her.  I am so unbelievably grateful for how smoothly this last round went for us.  Our very first night (Valentines day) starting this last round was the worst.  Tenley had a high fever, and I was so worried that we would be in for a very hard and long road.  Robbie had just left for Reno the day before, and I had forgotten to have him give her a priesthood blessing.  Thankfully our good friend, Doug Johnson, came to the rescue with his newly returned missionary son Austin.

They performed such an amazing blessing to my sweet girl.  It filled me with hope and peace.  He blessed Tenley with strength to endure this last treatment and that the previous problems she had faced in the past would not affect her.  He blessed her to live a long full life, and to grow and thrive.  He blessed her with so many wonderful powerful things... I know they are only capable through the Lord's will.

I know that blessing played a huge part in this last treatment.  The doctor had warned me that this would be very hard on Tenley, and she would most likely develop mouth sores, loose her appetite, become nauseous, and go through all the other awful things chemotherapy does to your body.

This was the one round Tenley never once needed any help with her nutrition.  She was such a good eater, and even on the days she wasn't up for much... she still ate enough to keep the docs pleased.  The only thing she didn't care for was drinking any fluids, besides her bottle before naps and bed time.  It was so funny... she never wanted to take a sip of anything!  Which wasn't a huge deal, they just had to run an IV with extra fluid at night and sometimes during the day.... but for the most part she was as free bird in that big room.  Running around, pushing her babies in the stroller, and climbing onto the couch to look out the window.

Man... I am SO glad we are out now!  I wonder how many hours in total I really spent in ICS.

There is no way I could have done all of this on my own.  With Robbie not being able to be here full time, I had to have some back up help.  Back up is not the right wording... the people who saved me gave up so much of their time and we became our own ICS cancer family.  I owe so much to them, and will never be able to thank them appropriately.

The people I will always be grateful to...
Mary Cox
Lisa Healey
Brett Healey
Amy Cox
Connor Johnson
Margo Wilson
Carrie Ross
Brooke Brady
Sydney Lindsley
Annie Lindsley
Nicole Davis Lindsley
Janice Sansom
Sara Bateman
Sara Christensen
Hannah Christensen
Becky Brown
Sandi Rice
Katie Pierce
Becky Erickson
Laura Miller
Brooke Storheim
Rhonda Fullmer
Candi Merrell
Jill Holt
Marylynn Olsen
Kris Kimball
Jeanette Soffe

Whether it was 2 hours or 100 hours, each and every one of you took the time to stay with my little Tenley. (and if I forgot anyone... please let me know!  I want to remember who helped forever!)

There are so many others that helped with Taryn, sent us meals, took care of Robbie, watched our dog, sent us money, took care of our payments, and kept us in their prayers daily.
I wish I could personally thank each and every one of you.

Now onto the celebration of our very last day!  I didn't even know it was going to happen this quick!  Sara Christensen was at the hospital Wednesday morning taking over after Robbie spent the night.  He came home and said, "the nurse (Emily) said she thinks today would be a great day to send Tenley home!"  Her ANC was at 200, and her other counts were rising.  Sure enough the doctors took her advice and I got a call from Sara saying... they said she can be discharged!

I was so happy I couldn't stop smiling and crying all at the same time.  The day had finally come... we were DONE!  Robbie and I celebrated right then and there by eating some delicious cheesecake we got the day before at Cheesecake Factory.  After getting my mom's house spick and span, then getting myself ready, and getting a cookie bouquet for the nurses and doctors, we made our way up to Primary's.

On that drive I made a mental note to look outside at the mountains.  They looked fresh and ready for spring, the sun was shining brightly and the sky was a bright blue.
I remember distinctly the day we were told to go straight back to Primary's to be admitted for what could possibly be leukemia.  Fall was all around us.  The mountains were covered in autumn colors.  As tears rushed down my cheeks, I had a very strong feeling that this drive would become a very routine everyday drive.
Now we were finally ending that routine.  It was such a relief.

I had sent texts out to our ICS family that Tenley was ready to come home and we would be having her ring the bell at 3pm.  I am so glad so many of them made it there to see.  I think the nurses and techs were shocked to see such a crowd... but they knew we had all been in this together. (and I think they want to hire my mom to start a scheduling program up there)

To some, this bell might seem a bit silly, but to me it meant the world.  I had heard it a hand full of times as I'd sit in our room holding Tenley, rocking.  This bell was a sound of accomplishment, of happiness, of gratitude, and to me it was the sound of life.  I have imagined this day for so long now.  I couldn't even make it through the "happy last chemo" song without crying.  I'm not one to cry a whole lot in front of a crowd, but this time was different.  This crowd was full of people who loved and cared for Tenley, including the nurses and techs.  

crying and squeezing this girl as everyone sang to her.

ringing that bell!!!

Even Taryn got a turn

That is one proud sister.

the ones I will forever be grateful for

and we couldn't leave without having some cake!

We do all love you Tenley!!!
You made it!

Friday, February 24, 2012

day by day play

So far this week proved to be a good one!  Tenley has been doing great.  She is playing, eating a ton, and running all around just living life best she knows how in her hospital room.  I am always in awe with how happy she can be stuck there.  
Here are some pictures to prove it... (my camera is somewhere hiding, so I've had to resort to using my phone.)

This is how we stay busy day after day...

coloring and playing with play dough

meeting and playing with the pet therapy doggies!

She loved this one.  Her name was Mary and she was so sweet.
Tenley wanted to do everything she was doing.

We watch people walk back and forth from the parking garage... 
and watch for our own friends and family!

Then we color some more.  Even if it's on the couch.  I don't even care!! (plus it comes right off) 

This is what she looooves to do.  Especially when she is free from the IV tower.  

Oh, and this smart preschooler of mine had her very first report!  They are learning all about famous American's who have changed our country.  She did hers on Clara Barton.  I thought it was fitting since we are now so familiar with the medical world.  She loved getting dressed up and made sure everyone knew who she was.

She also has been telling me all about the man with the white fluffy hair.  That he cut down a cherry tree and couldn't tell a lie.
Then there's the man with the black beard who is on all of our penny's and was a really good man.

You should hear her recite the pledge of allegiance.  Cutest thing ever.

Tenley's counts still haven't dropped all the way down.  They have to hit zero and then make their way back up slowly before we get to say peace out f.o.r.e.v.e.r!  I was so shocked to learn her ANC was at 7700 when we started this round!  That is like a totally normal happy ANC!  I will take that and run with it any day!

Last night was one of those nights when I had to repeat over and over... we can do this, we are almost out of here, I can handle this for a couple more weeks.
The nurse has to check Tenley's vitals every 4 hours.  Even during the night.  Tenley is usually pretty good about sleeping through them, but at 4 am it seems like she thinks it's a wake up call.

This morning was no different.
I tried to ignore her and pretend to be asleep hoping she would lay back down, but finally around 5:30 I got her out of the crib and we rocked for awhile.  She kept pointing to the TV and I'd say softly, "no."  Which then led to a major cry fest.  At 7 am she was snoring and after I tried transitioning her to the crib with no luck, we turned on the TV.


By the time 9:00 came and a wonderful friend of ours (Sandi Rice) came to take over... I was feeling so frustrated by this whiny child of mine.  She was so overly tired and crying about anything and everything.  That's what ya get when you wake up at 4!  Thankfully she didn't cry for long after I left, and Sandi was happy to rock and love her.

Then there is my 4 year old.  She had a rough night of her own.  Let's just say there was a major tantrum going on in the middle of the night.  It involved kicking and scratching my poor sister Amy.

So, again I will repeat... We can do this!  We are almost done!  We can handle it for a few more weeks!

Then it will be on to a getaway here.
and here.
I can't wait to go HERE!

Watching the videos makes me cry just knowing we will have made it through!  I think I'll cry with every magical moment.

Then it will be Spring and Summer and Babies!  Oh my!!!