Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day

Christmas was very quiet and nice this year.  It was just the five of us and we were able to hang out in our pj's as long as we wanted.  :)

Anyway, Christmas Eve the kids laid out reindeer food all over the front yard to make sure that the reindeer had enough energy to make it to all of the kids.

We spent the morning playing with our new "toys" and lounging.  The kids all received outside toys from Santa so they took them out for a test run as well.

After some play time, we took them to see "Tangled" at the movie theater and then spent the rest of the day playing with friends in the neighborhood.  Thank goodness for relaxing holidays.   I hope everyone else had a wonderful Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Cookies for Santa

In preparation for the big man in the red suit we broke out the sugar cookies and all of the icing and decorations.
Of course the amount of sugar that was consumed during decoration was crazy but they had fun.

We ended up with three dozen cookies for the man but I think in the end he maybe only ate three. I love family activities!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ice Skating

For a short time, an ice skating rink is constructed at Baytowne Wharf so of course we have to take advantage. This year my mom was here so she got to see the kids in all of the craziness.

Last year Mike had to get out on the ice with them for some hand holding and I don't think AJ let go of the wall. But what a difference a year makes! Elizabeth was off zooming away the minute her feet hit the ice and I think AJ only head onto the wall for a brief minute.
He did have to come and check in after every lap though.And Jacob was amazing. We didn't go out on the ice with him just to see what he would do. He spent a little bit of time clinging to the wall but not after too long, he was able to make it around most of the rink with out holding on. It was pretty cool how fast he picked it up.

After about an hour and half of skating, we took the kids for some hot chocolate and snacks and headed back home. This is what I saw in my rear view window on the way home. I would have to say they tired themselves out. Not sure what Mike's excuse was. :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Chair

Monday mornings I head to what I call my chair. This chair isn't the most comfortable chair or the warmest for that matter but I still affectionately call it mine. From the first chemotherapy treatment that I received as an outpatient, I have sat in this chair (until today when someone else was already in it.)

I have learned a lot about myself and life in general because of this chair. You see, I willing go to this place, sit down with a smile on my face and let someone else put poison into my body in order to make me better. This seems so counter intuitive to me but I know in the end it is what I need to do.

My view isn't the greatest but it works for me. There is a large 60" flat screen TV that always has some sort of noise on. (First come first serve on the remote so you never know what you're going to get.) The other reason I like this chair is I can see the doorway. I can be nosey as to what doctors are walking by. You see when I was in the ICU, I probably saw every specialist in the hospital and I find it kind of cool to see them walk by in a different setting. Often times, they stop by to see me as well and see how I am doing. I have a special connection to all of these doctors and they all hold a special place in my heart for all of the hard work and compassion they put into my care.

I'm usually in my chair for about 3 1/2 hours each time. It doesn't take that long for the chemotherapy to be infused but there is a process. When I first arrive, the nurse cleans my port to prepare for chemo as well as draw some labs that are drawn each time. Once she draws the blood, I have to then wait for the results before they start with the chemotherapy. If certain levels are too low, they cannot give the chemotherapy and they are also looking at certain levels that might require a blood transfusion. This is common with chemotherapy. i have not had to deal with any of this yet. While I am waiting for the labs to come back, I usually see my hematologist/oncologist just to say hey and check in as far as treatment. Once done with that, I head back to the chemo lab so they can give me an IV bag of fluid as prehydration. By the time this bag is done, the labs are back and it is time for the chemo drug. I have been asked what it feels like and I can honestly say, it isn't as bad as I expected but it does compare to "flu in a bag" if I have to find a description. As it infuses, I start to feel a little nauseous and my joints get achy and I just feel blah but otherwise not too horrible. (It usually gets worse through the rest of the day and the next but I have drugs that help a lot.)

Once the chemo drug is in (which usually takes 45 minutes), they give me another bag of fluids but this one goes quick. As soon as this is done, it is a quick unhook from the IV pump and a "see you next time."

(I'm not a big fan of having pictures taken of myself these days as I see the side effects of the drugs but I also figure this is part of my life now so I should embrace it. The big round chipmunk cheeks and dark circles under my eyes are a result of high doses of steroids. You can't see the distended belly but it's there and that too is from the steroids. The yellow thing in the upper left hand corner is the needle that is placed into my port. Normally I see a pale purple lump just under my collar bone. As much as this makes life so much easier because I don't have to have needle sticks any more, it is a constant reminder of what I am now living with. I guess looking in the mirror now has just taken on a new meaning for me.)

I am not the only one that sits in this chair on these days. I have always had things with me from all of the special people in my life - drawings from the kids, earrings from my mom, a bracelet from my mother in law, a bag from my very first race I ran and of course Mike sitting in the chair next to me. My newest addition is my quilt from my very special 07B Bond Girls. These things make this process so much easier. To know I am surrounded by such love, compassion and support is sometime overwhelming but always reassuring when I am having doubts or moments of weakness.

For now, I will be happy with my chair and take the time that I sit in it as a blessing. To have the option of a treatment sure beats the alternative. So, I give you my chair...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Toys and the Big Guy

We are so fortunate to be able to provide our kids with Christmas this year and every year. Knowing that there are many families out there that are not, this year we took the kids to the store and had them pick out toys that they would like to receive and then had them deliver them to a Toys for Tots drop off. I thought this would actually cause some problems but instead they were very happy to do this and were even more excited to receive a salute from the marine at the drop off. I am so proud of them.

After we dropped off the toys, we headed over to see the big in the red suit. Each one of them went up there one by one and had a pretty in depth conversation about their desires this year. Elizabeth told him she wanted a new bike and a DQ Blizzard maker. AJ wanted a new Nerf gun and Jacob well I'm not sure what he asked for but I'm sure it had something to do with cars. Just a hunch.
And of course I had to get the obligatory all kid pile on Santa's lap picture.

After visiting Santa, the kids went over to the craft area and worked on a few things. Elizabeth and AJ both decided to write Santa one more letter to make sure he was able to remember what they wanted.
After some deep thought, AJ decided to ask Santa for a surprise in his letter. Now if only it could be that easy for them all.

In the end it was a very good and productive day.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside!

In an attempt to get the kids out of the house and blow off some energy we took the kids over to the Destin Commons to play for a bit. The key thing we forgot was that they run around and warm themselves up. It was about 45 degrees and windy and let me tell you sitting on a bench watching them play proved to be very cold. It's a good thing we are all very close friends!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Parade

Today we headed out for the Niceville Christmas Parade. And just when I thought I had seen the last of the Halloween candy, the kids came home with even more.

We were able to show up right as the parade was starting and get a spot just in time not to miss any of the floats. Gotta love not waiting around. AJ figured out really quick that the louder he yelled "Merry Christmas", the better his odds were at getting some candy thrown at him. They made out like little bandits.

The kids were enamoured by the bands that went by.

Biskit even had is photo op with one of the clowns. There was one float that had dog treats which he enjoyed and he caught a few beads to wear himself too.

It was good to get out of the house with the family and enjoy some nice weather.