Favorite Hannah Picture

Favorite Hannah Picture
"Yes, the park!"

Hannah Ballerina

Hannah Ballerina

Play Time

Play Time
"Go super fast!"

Hannah's Room

Hannah's Room

Happier Hannah

Happier Hannah

Hannah sleeping 4-13-10

Hannah sleeping 4-13-10

Preschool Friend's Art

Preschool Friend's Art
Yeah! Friends!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cupcakes and Super Human Strength

Those two things don't normally go together but that is how the week has been. Yesterday, Hannah was making cupcakes for mommy. Super cute. They tasted awful. Couldn't begin to describe.
Please don't tell her.

The day prior was a chemo day. Now that we are in the phase IM, we only go every ten days. I forgot how much more resistant to being at the hospital this makes her. It started out fine. The boys came too and everyone was engrossed in Sponge Bob while she had her exam.

The doctor went over the exam with me. Her ANC is still good. Platelets are down, red blood cells steady. Her weight is down. Might need a feeding tube next visit. We handled all this fine. Then, the nurse came to take us to the infusion room for chemo.

This triggered a fight or flight reaction in my youngest child. She started mildly pleading not to go to that room. Then screaming. Then screaming, kicking, hitting, and spitting. Screaming she hated that room. Screaming she would not go in to that room. Still being in the room obviously meant more drastic measures were needed. She threw anything near her. Her cup of water? All over the floor. Clawed at me when I tried to get ahold of her.

In her final move before I got a good grip on her, she tried to hurl a giant brown trash can that held all of the used chemo syringes. Of course, it is far wider around then her little arms could grab and almost as tall as her. I couldn't believe she was even attempting it. It all happened so fast. She didn't get much height. Really, it was more of a knocking over of said trash can with a bit of sliding across the floor thrown in. And then I had her.

The boys sat frozen, mouths open. The nurse took only a pause before lending a helpful hand. (they have seen it all) I was so many things; angry, embarrassed, so deeply sad for her. I felt bad for the boys and the nurse. There isn't time for that. Hannah needed her chemo. She calmed down when they started. It didn't take long before she felt sick. She was right about the room.

We went home. I felt dead. Some days are so damn hard.

The next day at work I was telling Galen what happened. He pointed out something I hadn't thought of. I was thinking I should not have exposed the boys. He suggested that it might bring a greater understanding for them. After Christmas, I think Aaron was all ready to sign up for this cancer thing. Sure you lose your hair, but random people are nice to you, send presents, and you get to eat lots of normally off limit food. Maybe getting to see a little of what she is dealing with, will help him deal, too. Or, it will cause deep psychological damage that can never be undone. I don't know! I hope not.

Bouncing from this day of trauma back into her normal, cute little five year old life is remarkable to me. I am still exhausted! However, this is how cupcakes and super strength go together over at the Grage household.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Holiday Highlights

Here is Aaron and Hannah on Christmas Eve at our church. I can't believe how much taller Aaron is! This night is the first time Hannah has gone back to our church, Church by the Side of the Road, (love that name) since she was diagnosed. In a sort of indirect, Christmas miracle type way, Hannah's ANC was up to almost 2000 and we were able to go. She loves going to church. Her favorite part is all the singing. At our church? They can sing!

During the hospital stay when we were first told she had cancer, Hannah had a song we call, Yes, Lord, (the real name is something else) stuck in her head and would go around singing it. As she couldn't get to church to hear it, they sent her a CD recording of that song. It is in my car to this day and we listen to it, by request mind you, on the way to get chemo. It is a song about trading your pain for the joy of the lord.

She also really loves our Pastor. Infact, for a long time, she thought he was God. Pastor Proctor came to visit her at the hospital and she kept saying God came to see her. That was pretty cute. However, after awhile I forgot that was how she referred to him. It was really disturbing to hear her continue to ask to get to go to God until I remembered that she actually just meant she wanted to go to church and see Pastor Proctor!

In other Christmas miracle-ish events, our family received some extra special love this Christmas from one of my customers at work. Diamond B is an HVAC contractor and one of my favorite customers. I haven't been able to see them as often as I used to since Hannah's diagnosis. They are located in Bellingham which is three hours from me. They are a wonderful group of people. John, in the shop, always has great stories of the adventures he and his family have.

I got a call to come get a package from my office, which is normal. I get sent samples all the time. This time, is was a giant box from Diamond B to my family. Everyone was excited to see what was inside. No one was prepared for what it was. Around thirteen separate, wrapped presents! Toys and books, gift cards for the boys, a zoo gift card for the family, and a card signed by everyone from Diamond B!

Hannah was in heaven. Talk about feeling the love. Thank you so much. Now I'm getting all whelly, so I am going to end with a picture of Hannah and her new dolphin pillow pet. She hearts that thing. Oh so much. ;-)

PEG Shot Reaction

This is a picture of Hannah waking up from anaesthesia last week. She had chemo in her spinal column or as they call it, back poke, as well as the PEG shot in her legs. She no longer wakes up angry from this procedure, but she rarely wakes this happy. She had the sweetest smile, I had to take a picture. The first thing she said was "Can I have pizza?".

It was a long day. It was three in the afternoon when she woke from the back poke, so she had gone all day without eating. However, she still had to wait a little longer as we are required to stay under observation for an hour after receiving the PEG, to watch for an allergic reaction.

The PEG, or Pegaspargase, is a fantastic anti-cancer drug. It basically works by starving cells of the all important chemical called asparagine. All cells need this chemical to stay alive. Normal cells can make it. Cancer cells cannot. So this enzyme, asparaginase,(PEG) breaks down the chemical, asparagine in the body. The good cells will continue, cancer cells will die. Super awesome.

Until you get to the side effects. Nothing is so comforting as reading up on what could potentially occur! For this particular drug, having a serious allergic reaction is common and the chances of having a reaction increase with every dose given. Hannah was right around a 40% chance when she had her last PEG. If an allergy develops, no more PEG shots can be given. So, I am excited for every successful dose she gets.

This time, Hannah had a reaction. Maybe. She started getting little bumps on her head. I didn't think much of it at first, and we went home. By Sunday evening they were noticeable. A typical allergic reaction in the form of a rash would have been hives. Her doctor confirmed that these small, pimple like bumps were definitely not that. We are still going back and forth as to whether or not this was an actual PEG reaction. It is a very tough call. Not getting this drug would be a set back for sure, but using it again after a sensitivity has developed would most certainly cause her to go into anaphylactic shock.

We have a month to decide how to proceed before her next PEG shot is ordered. Dr. Blythe Thompson, who is the oncologist super hero, is going to assist in making this decision. As it was said to me yesterday, "She is THE Leukemia expert". Thank God. This dilemma feels too big for me, alone.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Take that, Cancer!

Last week I was sure Hannah would make counts. She didn't. This week I was pretty sure she would make it. I worried, anyway. After all, I was just wrong. Three weeks of no chemo is too much.

Waiting for the ANC number to come back at her appointment this afternoon was miserable. Infact, I have been miserable to be around for this entire week, I would imagine. Waiting is, So. Really. Hard.

The doctor came in the first time, and said the numbers weren't back yet. Then, she examined Hannah and asked me a ton of questions. I couldn't think! I couldn't give answers! I needed to have the numbers! Finally, she left (she is very nice and I like her, I was just moody) and Hannah watched a cartoon while we waited for those annoyingly pesky numbers. If Hannah's ANC was above 750, she could start chemo today. She would begin the Interim Maintenance 2, phase. Anything lower than 750 was going to be a problem.

Ten minutes later the doctor came back, opened the door, looked at me, smiled, and nodded. Here is what I did inside my head.

Her ANC was at 1566!! Yeah baby! We headed right over to the infusion room for chemo. Hannah is back to fighting cancer and I am, hopefully, going to sleep tonight!

Here is a picture of Hannah as Miss. Speedracer. She was at her dad's on Wednesday and the two of them did some racing. Hannah, in this cool seat, while pretending to drive along with a pink and purple race car game. Her dad says she is the future of motorsports. She had a total blast. Hannah adores this sort of thing. I have to admit, Alex might be right about the motorsports. I am going to go gray early, I can tell.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Beads of Courage

This is a program that Seattle Children's Hospital has started participating in. It is designed to honor the journey patients take while receiving care for cancer. Each kid gets a necklace with their name in block letters to start. Specific colored or shaped beads are given every time they experience something else on the bead guide.

There is literally a bead for everything; port access, going bald, feeding tube placement, MRI, bone marrow aspirations, blood transfusions, and so many more. Hannah is going to need a necklace extension as soon as her first set of beads come in!

The nurse who set Hannah's up, told us how excited the children get to receive beads. She said most of the kids like to hang their necklaces from their IV poles when they are inpatients. It is sort of a way to brag about all they have been through. The nurse proudly told me how one boy's necklace was six pounds!

I am so instantly in love with this idea. What an amazing way to turn something that might otherwise be daunting emotionally into a tangible object of pride. The website for this is www.beadsofcourage.org and the CBS Morning Show is apparently going have a piece about it on Sunday the 12th. I don't have cable, so won't be watching, but if anyone does, could you maybe give me an update?

Waiting room cuteness!

We found out Thursday that Hannah's chemo is still on hold. Her ANC last Friday was 640. She was so close to the 750 number that I thought, this week, for sure, she would start chemo. Unfortunately, her ANC dipped down to 458. Her doctor thinks something is going on with her white blood count.

Her monocytes counts (type of white blood) were abnormally high. That might mean she has an infection of some sort brewing that hasn't presented in other forms yet. It could also mean she just fought off one. Other possibilities exist but we really won't know anything till this Thursday. I am just going to hope for the best and pray.

I try not to get too upset about the ups and downs of treatment, although every now and then, the feeling that you are playing with fire, slaps you in the face. Hannah is only four months away from her one year mark. There have been many worrisome things that she has made it through. It does help develop your confidence when faced with a new one.

At any rate, making counts next week would really rock. Please, if you get a chance, say a quick prayer for Hannah. Three weeks is the most they will let her go without chemo before they admit her to the hospital.

She was sure not minding hospital food this week, though. This was her lunch!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


There is something about having a really low ANC, overall immunity blood count, that makes Hannah a little on the ragey side. She just doesn't seem to be able to handle much.

I know this, because, she said pretty close to exactly that, on Tuesday. She wanted to watch a movie. When I asked which one, she lost it. Her hands covering her ears, screaming that she just can't handle that right now. As obstinate as that sounds, she actually looked panicked. I went ahead and picked out the movie for her.

This week has been a tricky egg shell walk for everyone in our household. We almost lost the nanny. She was feeling like her presence was an added irritant to Hannah and that she wasn't helping her. After being assured she wasn't an irritant, would be impossible to replace, and that helping Hannah's mommy stay employed WAS helping, she seemed to feel better.

It is a fine line to walk, for me as well. Which behaviors do I take on, and what ones do I just hold her though? Hannah snaps at the slightest thing, has patience for nothing, but wants to have us all around. The frustration level is high. I keep trying to remind everyone, myself included, to keep the bigger picture in mind. A walk in her shoes would surely grant us the insight to understand her moods.

Me and The Grump, after she just yelled for no one to look at her OR talk to her. Of course, the picture was taken anyway. Sibling fights.

As for her chemo treatment, it is still on hold while we wait for her blood counts to hit that magic 750 number. At Friday's appointment, we found out that her ANC was close, at 640. There is already a difference in attitude. I think she will be at 750 by this Friday.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Last Day of DI, Part 1

Yesterday, was Hannah's last day of the first DI. Her treatment is broken into phases. This last one, Delayed Intensification, or DI, is designed to deliver a "knock-out punch" to the remaining leukemia cells. It is brutal and because of her high risk status, she will get an extra loop of this more intense phase again in two months. It is a very important stage of treatment and we are so glad to have at least one of them behind us.

Yesterday was also unique in that for the first time, Hannah's ANC came back at zero. Which means she officially has no available immune response. Her lowest had been 21, which is unsettling in itself. Even I'm a little spooked at the zero number.

I just keep reminding myself that those numbers will come back up. The best thing I can do is to make her a germ free bubble to live in until then. She will start the next phase of treatment, Interim Maintenance #2, or IM #2, when her counts are above 750. So, she has quite a ways to go! I am putting my bets on two weeks, but they will check her next Friday, just in case.

IM is an easier phase of treatment and Hannah did pretty well on it last time. We are really looking forward to the small break. :-)

I will leave you with a picture of Hannah in an adorable hat sent to her from our friend Heidi. She is with Smacna, the most awesome group of people you could ever hope to meet. Thank you, Heidi!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hannah Update

The headaches have gone and Hannah is doing much better. She had a very normal day. No throwing up, no pain, no pain medication, and no fevers.

Her improvement couldn't have come at a better time, too. It snowed here in Western Washington. As anyone from Seattle can tell you, when it snows here, you stay away from the roads. We don't get large amounts of dry snow. We get an inch or so and roads that are solid ice. Getting to the hospital in these conditions would be very dangerous.

Today the roads were so bad that I couldn't get to work and the boys school was closed. So, we all got to stay home and play. Hannah had a fantastic time, other than being bummed everytime they went outside to play. She took not being able to join them fairly well, considering.

I wanted to thank every one for your support last week. It really does mean so much to us.

I left my camera in the car and forgot to take pictures of everyone in the snow. I will have to update this later with snow pictures!

Snow pic update; Aaron and Hannah on Thanksgiving. Third day of the snow, so, not much left. Yet, still suprising for our area!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pain Management

It looks as if the headaches are going to be around for a little while. The best we can do for her is to give her good drugs to keep her comfortable.

I went in to the hospital yesterday armed with information. I was determined to get to the bottom of a mix of symptoms that didn't fit the possible diagnosis I was being given. Fortunately, for me Dr. Blythe Thompson is who we saw yesterday. She is blunt, to the point, and well known for her intellect.

I didn't have to do much explaining before she confirmed what I was thinking. The headache and other flu like symptoms are not from the spinal tap or the low red blood count. They are caused from the chemo drug she was given earlier in the week called Ara-C. It can cause a cerebral headache and the other symptoms. Unfortunately, it just takes time for it to go away.

Hannah has a good block time from around mid morning to middle of the afternoon where her headache subsides a bit. After that it is intolerable. She sobs, throws up, and begs for more medicine than is allowed to be given. To combat this, Dr. Thompson has instructed that a second medicine be given a half and hour after her narcotic. All by itself this drug doesn't do a whole lot, but the way it interacts with narcotics helps them to work better. So far, it is working.

Giving your child round the clock pain medication feels counterintuitive. Most of the time I am driven to find answers. This "solution" of drugging her through it, is hard to take. However, infinitely better than watching her struggle with pain.

This week has been extremely hard. We have had so many "Are you kidding?" moments. By far, the one that is the most astounding was the ER nurse failed attempt to access Hannah's port on Wednesday night.

In order to draw blood or administer medicine they stick a 20 gauge, 3 quarter inch IV needle in the port that is under the skin of her chest. Typically, a numbing cream is applied an hour before this occurs. In the rush of the ER, a different, fast acting cream was used and applied incorrectly.

The nurse, who doesn't normally work with the cancer patients, stuck the needle in slowly. Hannah's whole body went tense and she was screaming. Clearly, she wasn't numb. I'm telling the nurse to stop. Seriously, this needle is no joke. She was basically slowly stabbing Hannah. She stops and just stares at us. I ask to her remove the needle and then I start interrogating the other nurse as to how/what numbing cream was used. It was not my most eloquent hour.

They got out of there as fast as possible leaving us to reapply the cream and clean up the blood that was now flowing out of the hole she left. I can't believe that Hannah made it through the second attempt.

I still feel agitated by the whole experience. I tried writing this with a nicer tone, but I just don't have it in me right now. When perspective does befall me, I will feel that I should have been more uplifting or kind or something. For now, I am going to add pictures of the good moments we did have during Hannah's hospital stay.

Mackenzie and her adorable baby, Cadence, came by to visit on Thursday. Mac brought me coffee because she loves me ;-) and spent lots of time coloring with Hannah. Hannah normally wants to pretend Cadence is her baby. This day however, she just wanted Mackenzie to herself. Hannah kept asking me if I could take the baby! Ha! It was really kinda funny.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Turn for the Worse

We are headed back to Children's here soon, but I wanted to let everyone what is going on. I'm sorry if it isn't very detailed. I will add a better update soon.

Wednesday night Hannah was readmitted to the hospital. She has a strange, constant headache that is not presenting in the way you would expect considering the procedures she has recently had. She had a spinal tap on Monday. We also found out in the ER Wednesday night, that Hannah had a sudden drop in red blood cells and needed a transfusion immediately. Those are the two things the doctors are concentrating on as a reason for the headaches.

I think they are wrong. There are a few other oddities in symptoms that make me feel the headache is a symptom of a separate issue. However, I was unable to research this while in the hospital. Sometimes, it is hard to get doctors off a scent. I have been up to eyeballs in medical lingo, so I haven't had time for a proper update.

I am off now to go argue with doctors. Please pray for Hannah. She is struggling through the best she can. I am so proud of her.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Oh, Brother!

Our clan had a hospital filled weekend. Hannah has chemo Saturday through Tuesday, so the boys came with us this weekend. For the better part of two days, we all sat in a tiny room, played Sorry, watched Hannah Montana, and ate snacks. When we left on Sunday, Andrew, my oldest, said "The hospital is kinda fun!". You should have seen the dirty look Hannah gave him!

First arriving on Saturday. Hannah was not so happy.

Sunday afternoon, after we left the hospital, we went to visit Tammy and Aiden. Hannah had so much fun playing! Of course, I got some pictures.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Waiting for Chemo While Starving = Cute Pics

On Monday, Hannah had chemo (IT-MTX) in her spinal column, also, called a spinal tap or even less technical, a back poke. This requires anesthesia. She is not allowed to have anything to eat or drink for hours before being put under. The wait for that appointment is torture even when they are running on schedule.

Unfortunately, for us, that was not the case. They were running WAY behind. The procedure did not begin until 1pm. She had not eaten or had anything to drink since 6:00 pm the night before.

On back poke days, we have a deal. I don't eat till she can. It makes it more like, we are in it together. It also lets me know, how much more of a tough chick, this, Hannah Grage, is than me. By noon, my stomach was growling! Hannah? She wasn't even complaining.

I wish I could express the different ways cancer has affected our lives. Most of the time, I could tell you of all that it has robbed us of. Today, I want to tell you, that through this lens, I am appreciating my daughter in ways I never knew possible.

Here are some pictures of us, being silly, passing the time, before they called her name.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Birthdays, Hats, and Making Counts

Oh, I have so much to tell and so many pictures, I can barely begin.

Ok, First.
Yesterday was Kristian's 4th birthday. So, Happy Birthday, Kristian!
His mom, Auntie Janea, Grandma Patty, and the birthday boy, himself, came over Tuesday night to have dinner and play. Here is a picture of Kristian and Hannah tearing into presents.

Check out this hat.

My co-worker, Barb, gave Hannah these awesome animal hats with fleece on the inside. This one is a mouse. Hannah LOVES it and wears it everywhere. Also, don't be alarmed by the ink on Hannah's face. While I did let Hannah get all tatted up, I did insist she go with fake tattoos.

She made counts at Friday's appointment. Her ANC was at 2160. That is a very healthy number! She only needed to be at 750 to start the next round of chemo. She started her, four day in a row, chemo schedule yesterday.

Chemo is really the worst, best thing.

Here she is at the start of yesterday's six hour chemo transfusion. Happy and coloring. Half an hour after the chemo started she got a wicked burning headache in her forehead and nose. They slowed down the drip and she eventually felt better, but it was some cold, hard reality served first thing.

Best, of course, so we can keep seeing this smile.

I will leave you with this amazing picture of a wild, rocker girl I know.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bald is Beautiful

So, the hair is gone. I have never seen a cuter bald little girl, ever. I am, of course, extremely biased.

Her hair got to the point of a mere suggestion and she asked her dad to cut it all off.

I think Aaron has taken it the hardest. The day it was shaved, Aaron walked by her and stopped dead in his tracks. She was asleep. He grabbed his stomach and hunched down a bit. When he turned around he had tears streaming down his face.

Aaron is a kid with a very big heart. He and Hannah spend most of their time together getting on each other's nerves. Wednesday night, however, was all kindness.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chemo On Hold

On Friday, we found out that Hannah's blood counts, specially, her ANC, were not high enough to receive the next round of chemo. They will recheck her blood counts this Friday and continue with chemo should the numbers look good.

Meanwhile, instead of spending the entire weekend in the hospital, we got to go home. We ran around trying to cram as much fun as we could in those couple of days! I am still a bit behind.

I have fun pictures that I will post, but for now, I'm off to work! Sorry about the short update. Promise to elaborate this evening.

Update: Ok, adding pictures is not technically an update, but it has got to count for something. Right? :-)

My favorite girls, Maddie, Tay, and Hannah, goofing off!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's almost gone

Hannah's hair has, maybe, a couple days left. Yesterday, the hair she did have had matted into such a tangled mess overnight, that, cutting it was the only humane thing to do. It would have been painful to brush for someone without a sensitive head! Besides, huge handfuls have been coming out by the moment, so cutting it short seemed like a two problem solution. This is, of course, a mix of emotions for everyone. However, it is such affirmation that the chemo is really working. Time to pull out the hats! :-)

Grandma Patty took the big kids out to the bouncy place last night and Rian and I had a "date" with Hannah. She was finally feeling like eating again after battling painful mouth sores from the chemo. It was slightly surprising to hear her request Chinese food for dinner though! So, we ate take out Chinese and watched one of her favorite movies, Cowbells. I can't say I recommend it as I lost all objectivity after the 100th viewing.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

D.I. is Rough

This has been a very difficult week for us. The chemo cocktail she is on has really worn her out. My very active little girl is now napping twice a day, slurs her words, and wants to sit with a warm blanket most of the day. Her doctors say we just push through. I know they are right. It is hard to watch.

Next week, if her ANC is above 750 she will start the second half a DI. She is almost always delayed two weeks when she starts a new chemo. If she does make it on Friday, then Saturday will start the four in a row Ara C and Cyclophosphamide appointments, followed by a back poke. These particular chemo drugs are given through IV over 4-6 hours each day. Again, long time to be stuck in a chair, but we do have the new princess DVD player! It's the small things, right?

Last weekend was a two day party. Saturday, was Aiden's third birthday and subsequent party. Sunday, was Hannah's big five year old birthday party. Over those two days, I got some of the cutest pictures. I'm sure I will fit them all in at some point. Today, I am just going to share my favorite picture from the weekend.

Grandpa Jim (or Norm), the greatest bday present ever, and Andrew.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Waiting just got easier

First, I wanted say that we got some good news at her appointment, yesterday. Hannah's counts are indeed on their way down. The chemo is doing it's thing to kick the cancer out.

Infact, she will need to go in a couple times this upcoming week for transfusions. Now, those are LONG hospital days.

Hannah and I however, just got something that is going to make that a bit easier. For her birthday, I got her a portable DVD player. Disney princess pink, of course.

Yesterday, was her first trial of this new entertainment at the hospital. I couldn't believe how much easier this made the day.

I'm sure many of you know how difficult it is to keep a young child busy during a boring outing. Well, most of our time while not getting chemo is spent in the waiting room, waiting (odd, right?) for different phases of the appointment to take place. It is an exhausting struggle to make that "fun".

Here is pretty much how yesterday went.

Discovering it works in the car.

In the waiting room.

Waiting again

Blood pressure and temp? No prob, just work around the screen.

Waiting for the Doc, still not a problem

Transfusion Room for chemo, "What else you want to do?"

I'm sure the novelty of her new device will wear off, but for now, I hope it helps her get through the next few appointments.

Friday, October 15, 2010

High Counts

Today, we are headed to Children's for more chemo. This week I am very interested to see where her blood counts come in at. Last Friday's numbers were odd.

The chemo drug, Dox, she is on right now, is known as the tumor stopper. This is because it works by stopping DNA replication. Hannah's counts, then, should the Dox be doing it's job, should be in the toilet. Last week, Hannah's ANC went from 1300 to 3549. Her Dr. said her bone marrow seems to have revved up in response to the drug. Sigh. Have I mentioned how stubborn Hannah is?

From all the signs I have seen in Hannah this week, I believe, her numbers are on the way down. Plus, I have been sweeping big clumps of hair up from the floor. As strange as it seems to be happy about, it is actually good. Hair is one of your most rapidly dividing cells. The chemo is doing it's thing when you see hair loss.

Hannah, otherwise, had a fairly good week. Some good days, some bad. Mackenzie and Cadence came over Monday to stay with Hannah while I attended Rosie's funeral. Hannah loves playing with Cadence, and has talked non-stop about her since.

Wednesday, was my birthday, but Hannah said it couldn't be unless I had a cake with candles. So, while ordering dinner (don't judge me, it was a long day!), I also made sure to order their only cake, cheesecake. The awesome pizza delivery girl brought candles!

I also got a couple of pictures of Hannah while she sang and played her brother's guitar. She made up some song about bananas that had me rolling with laughter. Which, after Monday, we all needed a bit of that.

Hannah singing the Banana song

"How was that?"

Saturday, October 9, 2010

It's Your Day, Baby Girl

Flashback to five years ago.

Cutting through the silence of a room loud with electronic noises, the doctor says "And, here is your daughter".

With those words my life changed forever.

That life in which I had resigned myself to never knowing how it felt to have a daughter, to always feel the twinge of pain as I passed the little girl section, to skip over the barbie isle on my way to Legos, to never being the mother of the bride, or having that mother/daughter bond, was gone in five little words.

Replaced by you.

You, my dear, are everything I envisioned in a daughter and so much more.

Let me share a little about my Hannah Banana.

The barbies? Oh yeah. Check, check.

She is the girlyist, girl ever to grace a pink purse and plastic shoes.

She is also, full of courage. She has the bravery of a soldier headed to battle.

She has fire and spunk. Out of all the boys in this house, she is the adrenaline junky. The girl has the need for speed!

She has the innate knowledge that she is worth it. This girl will not take crap from anyone.

Even though, she is my perfect princess, she is no damsel in distress. She exudes strength, she has power coming out of her pores.

She is smart and beautiful and even in the face of cancer, she is full of life.

Happy Birthday, Hannah. I love you, baby girl.

Hannah, rocking the outfit Uncle Bret, Aunt Amanda, Claire, Marcus, Ava, and Brady got for her bday.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

How about bacon, Mama?

This is what my darling child said to me at 4 AM this morning. Let me tell you, if she wasn't so stinking cute, I would not have been up this cold, dark morning to watch a horrid show called Backyardigans and fry bacon. But, she is, and I was.

I was also up several others times through the night putting a small blanket with cows pictures on it, in the dryer for a minute and then wrapping her toes, or arms. That process is what we have unearthed as a way to stop "scratchy legs" or "sprinkle toes".

Those side effects from this round of chemo seem to effect her the most, along with nausea, and appetite loss. She is also on steroids for one week to help boost her body through the chemo. The last time she was on them, we couldn't feed her enough. I had never seen anyone eat that much. This time, it is only keeping her appetite from being nonexistent. That is better than nothing! So, 4am bacon it is!

Sunday was Rian's birthday. We all had a great time playing over at his house. His oldest daughter, Maddie, came up with with a new way to bob for apples. She hung them from strings! It was amazingly hard, and yet SO much fun to watch.

I also have some cute pictures from the zoo last week. Hannah had a great time there. She met a little boy there and they were racing around together for a few minutes. Just as I was thinking, ah the zoo, how normal, Hannah, went up to his mom and said "My name is Hannah, and I have cancer." It sounds sadder than it was. She said it with a big smile, but the poor mom looked HORRIFIED! Kids, they say the darnest things, right?

It is possible, that if your not going through this, that would not have been funny. I however, in this now awkward moment, was struggling not to laugh, (I might have been killed by the other moms), and wishing Mackenzie was there. We could have laughed together with Hannah and escaped the awkward. Oh well. Here are the pics anyway. Hope you are all have a great day!

Hannah loves the sharks!