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!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

We Are Back From DisneyWorld!

I have so many photos and stories that I can't wait to share.   We have 129 photos coming from Disney, but it takes two days.  Some of those are amazing.

This is Hannah driving her own car in Tomorrow Land.  She was so cute! She kept saying "My car; I'm driving!"

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hannah Gets A Wish!!

Make A Wish has granted Hannah a wish.  When they asked her what one thing she would want, she didn't even pause.  "To see the princesses!"  She didn't know of Disneyland or Disneyworld, then, she was just four years old when first asked.  MAW decided that would best be done at Disney World.  We get to stay in the Give Kids The World resort, which is set up for MAW kids.  They serve dessert any time, so you can literally have ice cream for breakfast!

Hannah at her Make A Wish Party
We leave Saturday morning for a week in Florida.  Hello sunshine!! The kids and I have never been to Disneyworld and we are SO excited!  I will take a ton of pictures!

The best part is that Hannah's birthday is on Sunday and we get to celebrate it at Disneyworld with her favorite princess!  For Hannah, this is the best thing in the entire world to happen to her.  After the hell on earth this summer's chemo was, it actually makes me tear up thinking of how happy she is going to be.  The Make A Wish people are angels.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

School Troubles

Hannah has started Kindergarten! She was so excited! Big kid school like her brothers. Finally, getting to play with little kids again. There was so much talk about what friends she would have and if she could invite friends for sleep overs. I was struggling a bit with having my baby go to school. I now have all school age children. Weird.

Hannah's hair has grown in so much in such a short time. I think it looks like an adorable pixie cut. It has also grown a different color! It is far lighter. She used to have hair so dark brown that is sometimes looked black. Now, she seems to have a light ash brown color.

Unfortunately, for Hannah, what the kids at school noticed most was, she has very short hair. She was coming home every day telling me of something else a child had either done and said to her that was hurtful or mean. The chants of "Look, it's a boy in a dress" hurt the most. Luckily, the teacher we have this year, is just fantastic. She has been very helpful. Hannah is learning to trust her, that if she tells, it can be made better. I called the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and they sent an information packet with a Charlie Brown video for the kids to watch.

We watched the video in class with the kids. It was short but effective. In the video you see a little girl discover she has leukemia. When she is able to come back to school, she is bald. A boy on the playground starts making fun of her and the other children come to her aid.

We had a discussion afterward where the kids could ask questions. I was so pleased to see what an impact the show had made. There where lots of questions about why hair falls out. One boy raised his hand to tell me, he thought the mean boy in the video was a bully. That got other kids asking why someone would do that. This gave me a chance to tell them how some people react to new or different things by making fun of it. I explained that it is important to think about how someone might feel about the things you say or do to them. That same little boy ( thank god for this kid!) said, "Just like when the kids tease Hannah?". After I responded, yes just like that, he looked around the room and said "Well, I hope they don't do that anymore!" Ahem!

This was just last week, so I will have to wait and see if this was enough to help. Hannah does have a some friends in class regardless of the other issues and hopefully now, a little more understanding.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Little Bits Of Sunshine

That title could easily describe our summer. Tonight is, after all, the finally of our summer. Here in Seattle, we only had bits of hot weather for the entire thing. Very maddening, especially if you feel warm only when it reaches 80 degrees. We struggled to have days hotter than 73.

However, I am not referring to the day time temperature in that title. The Sunshine Kids (http://www.sunshinekids.org) is an organization dedicated to helping cancer kids get rid of the dreary that clouds their lives and feel some fun. They arranged a night out to the 5th Avenue Theater here in Seattle to see Aladdin. Hannah and I were invited to go.

Hannah had such a fantastic time. She got all dressed up, gel in the hair and mom's perfume. She used her best manners and really was so perfectly polite. After the show, the Sunshine Kids got to go down and meet the cast. They were all wonderful. Hannah's eyes filled right up when the Sultan asked if she wanted to meet Princess Jasmine. She had been admiring her earlier, exclaiming that it was a "real live" princess. It was one of those nights you hope you remember forever.

I am going to write another post in the morning, or add on to this one, about how Hannah has been feeling, but for now, I am going to bed. First day of school tomorrow!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Long Term Maintenance

Striking a pose!

LTM is a whole lotta pills! She can't swallow pills yet, so there is quite a bit of cutting, crushing, and mixing. I am pretty sure I could be a full fledged pharmacist!

The fact that all this is done at home has changed everything. Our time is not broken up between hospital and home. We spend less time talking or thinking about needle pokes, hard chemo, and navigating side effects.

This freedom is so alluring. We can't help but feel done with cancer. Yet, everytime I turn around, I am still having to tell Hannah, No. We can't do that, yet. She still has a port to protect and she still has to watch for germs.

Which, is why Rick, at Metro Parks is our new rock star. We discovered an awesome splashground park right next to (so close, how did I miss it before?) our house. It looks new and so enticing. Big grass area, new playground equipment, a zip line, and finally a huge section with different things spraying water. Hannah went nuts. I sighed. I had to tell her we might not be able to do that. Depending on how they treat the water, it might be a, No. She handles these disappointments so well, it makes my heart hurt for her. I promised I would find out.

I called Metro Parks the very next morning. It was a Friday. After some shuffling around I was transferred to Rick. I explained our situation. All said and done, he called back three separate times within about a half an hour. He got me every single detail about how the water is cycled and treated. With every chemical by name, amount, and time it is used. He gave his personal cell just in case Hannah's doctors had questions. Guess what? It was safe enough to go in. We played all Saturday. Thank you. So much.

Aaron in the middle with the mohawk.

Hannah and Andrew

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Greener Pastures ahead!

Hannah completed all four doses of the high dose methotrexate. Given that she didn't start this phase of aggressive chemo until she was already a year into an already blistering chemo schedule, it is quite amazing! Several times in the course of this we thought she would not be able to continue. The side effects threatened to be almost too toxic to bare. However, each time, right at the crucial moment, she would pull through.

We are now done with scheduled inpatient stays at Children's. The next phase of treatment is called Long Term Maintenance. Ahhhh...sounds so good. For us cancer mom's, that is the one you are waiting to hear. Next to all done, of course. This phase involves chemo taken by mouth every night and a once a month visit to Children's for chemo in the spinal column (back poke).

Once a month did you say??? Yep, sounds like heaven to me too!

LTM will last a little over a year, but is supposed to be far easier. Our lives should, I am told, go back to semi-normal. It is enough to make you cry.

She will start this phase tomorrow if she makes counts. I'm not entirely sure she will. Which would just mean another week no chemo while her body recovers.

Hannah is in great spirits. She is still my miss sassy pants. Most of the time I would swear she was entering her teen years. Super lovey one minute, all drama the next.

She has discovered her box of summer clothes and collection of bathing suits. Now, all of a sudden, her swimsuits are all she wants to wear. We are in Seattle. It is not exactly warm here just yet.

The other morning, at 6am, she comes in my room, bathing suit on, and asks me to set up the sprinkler in the front yard. "Now??" I ask. She replies with nothing but a "Yes". I just can't imagine what she is thinking. It was cold in the house, let alone outside, in water! So, I say, "Baby, it is raining, and it is six o'clock in the morning, not exactly outside time." She looked stunned, shouted "FINE!!", stomped to her room, and slammed the door.

Aahhh, teenagers. Wait, what? Oh yeah. She is just five.
Wouldn't change a thing. (If you could see me, I'm smiling, big.)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Overdue Update

We are in Children's for her 4th and last dose of the High Dose Methotrexate. This treatment phase has been really rough. Every single time we are in the hospital there are new and old challenges that kick our butt. Also, living between the hospital and home week on and off is unsettling and stressful for everyone. I can't wait to unpack, with the knowledge that I don't have to repack a week later. These are the times that I wish for a giant STOP button to push. It would be great if work, family, life, and cancer fighting could all take a time out, for just a moment, so that we could breathe.

That complaining aside, this dose is proceeding along. She got a slight fever this afternoon and is battling nausea something fierce. She mostly wants to lie still with no noise. We are roommates with an infant this stay, so it is difficult to give her the quiet part. He is a super cute baby, though, and the family couldn't be nicer.

Hopefully, we will be done with this round Monday or Tuesday and able to go home. Almost there. One day at a time.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

2nd Dose Done

Say that title three times fast! Ok, wait, I just did it and it was easy. Nevermind.

This is going to be a long post. If you do not want the play by play, here is a summary. She finished the 2nd dose of Mtx. It went horrible, but she did it. She did not get mouth sores again this time and we actually had a hospital free weekend for memorial day!

So, last Friday Hannah started the 2nd dose of high dose methotrexate. I was nervous to start it again so soon. She hadn't even been home for a week from the last hospital stay. That one was just from the side effects of the first dose!

The first day went perfect. They hooked her up to a saline drip and she quickly produced the necessary amount of pee to start her methotrexate 24 hour drip. This time, Hannah was finally not in isolation. That means we were able to come out of her room. The cancer floor has a mini playroom and a bike riding area. It is really pretty cute to see little kids riding around the hallway's. Hannah loves to see into other kid's rooms. She doesn't care at all about privacy!

She woke up on Saturday really grumpy. We made it passed that and then I did the unthinkable.

Hannah is hooked up to three different tubes that all go to a big medical tower on wheels. It holds the medicine bags and syringes that get pumped into her tubes. The tubes attach to the needle that goes into the port in her chest. We constantly tell her to be careful of her tubes. For the most part she is. If they pull a little too much, like if she is moving faster than you are moving her tower, or if she rolls on them in her sleep, they pull and it hurts.

Keeping this in mind, here is what I did. Hannah was sitting in a chair and raised her arms for me to pick her up. I did. What I didn't see was her tubes were caught in the crook of the chair. I lifted her up and the needle pulled right out of her chest. Luckily, two nurses were walking in at that moment. Methotrexate, not a drug you want anywhere on your skin or in surrounding veins or tissue, was spilling down her tummy into her belly button. It is really important that the needle pulled right out, instead of half out, half in. I didn't know this at the time. Our nurse was checking that out. I thought we should be stopping the Mtx from spilling down her bare skin. I yelled at our poor nurse. She yelled back. We were all scared.

Hannah was screaming "It's a bummer, it's a bummer!" over and over. It was such a mix of the cutest thing you ever heard and the saddest. She had a small cut from the needle underneath her port. We got that and the chemo drug cleaned up. The next hurdle was getting a new needle back in and the chemo, which is a timed deal, back on schedule! They determined the needle came out clean and gave us the go ahead. The problem was how to put the needle back in without numbing cream, as it takes at least a full hour to numb and 30 minutes for the fast stuff. The decided to do a lidocaine shot. It doesn't have a needle. You just press it down, it lets off a compressor sound, and boom; area numb! Hannah was a bit scared, but braved through it. Infact, she did better than me the whole thing through. I cried like a baby for about an hour after that. Tears just wouldn't stop. I felt so damn bad. You should have seen how great Hannah did, though. What an amazing girl.

Unfortunately, our stay did not get any easier from there. The last time Hannah was in the hospital she was on a morphine drip. She was still in the weaning process during this hospital stay. Based on Hannah's reaction to a narcotic they gave her previously, for back poke's, and the behaviour we saw during the last two hospital stays, we think Hannah might have adverse reactions to narcotics. Not having tied it all together yet, it was hard to see what we had coming.

Hannah had an almost base line of anger. Even if she could be distracted or had some good moments, almost any little thing would set her off. She wouldn't just get angry, she seemed crazy. You could have offered her all of Toy R Us during the middle of a fit and it wouldn't have mattered. She was lost to us. She would get so mad, she would be kicking and hitting and throwing anything or anybody. This happened several times a day and into the nights. The psych team was called down. They determined she needed less people around her and to give her space with nothing to throw near her. Without that, she started to pull her tubes, tried to tip over her tower, oh, and literally splash pee at her nurse. After the second day of this crazy, to protect her from herself, they strapped her arms to her bed. It only lasted two hours. It wasn't anyone's best plan and I think her nurses were as upset as me! However, her doctors are going over it all to have a real plan ready if she has a reaction like that again.

Because of the mouth sores, the gave Hannah extra of the rescue drug, Leucovorin. It helps the methotrexate to exist the body faster. On Sunday, they drew her labs and her Mtx level was at .79. It has to be .01 to go home. Monday they took labs and I though, why bother? She came back at .08! After the h. e. double hockey sticks the day before had been, I was SO excited to go home.

What I was really dreading was whether or not she would get those mouth sores. I don't know how we could have done another week on a morphine drip! Thank god a million times over, she did not get them very bad this time. A few on her tongue, but nothing hospital worthy.

As much fun as that was, you will be excited to hear that on Friday, if she makes counts we get to do it all over again. We are glass half full kind of girls, so I will say this; It is going to be better this time! So there, cancer! (I am sticking my tongue out in a very juvenile fashion)

Some of the better moments.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Back home for a bit

Hannah got to come home this weekend. She is doing better. Still tired but healing. Starting this chemo after a year of heavy duty front line treatment is just punishing on already worn out bone marrow. However, we made it through the first round of HD Mtx. Friday morning, if her counts are good, she will be admitted for the second dose.

I knew this would be tough and it is. We are going to push through and get this done. She needs this chemo, as awful as it is.

I can't really elaborate more than this. I just break right down if I think about how things are going. I'm just going to concentrate on the goal. Please, pray for us going through the next round. Love you all!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Post Removed

I updated about Hannah yesterday and now the entire post is missing. I don't have time to figure it out, but if anyone knows how to fix it, please let me know!

Hannah is still in the hospital. The mouth sores, which are little ulcers, have covered her tongue, gone down her throat and are throughout her GI tract. She has been in horrible pain and we have struggled to figure out where her behaviour is a reaction to pain medicine or an indication that she needs more. After several days it became clear she needed much more.

She is actually doing better today. Still a little cranky, but doesn't seem to be in as much pain.

Thank you all for your support.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

She is still @ Children's

I have to make this brief and will try to give more details later. Hannah is still in the hospital. She has really been struggling this week. We have had days too bad to talk about. The mouth sores (which are little ulcers) are covering her tongue, gone down her throat, and through her GI tract. It is horrifically painful.

Half our trouble is because she is so young. When in pain, she doesn't always vocalize, she goes a little crazy. She screams, kicks, hits, spits, pulls at her tubes, anything to change what is happening inside. She also has that reaction as a side effect to some of the pain medicine they give her. Figuring out how much pain medicine and which one to use has been a trial and error at her expense. This is going to sound crude but it fits on the most basic level. This all SUCKS!

The good news is her fever is gone. Also, she seems to be stabilizing on pain and erratic behavior today. Her counts look like they are trending upward so hopefully she is on the mend.

Thank you all so much for your continued support and prayers. We have needed them!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Heading Back to Children's

Hannah has been struggling with stomach pain and mouth sores that cover the inside of her mouth and have traveled down her throat. Last night was so hard.

It is a common side effect of the methotrexate. The real name for it is mucositis and the sores are little ulcers that can occur anywhere in the GI tract.

It can be an extremely painful thing and if pain cannot be controlled by oxycodone, then she will need to be readmitted for a morphine drip. Her stomach pains could also be mucositis that have traveled down to her stomach. Sigh.

We are both exhausted. Hopefully, this will be resolved soon and she will be pain free. It is so miserable to watch.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Awesome News!

Hannah passed the high dose methotrexate out of her system a day earlier than even her doctors expected! That is awesome news for Hannah, as the risk of side effects greatly increases the longer it takes to clear the drug. I am extremely excited about this!

Yeah Hannah!!!!!

I will do a proper post with more details this evening. Thank you all for your prayers and support.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Preparing For HD Mtx

It is going to be ugly. Now that Hannah has finished DI 2, she will begin the new phase. Remember back in February when I was debating putting Hannah on the aggressive chemo that would give her a better prognosis but had all the nasty side effects? That's the one we are starting.

If she had made counts she would have started last Saturday. It is a five day stay as inpatients at the hospital until she clears the 5000 mg dose of Methotrexate. For once, I was actually very happy she didn't make counts!

From everything I have read, the kids who make it out of this with the least side effects have are the ones who process the drug quickly. There are some tricks, I found, to help Hannah do that. She needs to have good electrolyte levels, and her kidney and liver functions need to be up. At Friday's appointment, Hannah was a little dehydrated and her liver function was lower than normal. So, we gave her an hour of IV fluids right then and have been spending the week forcing Gatorade in her!

This dose of Methotrexate is also known to cause painful mouth sores. Having a super clean mouth can help lessen the amount so Hannah also got to go to the dentist this week. The only thing is that Hannah has to have good counts and an antibiotic an hour before going. There was a crazy whirl of doctors, pharmacists, and phone calls to make it happen! We did it, though, and Hannah was fantastic! She kept telling them she wanted SPARKLE teeth. Her dentist, started out with a normal tooth brush. Hannah told her that if she wanted to make her teeth sparkle she would need to use that, and pointed to the polisher!

Tomorrow we go in to check counts. If she is above 750 ANC, she will have a back poke, or spinal tap, with IT Methotrexate into her spinal column and then check into the hospital Saturday morning for the high dose stuff. I think we are as prepared as you can be. I am scared out of my mind and confident she will do well all at the same time.

I have been meaning to post these cute pictures of Hannah at the hospital when she had the virus. So, here you go, two weeks late!

Hanging in the ER, not so happy

Heading to our room


Oh man. So beautiful, makes my heart hurt.

Going home!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

It Was A Virus!

We are home! Hannah finally cleared the 48 hour, negative cultures and 24 hours of fever free required to leave hotel Children's.

Turns out she has a virus. Metapnumovirus, which is a respiratory virus, is what was making her so sick. We would have been able to leave sooner, but during her red blood transfusion on Tuesday, she spiked a fever. Since that could be an adverse reaction to the blood being transfused, they had to stop the transfusion and run blood tests. The fever also meant that she had a new start time for the pesky 24 hour fever free rule. Luckily, her fever stayed away after that and she started to improve.

She still has the virus. It will take awhile to clear. She looks and feels much better now, though. She isn't all clammy anymore and is very excited to be home.

Thank you all so much for your support and prayers!

On to the prayers. We are saying a few more today. Hannah's great Aunt Chris passed yesterday morning after a hard fight against cancer. She was seriously, the coolest lady. Just saying that doesn't seem to do her justice. Please, just trust me on that. She was one of good ones. And there are so few.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hannah's An Inpatient Again

Hannah was admitted to Children's this morning with a temperature of 103, a headache and stomach pain. She needed an immediate platelet transfusion. Initially, we thought she would need red blood as well, but that won't be until tomorrow morning.
We don't know yet the cause of fever or pain. I am hoping simple virus. Regardless, she has to stay at Children's until she is fever free for at least 24 hours and if her tests come back negative after 48 hours. So, bottom line is she is here no less than two days.
She is handling this extremely well. Quite the difference a year makes. She even handled a nose flush with very little fighting this morning.
Her fever went down after some medicine for most of the day. Late afternoon, though, it came back. She was searing hot. Her plastic allergy band literally seemed to be melting on her skin.
I will update as I get more information. Please, say a prayer for her that this is just a easy virus and we can return home soon. Thank you so much for everyone's support.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Last Year

This day last year was her last day of preschool. I didn't know that when I dropped her off. I didn't know that evening I would take her to Children's ER and she would never go back. Her life has changed so much. To be a normal kid playing with friends one day and be thrown in the crazy of hospital life with all the bad tasting medicine and needles...

My heart aches for the life she lost. I remember the first few days in the hospital she would press her forehead against mine and beg, plead with me to take her home. I couldn't. I couldn't take her home and I couldn't make it better.

Tomorrow is the actual one year of diagnosis. She was diagnosed at around 1:30 am. So, her diagnosaversary, as it were, is Friday. To me, it will always be April 7th. That is the day I took her to the ER and one in the morning does not feel like the next day if you haven't gone to bed!

I am really down today about it. I woke up with a lump in my throat. As weird as this seems, I actually have a special day (aside from a few hours getting chemo) planned for Hannah on Friday. I got her a present and we are going to do something fun. I want it to be like a little party each year instead of a date that makes us sad. She is amazing and I want to celebrate that. I want tomorrow to be a positive day. So, I am going to pull it together. I just needed to vent today. It's a hard one for me.

Love this picture

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tough Chemo and Other Adventures

Yes, those are gloves on her feet. It is her newest thing. When the doctor is supposed to be telling me very important information, Hannah usually manages to interject. I made the mistake of really laughing, so, it's a staple now. That pretty much sums up how things have been. Rotten chemo, funny girl.

She has had a very up and down week. Lots of pain, lots of nausea, some constipation issues, and when not in pain; a great mood. The hard part is that there is so much more chemo in this phase. She is going to the hospital for chemo almost every single day and then getting a chemo pill every evening. It is too much to keep away all of the side effects.

Nights in a row this week she has been crying in her sleep. Pools of tears in the bridge of her nose. Friday night I was trying to help her with tummy pain. I had just given her two types of pain medicine and was getting her the warm blanket she likes, when she started yelling "It is going EVERYWHERE!". Confused, I asked what was, and through sobs she said, "The pain".

The good part is that she seems to be handling DI 2 far better than DI 1. She has a great appetite, even if she is super specific about what she will eat.

My friend Janelle came by Children's on Saturday. She brought Hannah two of her favorite treats from Starbucks. It was cute how excited Hannah was to see she was getting a cake pop and a red velvet whoopie pie.

She still has ample amounts of energy and seems to really enjoy any variance to the routine we can provide her. Here is a picture of her at physical therapy. She loves it! They do a great job making it all seem like a game.

It has seriously rained, no, downpoured, with the exception of maybe two days for the last month. Gray or cold, on those days we have to get out! One of those days we trekked up to Fort Nisqually. It was a fur trading and farming post in the 19th century and now it is a living history museum. I didn't expect it to be as big of a hit as it was. They had a great time!

Today was the other gray and cold day. We decided to make it a hiking day. Hannah still had chemo at around lunch time. We grabbed sub sandwiches and made it our pitstop for a picnic. Which, would have worked better without cable. How can you fight the power of cartoons?

After our "picnic" we hiked along the waterfront trail near the Arboretum. The pathways were very muddy but with rain boots, no one cared. Hannah did the first half of the hike on her own and rode in the backpack for the second half. The floating bridge was the coolest part. It is a fairly long foot path bridge that moves with the waves. Good to know, as the first time I stepped on it, I thought I was having some wicked vertigo!

We finished the day at a new place in Fremont called, quite simply, Pie. They serve little individual pies that can fit in the palm of your hand. True to form, Hannah tried and denied two different pies before deciding on ice cream. The rest of us, however, we were in love. Aaron's lemon meringue was amazing.

Tomorrow, Hannah has another back poke. After that she gets a break from Children's until Friday. Yay!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Done With Red Devil; On To Headaches

Hannah finished the first half on Delayed Intesification 2. The main chemo for that is Doxocrubicin, or as it is affectionatly known; The Red Devil. It is red, can make you sweat, pee, or cry red. It can cause serious heart problems so there is only so much one can have in their life. Hannah actually did better with it this time around. She has had more side effects this time from the Vincristine than anything else. For the second week in a row, Hannah's reflex's from knee down, when tested, were zero. It is something called peripheral neuropathy. It causes her to lose the ankle jerk reflex, which they call "foot drop syndrome". All that said, she doesn't seem too bothered by it, except for the taste of the medicine!

The second half of DI 2 involves the chemo's Ara-C and Cyclophosphamide. For the next two weeks she will go to Children's for five days in a row, two days off, then five days on again. They are long days in a chair getting meds that give her a tremendous headache. This time, however, her doctors are taking steps to help decrease the pain. They are going to run the chemo drip half as fast as usual, give her extra IV fluilds, and order up doses of oxycodone to have on hand.

Today, Hannah had Methotrexate intrathecally. The whole procedure went perfectly smooth. She woke up happy, which I am always grateful for.

Hannah has been such a little clown over the last week. I have about a million funny stories I have been meaning to share and great pictures to post. But...my brain is mush. Seriously, by the end of the day for the last week or so, I sit down to type and then, mush. I will try again a little later. For now, here is Hannah in the hat her Uncle Brett sent her. The whole Children's staff was commenting on it!


Button Update-Thank you all for weighing in on the buttons. I was going to go with the picture of her in the pipe and then my friend Sarah sent me an email. A friend of hers fixed the picture of Hannah at the park so that is wasn't so blurry. I have decided to leave them both up. Yeah, indecision as a decision! hee hee

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Which One Do You Like?

Thanks to The Empress over at Good Day, Regular People, I have learned how to make a button for Hannah's blog. Let's just say, it is not easy. Or, at least, it wasn't for me.

You see, my all time favorite picture of Hannah is the one at the top of the blog. You actually might already know that, as it is titled, "Favorite Hannah Picture". Anyway, as a button, it needed to be cut down to 125 x 125. Super small. It looks all blurry to me.

Hannah Grage

I don't know if I want to give up on it, though. I took that picture upon arriving at one of her favorite parks in Seattle with my cell phone camera. It was her reaction to seeing where we were. I just happened to have snapped at the right moment.

That photo is her story. It is a pure rush of joy. It encapsulates her ability to to experience every moment life has to offer without reservation.

It is, however, already on the blog, and a very blurry button. The other picture cropped a bit better. Plus, the colorful splash of pink Hannah inside the gray spiral pipe has always struck me as visually appealing. Or, as Aaron puts it, "That looks awesome!".

Hannah Grage

We were at a pumpkin farm. She had a great time. It was pre cancer. It is how I remember her. The steroids have changed her cheeks a little. I love them, don't get me wrong, it is just a difference I can spot. I know this sounds sappy, but I can't believe I didn't take more pictures. There won't be anymore of how she was.

What do you all think? Which one makes a better button?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Vigilant Muse

Everyone, this is Mugdha. She has a blog called A Vigilant Muse. She is a college student, majoring in biology, I think. Total smarty pants, in a good way. I am a sucker for science. She also is clearly into fashion and often posts pictures of a cute outfit she has put together. Hannah and I love it. I think she is a wonderful role model. She is someone you can point to and say, This is Winning. (shameless Charlie Sheen quote, I know)

Hannah and I were scrolling through her blog tonight looking at pictures of dresses she has posted when I found her post from Feb.8. I don't know how I missed this one. Apparently, Mugdha, in the mist of studying is also doing the Relay for Life with the American Cancer Society. Which, she has done for the past SIX years! In her blog post, she says she always keeps a couple special people in mind and this year, Hannah, is one of them! How amazing is that??

Here is a link to her blog post. It has a link to her Relay Web Page to donate if you would like to help her reach her goal.

Ok, I tried to use my link button (I have done this successfully a couple of times) to link to her page, you know, the underlined one, so you can just click and go there? It won't work! GGgrrr. For now, I put up the one you can copy and paste. If anyone knows how to do this, I would be so grateful.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Little Bits of Life

Last Friday, I met with one of Hannah's oncologist's, Dr. Blythe Thomson M.D., to discuss Hannah's new treatment plan. It was a chance to run by the team what I had been researching. I found a couple of things that would help lessen the side effects of the High Dose Methotrexate, HD Mtx. We got the go ahead to try both the Glutamine and the Nuerontin. Hopefully, it will help Hannah avoid some of the harder to deal with side effects. I am crossing my finger and toes through the next phase!

Hannah is still in DI 2. She is only a few weeks in, so her counts are on the way down, but not completely crashed. She has some energy and is in a good mood almost all the time. I don't know where she gets it, I am burnt out!

Our family has been doing a lot of low key things, trying to fit life in around low counts.

Learning how to play "Angry Birds".

Getting all tatted up.

Hanging at Rian's, where, apparently, no one wants their picture taken!

Watching Aaron, in his role as a singing football player, in his school play.

Monday, February 28, 2011

One Big Kiss

Jackie and Bender are planting a BIG one on sick kids. They are DJ's at our local radio station, KISS 106.1. They spend a couple days each year doing a radiothon to help raise money for Seattle Children's Hospital. This is their 10th anniversary! That's alot of kissing. They will be broadcasting from Children's March 2nd and 3rd. If you would like to help them with the smooching or to reach their goal of 1 million dollars (insert Dr. Evil voice), I have three suggestions.

1) Online auction. The bidding has begun in our online auction. Some cool autographed items and experiences up for grabs and more stuff being added so check it often to track your items. View the items here: http://shop.ebay.com/seattlechildrenshospital/m.html?_trksid=p4340.l2562

2) Online donations. Here is the direct link to the secure donation page on the Children's Hospital website: http://secure.seattlechildrens.com/radiothondonation.asp

3) Texting donations. Make a $10 donation via text. Text the word CARE to 50555

Seattle Children's is where my Hannah Banana is being treated. It is basically our second home. My original intention was to write something meaningful about the place and it's staff whom I am trusting to save my daughter's life. Words did not seem to capture what that means to me. Instead, I am giving you a view of almost a year at Children's fighting cancer.