Another year older 8/27/13
While visiting my friend Robyn she remembered to give me these two little pandas (stuffed animals) from a young girl “McKenzie”. McKenzie lived next door sometimes. I say sometimes because her Mom was a drug addict and lost custody of her a few times and moved around a lot too. She was twelve at the time and Robyn told her that she could some over to her house any time she wanted to escape the drug situation. McKenzie’s Mom felt so bad for me because she knew what it was like to lose her daughter. Well those were her words. She doesn’t know what it is like because she has total control over whether or not she loses her daughter. I had no control. She could change her ways and straighten her life out. I’m not saying it would be easy but it can be done. I couldn’t do anything in my power to stop the cancer in Kathryn’s brain. I tried everything. I called doctors all over the country. I prayed and offered my life for hers. I would have done anything regardless of how difficult it would have been or how much I would have had to sacrifice. I would have been worth anything to see her recover. Well, I hope that McKenzie’s Mom knows that she has a beautiful loving daughter worth working hard for. I hope she changes her ways to save her daughter from this life of drugs and destruction. I hope my loss makes something click inside of her to make the changes she needs to make to have a beautiful life with her daughter.
On Wednesday another brain tumor death. Tuesday I had read about Elizabeth and now there was a 24-year-old young man who died from brain cancer too.
Richard arrived on Wednesday– We had a good time together. He and I talked about teaching and planning. We talked about where he wants to live. He would love to live on Vashon Island on a few acres. We looked at Yurts as temporary homes and sailboats too. He has a triangle theory that is very cute. Seattle, Lakewood and Vashon Island make pretty much an isosceles triangle. Bee’s Mom lives in Seattle, Scott and I in Lakewood and if he and Bee lived on Vashon they would be equidistant from the parents. Good idea. Richard and I also went out looking at houses on Steilacoom Lake one day. That was fun. This was after spending hours looking at them on the Internet. He and I love to draw house plans. I always wanted to be an architect but never followed that dream.
My birthday was Saturday (8/24). I was going to have a party but then I didn’t feel like celebrating. Too much stuff going on in my life so I cancelled it. I had Richard, Scott and Bee here and still had Robyn come over. I just didn’t feel like having a big gathering. We went to the Maritime festival down on Docks street. It was pretty cool. Then Richard and Bee made this fabulous dinner of sushi, Mongolian Beef and Orange Chicken. Bee made a chocolate cake with a hint of mint-flavored frosting. Every thing was made from scratch. Scott bought this little tiny cake with flowers on it that looked like they were glass or something but they were made of frosting. We had a bondfire and then fireworks – our usual birthday deal. It was a good day.
The 13 year old boy from camp just return home from Philly and it will take 2-3 weeks just to test to see if his t-cells are able will grow. That is 2 to 3 weeks to see if they even have a chance of success. The waiting is very difficult. I know just waiting 5 or 6 days in Houston for our fine government to ok her treatment was so hard. It seemed like forever. When the clock is ticking every second counts. In his case his brother will be going to school on Monday (8/26) for the school’s kick off while he will be off to the clinic for chemo. The chemo is to keep the cancer down as much as possible while they wait. Wow, if our students only knew how lucky they were to be going off to school and not the hospital or clinic or across the country for testing or a clinical trial to save their life. His parents are taking them to Disneyland on Tuesday 8/27 which is today. This is good and I hope he is cleared to go. He should be. It just seems that some kids get the cancer and it won’t leave them. Battle after battle and they do it so bravely. It’s hard to understand how the kids do this and why cancer just won’t leave some of them alone.
The night of my birthday I woke up around 2:15 to the neighbor’s dogs whining. This is very unusual. But in the morning I found out why they were so upset. There were four raccoons in one of the tall shrubs that line the fence. They were adorable. But I am glad that they are now gone.
Richard and Bee left for Bellingham and Seattle on (8/25). Separate places for a week or so. After they left I was chatting with my neighbor Jan. She just returned from visiting with her parents in the mid-west. Her Dad was just put on hospice for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. He is part of a study. She thinks part of the study requires that they get to study his brain after he passes. She is not for sure and is afraid to ask. I told he she should find out. I told her my only regret is not having Kathryn’s last tumor extracted and analyzed. I feel it would have given them more insight to how the cancer changes from one type to another. I wish someone had asked me. I know that they didn’t want to ask a parent while in the process of losing a child but let’s be real, the only way to fight this beast to understand how it changes to resist the chemo. Scientists can’t guess and it takes too long to go from one drug to the next in hopes that one might work.
In Monday’s paper there were the headlines on the front page “Despite 2 brain surgeries. Ellie quick to smile, laugh”. She is a 7-month-old child with a rarer form of brain cancer. Upon first inspection they thought it was atipical teratoid rhabdiod tumor, which is found in 3 in a million children. After a second opinion it was called even rarer type desmoplastic infantile ganglioglioma of which there have only been 60 known cases. It is sitting next to brainstem – They want to wait for her to be older to do chemo. I know that radiation isn’t used on children under 3 as a rule. At least that was what it was years ago. And chemo is just poison so using it on young children is something to avoid too. Her older sister (4 years old) is afraid of her dying. I’m sure Richard had these fears. I will never forget entering our hotel in Houston after Scott and I went grocery shopping. I could tell something was wrong. Richard and Kathryn had looks of gloom on their faces. I asked them what was wrong and they said nothings wrong but it was written all over their faces. They must have been talking about Kathryn’s situation and they were both pretty upset but they didn’t want to upset me. To this day I don’t know what the conversation was about that they had but I know it was upsetting to both of them. I didn’t want to push and upset them anymore than they already were. I would ask Richard now but he is not ready to share that with me. He still isn’t ready to talk about his stuff. I did ask him how he was doing with is feelings as we talked on the front porch about Scott’s grieving and needing to talk to someone. I asked him if he needed to talk to someone and how it helped me. He said he just stays busy. That does help but talking is a good thing too. Sharing how you feel about the situation that has been thrown at you does help. Getting those feelings out helps heal. It doesn’t bring Kathryn back. It doesn’t allow us to hear her sweet voice or laugh at her silly ways but he does do something that eases it just a bit.
I went to my Mom’s on Monday to just hang out with her. I know now how important it is to a mother to have her children close. How good it feels just to have them around and spending time with you. We went to the senior center and played a game of bingo and had lunch. Then we went for a walk and checked out some of the shops. We went to the tour of Jesus Cross at the Catholic Church. When we came back to her house we walked down to my brother’s and spent a couple of hours just chatting with him. He really has a good sense of humor. Always has and probably always will. We picked blackberries on our way back to her house and filled a few containers. It was a great day.
So today is Tuesday 8/27 and it would have been my Mom and Dad’s 58 wedding Anniversary. I asked Mom about it yesterday and she said she sure wished he were here. They really loved each other. She has been dating but I don’t think it is the same. She says she doesn’t get bored. That’s good. But having my Dad around would be better. I’m just glad she is still outgoing and able to do things.
I also had my check up with my hip doctor this morning. He and I laughed and laughed. He is easy to talk to. I had to ask questions about the gym because I will be going today and I have a new trainer. My trainer (Rosie) moved to another gym in Puyallup. I will miss her. He gave me the ok to do just about anything but run and squats and lunges are to be eased into very slowly and probably never to the squats real deep and with a lot of weight. Swimming would be better for the butt. So I may become a fish or maybe a mermaid. And when he said something about sky diving well I told him I was planning on doing that next summer. He said I might be risking it a little. I will have to check into the tandem deal and watch and make sure I get someone who can make nice smooth landings. Skiing next year is ok. Green and blue runs for starters. Waterskiing is probably even more risky than snow skiing. Running is still out forever. But I’m ok with that. Walking is just fine. Biking is fine too. But the pounding of the running is not ok. So I will see him in nine months about the skydiving and other things. Off to return some shoes, have lunch with a friend, then the gym and paint when I get home.
Scott has been working hard at getting sponsors or fundraising going for Camp Goodtimes. He had a man from the track contact Richard about adding more the track day on October 19th. So far the money that would normally go to the owner of the Turn2 and the owners of the track will be going to Camp. There will be an auction and now they are also having guys sign up to get sponsors and raise money like you would a walk-a-thon or a Relay for Life. Raising a certain amount would get you a t-shirt, more a track day and so on and so on. If you raise $10,000 you would earn 10 free track days. That’s a great incentive. Well, this man did mention that they have a friend with an 8 or 9 year old daughter with cancer. Everyone knows someone with cancer. He said she had been looking for something to donate to and camp is the perfect thing for him. He has two small children himself and couldn’t imagine what it would be like if one of them were to get cancer. I hope he never has to have that reality and he can continue to donate and make kids with cancer happy. Camp gives the cancer patient and their sibling a week childhood that has been striped from their lives. It gives them people who understand their situation. It gives them adults who have also been there. Many of Camp Goodtimes volunteers are cancer survivors or siblings of someone who had cancer as a child. So they really have been there. I may not be a sibling or a survivor but I know childhood cancer just from a little different viewpoint.
Scott’s efforts of getting the word out there are really paying off. He talks to everyone about camp and how camp need financial support to keep it going since the ACS has dropped this support. He isn’t afraid to approach people and in this case that is a very good thing. If you would like to know more about Camp Goodtimes you can go to www.thegoodtimesproject.org to find out more about it.
It looks like a sunny day so get out there and soak up the sun while it is still here. Love you all,