He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
- Isaiah 40:29-31

Monday, June 22, 2009


On Saturday the twins celebrated their 4th birthday. I can't believe that my babies are now 4 years old and ready to start pre-k in September. I remember the day that I found out I was having twins. I remember that the day before they were born was Father's Day and I was feeling a little funny. I remember going into labor and the delivery of Adam Michael followed by Joshua David. I remember their first cries and how I could feel my heart grow the moment they were born. I remember when Noah walked into my hospital room the next day and how much he aged right before my eyes. I remember how life promised to be an adventure with three boys.

What I don't remember is the time between their birth and now. I don't remember when they first crawled, walked or got their first tooth. I can't tell you how much they weighed at one year or what their favorite foods were. Those memories are lost. If I wasn't so busy caring for a toddler and two infants, I may have had more time to write these things down. I may have been able to organize a little better and remember those things. What I can tell you about my boys is that all of those memories were there for a short while and then stolen by cancer.

They say that cancer takes a lot away from you and it most certainly does. It has taken not only my memories but the precious time to make more memories away. For that reason alone, I hate cancer. I don't remember my twins being able to be twins but I do remember how Adam starred at Joshua for the longest time when we came home from our very first hospital stay. That stay was 28 days and the boys did not get a chance to see each other during that time. It was the beginning of a very rough and long road. A road that we have not yet reached the end of.

But, we'll get there. Jeff and I took the boys this weekend and went to Ocean City. We took them to the movies. We took them golfing and to get ice cream. We let them enjoy being boys and while my nerves were frazzled because of the germ factor, we did it. And we enjoyed being a family. We loved the time together and the making of memories. These memories, I promise not to lose. I've learned how precious they are and how they can be stolen in an instant.

Happy Birthday my sweet baby boys!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

When a broken bone isn't just a broken bone

When you're a cancer kid nothing is simple. A cold can be a serious life threatening event. A paper cut can cause an infection to race through your body, and broken bones don't heal as fast.

When we were told that the cast would have to be on for about 6-8 weeks, I should have known that in the long run it might be longer. After speaking to Joshua's oncologist yesterday, he informed me that the break is most definitely a result of weakened bones from the amount of steroids he's received. Great. We will do another month long round of steroids in July. He was also set to continue as planned with Joshua's admission for chemo today. I pointed out that his arm is still quite swollen and that he is requiring around the clock narcotics to keep him comfortable. After discussing that, we decided that we should hold off on the admission for a week to allow the swelling to go down and for him to be off the oxycodone. The chemo that he will receive requires high amounts of hydration so that he will go to the bathroom a lot and clear out the chemo fast. Oxycodone can cause constipation and extra fluid causes swelling so you can see where the problem arises.

So, we'll delay Joshua's last scheduled chemo admission until Monday. We'll try to get the swelling down in the next day or so and hopefully he won't need the drugs to help keep him comfortable. The twins 4th birthday is Saturday so hopefully we'll be able to pull something off and enjoy a nice quiet family day. But, these are all my plans and as we all know, our family doesn't quite follow the plan.

Thanks to everyone who has called, e-mailed or stopped by to check on our boy! He's not quite 4 yet and he REALLY knows how to milk this for all it worth.

Me: "Boys I need someone to go outside with Lulu for a minute."

Adam: "I'll do it."

Me: "Adam, you're such a good dog owner."

Noah: "I'll go to."

Joshua: "Not me Mommy. I can't be a good dog owner because I have a broken arm."

Sunday, June 14, 2009

That wasn't supposed to happen.

We have participated in Relay for Life for the past three years. In case you aren't aware, relay is an all night event. The idea is that cancer never sleeps and therefore for one night neither do we. The first year, the kids were so little we decided to call it a night early. Last year, a major storm came through the area and relay ended before it really began. This year....

This year we were ready. Jeff and the gang (you know who you are!) built a giant ship. We were making cancer set sail. Our team was full of wonderful friends and family that mean so much to us. Joshua was carried through the survivor lap upon my dad's shoulders. The evening had started and we were ready to relax and enjoy until...

Until Joshua was crawling out of a tent and fell on his arm. My father in law heard the break and if you could have seen his arm, there was no doubt it was broken. Now, I do not usually panic. I know what to do when Joshua has a fever, infection, problems or anything cancer related. Broken bones are not cancer related and I was lost. Where do we go? To Hopkins or the closest hospital. Before I could even get off the phone with Hopkins oncology, the ambulance was on the way.

To make a LOOOOOONNNNNNGGGG story short, Joshua had a severe break to both bones in his left forearm. We spent a very long night at Hopkins after arriving by ambulance. The doctor took an hour to set the arm and he wasn't even able to have it set until about 10 hours after it was broken. He is now home with a bright blue cast. He will have the cast for about 6-8 weeks and we've added yet another doctor to our regime just because we don't have enough. Oncology will let me know tomorrow how we are to proceed with chemotherapy. He was due to be admitted for his last scheduled inpatient chemo on Tuesday.
I just wanted to say thank you to all of our friends and family that donated, supported and came out for Relay. You all are the best and your friendship means the world to us. We would not know what to do without all of you!

Before the fall


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Helping Others

I have a whole post about our day and everything that it involved, but I'm too spent to write tonight. I will post tomorrow. Tonight, I wanted to let you all know about an available opportunity to save a life. If you haven't registered for the bone marrow registry, they they are doing their "marrowthon" right now and you can register for free. There is usually a fee that covers all the testing and such but from June 8-22, you can join for free. PLEASE do this. It's a simple mouth swab that they send you in the mail. You follow the directions and mail it back. Unless/until you are found to be a possible match, you will have nothing else to do. You have the power to possibly save a life. Please do this. If Joshua were to relapse again, we would go to this registry to look for a donor. There are so many people out there right now waiting for a match.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Slow moving

Joshua's counts are finally starting to go up. Just not enough. His ANC has been at 0 for the past few days and finally today we went to 140. Jeff persuaded the doctors to do another draw around 4 pm and if they are above 200 they'll let us go today. If not, we'll have to wait until tomorrow's labs to see where we stand.

Meanwhile, Jeff and I have been switching off and on at the hospital. We've only been able to see each other for about an hour or so. Noah and Adam have been spending time with grandparents and Lulu isn't quite sure where she lives any more. I can't wait to get home and get back on a schedule. Haven't we done our time yet? I swear that after all our family has been through, we need a month long vacation at the end of this. Although we won't be getting a month long vacation, we do have the beach and Disney to look forward to. Now, all we have to do is get there.