Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rub A Dub Dub - Three cuties in a tub!

One of his favorite places - CHAPTERS!

Trying out the new battub!
There is so much to be thankful for. There are a lot of good things going on in our lives despite the turmoil we face each day. Christian finished his radiation last friday - yahoo! Chris and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary - yahoo! and we moved into a house with my mom - our new home - yahoo! I am so grateful that my children will have the opportunity to get to know their grandmother more intimately. An opportunity that did not present itself to me. I have always felt that children deserved as much love as they can get. And what a gift a granmother, a nanny, an opa, a grammy can be. The love of a mother’s mother - a ‘grand’ love.
Love the Kleins - steady friends who are always ready to help us  with whatever
Babysitting, moving, feeding ryan lobster!
We are grateful for the sun that showed up these past few days and we are grateful for the rain that has made everything green. We are grateful for friends and family who support us. We are grateful that Chrisitan is doing well and not spending extra time in the hospital. We are grateful for the nurses in the oncology clinic who love Christian and whom he loves in return. We are grateful to God who gave us the words, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”. Because we need him now. We have been brought to our knees, a gift to realize how powerless we are without the love and Grace of our God. But also a gift to realize the strength that God can give us. And that none of us is deserving of the things we receive each day yet we continue to receive them. We are blessed.
Cupcakes for radiation party

Life is good!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Radiation, Rides and Superman!

Big and small - love the boat ride!

Smiles, smiles, a hot dog and a few more smiles.  What a great day at Callaway park courtesy of Jamie’s Preschool (a preschool in Calgary specifically designed for immune suppressed children).  It is a yearly event hosted by Callaway park where they graciously open their doors for a private session for the fragile kids of Jamie’s pre-school. The school genially extended an invitation to any child currently battling cancer and what a great gift for Christian. In a year when he is limited by so many things it was so sweet to have something special for him to do.

I am in control!

After our radiation session at the Foothills we saunterd down highway 1 and made our way to the park. All of the children spent the whole morning with ear to ear’s and Christian was on cloud nine.  Our wonderful host, Austin, took the families through the park stopping at each of the kids rides for a turn or two! The rollercoaster, bumper cars and carrousel where the hits of the day. Before lunch Austin opened up the big rollercoaster for the adults. What a cool thing to do for the parents and siblings in the group and a good reminder that cancer affects the whole family. And the whole family needs support, love and fun! After a morning of ‘ride gluttony’ Callaway Park put on a barbeque for the kids – so it was hot dogs, chips, drinks and ice cream all around. Christian downed almost a whole hot dog and we were off to the hospital to get his chemo #22. This put Christian officially past his half way point. Five long months – it feels like we have been doing this forever  - in fact I can’t really remember what life was like before Christian got sick. What occupied our time? What was really important? These are lessons I pray I can keep in my heart. 
Kissing on the rides - is this allowed? 
Chris and I continue to feel so blessed by the people are around us. I truly feel as though Christian has this amazing spirit that draws people to him and newcomers have no option but to instantly love him! Recently one of Christian’s favorite things to do is to accompany his dad to Golf Town. The lovely staff at the Signal Hill location knows Christian well and welcome him to the simulator so he can hit a few balls. Earlier on this week he brought his driver with him (just in case!) and of course was able to hit a few balls.  He was then presented with the most amazing club cover, which he covets. The cover is a sign of Christian’s strength and, I feel, will for the rest of his life be an indicator of the super human strength he has shown in this battle for his life. 

Today I am thankful for:
1. Callaway Park
2. Stony Trail (that's for you Doug!)
3. Warm, soft comfy bed with Christians skinny arms on my chest

Bumper car champ!

Doesn't the smile say it all?

Friday, June 10, 2011


There are not too many words needed to accompany these pictures.  The treatment for cancer is just about as scary as the cancer itself. Our fantastic radiation tech Selema, (who is assigned to be Christian’s buddy), brought me into the radiation room so I could see Christian going into his blue body cast and getting preped to start his daily treatment. It instantly brought tears to my eyes. Thankfully we only have five treatments left.  Enough said. 

Trying to recover from chemo and radiation on the same day
Propofol - drug that puts him to sleep - leaking - OOPS!
Stickers used to guide radiation tech

Seleman and Christian chillin' before sleepy time!

Ready to start
Today I am thankful for:
2.The smell after the rain on a warm spring evening

Radiation Machine

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven....God said

Soccer goal celebration !

I am sitting in Christian’s room and watching him sleep. The radiation and chemotherapy is demanding more and more from his little body. The drugs we so desperately seek to destroy his tumor are bringing him down and the implications of having a child with cancer are only a fever away. We are thankful to the means that are destroying his tumor but we are also at their mercy. The side effects are a small price to pay and we are thankful that the Children’s hospital is able to help us manage his symptoms.  As we speak somebody else’s blood is running into his heart to be disbursed to the rest of his body. This will be his fifth blood transfusion and once again a stranger is to thank for saving our son’s life.

 Thank you to my colleague and friend Nicole, who since Christian has become diagnosed with cancer, has signed up for the bone marrow registry and has recently received her three times blood donation sticker.  It is the good in people and the good things that people do that make this journey easier to travel. I think back to the day not too long ago when the librarian from Chris’ school and her mother showed up on our doorstep with a gift for Christian. They wanted to know exactly what to pray for so they could visualize Christian getting better. It made Chris and I feel lifted up to know that people are continuing to think of Christian and praying for his healing. It has been a long haul so far – can you believe almost five months has passed? Ryan was just little baby when we started and today he crawled right out of Christian’s hospital room and into the hallway! Next week will officially be our half way point of treatment and we are cautiously looking for the light at the end of the tunnel.  Chris and I are both wondering if life will return to the way it used to be…..  is that even possible? I have been told by other parents on the unit that nothing will ever be the same. I like to think of this as a gift. That we have had the opportunity to look death in the eye and then realize the potential and opportunity that each day gives us. The opportunity to be thankful for every breath my children take, every smile, every giggle. It helps me to be thankful for the times when Evelyn wakes us up in the middle of the night with her legs straddling her crib and she is saying, “Yahoooo. Giddy up Giddy up!” It helps me to try and be calm and be still and look around and take a breath and say thank you. I know a lot of people who know me would find it hard to believe that I would sit still and relish in the day but I do try. I know I enjoy my children more, I try to get angry less, and I feel sympathy for those in need. I keep hearing the verse in my head from Matthew 6:20, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,”.  Not to be focused on material wealth but things that TRULY matter in the day. My family, my children, their happiness, the goodness of mankind.
Golfed a full 18 - what a great day

On a lighter note…..thank you to my pops who had us down for a visit to St.Albert this past weekend. It was sooooo relaxing and calm. Christian and Evelyn had a great weekend of swimming and watersliding, soccer in the back yard, every play park in the city of St. Albert, golfing with dad, and a small amount of children’s festival. We ate good food and drove around a bit and just hung out as a normal family might.
SUPPOSED to be spiderman but Christian wasn't convinced! YIKES

Today I am thankful for:
1.     Good friends (thank you so much for your encouraging words Kirsten)
2.     Picnic’s in the park
3.     Evelyn wanting to help Christian at the hospital (picture her running down the unit hallway with a urinal in each hand!)
Cinnamon bun with is GOOD!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tales of Radiation

Radiation is the topic of the day around our house lately. People ask us how we are doing and the general response has something to do with Christian’s radiation. How he is feeling, which is fairly well, although he is getting more and more tired each day. How are we doing, which is well considering we are not the ones receiving the radiation! However, I am not doing to lie, I am NOT used to getting up at 630am every morning! But as Chris and I quickly realized the drive to the foothills everyday is beautiful as we get to stare at the mountains for most of the drive, unfortunately at some point we make a sharp turn and the then the view off Crowchild trail is just not as nice! I attached some pictures of Christian’s daily radiation encounter so everybody can see what he is doing and the things he is seeing and experiencing.
His "RADIATION" Calender...sticker for each completion until #28
"Day Room" where he goes to sleep and wakes up each day.
His amazing nurse Patty (L) and Resp. Tech (R)

Trying to wake up from daily anesthetic
Today Christian completes his 17th treatment so we only have 11 left. His last radiation treatment will be on our five-year wedding anniversary. I can’t decide if this is a good gift or not! Anyways it gets us thinking about the path our life has taken since we decided to get married, the dips in the road and the peaks of the mountains we have climbed. The beautiful things we have seen and experienced and the hardships we have known – I don’t think we would change a thing. It is truly the journey and not the destination that make this life special. So each day we squeeze our kids tight and make the best of each situation we are presented with.  Tomorrow is not a right but a privilege and even though Christian is the one who is ill, none of us are guaranteed our breath so we must grab onto life and go for the ride. Don’t hold back and wonder…… go forth and explore and discover.  

My favorite quote is,” Life is not measure by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away”.
Evan and Ryan enjoying each other at the park