What a difference a week can make!

      I thought it was a one time thing, so I made a joke that (like almost all of my jokes) wasn’t funny.  Some kid at Delaney’s school made a comment asking why was she in the girl’s bathroom, wasn’t she a boy?  I told her if that happens again, she should just kick that girl in the nuts (and for the 1000th time, I lost any chance I had at winning the “Father of the Year” award).  Unfortunately, it did happen again… and again.  It wasn’t just kids in her grade, as some of the older kids started chiming in.  

     Delaney isn’t one to complain so we didn’t know that she no longer wanted to use the bathroom at her own school.   She would basically try to “hold it” while she was at school.  After she was unsuccessful, she went from not wanting to go to the bathroom at school, to not wanting to go to school period.  This is a kid that loves school so much that when she can’t go due to low cell counts, she is almost in tears.  Now, even though she was feeling fine, she was in tears about the thought of having to go school. As parents, this broke our hearts.

      Well Mama Bear went down to the school and put an end to that.  We are fortunate that Delaney goes to school that is very supportive of her needs (and us).  They came up with a solution that works for everyone.  She now is allowed to go up to the front office and use their bathroom whenever she needs to. That was over a week ago, and this past week Delaney was back to loving being able to be at school.

       We ended that week by going to a place that doesn’t care about if you have hair or not, in fact they are trying to put an end to hair loss due to blood related cancers.  It was the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training kick off party and Delaney was chosen to be an honored hero for the team.  As it frequently happens on this cancer ride, I also got another big dose of perspective.  While I was feeling down about Delaney’s week, I saw that my friend Desiree was also at the kick off party.  She was there to support the leukemia and lymphoma society and besides her warm smile, she was also wearing a pin with the picture of her beautiful baby Melina who lost the battle to leukemia.  Desiree is not going to stop supporting until no more parents need to worry about losing their children to cancer.  Maybe our week wasn’t so bad afterall. 

        Anyway, it was great to be at another Team in Training event.  I was involved with Team in Training long before Delaney was even born (heck, my personal email starts with tomintraining for a reason).  In fact, I met one of my best friends to this day through TnT.  So it was fantastic to be there and to hear how much they have done and the progress they have made in the fight to end blood cancers.  I’m excited to be supporting my wife and a group of over 10 women who are forming Team in Training’s Cancer Can Kiss my Stache Team.  Together these women have a goal of raising over $16,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and in April will be running a half marathon together.   I’m also excited that THEY are out running on this 28 degree day with snow still on the ground, while I am sitting in my warm cozy house offering my “support.”  Today’s support, unbeknownst to my wife, comes in the form of an ice bucket (Sorry but I’ve been waiting over 30 years to use that zinger from the Wonder Twins).  Actually, today I am showing my support by simply asking for your support.  This is only for those that can afford to offer it.  Please don’t feel bad if you can’t give at this time.  If you are in the situation where you can help with a donation to the leukemia and lymphoma society, remember that no donation is too small as every single dollar helps.  I think they will be giving Stacey a team page, but patience isn’t my strength and I really wanted to send this out while she is on her first group run.  So If you want to donate towards Stacey’s fundraising goal, here is her link (and THANK YOU!!!): http://pages.teamintraining.org/rm/pltrvrhm14/sstaffoj1t

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Something different

      Although it was eight months ago, I still remember it like it was yesterday.  We were going over all the future phases of treatment with the doctor, and she warned us that “the last one, the maintenance phase, is a misnomer.  It sounds like it gets a lot easier, but it is just… different.”  Well now that Delaney is 1.5 weeks into this phase that will last a little over 1.5 years, we know what she meant by different.

        It’s different in a good way in that assuming her counts stay good, Delaney will go from weekly treatments in the clinic to monthly treatments. Different in a not so good way in that she is having to take chemo orally between treatments.  Depending on the day, she has to take anywhere from 1 to more than 10 pills a day.  Even worse than the chemo, the dreaded steroids are back.  I’m sure it isn’t the same for everyone, but steroids really do a number on Delaney.  She has to take them the first five days of the month and we definitely know when she is on them.  Yes, she eats everything in sight (she jokingly woke up her Mommy last week by gnawing on her arm), but it is more than that.  She gets these weird pains in her joints and also gets very emotional.  She just doesn’t feel well when she is on them.  As much as she loves going to school, she stayed home all last week while taking steroids.

       By the time the weekend came around, she was back to her normal studly self.  She played hoops with her team on Saturday and on Sunday, basically turned into Rocky Balboa.  It was a beautiful Colorado day, so after church we headed up to Red Rocks Amphitheater where we met some friends for a family workout.   If you aren’t familiar with Red Rocks it has 69 rows of benches and exactly a gajillion steps.  We jogged the steps, sprinted the rows, hopped with one foot of steps, then the other, then with both feet,did jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, and then fell on our face… wait… that was just me.  Delaney on the other hand would not be stopped or even slowed down. 

      My friend had us do what he called the “Tough Mudder Trainer” where we started down at stage level and had to climb 20 stone walls to the top of the amphitheater. All the walls were taller than Delaney so I was worried about her falling backwards onto the concrete while trying to climb them.  My fatherly instinct kicked in and I helped her up the wall each time just to make sure we didn’t end up spending the rest of our afternoon in the ER.  She made it all the way to the top then ran all the way down the stairs to the bottom.  When we were about an hour into the workout, Delaney yelled, “I’m going to do the Tough Mudder one again.”  Before I could stop her or even catch her she climbed the first wall all by herself.  And I thought there was no stopping her before that!  Without any assistance from her old man, she tore up the 2nd wall, then the 3rd, then the the 4th, and so on.  At the 17th wall her sister came over and said, “Dad, we’ve got to go!”  At that point Delaney looked back at me and said, “Okay, you can help me with the rest of them.”  All of this from a little 7 year old girl that not even 24 hours earlier had to take 8 pills of chemo.  Simply amazing!  Now that is something different!

      Delaney ended the weekend by running an errand with her mom.  They went to the mall and were surprised to find that Santa was there.  Even more different than Santa at a mall, was Santa at a mall with no line.  So, Delaney went and had a little chat with Santa.  I don’t know exactly what she said, but I’m including a pic of a letter she wrote to him last night.  Sorry for the double post for those of you on her facebook page, but her letter said, “Dear Santa thank you for all the gifts that you’ve given me. How can I pay you back? From Delaney.”  Because I have been slacking on her blog updates, I’m not only including a pic of that but also a couple of pics from tonight (one with another of her lego masterpieces and the other proudly displaying a post bath mohawk— look at all that hair!!!).

 

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