A Christmas poem

Twas the day before Christmas

and all through the house

not a Delaney was stirring

not even my spouse.

 

Instead of anxiously awaiting Santa

or playing with her sisters while building a fort

Delaney is back at the doctors

getting more chemo in her port.

 

Today also starts the next cycle of steroids

so lets get ready for the fun

tears, fits of anger, and eating

just about everything under the sun.

 

But as you all already know

Delaney is full of fight

So I’ll put this poem to bed 

by wishing you all a good night!

 

        Okay, I’ll let the lame poem rest.  I just wanted to give you a quick update on how Delaney is doing.  She is doing great!  She has been enjoying her Christmas break and feeling well.  She went into the clinic yesterday and her counts were down.  Unlike the prior stages, this is actually a good thing on this stage.  It means that today she can receive more chemo.  Receiving chemo on Christmas Eve may not sound like a good thing, but it is a lot better than the alternative of being too sick to NOT receive chemo.  

         I think the realization that we are hitting another cancer milestone (first Christmas) has taken its toll on my wife.  The reality is that Delaney has her good days and not so good days, but we still have a long way to go on her little (non) adventure.  However, we are looking forward to keeping our family Christmas traditions alive this season. After today’s treatment, our family will go to church and then come home and allow the kids to open one present each.  The next morning, we’ll wake up early find the coal Santa left for me, remind the kids again why we celebrate Christmas,they open their presents, and then I usually have to remind them about the kids in Africa every time they open a present from me (“What! You don’t like it??? Well the kids in Africa would love to play with kitty litter!”). Then we’ll prove once again how goofy our family is by heading to the movies dressed in our PJ’s.

        I know we sound like a broken record, but we can’t even tell you how much your words of encouragement mean to us.  I want to thank so many of you that reached out to my wife while she was having such a tough time these past couple of weeks just to let her know that you were thinking of her or praying for Delaney.  It is truly humbling when someone you haven’t even met tells you that they have been praying for your family. We wish you and yours a fantastic Christmas filled with love and laughter.

Here is a pic of our little mouse not stirring on the eve of Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas!

Greetings,

       As much as we would like to send each and everyone of you a Christmas card, we wouldn’t be able to even afford the postage.  However, because we are so grateful for you, we still wanted to share our annual Christmas letter with you:  

Merry Christmas,

       2013 has been quite the year for the old Stafford clan.  Sure we had all the usual: Delaney (7) is still playing soccer and even started playing hoops for the first time.  Ashley (10) also played soccer again and was even elected mayor for her 5th grade field trip to Young Ameritowne. Mackenzie (12), is still a dancing fool and enjoys participating in her middle school’s daily video news program.  Emily (19) dropped out of college, started experimenting with drugs, and is now somewhere in Borneo trying to find herself.  Okay, not really, but I just had to see if anyone actually reads these things.  Emily is still doing great in school, playing on her college volleyball team, and is getting ready to leave for a semester abroad in Leiden, the Netherlands right after the New Year.

       Besides all the usual, for us 2013 will always be remembered as the year our daughter Delaney was diagnosed with cancer (specifically Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia).  With what has felt like some sort of terrible curse has also brought us tremendous blessings and our family is so grateful for all of you that played a part in those.  We have met so many nice people.  We have had complete strangers show love to our family.  We have been the recipients of meals, gifts, cards, prayers, and so much more.  We had what felt like entire schools show us support and kindness.  We’ve had hair, been bald, and grew hair back again.  Delaney is doing great and her spunky self has inspired an entire “Cancer Can Kiss My Stache!” movement.  I know that for some of you this is the first time you are hearing about this so if you want to learn more about our journey with that specifically you can go to her blog (www.nomoreadventures.com) or to her Facebook page (www.facebook.com/cancercankissmystache).  If anything our trials have reminded us that God is good… all the time.  May HE bless you and yours as you prepare for the celebration of the birth of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

Love,

Delaney, Ashley, Mackenzie, Emily, Stacey, and Tom Stafford.

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Your Santa smells like beef and cheese!

Q.  How do you know you are visiting with Santa’s helper and not the real Santa?

A.  When you are a girl and Santa thinks you are a boy.

 

       That’s how Delaney knew anyway.  Santa took a break from the North Pole and visited my workplace last night.  I tried to loudly announce to him, “these are my DAUGHTERS Delaney and Ashley.”  Unfortunately, he still loudly said something to Ashley about her brother.  In his defense, Delaney was in all of her tomboy glory complete with a blue shirt, her patented emergency bow tie, and her ball cap.   If it bugged her, Delaney didn’t show it as we went from the jolly fat man to enjoying hot cocoa and cookies with her very own old man that happens to be jolly and fat. 

        Delaney has been feeling great lately.  She isn’t currently having to take steroids so that is a big help.  We are all falling into our nightly chemo routine.  She has to keep a two hour window where she can’t eat within two hours before or after taking the medicine.  If we can get her to be finished eating by 6, we are usually fine.  Any later than that, and  we have to wake up an angry bear just to force pills down her throat.  Besides that though, she is back in school and feeling good these days.

       Last weekend we got to tour the new Children’s Hospital where Delaney will get to finish her treatment over the next year and a half.  We went up to the blood cancers floor and saw a couple of familiar faces as her doctor and his medical assistant were at the desk putting tattoos on the kids.  After giving Delaney a tattoo on her hand, the medical assistant wanted to personally give us the tour.  She got to see all the cool stuff the new facility will offer (she’ll have her next chemo in her port on Christmas Eve at the old place, and then will begin going to the new place after that), and then we headed off the floor.  Before we left, we got the highlight of our day and got to take a picture (below) inside a giant snow globe.  Unfortunately, Delaney is eventually going to have plenty of unpleasant memories at the new hospital, it was nice that her first trip there was such a nice one.

        We Ho, Ho, HOpe you are all having a great holiday season and taking time to remember the reason for the season!

   

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