Tame Tuesday

Today we had radiation at 9:30am so Emma slept a bit later than usual. David on the other had decided to get up an hour earlier than he usually does and so then did I. We took Pilar and her mom Miriam with us to the hospital. Radiation went well and then we had a visit with Dr. Pi, Emma’s radiologist. She is having some skin irritation and acne type breakouts. There are a few things we can try so we’ll do that. Back to our apartment for lunch and a nap. This evening I caught up on some phone calls I needed to make and cooked dinner while Emma went to the craft room for an activity. It’s time for bed. Love you all! Goodnight! Hugs and Kisses.

OOps! Leaving out the good parts.

I forgot to mention our lovely supper friday evening with Devree & Shanna (I do hope I’m spelling your name right!)
We had gotten a gift certificate from a friend and with it a HUGE turkey! Along with gravy & cornbread dressing. So we cooked friday afternoon, loaded it up in a handy-dandy Target buggy and went down the hall to eat a “Thanksgiving Dinner” with friends! It was a yummy meal made all that more enjoyable when shared with good company. Thanks Devree & Shanna for helping us eat that giant bird & for sharing your space!

Meeting and making new friends! Another one of lifes small joys!
Meeting and making new friends! Another one of lifes small joys!

Here We Are…..There You Are.

Here it is Monday and I find that I haven’t blogged all weekend and no excuses to make for not getting to it! We had a wonderfully low-key weekend! We went to church saturday morning at the Memphis First Seventh-day Adventist Church in Cordova. It was very nice and we met some very friendly people, who we hope to get to know better! It rained and after lunch we came “home” to relax and nap. Emma went to her friend Pilar’s apartment in the evening to hangout and the girls decided they wanted to have a sleep-over so Emma stayed with Pilar & her mother. Pilar has Lukemia and is on a low-bacteria diet, so we can’t share food with her. The girls had a good time and Emma took her meds on her own and did very well.
David and I played on the mat with toys and a balloon that he really enjoys feeling and pulling around. It was fun and relaxing to just play babies! Then sunday morning he and I did the same thing until Emma came back around eleven o’clock. We spent the day playing and napping and just hanging out in the apartment. No laundry, no dishes, no computer. We really needed that kind of day! It was rejuvenating for me and David both. He and I don’t get enough sleep. Emma is doing pretty well though, getting enough sleep.
Today we had radiation at 8am, which is kind of early for us so Emma decided to wear her Pajama’s today, they were so cute! Thank you Stefanie Greene and friends from the Concrete Co.!!
After radiation she had an appointment with the Child-Life Counselor and did a guided relaxation session. This helps to manage pain, learn to relax in stressful situations like the confinement of radiation and to lower the anxiety of treatment.
She is experiencing some skin irritation from the radiation and some stomach complaints that we’re not sure are from the rad or the chemo. One day at a time!
This evening the Target House held a Birthday Party for everyone to celebrate all the February birthdays. There were fresh veggies, fruit and pizza. Because what is a birthday party without pizza! Then there were crafts after in the craft room. Lots of fun things to keep us feeling “normal”.
Now we’re in pj’s and baby David is asleep in his pack’n’play and we’re ready to turn in too!
We pray every night for our family near and far! So if you’re in anyway related you’re on our list! And all our dear friends! Old and New! We love you all and think of you often!
-momma catherine

Post Script:
Please leave us comments on whichever post you’d like. This is a good way to hear from ya’ll. I will try to do better about approving them in a more timely manner. And you can also email us at: fictionswings@gmail.com
Feel free to email us any photos you’d like to share also. Also check out the Gallery periodically because slowly but surely I’m adding pictures of our adventures here at St. Jude! So check them out!

A Bug in the System

Thursday and today is day three for treatment. We had an early day and just barely made it one time. Darling David makes getting anything done in a hurry rather difficult! I got to go in and see how everything was done with Emma’s radiation. A nurse held David and took him around to flirt with all the available ladies so I could “see how it was done”. Although part of the way into the process the whole system froze up and had to be restarted. This “bug” only cost Emma 5-7 extra minutes. But when you’re held down and asked to be completely still those extra minutes can seem much longer. I did get the watch and ask questions about how and why they did what they did. The table Emma lays on is narrow and lifts up to about 4.5 feet and swivels 200 degrees. Then the “arm” over her head swivels and turns around her in another 200 degree rotation. She receives 66 segments of radiation per session and each session takes approx. 15-20 minutes. You will see below a picture of Emma before treatment and after. Look very closely and see the “waffle” pattern on her forehead and eyes from the face mask she has to wear to keep her head immobile.
After treatment she went to school with her teacher Justin Gardner. She enjoys school! When she was done we had lunch and went to the Pink Palace Museum and IMAX. We enjoyed the museum and the Mummy IMAX was really cool. Even David liked it! We got groceries and came “home” with enough time to put away our purchases and go down to supper in the dining room. A wonderful meal was provided by HOPE for the Target Houses I & II. There are so many wonderful & generous groups here in Memphis!
Emma finished her evening off with some crafts in the craft room with Pilar.
So it’s off to bed we go and get up early to do it again tomorrow.
Love and Hugs,
Momma Catherine

Ready to Go!
Ready to Go!

Emma "Waffle" Faced

Day Two and Counting

Today was day two of the chemotherapy and radiation. Emma seems to have some slight nausea from the chemotherapy but the anti-nausea meds do seem to help. And the radiation is going well.
Today was beautiful in Memphis! Sunshine and warm temps and it felt like spring! We know it will get cold again but the warmth was so nice. We went to Target and this evening Emma went to church with her friend Devree. I know she enjoys the break from baby brother and mom!
Tomorrow is a bigger day with a fuller schedule. So off to bed we go. Goodnight ya’ll we’ve been thinking of you too!
Momma Catherine
Emma having a laughing fit on the floor. Silly girl!

Start Your Engines……

And away we go. Emma started the Tarceva and Radiation today. She had school this morning then went to her first radiation treatment. She had a little bit of “waffle face” from the mask that helps to keep her head from moving while receiving radiation. Then we had a visit with the Neuro-Oncology Nurse about keeping a log of her chemo-therapy. After checking our mail we went to get chinese food. Emma’s choice and treat, she paid for lunch with her birthday money from Great Grandma Landon. Thanks, I think. Chinese never sits too well with me. Ugh.
Then it was back to let David and momma get a nap while Emma played computer games. We had homemade chicken and potato/veggie soup. Then Emma went down to the craft room to meet her friends Devree and Pilar for some fun and crafts.
Thank you all for your prayers and support! We’re taking this journey one day at a time! The only way to go!

Momma Catherine

Note: (David has a girlfriend! She is nine, she loves him dearly and he adores her! Caroline Turns you ROCK girl!)

Sweetness is catching!
Sweetness is catching!

Playing Catch-up

We had an easy week last week and even enjoyed a morning trip to the Memphis Zoo, on Emma! (St. Jude patients can bring 3 people in with them free) Then on friday we had school, visit with the doctor and the consent for radiation treatment. And we left to make a dash home for the Valentines weekend. It was a long and rather torturous ride with Emma having the majority of the care of David on her hands. He even had her in tears once and one day he will be required to apologize! hehe. We had a very nice visit home that was short and bittersweet since we had to dash back to Memphis sunday afternoon. It is a very long 7 hour drive. Emma got to see her good friend Katie and go to see Coraline with her big sister Claressa, little brother Nick, Katie & Dad. The movie got a double thumbs up! She had read the book before seeing the movie and wasn’t disappointed.
Today – Monday we had some last minute CT scans done for the cone beam that will administer the radiation and a super fun child life session of painting with another St. Jude patient and new friend Pilar Sanchez. Then we went and checked our mail (we love to get mail!!!) And returned to our rooms for a rest and nap to recover from our long trip.
At 5pm cst We went to watch some students from one of the local colleges (Rhodes College) do fun science experiments. We had homemade nachos for supper and Emma played some pool in the front room of the Target house with Pilar.
David had a bath and was so sleepy. Now we’re all off to bed and thinking of all our family scattered about, our dear old friends and our precious new friends. You are constantly on our minds and we miss you very much. We send our love and hugs to you all!
Tomorrow Emma starts her “radiation vacation” as they call it here and the chemo-theropy Tarceva. Pray that they won’t make her sick or loose her hair. And that if they do we’ll be able to get her back on track quickly.

– Momma Catherine

Just not brave enough for Karaoke

We had a nice weekend visit to Mississippi to visit Emma’s great-grandpa Whitaker. They live two hours south east of Memphis so it wasn’t too far to go. We got to see lots of cousins and ate some really good home cooked food!
David did really well in the car riding and that was a good thing.
We will be going home for Valentines weekend! It will be so great to sleep in our own beds!!
On Monday the 16th, we have x-rays and then start radiation on Tuesday the 17th. She will start taking an anti nausea medication monday night so it will be in here system tuesday when she starts.
Tonight we attended a Valentines party put on by Target. There were about 20 Target General Managers from all over the country. The Target House II dining-room was decorated beautifully with edible center pieces, balloons, and table clothes. There were two tables set up with crafts, and there was a full chick-fil-a supper menu. A DJ was playing fun hip music and the kids and parents had lots of fun singing karaoke. Our friend Devree was brave enough to get up and sing twice but Emma just couldn’t do it. Many thanks to Target for their generosity! We’ve had lots of mail from Emma is decorating her plain white walls in her room with all the beautiful cards and drawings.

Weekend Break

Emma got a break this weekend and she is at her great grandfathers in Mississippi. I talked with her tonight. She said she was studying volcanoes in earth science so we talked about eruptions, magma, plate tectonics, venting, lava flow, seismic activity prior to eruptions, Mt. Lassen and Mt. St. Helens. She will be back at “work”
Monday morning. – Grandpa David