Friday, September 24, 2010

A Shout Out, Some Good News, and Some Props

A Shout Out

Firstly, a 'shout out' to a bunch of friends, old friends, new friends, and people I don't even know sharing the link on Facebook about being a bone marrow/stem cell donor!

Secondly, a 'shout out' to some of my blogging friends and buddies (and some of their friends and buddies) for using their blogs to get the message out about how important it is to get on the donor list!

Here are my friends who blogged about Richard's need for marrow:

My friend Sami's (in Alberta) blog.

My friend Lee Ann's (in Scotland) blog.

My friend Darcie's (here in Abbotsford) blog.
(her husband was our wedding photographer - she put up some pics from our special day)

And, of course, I blogged about it here.

Not only have some of these friend's friends left beautiful comments about our situation and that of other families dealing with Cancer, but some of their blogging friends also posted about becoming a donor! Thank you thank you thank you thank you!

I reiterate once more that they rarely do actual bone marrow now for transplants, and rather do a much easier procedure (much like giving blood) of taking stem cells from the donors.

The best part is that getting on the donor list requires only some swabbing of your mouth, done by you, in your own home.

Thirdly, a 'shout out' to my friend Lianne who passed on some gas/parking $ help for us. Thanks lady!

Fourthly, a 'shout out' to my Dad for taking us for dinner last night and letting us hang out to watch the season premiere of Big Bang Theory!!!!

Some Good News!!!!

Yesterday's appointment at VGH resulted in hearing some good news! There is a 95% chance they have found a match for Richard! I'm assuming the 5% chance of 'no' is taking into account the person needs to have some tests done and such, and possibility the person could say 'no'.

It appears as though the transplant process (involving chemo AND radiation AND killing all of Richard's bone marrow) will begin in the next 2-3 weeks!

Richard is scared as heck, but I'm hoping will be excited later (as this will hopefully save his life!)
I'm excited as heck, but will probably be scared later.

Richard wrote about his good news, here, on his blog.

Some 'Props' For My Boys

A very busy, full day yesterday involving preschool, the gym, lunch, and then us taking the boys with us to the hospital for Richard's appointment, going to a playground and getting rained on, heading for dinner at White Spot with my dad (thanks Dad), taking the boys swimming in the pool at my dad's apartment building, and hanging out past the boys' bedtimes at my dad's place was actually, a pretty good day.

It was Richard's first day without a nap since the relapse and coming home from the hospital and Cancer Lodge.

The boys were great, only falling apart at the very end of the day at my dad's past their bedtime. I learned my lesson again, that when out past bedtime, I should, at the very least, put Dexter to sleep. AJ behaves just wonderfully all by himself, but when you get these two brothers together late at night, chasing, monsters, and wrestling start to drive me batty. These two brothers couldn't get more brother-y.


On the drive to Vancouver, the boys were writing on their whiteboards in the car. AJ was drawing pictures on the blank side and asking us to guess what he drew before he turned it around and showed us.

He drew an ant, then an ant, then another ant, then a caterpillar, then some ants and caterpillars. After us guessing a thousand and one things like pandas, cars, and houses and such, AJ finally took a break from drawing to evidently write me a hint.

He says, "Here Mom. I wrote you a hint. When you are guessing what I drawed, this is your hint."

He turns around his whiteboard and shows me this that he's written.

It says 'always ants and sometimes caterpillars'.

"That's what I draw Mom. I always draw ants and sometimes I draw caterpillars."

Good writing, AJ! He gets better all the time. He loves these whiteboards and the ones in his room. They are a little messy. In fact, I'm not going to use them in the car anymore because marker inevitably gets on their clothes. I'll have get some magna-doodles for the car. No mess.

After the hospital (where the boys were really great, and the nurses were ecstatic to see them), we drove into Richmond to take the boys to the 'cool' playground at the South Arm Community Centre (I think).

Then we went to White Spot with my dad. Here's Dexter drawing a person. He's getting better and better with his drawing every day. Do you see the eyes and the smile on the person's face? Later he drew a D. It's the only letter he draws that actually looks like a real letter. Oh, well, I guess, he's pretty good at Es too. Thank goodness, since those are in his name!
Great drawing, Dexter!!!

I should add in here (especially since this blog is supposed to be my baby book for the boys) that Dexter's been into singing to the songs on the radio lately. It's pretty darned cute.

Later, we headed to Grand-Dan's house. The boys were excited to finally get to go in Grand-Dan's pool. Every time we go to Grand-Dan's house it seems to be on a Wednesday or Sunday when the pool is closed.

It was VERY cold. AJ was brave and went all the way in, and swam around a bit, but not for long. Dexter wouldn't go past his waist. So, we dried off and headed back up to his place. The boys played with cars and climbed all over Grand-Dan. Slowly, they were getting more and more restless, the further we got past bedtime, understandably. But!!!! We did get to watch the much awaited Big Bang Theory season premiere that Richard, my dad, and I have been dying to see!

Thanks Grand-Dan for letting us crash your relaxing night of watching baseball.

Thank you boys for being well behaved so we could all have a full day.

Richard had not napped, yet still had the gusto to do the drive home. So, me and the boys slept on the way home.

Thanks Babe (Richard).


The boys walking their usual route to my gym for my morning workout.

Thanks boys, for letting me drag you to the gym all the time and spending 1 hour in the daycare there. I know it's a fun daycare, but still, I appreciate that you do it without complaining!


I don't know if it's because of my recent pleas for bone marrow donors, perhaps it's because of Richard's mom's article in the paper talking about Richard, or if it's just from someone deciding recently to become a donor, but THANK YOU!

Someone is a match for Richard! Thank you for everyone who has joined the list!!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Still No Match For Richard - I've added some international links

Still no bone marrow/stem cell match can be found for Richard. This is my little plea to say, if you're not on the donor registry already, please join!

It's SO easy. (in Canada this is how it works)

1. follow the link
2. click 'join'
3. fill in the online form
4. someone will call you to verify that you signed up and maybe ask you a couple questions
5. they will mail you swabs for your mouth
6. the swabs arrive, you spend 2 minutes swabbing your mouth
7. put the swabs in the envelope provided and stick it in a mailbox

Here's the link! Feel free to pass it on!

Bone Marrow / Stem Cell Donor Network (Canada)

For all of my USA friends....

US bone marrow / stem cell donor network

For all of my UK friends.....

bone marrow / stem cell donor network (UK)


bone marrow / stem cell donor network (British)

For all of my friends in Australia...

bone marrow / stem cell donor network (Australia)

For my relatives in Switzerland...

bone marrow / stem cell donor network (Switzerland)

For my friends in Poland, Russia, Estonia, Singapore, and ... wherever!!!...

Here's a link to all the different registries!

Maybe YOU will be the one that saves Richard's (my husband - and father to my two boys) life!

It's an international search for a match. No matter where you're from, YOU can help!

It's not a great cell phone pic, but there he is, reading bedtime stories to the boys.

Here's our family....

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Not For the Squeamish - Seriously

Since Richard DID NOT provide the gory details of the second portion of his biopsy, I am for some reason, feeling it necessary to do so. I wish I had a picture of my face during this procedure because what Dr. Bernard did just about made me, well, you know.

Seriously, do not go any further. This is not for the faint of heart.

So, as I previously mentioned, Dr. Bernard was very quick and VERY amazing! She got to the aspirate on a first try and just sucked it up (the liquid marrow) lickety split in two pulls.

Then, it was time to make the incision for the second portion. The BIGGER hollow needle. This is the one where they get the bone sample. They try to get about, hmmm, maybe 3cm worth.

This should get some background story - I recall watching one of Richard's bone marrow biopsies where they got the needle in, screwed and screwed and screwed it in (sorry, I cannot think of a better verb to describe the, and then, when pulling the needle out, the bone fell out still inside of him, so they had to get another sample.

Back to Dr. Bernard...

Anyhow... So, this amazing Wonder Woman of biopsies just got right in there. It was a sight to see. But, here's where it gets gross. (That's right. Now. Not what you've read already. Now.) She gets the needle as far as it needs to go. She puts the measuring stick in to be sure she has the right length. Then...

to be sure she's got it, she says, "Okay, I'm going to give this a bit of a wiggle."


She proceeds to ...

Whoa... I can barely type it because it's bringing back the memories.

.... like she's driving a stick shift...

....wiggle in big powerful swoops, the needle, to loosen the bone fragment from his hip.

I swear to you, my jaw dropped and my eyes bugged out of my head like a cartoon character!!!
Yah, so sorry. I had to share that. This is like Richard's, I don't know, maybe his 8th or 9th bone marrow biopsy.

And don't forget about the med students that I wrote about last year that only get paid $35 bucks to have this done to them!!!

Shivers down my spine. I will never get this image out of my head, nor the noises that Richard made, and he's a tough guy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Totally Unrelated to Richard and Leukemia

I wanted to take this opportunity to direct your attention to this blog....

This woman lost her baby girl to SMA. Spinal Muscular Atrophy. I found out about her and her plea for votes to help her cause receive $20 000 from another mom's blog. There was a 'blog party' yesterday that I missed that's purpose was to raise awareness for SMA and to generate votes.

I may have missed the day, but it's not too late for me to spread the word to help this fellow mommy-blogger who's touching story of her little girl will surely bring you to tears as it did me.

Makes me thankful for every precious day that I have with my boys and my husband.

You can find out how to help her cause win by visiting the link through her site. Or, you can just follow this link HERE and vote for The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation. It only takes a moment! If you have more than one moment, you can even vote once a day!!!

Bone Marrow Biopsy and a Shoe

Do you ever see a shoe on the highway and think...


Why is it there? What happened to the other shoe? What happened to the person that was wearing the shoe?

That's what I wondered on my drive home from Richard's bone marrow biopsy.

Richard's Bone Marrow Biopsy

Pretty much on time. It was the Francophone doctor (who's name escapes me) who has never performed one of Richard's bone marrow biopsies before.

She was AMAZING! Maybe too amazing. It was a beautiful and quick pull of aspirate and she was in and out getting the bone sample with the big giant hollow needle. I will not divulge the gory details of when she wanted to be 'sure she got the sample'. I'll leave that to Richard.

He says he was glad she was in and out. It was all over in about less than 10 minutes. He was making some pretty funky noises from the pain though, so....

We'll wait and see what he writes on his blog, shall we?

He is home and napping now. He's pretty sore and not feeling well. (perhaps the Morphine)

Thank yous

Erica - Thanks for offering to take the boys. It was nice to be able to be with Richard during the procedure, and I know it meant a lot to him to have me there.

Mom - Thanks for worrying.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pics of Richard and More

Meant to take some pics of Dexter's swollen face and slight black eyes the other day, but forgot. This morning, he narrowly missed another trip to emergency when he was trying to beat AJ to the car and ran his forehead into the edge of the open car door. Left a really nice purple line on his forehead. Geesh.

Oh yah, when Dexter and I arrived at the mall today, he was watching someone talking on a pay phone and whilst not watching where he was going, he walked into the corner of a metal sign outside the Gap.



Almost forgot to take some pics of Richard when I had my sleepover at the Cancer Lodge with him on Friday. Wanted you all to see how he was looking.

So, I woke him up from his comfy nap to take some pics.

The goatee and eyebrows are hanging on for dear life. They know how much they mean to me.

He has since shaved off his hair on his head. He's all shiny-like now.

Picked up the boys from Gram's! Thanks Gram!

AJ wanted to ride his scooter.

When AJ rides. He rides hard. Here's his sweaty head.
Not sure what Dexter's whining about here. You can just barely make out the bruise between his eyes there.


I think we had Makenna over for a playdate. Afterwards, AJ had his first sleepover at a friend's house! Makenna's house! Her grandparents (Jen's parents) were in town. AJ slept over and Dexter and I had some special time alone.


Pretty normal, gym, etc. I went to Jen's (Jen was at emergency with Jaxon who had fallen backwards off of Makenna's bed) and I visited with Jen's mom before heading back home with my boys for lunch and nap.

Monday evening, WE PICKED UP RICHARD TO BRING HIM HOME! As Richard suspected, the IV antibiotics only had to be done for 3 days, not 7, so we brought him home.

It's been nice to have him home and I think he's enjoying being home.


Gym in the morning after I took AJ and Makenna to preschool. Lunch for the kids at Jen's house with Jen's neighbor Kandis and her kids too. The kids were soaking up the vitamin D in the sunshine. I think we should've taken advantage and gone in the pool for probably the last time of the summer.

Then.... finally... because the ground was dry... and because I had Richard home to stay in the house whilst Dexy napped, AJ and I headed outside so I could mow the lawn and empty the pool!!

With the help of a bungee cord to keep the lever stuck to the handle, enabling me to use two hands to pull the starting-cord, I STARTED THE LAWNMOWER MYSELF FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!!!! YAY!!!


I worked. It was awesome.


That's today. Pretty normal. Took AJ and Makenna to preschool. Dexy and I went to the gym, got my coffee, headed to the mall, bought nothing, picked up AJ, lunch, naps.

Tonight is Meet the Creature, uh, I mean Teacher night at my school. I was going to need to bring the boys anyhow, and so, I think Richard's going to tag along too.


Heading in to VGH for Richard's bone marrow biopsy. Fingers crossed that everything's still all clear!

More Thanks..

Mom - For taking the kids overnight (Ken, Kim, and Paul too!)
Dad - for gas money and helping me move Richard to the Cancer Lodge
Joanna - for trekking through the VGH area (not knowing that I had moved Richard to the lodge) to bring Richard some soup!!! Awwww.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Happy Ending and Some Going Ons

So this is how the rest of that unfolded...

Richard was going to be allowed to hang out in his bed until the patient arrived on his flight to check into the hospital.
Dad was going to be able to get Richard at about 2:30pm ish, but would have to carry all the stuff without my help which was probably going to be a couple loads to the van, but whatever.
I wanted to save my dad needing to drive from his place to the hospital twice (once for moving Richard to the Cancer Lodge and once to take me to spend the night with Richard). I knew my dad would be MORE than willing to do it, but if I could save him the extra drive, I would.
My sister Kim (best sister in the world, in case you didn't know), and her beau, Jared came out to my place to get the boys so that I could head out early to go with Dad to the hospital. THANK YOU, KIM! THANK YOU, JARED for playing with the boys downstairs with the Rescue Heroes while Kim and I loaded the bags, carseats, and bikes!
I headed to my dad's keeping in contact with he and Richard regarding my ETA which we were hoping would get me to the hospital with Dad at about 3:30pm.
Long story short.... 1 hour and 45 minutes due to an absolutely flawless drive until I hit the tunnel where the counterflow lane is. YIKES. I learned a very hard lesson today. However, I know what I'll do next time to get around that if I'm heading out against rush hour again.
We got to Richard after he had only had to spend about 30 minutes in the lounge area. Not too bad. Dad felt pretty badly though, and I think he wished he had come out and not waited for me. Richard, however, was happy he waited because it meant he would see me just that much sooner! :) Awwwwww.

THANK YOU, DAD for doing everything you've been doing to help and for taking Richard's laundry again.

So, I am sitting here with Richard in our room at the Cancer Lodge for the night. He's here for a week or maybe less. Who knows, right?
Seriously. Nobody #$%#*!@#$@ knows.

He was very excited to go to A&W tonight for a Mama Burger. (normally, he's a Wendy's guy, but he had a hankering). The burger and fries together (regarding quantity) was more than he'd eaten in about 3 weeks total. So far, it seems to be staying down.

Right now, Richard's talking to Dexter on the phone (he and AJ are at my mom's).
THANK YOU, MOM for taking the boys overnight!

When we checked in at the lodge, they asked for a list of prescription drugs that Richard is on, so Richard gave them his prescription list that he was going to need me to go pick up. That way, they could just photocopy that list. Instead, the lady offered to fax it to one of the local pharmacies that delivers. I swear to you. I am NOT kidding at all. The prescription order was brought to Richard's room in about 15 minutes.



That was my first day back to work. So far, so good! A great class! I think I'm in for a good year. I have about 9 or so kids from last year, so it was really nice to see some familiar faces.
A big THANK YOU to Auntie Kim for taking the boys.

On my way home, Kim graciously allowed me the time to go to the gym! And when I headed to my job-share-partner-and-friend Andrea's house to tell her about the first full day with the kids, she handed over a whole slew of Rescue Heroes things for AJ and Dexter.


I had contemplated taking the boys to visit Richard this evening, but he was so sure that I was going to bring him home this weekend, it seemed futile.

This day started with Makenna getting dropped off at around 7am on Jen's way to work, as I would be taking AJ and Makenna off to their first day of their last year of preschool. They are the oldest kids in the class this year! This is AJ's third year of preschool! Whoa!

Here's the funny part of the preschool excursion.
The preschool switched classrooms again. So, Makenna and AJ were entering the new classroom for the first time. They were excited and looking all around at the new atmosphere. Now when you couple this on top of the fact that AJ is THE BIGGEST dilly daddler at preschool when it comes to taking off his backpack, hoodie, and shoes, and putting on his indoor shoes, you can imagine how much I'm prompting him (well both of them.. but normally Makenna gets herself ready right away). Duly noted, AJ is ABLE to get himself all ready, it just takes him a long time while he people-watches.

So... the funny part... I'm saying things like, "AJ, Makenna... come on you two... you know the routine... backpacks off, indoor shoes out, take off your hoodies.... blah blah blah... nag nag nag." AJ hasn't even taken off his hoodie yet and I turn to check on Dexter.

He has taken off his hoodie, hung it up on a hook, taken off his shoes, placed them on the shoe-footprints, and is all ready to start preschool.

Awwww. I felt so badly. "No, Dexter. Sorry. You're not staying. You're coming to the gym with me. And Starbucks!" lol.

ps - Jen... I hope her hair is 'okay'. She didn't want a side pony. She wanted it in the back. I didn't know if I should just take some off the top or the whole front and top. Anyhow.. this is how she showed up for preschool.

Later that evening...
After some errands and having two very worn out kids after Dexter's nap, I was excited to let the boys have some fun time in the playroom before bed, while I got into my comfies and started to settle in. Soon, would be a nice bedtime of about 7:30pm, and I was going to start a sewing project!

But... No sooner had the boys and I got into our pj's, then about 5 or 10 minutes into playing, Dexter comes screaming up the stairs hysterically crying.

He looked something like this:

minus the brown hair (substitute blond spiky hair)
minus the goatee (substitute peach fuzz)
minus the stupid outfit (substitute cute jammies with snowboarders on them)
minus the giant ridges (substitute a twoonie sized raised ridged crazy purple and red freaky looking OMG right at the top of his nose between his eyes)

HUGS ensued.

AJ explained what happened. Dexter slipped and smashed his face into the edge of the coffee table.

By the time I packed a bag, AJ got into proper PJs, and I slipped back into my civilian clothing, Dexter had stopped crying and was excitedly asking "Where going? Where going?"

I hoped nothing was broken and there wasn't a concussion. I knew how to watch for a concussion, but the purple and redness and ridginess of the owie alarmed me enough that I wanted to be sure his nose wasn't broken.

It's 7pm at this point. Bedtime-ish. I was in for a great night.

I went to the clinic, sure that it was open until 8pm. Sure enough, we get there, and yes... it's open until 8pm!!! YAY!!! This wouldn't be such a bad night after all! But wait.... why is the door locked?

The sign on the door says something to the effect of 'due to high patient load and government cut backs' the clinic is closed.' In other words, there are patients in there, but in order to actually have the staff leave on time at 8pm, they've locked the doors one hour early.

No option left but to go to emergency.

Long story, short....
at the emergency until 10pm with both boys awake
considering what time it was, the boys did REALLY well
it was NOT a nightmare
the nice volunteer brought crayons and colouring sheets for the boys
the bad part was that the tv in the kids' waiting area wasn't on Treehouse (the innocent child's channel). It was tuned into "Family Guy", which, although humourous, is not something I would allow my kids to watch. We stayed out of view anyhow, at the little tables and chairs.

The adorable part of the evening?

When we were finally called in (only to wait for another 20 minutes at a hospital bed - sooo kid friendly - NOT), Dexter walks in the curtained room to see the hospital bed and the wall full of all sorts of dials and ear checkers and arm cuffs and such. He says,

"Daddy bunna!" (Daddy's bed!)
I said, "Yes, it does look like Daddy's bed!"

He contined to search around the room and peak under the curtain searching for Daddy saying, "Where's Daddy? Daddy! Daddy? Where are yooooouuuuu?"


When we finally got out, and in the car, and on the road.

I cried. I just cried the whole way home. It was a long overdue sob. People must've thought I was nutso. It felt good though.

Everyone went to bed nicely.

And most importantly, Dexter seems to be fine. Nothing is broken. No blood in his ears (ewww). But I should expect his face to swell up and both eyes to go black.

Good thing he's at my mom's now! People can give her the dirty looks instead of me!

More Thank Yous

Thank you to Richard's Auntie Bev and Uncle Gerry for their beautiful anniversary card.

Thank you to Andrea's son, Cameron (and his sisters) for passing on all their awesome Rescue Heroes stuff to AJ and Dexter. They were VERY excited to have the cool boats and planes for their Rescue Heroes.

Thank you to my brother Paul, if he ended up having to watch the boys while waiting for Mom to get home from work. Or, thank you Paul for inevitably playing with the boys tonight or tomorrow!

Richard's still asleep. I'll try to remember to take a picture of him tonight or tomorrow so you can see how he's looking. Still looks cute to me.

I'm going to go fit in some cuddles now. Or maybe more... hee hee

Somebody needs to get their act together.

I do have pictures and stuff, first day of preschool, and lovely story of spending yesterday evening from 7pm-10pm at the emergency because of Dexter smashing his face into the coffee table, but right now, I just need to YELL and get out some frustration!

*Yesterday, it looked like Richard was going to be coming home on Saturday or Sunday.

*Then... it was almost definitely going to be Saturday. (home instead of the Cancer Lodge because his visits at the hospital as an outpatient would only need to be once or twice a week instead of daily) YAY!

*Last night or this morning, the possibility of him coming home today (Friday) was even mentioned.

*This morning, yes.... TODAY! Hooray. Everything was in order. Mom would be taking the boys overnight. Dad could helped me pack all of Richard's stuff tonight.

*Richard tells me about an hour ago, that yes, he's getting out today, but now, needs to go to the Cancer Lodge because they waited until ALL of his discharge stuff was finished and done before telling him that he would need to come for IV antibiotics for the next 7 days in a row.

ARG!!!! Seriously?

*oh, and that's not all. In a nice way, he's told, "And you need to leave now, or as soon as possible. Pack up and go wait in the lobby."


I'm not going to be out there until at least 7pm!!! It's 12pm right now.


I don't even know what to say.

Somebody needs to get their act together.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

A Little Bit of Good News, Perhaps?

Guess what?

Richard's making his own red blood cells!

And you can too with this cool Science activity!

(pictures borrowed from these cool blogs/websites - here and here)

All kidding aside, it's true. His white cells are on their way up and he is now making his own red blood cells!

He was told today that he might be getting discharged at the end of the week, and not to go to the Cancer Lodge, but home! As he will likely not need to come in every day or two, but rather, twice a week or so!

That would be awesome!

Some More Thanks!

Thank you to my cousin Lisa who is organising a Light the Night team in honour of Richard called "A Cure for the Clarks". Thank you so much Lisa! You are wonderful!

Thank you to my friend and colleague, Michelle, who sent some handy gift cards. You rock my luv-muffin!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Missing Him Terribly - We All Are

Would you like to know a little secret about me?

In the main elevators at VGH, there is a list beside the elevator buttons of what's on each floor in the hospital. When people get onto the elevator and choose a floor, I instinctually look to the list to see what floor they are visiting. Once I realize which floor it is, I think, inside my head, but possibly showing on the outside, I give the person a sympathetic head tilt and knowing smile. Perhaps they do the same about me.

There is this weird feeling in the elevator. Unless someone is there for a birth (I don't even know if that happens at VGH, as I've never noticed 'maternity' on any of the floor names), we are almost all there for something negative. It's weird to be in these elevators with all these people you don't know, yet you all share something in common. Something crappy.

They are pretty fast elevators. There's no time for small talk. It's happened on occasion, but it's rare. It's just this quiet, odd, peaceful, yet weighted feeling.

The elevator feels heavy. Heavier than just the weight of the people inside. It's like the 'worry' is taking up space.


Here are the last few days...

I think I already mentioned that Erica and I took the kids to Captain Kids. They had a great time, and Erica and I got to 'catch up'.

Dexter spent most of his time on the ride on cars with no money in them.

Rya hopping on for a ride with AJ.

After not seeing the boys in a couple days because of work, I took this day to enjoy them. Well, in the morning, at least. I'm pretty sure this is the morning we went to Eagle Mountain with Jen, Erica, and all the kids.

I could cry. I feel like these pictures are saying goodbye to the epitome of my summer with the boys.

Dexter's back on the wagon so to speak. Well, back on his bike. The latest bike-strike is long over and Dexter's back to cruising with style. He is going faster and faster. He's better at braking too, but still not consistent. He still doesn't get that to stay stopped, one should keep his feet pushed onto the brake, not just merely hit the brake for a second.

I told Emerson to show me what was in her mouth. She obliged.
Jen and Jaxon.
Alton hugging Emerson and Dexter.

Makenna, Emerson, AJ, and Dexter. Shout out to Makenna who is also riding without training wheels now!
Alton and Jack. Jack's heading to Kindergarten this year! Can you believe it?
Bye summer!

After Dexter's nap, we headed to Old Navy to pick up the boys' costumes before all the sizes are gone. AJ will be Batman and Dexter will be Superman. They were pretty darned excited. I bought AJ's a little big, as I knew these would be used for dress-up too. They've already worn them twice each. The first time being at Auntie Brenda's house. I hadn't visited Auntie Brenda, Uncle Al, and cousin Michelle in some time. Maybe since Father's Day!? They live really close to Old Navy and it was a perfect, untimely (dinnertime and I didn't pack ANYTHING for the boys which is very much unlike me) visit! The visit was great. The boys were bombing around in their costumes. Auntie Brenda filled them full of treats like mini-Ritz! Michelle put on a movie a little later for them, as it closed in on their bedtime. And all three of them played with boys lots. It was really nice. It meant there would be a big, very late bedtime snack at home, but that's okay! It was worth it! Thanks for the great visit you three!

Blurry phone pic, but here's cousin-Michelle wrestling with the boys before we got into the car.

‎-says AJ in the car: "Mom, Dexter is sleeping and eating. You should look at him. He's sleeping, but he's picking up french fries and putting them in his mouth and chewing. He really is, Mom!"

We fit in some sun, fun, the pool, and washing a car in the morning! The boys had fun playing with the hose.
Once they went down for nap, I relaxed a little and then started the packing for a VERY special Friday night! All three of us would be having a sleepover with someone VERY special.
1. Dexter would be spending the night with my mom and Ken.
2. AJ would be spending the night with my dad for the very first time!
3. I would be having a sleepover with Richard at the hospital!
Mom came to get Dexter. AJ and I headed to Richmond. It was another spectacular drive. Aaaahhh, the pleasure of avoiding the Port Mann Bridge and most of hwy #1. Ahhh.
AJ and I had to detour to Superstore in Richmond to pick up Richard some things he needed, like freezies. I forgot how easy it is to go to a grocery store with one child! Especially, a 4 year old! Wow. I venture to say it was fun. AJ kept saying things like, "Isn't this great, Mom? Just you and me and no Dexter. We don't have to chase him or worry. We can just go in the store, get what we need for Daddy, and get out. It will be so fast. We don't even need a cart!"
I kid you not. That is like word for word. He pays too much attention sometimes.
My dad took us to White Spot for dinner. AJ was thrilled to get a Pirate Pak and was rubbing my dad's arm reminding him that, "Grand-Dan. I had a nap today, so I get to stay up late at your house. Mom said." I had to remind him that we were already eating late at 7:30pm, and that by the time he got to Dad's place, he might need to go to bed.
I guess Dad's a little out of practice with actually 'putting' a kid to bed and was, rather, waiting for AJ to fall asleep which would be like watching grass grow or paint dry. AJ, evidently, stayed up until about 1am. lol. Oh Dad.
Dad and AJ dropped me off at the hospital close to 9:30pm or so. I think I woke Richard upon arriving. It was a little tough to see him looking as rough as he did. You see, last year, he shaved his head before starting the chemo, so he was bald when he started. I think that was itchy for him when the stubble was falling out, so this time, he didn't shave first. He had told me that one of his nurses had told him it looked pretty bad (after Richard rubbed a lot off in the shower, I believe), but I was not prepared for what I saw. Richard has the full on 'cancer look' going on. You know, the baby-hair-patchiness. He just looked so sad and so sick and so fragile. It just broke my heart. Worse, that I hadn't seen him in a whole week due to the boys being sick. We hugged and kissed, lots.
I met his 'favourite-cute-nurse'. The one he claims looks like a middle-eastern version of myself (I don't see it). Anyhow, I don't think she meant to make me feel badly, but when she was 'so happy to meet' me, finally. She made a comment about being so happy someone was here for Richard. "At least so he has someone to talk to!".
That did not sit well with me, but I tried to be understanding that she is unable to see the situation from our vantage point. It probably doesn't help that Richard's roomate's wife is there like every day (I think they live on the Island and they're both having to stay in Vancouver right now... yikes... that's got to be tough).
Like last time, he let me cuddle for a bit, sharing his bed after some tears were shed on my part. Man, I miss that guy. If you don't already know how wonderful Richard is, I can't even begin to explain.

Nice visit with Richard. I finished the novel I was reading. Sadness. I need another one now.
Richard STILL has this fever. The Tylenol seems to be keeping it down at 38 C, but still, there seems to be no end of this fever in sight!
Richard saved me his butterscotch pudding. Despite the crap food that this hospital serves, its Butterscotch Pudding rocks my world. Mmmmm.
I'm sure VGH doesn't actually use brand name pudding, but it was THAT good. Did you know that I love butterscotch? When I go to Dairy Queen, which is almost never, to get a dip-cone, I don't get chocolate dip. I get butterscotch.
Richard and I soaked up each other's company. His neutrophils (or white cells, I can't remember) went up to .1 and I'm pretty sure, have stabilized there which is hopefully, good news.
Dad and AJ came to pick me up for dinner after a fun, yet disappointing day with regard to the trail-a-bike. As I suspected and predicted, AJ's legs weren't long enough, leaving him with no where to rest his feet for balance. This quite freaked him out. That trip resulted in a skinned knee, mildly punctured hand, and a depressed little attitude that took a toll on the rest of Grand-Dan's grand-plans (didja like that rhyme?) *** read later for a juicy tidbit of dirt about AJ's visit to Grand-Dan's.
Dad very kindly decided to keep AJ for another night. AJ was VERY excited. I headed back to the valley to pick up Dexter.
On the way, I let Mom know what my status was looking like. With the impending rain, her and Ken had decided not to go to 100 Mile, so Mom offered to keep Dexter another night too.
Please do not ask me how much I got accomplished with both of my boys out of the house. Please.
Meanwhile, in Nova Scotia, Norma (Richard's mom) was hit with a hurricane! She's okay, thank goodness, but it was pretty freaky, apparently. We're glad you're okay, Norma!

I was SO lucky! Mom and Ken brought out Dexter, and then Dad brought out AJ later. The boys and I had a special night with stories, movies, and cleaning up and rearranging the playroom.
Dad very kindly took Richard's clean laundry that I had done back home to take to Richard! Thanks, Dad for taking AJ!
-Thanks, Mom for taking Dexter!
Sunday night wasn't a good sleep for Richard or I. It's a long story, but it involves me being scared at home alone and calling him/texting him at about 2am. Sorry about that, Richard.
My dad was introduced to my inability to make clothing decisions ahead of time for the boys = overpacking. He commented on the fact that I packed way too many clothes, "especially shoes". lol. Oh Dad.
Perhaps my dressing of AJ and Dexter the same each day is taking a toll on AJ. He wouldn't get dressed this morning until he knew what Grand-Dan was going to wear. He came wearing white sneakers "just like Grand-Dan", jeans "just like Grand-Dan", and a tank top "just like Grand-Dan". It was pretty cute.

Gym was closed, so I still couldn't go. I feel pretty crappy. It was a stay-at-home kind of dreary day.
After naps, I was prepared to drag my brood to the supermarket, but Auntie Erica offered to take them while I went! I finished up around 5:30pm, unloaded at home, and then headed to Erica's where her and Kevin had me and the boys for dinner. Thanks so much you two! That was really nice.

So, before sending AJ to my Dad's, it was possibly going to be AJ AND Dexter staying at his house. I was planning on writing out their routines, food, sleep, etc. I was going to pack pre-made meals and snacks. When it switched and now Dad was only going to be taking AJ, I thought, "eh... he's four. I don't need to pack anything but clothes." I verified that Dad had 'breakfast food' at his house. He did. I packed AJ's water bottle, and that's it.
Here's AJ's normal routine:
7:30/8:30am - wake up - fruit and milk smoothie followed by toast or a bowl of cereal and sometimes half a banana
10am - morning snack - half a granola bar and maybe some fruit or fruit snacks
12pm - lunch - veggies, fruit, protein, carbs, cheese, water and/or juice
3pm - afternoon snack - yoghurt and some crackers or veggies
5:30pm - dinner - meat, carb, veggies, and fruit for dessert (milk to drink)

Here's AJ's Saturday with my dad before picking me up around 5pm
7am - wake up - orange juice

11am - some pancakes, bacon, and bananas for brunch

5pm - picked me up

lol. Too funny. Oh Dad.

And Some More Thanks

I keep giving thanks to my Mom, Ken, and Dad. They are close by to help in lots of ways.
Let me take this chance to send out some heart-felt thanks to Norma and Bud (Richard's parents). They are not nearby, but that doesn't mean that they haven't been a HUGE help. They're behind-the-scenes.

Thank you Norma and Bud!

Thank you Mom, Ken, and Dad!

And thanks to Erica and Kevin for letting me grocery shop in peace and feeding us dinner!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

I Haven't Any Pictures from my Phone Today

Technically, there are some pictures on my phone from taking the boys to Captain Kids with Auntie Erica (thanks for joining us!, Jack, and Rya), but
1. They're not that great.
2. I'm just wiped and in no mood to upload pics from my phone.

I swear that if I look back at this time in Richard's treatment last year, I complained of headaches for several days just like I'm experiencing now.

I had pro-d's for work today and yesterday. I came home with a headache today and yesterday, I started getting a visual migraine at work, took some Tylenol (Thanks Jen!), nipped it in the bud and it only turned into a headache rather than an actual migraine.


I haven't been to the gym since last Friday. Double-yuck. Feel like crap.

But, then again, I can't complain. Someone always has it worse.

Speaking of Richard....

Missing him lots, well, terribly, actually. The boys have sniffly noses and in the last two days, a cough. Couple that with being at work the last two days, and it means not taking them to visit Richard this week. He's sick enough. He doesn't need germ infested parasites, I mean kids.

Richard's been feeling pretty badly the last few days. Still has a fever, but I think it's hovering more around 38 C. His bone marrow biopsy turned out 'all clear' as expected. So, what now? I don't really know. I guess we're still waiting for an excellent match, and we're definitely waiting for Richard's numbers come back up. I sure hope he gets to spend a little bit of time at home before he goes through whatever it is he'll be enduring next. Would be great to have him home to love and cuddle.

Not sure if I'll be staying over this weekend or not. Depends on what I can iron out. Dad isn't opposed to taking both boys overnight (it would be his first sleepover with the boys!), but he was also keen on taking AJ possibly around the sea wall or something on a trail-a-bike, so that would not be doable if he had Dexter too.

This picture is of a trail-a-bike for those who don't know what one is. This is NOT a picture of AJ and my

Hmmm... wonder if he'd like to borrow the bike trailer? hee hee

More thank yous

I hope I'm not forgetting anything! It's hard to remember what days I received cards and such since I worked this week. I'm all a jumble.

Thank you to my BabyWhisperer Mar/Apr 2006 Babies - Birthclub Girls (friends) who sent an unbelievable package of gift cards and help and stickers and fun for the boys. Sometimes I just don't know what I'd do without these girls. And the shocker? Out of the 16 girls who went in on the package (thank you Keri for taking on the organizing role), I've only actual met 3 of them! They are from all over the world... Canada, USA, Singapore, Poland, Estonia, Scotland, England, Russia, and Australia. Wow. It blows my mind just to write that. Thank you so much girls. You just have no idea how much it means to Richard and I.

Speaking of people I've never met! Wendy, a friend of Richard's mom's, sent us a card and gift as well. So thoughtful. So generous. Just brings a tear to my eye. Thank you.

A thank you to all of my colleagues who sent their well wishes, prayers, and good health vibes to Richard. It's always good to know there's so much positive energy heading Richard's way.

A thank you to my dad who picked up Richard's laundry for him yesterday to clean and return to him since I wouldn't be getting out to him in time. That was a really big help. Thanks Dad.

A thank you to Kim and her helpers (my brother Paul, her friend Kareen, and her friend Caitlin) for watching the boys for these two days while I was at work!

Thank you to Richard for chatting with me on the phone at Costco to be sure I was buying the right stuff!

Love you, Richard. We are thinking about you all the time. I'll give you a call right now to say 'goodnight'.