Monday, July 18, 2011

The Beach...and chemo round #3

Long before we knew Shawn had cancer, we had already put a chunk of change down to rent a cottage along our beloved 30-A in Florida near Seaside.

After he was diagnosed, we asked his Oncologist if we should cancel or work around it and she highly encouraged us to keep this vacation planned as long as we brought along some help with the little's. She basically scheduled the entire chemotherapy treatments around so that he would be feeling the best he could on vacation.

Vacations are so good for the body and soul and we are so appreciative that we were able to maintain this family tradition. This super fun, 'always-game-for-anything' parents joined us for the trip. As always, wonderful memories were made.

Shawn is doing remarkably well. Despite 10 sessions of chemo sessions, he was still able to enjoy the 14 mile (carting 80+ pounds of cuteness behind him in a trailer) bike rides into Seaside that we have come to love. He obviously didn't have the same energy has he had in the past and it took him a lot longer, but the reward at the end is worth it....

 Hands down some of the best shaved ice evah. That, and then lots of...

We've had so much of it too. If you're going to be a bear, be a Grizzly right? 

We shamelessly got to bring along our precious Rudy. We are proud to say we are "one of those people" that are hopelessly in love with their pets. 
Shawn grew up never being around dogs and had a major aversion to having one in our home. One night, after 10 years of wearing him down, I finally got a mumbled "maybe" when I asked him in the middle of the night while he was sleeping.

Rudy Hercules was en route the next day. Shawn didn't even know what hit him. In our house, all the girls know that if Daddy says "maybe", that is soooooo a yes. 

So Shawn said he would tolerate him at best, and that lasted until the moment he met the little guy. Now, one year later...

Just look at that proud papa. Rudy has been his constant companion, his best friend, standing by him through thick and thin. I think they are even starting to resemble each other. He is only 4 pounds and goes with us anywhere we can take him....even on those 14+ mile bike treks. 

Oh, and the girls tolerated a few of my photo shoots..."few" is the key word here--as one, the other, or both-- just were not in the mood at all for many of my attempts to take their darn photo. Case in point...

Little stinkers.

Ridiculously cute stinkers though.

Now, onto an update of how Shawn's holding up for all those blog stalkers that have patiently been waiting for a new post...

He's continuously kept a great spirit throughout this ordeal and I believe that's why he's managed through these intense treatments so well, that, and we feel like half of America praying for him (thank you very much). His third round of  a 30+ hour week of Chemotherapy started today--he's tired, but otherwise, it was just another day at the salt mines. I'm proud of him, sure do love this man of mine.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Round Two...and a whole lot of catching up.

 Shawn started his second round of chemotherapy today...came home exhausted, but otherwise in pretty good shape. As mentioned in the previous post, the last chemo session started off okay. I pushed submit that night, and then  headed to bed to find Shawn in pitiful shape...and the following days turned quickly to the worst with extreme nausea, exhaustion and other really painful or downright strange side effects.

This chemo thing is just a boatload of fun, trust me on that.

Two weeks later, going into this next round, he's feeling good. His smile and wisdom...those have not been stolen by cancer.  He's lost his hair but not his sense of humor. Case in point...the other day I walked in on him while he was studying his new "Charlie Brown inspired" do in the bathroom mirror. He quickly shot a smile, and asked nonchalantly...  

"You think it would help if I part my hair differently?"  

Despite a couple of hard punches, round one goes to Shawn. Cancer just isn't going to win this fight.

On to other it's summertime and I don't want to be a Debbie Downer all the time on a blog meant to serve as memory book for the girls...we've have lots of fun times despite being consumed by all things medical.

For starters, our little Leah had a birthday. In that first week of being a six year old, she made leaps and bounds in the growing up department.

1. She took off the training wheels and rode off into the sunset
2. Jumped off the diving board and swam across a junior size Olympic pool
3. Read her first chapter book with no help
4. She made no complaints and gave up her dream of a "friend party" in light of her Daddy starting chemo treatments.

And the way she handled that disappointment--which is everything to a little girl with a bazillion friends and who has gone to birthday parties nonstop over her first year in school--we were most touched by that over anything.

...And we've had some great family times...


Our birthday boy..2!

Making a box car tonight.

Life is good.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ready to Rock n Roll...

Shawn is on day three of his very aggressive and intensive Chemotherapy treatment of five days a week for six-seven hours at a time. He will have two weeks off to recuperate and then start the treatments over again...this schedule will remain until the end of summer.

As of now, he has had little effects other than some dizziness and mild fatigue but the nurse said next week is when he will likely start feeling bad after multiple sessions of chemo start taking effect.

The medical team is OUTSTANDING. We are in good hands with both the Oncologist and the nurses that administer the chemo.

We are in awe of the beautiful, sacrificing hearts of those around of receive so many cards, letters and notes of concern, meals provided for, offers to help with the girls, the lawn...anything we might's just flat taken our breath away. Thank you so much.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Out of the Mouth of Babes

A few months ago, the girls were batting around the word "hate" in the back seat of the car...and I explained to them that word was only allowed to be referred to something very, very cancer. The girls were happy that they now had permission to direct that word to a "thing" and have repeated the phrase quite a bit, because in the minds of a 5 year old and a 3 year old, it's like getting away with saying a bad word in front of your parents as long as it was said correctly.

In a million years, I would not have guessed this chapter in our lives happening now. kind, gentle, perpetually positive husband, was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of testicular cancer. He's had one surgical procedure down, one to go, and then is embarking on a healthy dose of chemotherapy all summer long in great hopes of clearing the cancer from his body. Then five years of c-scans and check-ups, and the fear of it coming back to haunt us for the rest of our lifetime.

Sitting there, hearing a doctor say "'s cancer" just sends your mind right into a tailspin, and as you pull yourself out of that fog over the next couple of weeks, you realize the only thing you can control in the midst of all the unknown ahead, is your spiritual walk with God.

And suddenly, time just becomes unbearably precious. Man, oh man, I really do, from the bottom of my heart, hate cancer. wise, old soul....upon hearing the news of daddy's cancer and what was going to happen over the course of the next few months summed it up quickly...

"So it's going to be like a movie, Mommy?"

What do you mean, Le Le?

"You know...good in the beginning, scary in the middle, and then good again in the end..."

"Yes, honey. That's it exactly."

Our family blog has been used to document our most important journey's in life and this is definitely no exception. Please feel free to follow along with us. We greatly appreciate your support and prayers to give our family the faith, strength and courage to face the challenges that lie ahead. 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer Recap: Part 2

While I'm in the mood I just have to get this blog up to date with some memories I cherish!

Baby Jack's 1st Birthday Celebration

I adore my little brother Rich, always have, uh...that is, after I got used to the idea of being a middle child.

He's 9 years younger than me, and I've gotta give props to Mom because this kind of age difference really is a perfect balance to not fight much as kids and but still close enough in age to foster a strong relationship as adults like we so easily do.

He's handsome, caring, wise, gregarious, give-you-the-shirt-off-his-back-in-an-instant-kind-of-guy. And he married beautiful, brainy, talented, ultra-funny Rachel. And now they have a son, Jack...who is perking up to have those same wonderful qualities of both of them.

I'm so proud to call this family my own. And lucky us to have this little guy in our lives. I'm going to enjoy cheering him on in life just as much as I still love to do for my brother.

Our family gathered together in late June to celebrate his first birthday, and as the official family photographer, I'm always there to capture the action. I'm going to apologize in advance for the amount of photos...but I wish you knew just how dang hard it is to pick and choose the piddly amount of photos that make the blog cut. I decided, ah..what the just throw a lot up on here to make up for all the lost time until I get into a regular rhythm of adding posts. we roll...

  Did I mention how much I love my whole family? Can you tell? Cause I do. I do. I do. I do.