Tuesday, February 20, 2007

February 20, 2007

This past week has been one of a lot of hard work and messes! We are still in the process of moving --quite a job! On Saturday Chris had rounded up some good friends (at least they used to like us until we had them hauling out tons of our junk) to help move most of our big stuff. They did a great job....the beds were set up at the new house and they managed to place everything where they thought it would be best without any direction as to how I wanted things. My friend, Julie (who used to be Leah's preschool teacher and is now going to be my personal organizer) came to help me throw away a lot. I am getting much better at tossing things, especially when I realize there is no way all of this will ever fit in our new house, and I actually want it to look nice. We are still working on a HUGE book problem. The book room at the old house has barely been touched. I have weeded a lot of books, but even with that, some may have to go to my parents until I am able to read and get rid of. Too bad I can't find more time for leisure reading. Chris is on call one last time tonight. Otherwise we have all been spending the night at our new home. This is taking some adjusting in terms of how we do our morning routine....especially right now since we have no countertop or sink in our kitchen. We also have yet to purchase a washer and dryer. Leah and Chloe and Reeve were with grandparents this weekend because there is no way we could have accomplished all we needed to with their help. Plus, Leah would have freaked out when she saw the amount of her stuff I had to get rid of (all being stored for a garage sale or to Trinkets and Togs in Waverly). When they finally got to see the new house on Saturday evening Leah was so excited. Chloe didn't seem as enthused, but she has been battling a stomach bug. I think she finally feels like herself today. And Reeve was in for her six month check-up and got four shots yesterday. Now she is the one who needs a little extra TLC. She also weighs in at a whopping 14 lbs, 11 oz. --that is actually a lot for our kids. Chloe was 16lbs, 8oz at a year, and Leah just over 18lbs at a year.

It almost feels like spring these past few days. I can't wait! Chris starts his new job on Monday, and I think we have been so busy with trying to get the rest of our stuff out of our old house that we haven't really processed all of that yet. By the way, our phone number stays the same and we are now hooked up at the new place, so if anyone calls it rings there. Our mail service starts today, trash on Friday and we are getting television and DSL hook-up as well. So, things are getting taken care of, even though we have more than enough boxes to go through.

I need to get to work, but wanted to let everyone know how our move is going. Please keep sending prayers for Leah's complete healing on earth, and continued good news from her Iowa City check-ups.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

February 8, 2007 - AFP and Dance Marathon

Chris, Herkey, and Leah

Leah with Tyler (Morale Captain and friend from Dance Marathon, James, Stephanie, and Roshaun)

Leah and Dr. Nancy.....14 months after first meeting, Leah lets Nancy touch her without screaming, "Get away from me!"

First of all, Leah's check-up went very well! AFP = 2.2! YEAH! Nancy (from the above picture) was back in hem/onc and saw Leah as did Dr. Rahdi. Leah's appointment was at 8, but we were done with her blood draw by then and just visited mostly. Dr. Rahdi and Nancy were done looking her over by 9, but we still had to wait for the AFP results to be back from the lab. By the time we went to buy a cinnamon roll and returned they had the good news. Leah always has plans for our Iowa City days, and this one was no different. We stopped at Coral Ridge Mall, ate at Olive Garden, and stopped at the consignment shop in Marion.

Second of all, the above pictures are from Dance Marathon. I have a few more I will need to post, but my computer seems maxed out with three at a time. The weekend was wonderful! Lots of dancing and lots of visits with old friends-only in much better circumstances. The whole event is a very upbeat, inspirational one. Chris presented to the Spirit Dancers on Saturday morning. He had a DVD made of pictures with Leah that he showed and talked for a few minutes. I thought he did a great job--especially because he claims it was impromptu and he had not rehearsed what he was planning on saying.

We arrived home tired and cold to learn that Megan Koepke had passed away on Friday night. Megan, who was twelve, had been in and out of treatment for over eight years.....her parents have been a blessing to us in our experience with Leah. We continue to think of them and pray for them and their daughters in these days, weeks, months and years to come.

As we discussed with some parents at Dance Marathon, life and your priorities definitely change when confronted with an illness like cancer. One of those priorities that has shifted somewhat or at least factors in a lot higher in importance is the time spent with our family. So, in an effort to keep 2007 as exciting for our family as 2006 was, Chris has taken a different job. Because we live at the funeral home, this also means we will be moving. So----Chris' new job is with First Maxfield-right next door to Kaiser Corson Funeral Home. He is VERY excited about learning and doing something new after 11 years at his current job. We have purchased a house in a development outside of Denver. Our new address is: 102 Summer Ridge Road, Denver, Iowa 50622. I don't have a new phone number yet, but will post it when we have that ironed out. Right now we are knee deep in painting, packing and throwing out way too much stuff. Leah is pretty pumped up about everything. Last night she helped Grandma Karen take wallpaper off in one room. We all looked out our bedroom window to watch the deer eating in our back yard. The entire back yard is wooded and there are many wild turkey, too.

So, once again we are cancer-free for 5 weeks...the next visit is scheduled for my week of spring break. We are so grateful for these happy times and pray for many more to come. In addition, we continue to rejoice in the many, many people who keep Leah in their prayers each and every day.

One last Leah statement.....as Leah was rolling her eyes at her sister the other day, she looks at me and states, "I think Chloe is hallucinating!" (Perhaps she spends way too much time with me?!... I think I may have said those very words a time or two).

Friday, February 02, 2007

February 2, 2007

Today is Dance Marathon! Leah was unable to go to sleep last night because "I have rock and roll in my ears." She and Chloe are both very excited about the upcoming events. Some of Leah's nurses have emailed that they will be there, so we are looking forward to seeing them in a non-hospital setting. I am looking forward to the weekend, but not really the idea that we get to "celebrate" at Dance Marathon. I am very sure our lives would have been complete without this past year. Yet, despite those feelings.....Leah looks and feels good and last year at this time we were not so sure we would be returning with her for Dance Marathon. The plan is for us to leave for Iowa City right after work/school and return late tomorrow afternoon. Leah thinks she is staying up until 3. My sister is coming from Des Moines sometime tonight as well. Reeve is going with us although I am not sure she will enjoy herself. On Saturday morning Chris is presenting to the Spirit Dancers right before they perform and then at 9:50 we are doing a radio interview. I think it will be broadcast up in the Waterloo/CF area since people from home heard us last year. The part that Chris is presenting includes a DVD with pictures of Leah from diagnosis until now. It is set to music- the LAnce Armstrong Live Strong song that Chris received at the Lance Armstrong Cancer Summit and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper.

Next Thursday we go back to Iowa City for a check-up--blood draw for AFP level. Please pray for a low, low result....if you want to be specific, I would like a number under 3!

I will try to post some Dance Marathon pictures after this weekend as well.