Thursday, April 29, 2010

The compassion of siblings.

One of Eve's Chemo Angels sent the kids a package the other day with some gifts in it, including three Mickey Mouse lollipops from Disneyland. I let Dan and Nat have first dibs at the candy, Daniel choosing the green and Natalie choosing purple, leaving Eve with the orange pop.

Eve was not happy with this. She is used to getting what she wants when she wants it. And she wanted purple.

Eve: I want purple!
Nat: You get orange. The purple is mine.
Dan: Eve, Natalie has purple. You can have the orange.
Eve: I want green!
Dan: Green is mine.
Dan: Eve, when it's your birthday, I will give you an orange lollipop and a green lollipop.
Nat: Yeah! When it's your birthday, I'll give you an orange lollipop and a green lollipop, too.


Nat: But first- it's not your birthday.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

She can point her fingers AND do the twist.

Totally cute, right? Eve got this outfit (sans Dan's slippers) in the mail from one of her Chemo Angels. I'm not quite sure when I'm allowed to wash it since she doesn't want to take it off. "I'm a bow-wa-weena!"

And I'm hoping we'll get through the last chemo without any side-effects like neuropathy (or the slappy-foot). Look at her! She can go up, go down, get back up and turn around!

Today's fluff post was brought to you by the letter C.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Christy Bueller's Day Off

Saturday marked our 6th wedding anniversary. We got lots of well wishes, including an extra-special one from Scott S. of Raleigh, NC: "Congratulations! And to think nobody believed me when I said you would make it this far..."

Note the absence of gray hair, dark circles, and "baby weight."

With my parents in town to preside over Camp Kiddo, Matt and I left at lunch time to spend the whole day out of the house. And what a good day that was! I mean, I love my kids, but I also love going to the bathroom in private. Even if going to the bathroom in private means using a Port-a-John in public.

We headed out to the NC Museum of Art which had just reopened. Being away from the kids, it felt like we were playing hooky a la Ferris and Sloane. It was empowering, like the first woman to who wore really big shoulder pads must have felt.

There were dementors, but they didn't bother us.

We also seemed to be walking through a crime scene, but no one seemed too concerned.

After we managed to escape without tripping over anyone, we went to the World Beer Festival downtown to enjoy endless 2 ounce servings of tasty beverage. Which was the perfect pre-game event for our final destination...going to see The Breakfast Club at Lincoln Theater. They are one of our favorite bands who play nothing but 80s covers, and only the ones that you would know the words to. I'll be the first to admit that I have not kept up with any current music since high school, and am painfully aware that all the bands I go to see will probably be dead within ten years of natural causes.

While Matt and I were listening to the glory days of hair bands gone, Eve was apparently channeling her inner angry rock star who needs no stinkin' mic. Listen to her project! I had no idea the sandbox had such good acoustics.

She can start her own no-hair band.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


It's National Turn-Off TV week and we are trying our best to keep the kids away from the television and computer. And it's hard. Seriously. Where did all these kids come from and why are they calling me "Mom?"

Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of it. A lot. It's just that I can't figure out how to make dinner when they are nipping at my heels. I want to say, turn on PBS and leave me alone! But maybe this week is God's way of reminding me to donate to public television.

We've cooked together. Some of you may remember Nat's quest for strawberry pie at Christmas. Well, we got the strawberries, we made the pie. And you know what? Apparently what she really wanted was pumpkin.

But the cherry on the top of this week was getting Daniel up at 5:30 to go to the hospital for his adenoidectomy. I'm so not a morning person, and this is a trait I have passed onto my son. But I was pleasantly surprised when I went into his room, rubbed his back, and he sat straight up. "Is it time for Dr. Garside to take out my adenoids?"

So as we waited for his turn in the O.R., he was asked by many people what he was having done. "I'm getting my boogers out so I can breathe through my nose."

He was given yellow hospital socks, you know, the ill-fitting, non-skid ones with the grippy stuff on both sides. (Am I the only one who thinks that's weird to have it on both sides? Is it so you can turn them around if they get dirty? That's like turning your underwear inside out from the day before.) These socks would prove to be his most prized possession. For those of you who don't know, Dan's favorite color is yellow. And the yellow socks match the yellow rain boots. The yellow rain boots seem to match everything, or at least Dan thinks so, since he wears them with...everything. And he loved his new socks so much, he brought them for show and tell today.

Dan was given some Versed, which I have seen Eve take with little to no effect. However, this stuff worked great on Daniel, and after he spritzed on some Eau de Chill, he melted into a puddle of calm in my lap on the hospital bed. Normally he can't sit still and is always elbowing my face or kneading my stomach like a cat in an effort to get comfortable. With Versed, he would have been comfortable on a bed of rocks, or even a sofa bed! It was to my supreme disappointment that the hospital does not offer to-go cups of it.

The doctor came in and Dan asked what he was going to do with his adenoids after he took them out. "I'm going to go catfishing with them!" To which Dan would later repeat the story as, "Dr. Garside is going to take my adenoids out and give them to a fish cat because it has whiskers and eats yucky things!"

And after the surgery, the doctor told me Dan's adenoids were in fact quite yucky. Huge and nasty if I remember correctly. Maybe I'll skip the fried catfish dinner this weekend.

Daniel woke up completely disoriented and terrified of the tubes and leads taped to him, and his first instinct was to start disrobing. (I hope he doesn't start stripping when he gets that fight-or-flight response later in life.) It took a good while to calm him down enough where he would take one sip of juice so he could be disconnected from the IV, but it was done with the help of the yellow socks. The yellow socks await if you take a drink, Daniel!

I politely listened to the nurse go over the discharge instructions during Daniel's wailing. I almost pulled out my laminated cancer card to let her know she could speed things up. Sedation? Been there, done that, at least 15 times in the past six months. But I decided to pretend I was a normal parent who hasn't been through all of that other stuff and acted as though this was a very big deal and vowed to make sure he didn't participate in much physical activity for the remainder of the day while giving him Tylenol with codeine to relieve any discomfort.

Codeine naps are the best!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The countdown begins.

Long story, extremely short version:

Surgery to repair port- done.

Stuff Eve full of food because she wakes up starving- done.

Chemo- done.

Recovering from yesterday- almost done. Wake me up before the next chemo.

4 down, 1 to go.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Don't get cancer on a Friday.

I realize I have never written in detail about the day Eve was diagnosed with cancer. The following is my PSA for the importance of well-baby visits.

Monday, October 19, 2009: Eve's 2-year check-up.
Everything went well until the pediatrician started feeling her abdomen. I've seen him do this to my kids at every check-up and have never thought anything of it, much less what he was feeling for. He seemed to be concentrating on the right side of her stomach for a little longer than usual, which was noticeable to me but not alarming. He then asked me to try to feel this "ping-pong sized mass" he felt when he was trying to find the liver. The doctor sported a pretty good poker face, finished the rest of the exam, and went to find another doctor to come in and feel Eve's ping-pong ball. At no point did either doctor make me feel scared of what might lay ahead. They recommended an ultrasound to check it out, and I made a Friday appointment at Wake Radiology. Had I known there was something in there that doubles in size every ten days, perhaps I would have scheduled it for Tuesday.

Friday, October 23, 2009: The worst day of my life.
I woke up at 7:30, having only gone to bed two hours before. I stayed up late making a few cakes, but the power nap would have to do. Again, had I known the day ahead of me, I would have canceled the cake orders and rested up.

I dropped the kids off at preschool while Matt drove Eve to Wake Radiology for her ultrasound. I didn't feel like the scan was a big deal, but Matt insisted on going. (Again, a good call on his part.) I drove out there to meet them, nauseous from the lack of sleep and lucky I didn't kill myself or anyone else on the road. I found Matt and Eve in the waiting room, the child a little bit aggravated from being NPO. Little did she know this would be one of many NPO days, otherwise days known as "Mommy needs a glass of wine."

After what seemed like a long wait, they finally took us back and Eve did a great job of holding still while the ultrasound tech took pictures of her kidneys. Now, I am no expert at ultrasound pictures, as I could barely make out if I was growing a human baby or a chinchilla inside of me when I was pregnant. But I did ask what was being scanned, and when she said the kidneys, I had a feeling that those large black spots probably shouldn't be on them. However, the tech did not seem concerned and kept chit-chatting with us before going to get the doctor.

The doctor came in and looked at the pictures, then asked for the tech to do it again. She whispered something and then said she had to go call our pediatrician. This is when the sinking feeling in my stomach began and would stay for the next few days.

When the doctor returned, she said something along the lines of, "I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this, but there are masses on her kidneys. Your doctor is expecting you at his office right away, and he will figure out what oncologist you will need to see. It looks like it is consistent with Wilms."

I knew what oncology meant. She didn't have to come out and say the C-word. This would be the first time I had ever heard the name Wilms.

I could absolutely feel the color drain out of my face. I remember the feeling of my whole body shaking and my heart pounding, and all the while trying to smile at Eve, because the child had no idea what she was in for, and I didn't want to clue her in.

We went straight to the pediatrician's office. I had Matt drive me, because now that I was fully awake, I was also just as likely to kill myself or someone else from sheer hysteria. We got to the waiting room and put Eve down to play with the toys. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. The receptionist asked if we wanted to wait in a private area, but for some reason I looked at her like she was crazy and told her I was fine. I'm pretty sure I was scaring the other parents in the waiting room.

A nurse took us back to an exam room and our pediatrician came in after a few minutes. I'm sorry. Though meant to be comforting, "I'm sorry" just made my mind jump and add "that your kid is going to die." We asked what Eve might have, and he mentioned the words Wilms and neuroblastoma. Whatever else he said remains foggy to me.

The first order of business, could we give Eve something to eat? She had been up for five hours without any food or drink. The doctor let us give her some milk and he brought her a few cookies. Next item: what hospital do you want to go to- UNC or Duke? That choice was easy. As NC State alumni, we run an ABC household. (Anywhere but Carolina.)

The doctor left the room to call Duke and make arrangements for Eve. I figured Nat and Dan shouldn't hitchhike home, so I needed to figure out how to get them out of preschool and to someone else's house. I didn't have the preschool's phone number in my cell phone, so I called a friend to ask for the number. I remember she asked if I was okay and I said no, without any explanation. Thankfully she didn't press me about it, because I don't think I could have said the word "cancer" without breaking into the ugly cry. Meanwhile, Matt called another friend of ours and made arrangements for her to pick up the kids.

I called the preschool receptionist to let them know my friend was going to be picking up Nat and Dan. About ten minutes later, one of Daniel's teachers called to let me know he had a fever. She must have thought I was the worst mom ever, because I told her that I would not be coming to get him, and she could tell my friend who was picking him up that he had a fever. My friend has a mild case of germophobia, but I figured cancer trumps fever. Thank goodness for good friends.

Matt and I were still completely unaware of how our weekend would be spent. When the doctor returned, we were still under the impression that we were going for an appointment at the children's clinic at Duke and would be leaving when it was done. I don't remember how it came up, but the doctor told us no, we would not be going home. Pack your bags because she will be admitted. It kept getting more serious and serious-er! Oh, and don't feed her anything else, because oncology will want to do more scans and she will probably need to be sedated for them.

I don't remember if we talked on the way home, but I do remember looking at Eve a lot and feeling horrible that she seemed so unaware of what was going on. Even though that was a blessing, it still seemed terribly wrong. We arrived at the house and I wandered around aimlessly trying to figure out what was appropriate for a 2-year-old's hospital stay while Matt made the family phone calls. I called the person who ordered the cakes and let her know that I would be leaving them at my friend's house, and she asked if everything was ok. "No, my daughter has cancer." That is like the opposite of ok. But as soon as I said it, I realized how I left her with no options of saying anything that would leave her feeling comfortable with the conversation.

It was a very surreal day. I kept wondering if this was really happening or if it was some chocolate-induced dream that I couldn't wake up from.

We got to Duke that afternoon around Eve's normal naptime (though she wasn't going to be napping) and made our way up the elevator to the fourth floor, Hem-Onc clinic. It was pretty empty, so we were immediately taken back to a room. This is another blurry memory, but I do remember two nurses having the pleasure of putting an IV in Eve's arm. And by pleasure, I mean they enjoyed it about as much as Eve and I did, although they never let on. That's why it takes special people to work with kids, you know? The oncologist came in, felt Eve's belly, and repeated what our pediatrician said about it most likely being Wilms or neuroblastoma. He said some other stuff that escapes me now, but I do remember the most important thing he said: Whatever happens, we have a plan.

Eve had her belly felt by a few other doctors and then we were taken to the main hospital and admitted. So far, even with being starved and skipping her nap, Eve had impressed everyone with her demeanor. Although the sedationists had all left for the day, there was talk of having Eve do a CT scan without sedation. She seemed calm and cooperative.

When we got into our hospital room, two residents came to do another exam and ask the same questions we had been asked four times before. My mommy radar went off when one doctor wanted it noted that Eve's tumor was painful. I told him it was not hurting her, that she was just very tired and hungry and was sick of being poked. She had not cried or winced once when the previous dozen doctors felt it. He ignored me and wrote down his version, which earned him a big black X in my book. Don't mess with Mommy.

We were told not to let Eve have anything to eat or drink because they were trying to get a CT scheduled at any moment. This was one of the longer moments of our lives, from 4-10:30 p.m. What do you get when you take a two-year-old and deny her sleep and food? I'll give you a hint: it's horned and rhymes with hatin'.

The resident's plan was to give Eve some Ativan and Benadryl to calm her down and let her have the CT without sedation. At 10:45 p.m., we were wheeled down to radiology. Eve appeared very drowsy, although it was over three hours past her bedtime and she was just given some meds to "take the edge off." The timing of the scan made us think that Eve's situation needed to be diagnosed ASAP.

I tried laying her down on the scanner. No dice! It was like someone gave her a shot of Red Bull and some liquid nightmare.

The resident decided to give her some more Ativan. She looked as though she might fall asleep on my shoulder, so we tried to lay her down again.

Nope. Not having it.

I told the resident it was not going to work and asked if we could just wait until someone could sedate her before we did the scan. It was close to midnight and everyone was miserable. But in his infinite wisdom, he gave her not a third, but a FOURTH dose of the drug before she was screaming so loud that he decided it might not be working. I'm not sure what medical school he attended that led him to make such astute observations and hypotheses. His next brilliant idea was to let her fall asleep in her hospital bed and then wheel her down to radiology and try the scan then. Maybe because Wilms is relatively rare, he wanted to be the first to see pictures of it in Eve?

We went back upstairs to our room and listened to Eve scream inconsolably until 4 a.m. We could do absolutely nothing to calm her down, which I reckon is the definition of inconsolable. The nurse kept coming in and commenting how some kids react like this when given Ativan (our first clue that Eve was special). Finally, the doctor came in and decided maybe it wasn't a good idea to try to get the scan in the middle of the night. He concluded that she might be upset because she was hungry, so we could give her some crackers. Seriously, he came up with that all by himself.

Eve feel asleep a little while later until we were awoken at 7 a.m. for blood work. So, between Thursday night and Friday night, I got 5 hours of shut-eye. Please forgive me if what I have typed does not make sense, because it was put into a memory that was severely sleep-deprived. And not to mention NPO. WE WERE ALL NPO.

Saturday, October 24, 2009: the CT.
The hospital was able to find an anesthesiologist who could come in and put Eve to sleep for the scan on Saturday morning. The doctor gave Eve some of the good stuff that only anesthesiologists can. She was taken away for the scan and we were left to our own devices again. Terrible things can run through your mind at a time like this, but none so terrible as what may happen if you came across that resident from last night again.

Saturday and Sunday were big blurs. There were plans made and plans canceled. There were visits to and by every -ologist in the hospital: hematology-oncologists, radiation-oncologists, nephrologists, cardiologists, dermatologists, opthamologists, radiologists, anesthesiologists, plus a geneticist for good measure. (We are still getting bills from this weekend.) And the worst part was the waiting. People don't do business on the weekend.

It would be a couple of days before pediatric oncologists all over the country opened up their email and saw Eve's case, and then some more time before they typed up an opinion and pushed "reply."

Which brings me to the moral of the story: Don't get cancer on a Friday.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Seriously? Seriously.

How is it only Wednesday?

This week, there have been the mischievous stylings of Daniel Griffith. (His pièce de résistance would be covering the white vanity in pink nail polish. I could only get it off with nail polish remover, but now the table needs to be repainted because I have removed all the gloss. Obviously, Daniel thought I didn't look busy enough.) There have been the Dallas-worthy dramatics of Natalie Griffith. ("I don't like you today! You NEVER let me do anything! Why can't I have email?") And then there was today.

Today was picture day at preschool. I was trying my best to get the kids somewhat presentable so they wouldn't hate me when they are older, thumbing through old photo albums. I got Nat & Dan dressed, only needing to put on their shoes. On the way to the shoes, I walked past Eve who was standing in the dining room saying, "My port! My port!" She often touches it and talks about it, and I thought nothing of it. There was no distress in her voice at all.

"Look, my port!"

I look down at her as she pulls up her nightgown to expose her port. Something is very strange, indeed; it is like her skin is sticking to the nightgown and being pulled out as she tugs on the fabric.

The moment of realization of what I am seeing sinks in. Oh God, eww.

Yep. That's her port alright, turned sideways, like a very large coin trying to poke through her skin. Again, no distress on Eve's part. She's as cool as a very cool cucumber. Me? I am distressed. This reminds me of the chestburster scene from Alien. I call Matt into the room to see if he wants to touch it, because I simply cannot, and he gives it a go with no luck. We dial Duke and decide we will take her out there as soon as we drop Nat & Dan off at school.

Which brings me back to the shoes. Daniel has yellow fire fighter rainboots that he likes to wear with everything (shorts included), and today is no exception, even though they don't go with his black pants and button down shirt. I want him to wear some loafers. Eve flashes me her port again and I easily give in to Dan's demands. So now, when I look back at these pictures of this child in dress clothes and yellow fire fighter rainboots, I will also remember it as the day Eve's port about popped out of her chest.

We leave the kids at preschool and take Eve to Duke around 10:00. At this point, the port is not sticking out sideways anymore, but has completely flipped over to the wrong side, so we lose any chance of having them fix it non-surgically. And guess what percentage of kids have their ports flip? Uh huh, 5%. And our oncologist wasn't surprised "considering Eve's propensity to experience rare complications."

The surgeon will go into her chest and flip the port over. The port has small holes where you can stitch it to the patient. Eve's surgeon will use these holes this time. Not all surgeons use the holes. I don't know why. All I know is I'm tired of Eve being in the 5% of things. Note to anyone out there who might need a port: DEMAND THE STITCHING, or at least ask nicely. Maybe I'll start a Facebook group called, "If we get to 1,000,000 fans, surgeons will always use the holes."

So here comes the big jinx: no chemo on Friday. The drugs just aren't something you want to mess around with in an IV attached to a two-year-old. There was some horror story told to us about a girl who needed a skin graft when her chemo leaked out of the vein into the top part of her hand. So yeah, I'm cool with waiting. But for the record, this jinx is on account of a technical difficulty rather than low blood counts.

We waited and waited and waited some more for our 3:15 pre-op appointment. Downstairs Eve did not make an appearance, and for that we are eternally grateful. Finally, it was time to check in. Forms to fill out and sign for anesthesia, an exam, and blood work, all with trips to the waiting room between each step. I feel bad for Eve when she grows up and has to fill out medical history forms.

Finally we were freed and left to pick up Nat and Dan from the nice family they were farmed out to, getting home around 6:00.

*If* Eve has an early enough surgery on Monday to fix her port, they will leave her accessed and send us to the clinic to get chemo. If not, then we come back on Tuesday. Just as long as it's not next Thursday, which is when Daniel is having his adenoids removed.

I can't wait to see the box of EOBs that arrives after next week. Hey, ane$the$iology, just add it to our tab.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Griffith

I started Friday morning out by being asked for our insurance card at the pediatrician's office once again. We were just there on Monday. And the week before that. And the week before that. I promise my insurance has not changed in the past four days. Isn't my word good enough? No? You don't remember us? I'm the really tall girl who comes in with the bald kid twice a week. It's beginning to feel like the obstetrician who would introduce himself each time he walked into the exam room and say, "Hi, Ms. Uhh...[looks down at chart] Griffith." After I had been going there for 6 months. Twice a week. Third baby. I guess I have one of those faces.

Eve had her blood work done and amazingly enough (emphasis on amazing) her ANC was over 1800, her hemoglobin was 10.3, and her platelets were back in the normal range. Just over two weeks post-chemo! We had to double check the date on the report to make sure it wasn't an old one. We were told in the beginning that counts normally would hit rock bottom 7-10 days after treatment and then would creep back up again. Eve has never been normal (need I tell you that again?); she would always bottom out at about 14 days post-chemo before climbing back up. Which is why the oncologist we saw at her last chemo told us to wait 3.5 weeks instead of 3 to get cycle #4, so her counts would have adequate time to recover. But now it's looking like I can talk my way into the clinic at the 2.5 week-mark, to get back on schedule. (Sorry for that confusing paragraph. Cancer-moms will know what I'm talking about.)

Did I just jinx myself by typing that? I'm not sure why I'm so set on staying on schedule. It's not like we've been able to do anything for the past six months. Why start planning now?

Today was a day where both Matt and I realized we needed a plan for our yard, and quick. I sort of detest yard work, but I know Matt still needs to do it. I, for one, have a black thumb. And if I can't eat it, I don't have any interest in growing it.

We have an very unlevel lot and the builders spared lots of expense by cheaping out on things like, I don't know, making an even front "garden." I wouldn't even call it a garden- it's more like some sad looking, haphazardly planted shrubs that would push a depressed person over the edge. One side is two feet lower than the other. Just crappy, crappy landscaping.

Matt took Dan to Home Depot to devise a game plan. Eve napped, and Nat and I played in the sandbox out back for a little bit before I determined I was too big to be playing in a sandbox. I got the good idea to make 18 trips to the front yard with all the pine straw I had raked up. That Radio Flyer wagon really comes in handy when you don't have a wheel barrow.

I thought Matt would be impressed by my efforts to clear out our fire hazard of a backyard, but all I got was a "Why are you doing that? You know it's just dirt under there, right?"


We adjourned to the dining room and ate supper and watched Dan needlessly injure himself as a result of being stubborn. We discussed preemptive Tylenol every four hours for the next five years.

Matt left for Home Depot again while I put the kids to bed. He returned, van filled with pavers and sand.

Which brings me to our front porch. Here I am, 11:29 p.m., watching Matt build a retaining wall in our front yard. I'm sure it's suspicious to some of our neighbors, but I promise the digging is completely innocent in nature. We just don't have the time to do it when the kids are awake. It's just placing pavers, I promise.

My job has been to hold the hand-crank flashlight and keep it cranked while Matt carefully makes sure each paver is level. It's hard, tedious work, but I totally got the better end of the deal. I did my share of heavy lifting though by getting all of the pavers out of the van and putting together a sick sort-of Pet Cemetery arrangement in the front lawn.

Our old 3-CD player from my high school days is in the garage, on random, filled with The Doors, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and a random 80s Power Rock CD. Unfortunately, I am reminded that the random mode never quite worked very well as it randomly plays Whitesnake's Here I Go Again over and over and over. In fact, here it goes...again!

My job duties also include refilling Matt's Gatorade cup and serving up delicious Extra Crispy Ore-Ida Tater Tots. But on a very serious note, why wouldn't you buy the extra crispy ones? Why is there even a choice? Soggy tots are weak. We need strong tots. It's like medicine. I'm always gonna buy the extra-strength stuff. Come strong or not at all! By having extra-strength Tylenol on the market, it's practically admitting that regular Tylenol is a failure.

I have done my job, holding the flashlight (for part of the night), refilling Gatorade, and serving delicious tots. I am here, on the front porch, trying to forget how cold I am. I keep adding layers to my ensemble, and I'm starting to look like a bag lady. Sun dress + jeans + sweater + scarf + boots = Natalie picked out my outfit.

Here I go again!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Yo, Calgon!

Is it ok to have favorites?

6% of you said GASP! I adore my children equally! You should be reported for even asking this question!
2% of you said Yes. I have a middle child? Oh, crap.
91% of you said It's cool. You don't have to like them the same, you just have to love them the same.

6% of you make me wonder if you have children.
2% of you voted a little too honestly since this was an anonymous poll.
91% of you know what's up!

My favorite kid changes by the hour. Daniel is my favorite when he climbs into bed to snuggle with me. Natalie is my favorite at story time. Eve is my favorite when she pretends she's a ballerina.

Sometimes Eve is not my favorite. Sometimes she breaks into the pantry and empties sacks of flour all over the floor. Sometimes she sneaks out of time-out and breaks back into the pantry to do the same with the sugar. Sometimes she throws her cup of milk on the floor, determined to make me mop at least twice a day. It's like the surgeon took out the tumors, but left me with the TWO.

But then Nat and Dan (or "Search and Destroy") do something equally butt-headed and make me forget about my bald little imp, and I'm ready to post on Craigslist:
FOR SALE- Three kids, ages 2, 3, and 4 (as is). Like new! Stubborn Determined, won't take "no" for an answer goal-oriented, hyper enthusiastic, demanding persistent, rebellious independent, manipulative charismatic, irrational creative, has the attitude of a teenager articulate. Make me an offer. Priced to move!

And before I have a chance to post my listing, the kids are sound asleep, looking so innocent, and I forget about their deft plotting to have me committed.

Take me away!

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Friday started out like any other day in the Griffith house, in that we starved Eve and waited a couple of hours for scan #15.

An 8:00 MRI means that you sign sedation consent forms for 30 minutes and then watch old VHS tapes for another 90 minutes while you wait for a scanner to open up. This was the earliest scan Eve has ever had, so the NPO wasn't too big of a deal...for the first hour or so.

She was taken back a few minutes before 10:00. I left for a cup of coffee and retrieved my book, since the scan would take about 45 minutes. I mean, MRI's are old hat now. I know how long a scan should take.

Which is why after an hour, I put down the book and listened for any sounds of distress. Nope, all was quiet in the pediatric radiology area (probably because most of those kids are sedated). I figured they got a later start and picked my book back up and tried not to worry.

About ten minutes later, I overheard a nurse say, "Kerry's patient woke up."

Dammit. Eve is Kerry's patient. Why can't we get some propofol in radiology?? Seriously, we need the big guns to put asleep the child who has NEVER stayed asleep during a scan, under "sedation." I understand another bolus of precedex quickly knocked her out for the remainder of the scan, so this was not the reason why it was taking so long.

At the two hour mark, I begin to get worried. What the heck are they doing with my daughter back there? As they bring her back to recovery, I am told that the scan took so long because the machine will only take pictures when she is breathing.

Yep. That's what I was told. I'm gonna have to call radiology and ask about that one.

We were outta there by 1:00. Not too bad at all for a scan day! That's darn near "in and out" as far as Duke-time goes.

Back home, Natalie and Daniel put the finishing touches on their entry for the neighborhood cupcake decorating contest. I heard cupcakes cure cancer. I mean, I think it was cupcakes. Either that, or chemotherapy. But I'm pretty sure that chemo works better when you eat cupcakes.

They won! Ahh, my mini-Messy Chefs. [Heavy on the messy.]

And what better way to celebrate a good phone call from your friendly oncologist than to shove a few cupcakes into the old pie hole? Yep, Friday night, the doc called and we got our first no-strings-attached bit of good news. The left kidney is larger than past scans, on account of it being the only one, err, left. There look to be no nephrogenic rests. No signs of tumor.

I reserve the right to post next week, bitching and moaning, in the event we get a phone call with some strings.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hi, My Name is Nat

Nat and Dan are official members of SuperSibs. Today, SuperSibs sent them a book called Hi, My Name is Jack (A Book for the Healthy Siblings of Chronically Ill Children).

Matt read the book aloud to the kids, and got to the page with these words:
"Having a sister that is sick is sometimes hard for me. I bet it is hard for you sometimes, if you have a brother or a sister or a friend who is sick."

Matt: Is it hard for you that Eve is sick?
Natalie: No, it's not hard for me. It's hard for Eve!

That's a good thing to remember. I don't want to let cancer define who I am as a person. Eve was dealt a crappy hand; it's my job to support her. It's hard for HER, but maybe I can make it easier. Afterall, I control the Dum Dums.