Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Best Christmas Present

We just got home from the hospital and we have very good news. Kelly's MRI was clear - there are no signs of tumor at all right now!! It feels so wonderful to get good news. I feel like I can breathe easier for six more weeks. This doesn't mean there are no cancer cells left, but they haven't grown in the last six weeks. She will still continue her chemotherapy and will have another MRI in 6 weeks.

We are having such a nice Christmas - and now this news makes it so much better. Tracy, my sister from Oregon, is here with her family, and last night Jenny, my sister from Florida arrived with her family. It is so nice to have a houseful of family to celebrate the holidays with. Our season truly is merry and bright.

Kelly is having a bit of hard time since her last chemo on Monday. She is more tired and nauseous than before, but at least now we now we know the chemo is doing its job. Thanks so much for all your prayers and good thoughts - it is really helping.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone who has been so wonderful in your support for Kelly and our family! Here is a link for a Christmas greeting from us.

Kelly spent Christmas Eve in the hospital for her chemotherapy but we were home by 5:00. The exciting thing that happened was the motorcycle ride to CHOC. Over 1600 motorcycles rode to CHOC on Christmas Eve to deliver toys to the patients. Kelly was interviewed by ABC news and was on TV that evening! If I find video of it, I'll add the link later.

Kelly's MRI is tomorrow at 1:00 - remember her in your prayers!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Joy to the World

Thursday was a day I will never forget. Thanks to our friends Linda, Terri and Darla and her mom for coming up to CHOC to share this special day with us. When we arrived, there were many gifts in the front of the conference room where the presentation was going to take place. A lot of the neurosurgery staff was there. While we waited for Dr. Muhonen to come from surgery, Dr. Loudon did some magic and even taught us some of his tricks. He couldn't show me all of his tricks or he said he'd have to kill me. (which is counterproductive to his job) He also told us about some generous people, that were also at the presentation, who donate money to their Neuroscience Institute and part of that was to recognize certain patients. Then Dr. Muhonen came in and they explained why they chose me. They said I had been through so much this year with four surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy and even a recurrence of the cancer. Dr. Muhonen asked me to come to the front of the room as he told my story. He said he admired how brave I was whenever he had to give me bad news. He also liked the fact that I always seemed to have a smile on my face. As he told my story, a lot of the adults were teary. It was very touching for them.
Then he asked Megan and Shannon to join us in front and he gave us our presents. I was amazed at the gifts I received!! I got a macbook laptop computer, a red digital camera, a Wii game system and games, and a couple gift certificates. Megan also got a computer, an iMac, a digital camera and a gift certificate. Shannon was so happy to get Julie, the American Girl doll she wanted, plus outfits for her. She also got a Nintendo DS with some games. We couldn't believe all the wonderful gifts we were given. That wasn't all. We also got gift certificates to Disneyland to spend the night at Paradise Pier Hotel and to renew our annual passes. Erin, who works with Dr. Muhonen, was so wonderful since she did a lot of the shopping. Erin, you did such a great job getting just what we wanted, if not more! We can tell you spent a lot of time doing all that for us. We can't thank you enough.

Since we live in Orange County, we have never stayed at a hotel at Disneyland before. It was so nice to have a hotel room there. We watched the fireworks from the rooftop pool on our hotel. Thanks for coming back up to meet us Linda! This was one of the most amazing days of my life! Thanks to Dr. Muhonen and everyone who made this day possible.

Since this is already Saturday, I have some more good news! MY DAD CAME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS TODAY! He'll be here until Thursday. We are so happy to have him home!

Love, Kelly

Friday, December 21, 2007

Make A Wish Harbor Cruise

We have had an amazing week, I need to break it into a couple different posts. Wednesday evening, Kelly was invited on a Holiday Harbor Cruise of Newport Harbor by Make A Wish. Our entire family was invited, but Shannon was sick, and Kevin wasn't home, so our friend, Linda (our stand in family member!) came with us. The boat was beautiful with 3 decks, wonderfully decorated for Christmas. We met our friends, the Diemers that we know from the hospital, and it made it more fun to spend the evening with them. We had dinner, then Santa arrived. Each Make A Wish Child was called to come see Santa with their family and was given a gift.

This picture is Kelly and Chloe, who is also being treated at CHOC.

Megan and Kelly had fun getting to know her older sister, Ashley.
Newport Harbor was is so festive at Christmastime. Most homes and many of the boats were decorated and lit for the holidays. We had such a wonderful night.

This tree was beside our table. Everything on this boat was
beautifully decorated.

If you click on the photos on our website, they will enlarge and you can see the details close up!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Special Presentation

I was going to wait until after this event to write about it, since I don't know too much about it yet, but the girls wanted to let everyone know what they were doing Thursday. Kelly's neurosurgeon, Dr. Muhonen, is doing a special presentation for Kelly, Megan and Shannon. Every year he chooses a few patients to fill their Christmas Wish Lists and he wanted Kelly to be a recepient this year. The girls have given him their wish lists and he will be giving them gifts and surprises at the presentation Thursday morning at CHOC. Then we go to Disneyland and spend the night at Paradise Pier Hotel at the Park. We feel so fortunate to have this happening for the girls. Kelly has always had a special connection with Dr. Muhonen and is so excited he picked her. We are very thankful to him and his staff for making this happen. Kelly will write more about this after we return. Friends are welcome to attend the presentation, which is 9:00 Thursday morning. If anyone is interested, contact us and we will give you more details.

We have so many special events happening this month; it has been such a memorable December so far. All of these positive experiences have been such a blessing to all of us.

Kelly does have a lot happening medically next week. She will be in the hospital Christmas Eve Day receiving her chemotherapy, but we will be home for the evening. What we really need special prayers for is her next MRI, which is December 26th. She will have it done in the hospital, then we'll go right upstairs to Dr. Muhonen to go over the results with him. We are praying that the chemotherapy has been working and she won't have another recurrence.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Neurosurgery Party

Yesterday, me, my mom, and Shannon went to a party at CHOC. It was for the kids who had had neurosurgeries this year with Dr. Loudon and Dr. Muhonen. Well anyway, Shannon and I got to pick out a gift from a very very large pile. I got the game, Mouse Trap. I had wanted it since I was little. Although Dr. Muhonen was sad to part with it. : ) We had lunch, and played games. Shannon got her face painted, and I won a beanie baby. It was funny because Dr. Loudon looked like a german elf. He was wearing leiderhosen and a small pointy green hat with pointy ears.

It was nice to see Jody and Myrlee since I haven't seen them in a while. (Which I guess is a good thing since it means I haven't been in the hospital in a couple months.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

CHOC patient Christmas Party

Monday night CHOC had a Christmas party sponsored by Disneyland. Kelly had her long chemo day beginning Monday morning, so we just stayed at the hospital until the party started at 5:00. Thanks Beth, for bringing Shannon up to meet us! She wanted to share the fun with Kelly. Diana was also at the clinic that day, so she and her mom stayed with us for the party. Her grandparents brought her younger brothers. They also met Cheyenne there. One of the things the girls liked best about the party was that most of the therapy dogs were there with their Christmas outfits!

The girls met some firemen that were there and were given fireman hats that they wore the rest of the evening (over their beanies, of course.) We didn't stay too long since it was chemo day and Kelly was feeling pretty tired. This Saturday is another party at CHOC - this time it is given by Kelly's neurosurgeons for their kids that have had neurosurgery this year. It is fun to have so many fun events this month to look forward too.
Kelly did bring the Gingerbread Hospital to the party. Disneyland brought a huge Gingerbread Castle and they put GHOC inside it. As we were leaving and Kelly was carrying it out, one of the Disneyland pastry chefs stopped her to compliment her on the Gingerbread Hospital. He invited her to come to the Bakery at the Disneyland Hotel where he works. We will try to go next Thursday when we are there! He gave her his card to call him first before she comes. Want to meet us there, Diana?

Friday, December 7, 2007


GHOC, or Gingergbread Hospital of Orange County, has been completed. Here are the artists (Diana and Kelly) and their work of art with views of the front and the back (which they left open to see the inside of the hospital.) They also wrote this poem which was inspired by their masterpiece:

Twas the Night Before Christmas (at GHOC)

T'was the Night Before Christmas,

And throughout the top floor,

There was not but the sound,

of a few swinging doors,

With Kelly and Diana,

Hooked up to their poles,

And bandages covering

their recent poked holes.

With Cheyenne in her tub,

I guess it was luck,

that she happened to have

a blue rubber duck.

When all of a sudden,

the girls heard a big noise,

and they were awakened from their dreams

of really cute boys.

They rose from their beds,

with a mind of great wonder,

They went to the window

to see what was yonder.

They poked their heads out,

and heard a loud whirling,

They looked to the roof,

to see chopper blades twirling.

They raced to the roof,

IV poles in each hand,

to see a great helicopter

starting to land.

When the chopper touched ground,

the girls went to see,

And what was inside

filled both teens with glee.

Inside was no doctor,

or patient that's sick,

who was inside,

but good old St. Nick.

And then he stepped out,

with a bag full of toys,

and many different gifts

for the girls and boys.

Under the tree

he placed gifts for all,

Yes, under the tree

that was eleven feet tall.

Then he jumped in his chopper

and started to fly,

as he sang "Merry Christmas"

and flew through the sky.

by Kelly and Diana

The girls wrote most of this poem today at the clinic after Kelly had labs drawn and Diana was getting platelets. They finished it at home while they worked on GHOC. You can see from the photo below that there really is a helicopter with good Old St. Nick on the roof.

These girls have discovered that their journey through cancer is much more tolerable with fun and humor. Way to go girls!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Party at the Clinic!

Yesterday at the clinic, I saw my doctor and I had to have labs done. It was funny though, because Diana was there getting Chemo. I saw her as she was leaving, but she said that she would come back after she had radiation. My appointment was at 10. It was about 10:45 when Cheyenne arrived, and I was still in the waiting room. So, Cheyenne and I decided to share a room. So we hung out, talked (alot), and played a spiderman game on the t.v. (not that we knew how to play) Soon after, Diana texted me and said that she was done and was coming back up. When I wrote her back, I put, " PARTY!!!" And it was. When she came in, it was me, Diana, Cheyenne, and all of our moms. Not to mention Dr. Esparza when he came in. It was actually fun. Cheyenne and I got checked out, did labs, and then we all ate lunch downstairs in the hospital cafeteria. Not Dr. Esparza though. We ate outside, and it was pretty cold. Cheyenne had to leave early, so Diana and I were alone at our table. Well, we had some left over food, so we decided to have some fun. We mixed all of the food and called it," Coratapecoan." Interesting, I know. But we used the first two letters of every food we used. After that, we went to Starbucks. There, we planned that Diana and I would build a two story ginger bread hospital. It would be made entirely out of candy. It would be open in the back so you can see inside. We decided that the name should be GHOC. Gingerbread Hosptial of Orange County. We were going to use the first two letters of our names. But it was Di and Ke. We put them together, and well, it didn't really work when we spelled it out. So, then we all went home. I fell, asleep, then Make a Wish came over. I decided that I either wanted to go on a cruise, or to a snowy cabin. It was a fun day, and I can't wait until we start building GHOC.