Friday, February 29, 2008

Kudos for Kelly (and Megan & Shannon too!)

Relay for Life TEAM KELLY page:
Please visit our site to join us or make a donation.

Kelly has had a good week. So I guess it is good that I have nothing new to report on her. Her sisters, Megan and Shannon have been very busy with their dance team at our dance studio. Their team participated in the Los Angeles Dance Force Competition last weekend. It was the first competition for their team, and they won two silvers. Pretty good for their first time out. They got to take a lot of different dance classes with different teachers and they learned a lot. They really liked staying at the hotel with all of their teammates.

I wanted to share a letter that one of Kelly's oncologists emailed to her back in December after she invited him to come to the Christmas presentation that Dr. Muhonen did for her at CHOC. This makes me very proud of our daughter that has been through so much this year and still remains so positive. It is just nice to see her recognized for it. Dr. Esparza, who wrote this to Kelly, was happy to have me share it.

Dear Kelly,
I just wanted to send you an email to tell you a few things. First, I want to apologize for not being able to make it to your presentation on Thursday. I would have liked nothing better than to see you recognized for what a wonderful young lady you are. I am really grateful that you took the time to invite me. I was busy in the clinic and I have 2 family conferences for new patients that day.

I want you to know that I am very proud to be one of your doctors. I have been a doctor for over 7 years and I have never seen a young lady with more courage, strength, and compassion than you have. Your smile lights up a room and your presence makes people feel happy. I want to thank you also you being so kind to Cheyenne. I know that she gets very scared sometimes and I think that she looks up to you and tries to be strong like you.

I know it can't be easy to deal with all of the difficult things you have had to go through. Sometimes life is not only hard, it can be downright unfair at times. Your approach to life will not only help you get through this illness, it will help you do anything you want to do with your life.

Anyway, I could go on and on but I just want you to know how special you are. I'm sure your parents are so very proud of you.

Dr. Sam - attending physician for GHOC (Gingerbread Hospital of Orange County)

OK, you have to remember this was December when Kelly and her friend, Diana, made the gingerbread hospital. I just liked the way he described Kelly, and he is right, her parents are so very proud of her!

We got a call from Make a Wish this week and Kelly's trip is planned! We are going on a Disney Cruise in August. Kelly (and all of us!) are excited to have such a fun trip to look forward to.

Kelly has labs on Monday and her next chemo treatment on Tuesday, March 4th.
Extra prayers would be appreciated for Cheyenne, Kelly's 7 year old friend from the clinc who is also fighting brain cancer. She is going through a rough time right now.

THANK YOU to everyone who has joined us for Relay for Life and TEAM KELLY or who made a donation. Everything helps as we work together to help the American Cancer Society fight cancer. The link to our TEAM KELLY page is at the top of this post.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Long Day

Yesterday was a long day at the clinic for Kelly. She had her chemo treatment, which goes pretty well now until the last couple hours. The anti nausea drugs help, but she still gets sick toward the end of the treatment. The second drug they give her to help with the nausea is the one that makes her a bit loopy and giggly for awhile. (See photo below) But we'll take that over being sick. Eventually the sick does win out unfortunately. We finally left our 9:30 am appointment at 6:00 that evening. They kept her longer because she had gotten so sick and the doctor wanted to send us home with another prescription. She slept all the way home, and then actually wanted to eat last night, which is unusual on a chemo night. She explained that her stomach was completely empty after her afternoon with chemo. So we were very happy that she was able to eat. Then she took a long bath (after American Idol, of course) and felt better.

Thank you so much to everyone who has joined us or donated to Relay for Life. We are glad to be part of something involved in the fight against cancer. You can go to our team page if you would like to join our team or make a donation in Kelly's honor. I will be learning more about the event specifics next week, so I'll have more information then.

Relay For Life Team Page:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Relay for Life

Each year, across the nation, one event brings together entire communities to take part in the fight against cancer. That event is the American Cancer Society Relay For Life®. It’s a time and place where people come to celebrate those who have survived cancer, remember those we’ve lost, and fight back against a disease that touches too many lives.

We are forming a Relay for Life team not only to help Kelly in her fight against cancer, but for everyone who has or is currently battling cancer. The American Cancer works to find cures for all kinds of cancers. Of course, we are interested in finding a cure for Pediatric Brain Cancer. but it is nice to support an organization that works for all cancers.

We would love to have anyone who is intersted in joining our team, TEAM KELLY, sign up with us. There is a link below that will take you to our team website where you can join. Relay for Life takes place on April 19-20 in Dana Point at Lantern Bay Park. This will be our first year participating in Relay for Life since it is the first year we are dealing with cancer on a day to day basis with Kelly. But a friend of mine that particpated last year said, "I definitely would say it was a highlight of our year lots of fun, and very worth your time!"

Please contact me if you have any questions. My email address is in the right margin or you can leave a comment. It will be a lot of fun and most of all, supporting such a worthy cause. If you don't want to join, please consider making a donation in Kelly's honor. Here is the link to our team webpage:

Saturday, February 9, 2008


As you can see, Kelly's website has had a facelift. We had it designed by Nikki at Blogs for a Cause (link to the right) to brighten it up. She is doing this to raise money for a humanitarian trip to the Dominican Republic this summer. She also donates $5. to a different charity every month. She was wonderful to work with and was very fast. Kelly picked out all the patterns and colors - she wanted to brighten up her website. Thanks to Karla, who I "borrowed" the quote from in the header. Her daughter, Chloe, is being treated for Leukemia at CHOC. It just seems to describe our lives so well right now. It has been so nice getting to know their family.
Today we took Kelly to Laguna Beach to celebrate her good MRI this week (now that Kevin is home again.) We had lunch at Splashes at the Surf and Sand Hotel. The restaurant is right on the beach and it was a beautiful day. After lunch we went down to the beach and just enjoyed being somewhere so pretty. It is so nice to live so close to such a beautiful beach town that is warm enough to enjoy in February! It feels like we are on vacation, even if we are only 15 minutes from home. It was very relaxing after such a stressful week. We know Kelly still has a long road ahead of her and there is no guarantee these MRIs will stay clear, but it just feels so good for now. She will remain on her same chemotherapy protocol since it is working so well.

Kelly on the beach in front of the Surf and Sand Hotel.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

MRI Day Photos

Kelly is getting goggles and headphones put on so she can watch a video during her MRI. This is just before she is moved inside the machine.

She is all set with her goggles and headphones. The microphone is so they can talk to her and she can answer back. The frame behind her head is then snapped over her head and then she is moved inside the machine. She liked this new machine and said the table and headrest were much softer than the old machines.

Kelly is always tired the day after chemo, especially a day that includes an MRI. She is taking a nap in Dr. Muhonen's office as we wait to see him.

Kelly with Erin and Heather, who work with Dr. Muhonen. It was so good to see them today.

Clear Skies

We received very good news today!  Kelly's MRI was clear!!  As Dr. Muhonen said,  "It looks like a rose."  That must be a neurosurgery term for a beautiful brain MRI.  He was very pleased with the images.  He showed us her MRI from just before her last surgery in October and put it side by side with today's scan.  It was amazing to see the difference - it was a good way to show us how good today's MRI  looked.  It was a very good visit.  Erin came over to see us and we got to see Heather too.  I have some photos I am going to try to upload  later tonight, I just had to get this news posted first and it takes me longer to get photos posted.  Thanks for coming with us, Linda.  It was good to have someone else there with Kevin out of town.   Thanks also to Tricia for bringing us lunch yesterday during our long day at the clinic.  Kelly can't deal with the cafeteria food right now.  Even the smell of the cafeteria makes her sick.  That was probably the only bad part of today.  We walked past the cafeteria on the way to Radiology and the smell did make her get sick.  Kelly, being her positive self, said, "Well at least everything is out of my stomach now so I don't have to worry about getting sick during the MRI."  We went to the new MRI department at the Outpatient Pavillion across the street from CHOC, and it is so nice now.  They have new machines and Kelly got to watch a video.  I have a photo of her getting set up with her goggles and headphones for her video that hopefully I will put on a second post tonight.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Just Make it Through the Day

Kelly almost made it through chemo today. We tried some new anti-nausea medications in her IV before each chemo drug and it seemed to help. She definitely did better than her last treatment. As she got up to walk, she sure could not have passed a field sobriety test! She was actually pretty funny for awhile since she felt giggly and loopy, but that is much better than feeling so sick. As we were leaving (7 hours after we had arrived), we got about halfway to the car, when she suddenly got very sick. So back in we went and when she felt better one of the nurses took her to the car in a wheelchair. She is doing better now that we are home. She is just very tired.

We would appreciate prayers for her MRI tomorrow. We are praying it is clear, like it was in December. She is also worried about the contrast making her sick. It is at 1:30, then she has an appointment with her neurosurgeon, Dr. Muhonen, at 3:00. I will post again tomorrow night when we have the results.