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Cruising to a soft and gentle end

I guess when you're as obsessive as I am about posting, people get a little antsy when a couple of days go by with no new news…I mean, I'm one of those people who can always find something to post about.

Yesterday, after consulting with Dr. Cotman, it was decided to go ahead with the rest of the radiation treatments. Frankly, I was relieved because I want to get it done and over with, but if they'd felt the need to hold them I want what's best for Peyton, not what's most convenient for me. Our clinic visit just confirmed that Peyton's counts were steadily sinking…her ANC still non-existant, her hemoglobin at 6 and her platelet count at 30K…so we went ahead with the red blood cells and it was good to watch color come back into her cheeks and see her little lips turn rosy again. Peter and Rachael showed up in the evening and we went to Peyton's other favorite restaurant, Olive Garden, where she ate a wonderful amount of black olives and fetuccini alfredo! It is startling how quickly she goes from eating everything but the glaze on the plate to hardly being able to stomach anything. She's still got little round cheeks, but she's starting to slim down little by little. All her fuzzy dark hairs are gone, she was the strangest collection of random blond hairs on the top of her head, so light and sparse that you can just barely see them.

Peter and Rachael got to accompany us to radiation treatment this morning. That was an adventure and Rachael was REALLY impressed….she kept asking the techs "Is she scared in there?"….Rachael talked to her through the microphone…..and she offered to stay in the room with Peyton and hold her hand which I thought that was so sweet of her. Pete and Rachael also got to take a trip to the clinic and check out the fun and adventures we have there. Because I had a doctor appointment in Brandon, I left Peyton with Pete to get an infusion of platelets and hit the road with Rachael back home. Although Peyton's platelet count was still borderline we opted to go ahead with the infusion to make tomorrow a nice easy day. Rachael ended up going to play with our friends the Kennedys and I brought Nathaniel back with me to spend the night. Pete headed home to get Rachael and Nathaniel is staying with Mom and Peyton so he can check out the radiation process tomorrow. He's going to think it's pretty cool, and I wanted him to understand what it was that happened to Peyton. I know it really hit home with Rachael today when she saw Peyton strapped to the table with her face under that mask. Her eyes were about to fall out of her face. It helps them stay compassionate about all that Peyton goes through if they get the chance to actually see what's going on.

Peyton had a pretty good day with Dad. They finished up at the clinic and she didn't get sick at all, thanks to the pre-medicating her and they took a nice long nap together….can I just say JEALOUS!! Pete told me how glad he was that he got this chance to be at the clinic and be her chemo parent for the day….I don't think he's had the chance to do it yet, and it's good for her to know that she can count on him to be there for her too.

Because Peyton got the red blood yesterday and got her platelets today, she was able to be de-accessed today and doesn't have to head into the clinic at all tomorrow. She does radiation and then we get to clean out our room and head out of St. Pete!!!! whooooo hoooooooo!! I never thought Brandon would look so good. I can't wait to be back in my house, with my stuff and my whole family together again. We've been warned that the radiation continues to be active in her system for weeks after the treatments, so we can expect the side effects to continue to build up…..low counts, lethargy, nausea….but at least the mask will be over with. We get to take it home with us as a souvenir….I would like to keep it for her to have a memory of her time, but I'm also open to letting her get crazy with a baseball bat and chain saw on it if she feels the need. We go back to our normal clinic on Monday morning, but I'm looking forward to a nice long weekend at home.

Peyton still hasn't had the sinus CT scheduled due to insurance red tape, but the doc listened to her cough again today and wasn't concerned. As long as her lungs stay clear and she doesn't develop a fever, she's good and it's probably just viral.

Nathaniel and Rachael have lots of prepping to do to get ready to leave for camp on Monday. They both head off for 5 days of fun and sun at Bible Camp through our church. Nathaniel has gone the past two years and LOVED it…and this will Rachael's first time….her first time being away from Mom and Dad for this long…especially with people she's doesn't know that well. It might be out of her comfort zone, but I've already had a long talk about his duties as her brother and comforter. I've also threatened to walk him to class every day next year in my pajamas and slippers if a report comes home that he wasn't loving and caring every time he sees her and that includes hugging her any time she needs it. He agreed readily. I guess it's less humiliating to hug your little sister at camp than have mom show up and embarrass you at school….tough call, but he's a smart kid.

The great thing about having kids is that God has given you these wonderful little people to love, raise, educate….and mess with! When Peter, Rachael, Peyton and I were eating breakfast at the hospital cafeteria the girls were putting change into the fun little machine that collects change all year for the Miracle Children's Network and All Children's Hospital. The money goes in, the coins spin round and round and then they come back asking for more. I gave them all my pennies…and of course they came back for more…I gave them each some nickels and hoped the novelty would wear off before I had to hand over their college tuition. Rachael was checking out the faces on the nickel and then the building that's printed on the back…it's Monticello…which, because Pete and I both know the answer to "Are you as smart as a 5th grader" is NO, we came to an agreement that Monticello is the home of Thomas Jefferson for Rachael's sake. Then she flipped the nickel over and asked "Is that George Jefferson?" We told her it was….and then we laughed ourselves silly singing "Moving On Up". I can't wait until she gets in school and realizes that Sherman Hensley was never a president! I love having kids.

We are so thankful to the Lord for two weeks that went by quickly and with relatively few problems. Peyton handled it all like a champ, and I just know that God's comfort and strength were with each her every day. We have been blessed with packages of love arriving each day and those have lit up her face with smiles and excitement. I can't thank all the wonderful generous people who thought of her…Steve B, Lisa M, Karalyn, Holly W, Tisha and Kaylie and Patty, Melissa and Brianna, Heather D. To all of you who sent those extra messages of love and support and encouragement throughout this past two weeks, I cannot thank you enough for your prayers and compassionate hearts in helping us through it all. To the wonderful friends who helped juggle the kids, who dropped off meals and just helped this time be less of a hardship….thank you from the bottom of my heart, you have shown what it truly means to be a friend in Christ.

f.r.o.G…fully relying on God

3 Comments on “Cruising to a soft and gentle end”

  1. #1 Christina thomas
    on Jun 15th, 2007 at 7:34 am

    Dear Anissa and family,

    I just wanted to let you know Peyton has been in our prayers continually. I am glad to hear that radiation is over. I hope you all are blessed with a wonderful weekend. Peyton is an amazing little girl, I see adults that go through what she does and she is doing great. I hope Nathaniel and Racheal have a great time at camp. Dante went to our church camp and will be back today. I think Racheal will do great. If I see you in your pj's in August then I kno what happened. (ha ha) Enjoy your weekend. I hope Pete has a great father's Day. Your family is amazing and a true image of being a christian family.

    Always in Our prayers,

  2. #2 Lisa Savage
    on Jun 15th, 2007 at 7:56 am

    Hi everyone,

    Glad your 2 weeks are almost over and you can head home! We've been reading and praying for you every day!

    Love and Hugs from Michigan to Florida,
    The Savage gang

  3. #3 dug
    on Jun 15th, 2007 at 8:48 am

    Beans dont burn on the grill

    So does that make Wheezy the First Lady?