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First, updates on our household traumas. I got many phone calls and emails from people, especially the ones in our area, who have had or are currently having the same issue with ticks. Who knew?? I had sort of felt like sharing that my child has a tick issue was like shouting to the world that you’ve got lice….embarrassing and horrifying, but a part of life and really no big deal. I guess once you’ve had cancer in the house a case of ticks is something you can handle.

Well, the word locally is that the tick season is really in full roar and that many are having issues. These aren’t deer ticks, so we’re not in any threat of Lyme’s Disease. We have “brown dog ticks”, not dangerous to humans but can cause problems for pets. Chances are either Buffett had them and brought one in from outdoors (before I booted her to live on the porch) or Nathaniel caught some in his clothing while tree climbing at a friend’s house. Either is likely and really doesn’t change the fact that we have parasites! But the nice thing about THESE parasites, unlike those relatives that won’t leave, you can chemically treat and kill them all!

We have big plans for Monday, our pest guy is coming out to spray both inside the house and the entire lawn, and I will be dropping the dog off to be dipped for ticks at the vet’s office.

So, that issue will soon be resolved.

The wart on Nathaniel is in the process of going away. He is truly enthralled with the whole wart-dying adventure and feels the need to lift the medicated band-aid and show me regularly. It got to the point where he took off the band-aid to be replaced and showed me where the skin had lifted and was just hanging on attached to the nasty, funky little cores…can I just tell you that it was gross….like licking belly button lint gross. But he sticks his thumb in my face and asks me to pull that top layer of skin off….my immediate thought was “I carried you, I birthed you, I feed and clothe you….you ASK TOO MUCH!” But I got out the tweezers and yanked that top layer off. The wart is dying, he’s still wearing the bandages and it’s going away fairly quickly. Did you know that warts are caused by the HPV virus – the same one that causes cervical cancer? I felt the need to shower after coming in contact with the wart and was very thankful that I had a pair of latex gloves to wear while dealing with it.

That issue can’t be resolved fast enough!

Peyton and I went on the Studio 10 show this morning with Nikki Hawkins and Chad Harrod (a PCF board member, the chair of this event and one all around nice guy). This was a promo opportunity for the Fashion Funds the Cure show that will benefit the Pediatric Cancer Foundation on Tuesday – which you can still get tickets for if you’re interested in attending, it’s going to fantastic!! Nikki wore her own clothes for the taping, but carried a luscious 1150$ Prada bag and Peyton actually got to wear and show of the dress she’s wearing in the fashion show. I DID NOT SPEAK! I got several calls asking why I didn’t talk during the interview, but I am capable (and my mother and sister and husband would probably argue the fact) of letting others do the talking. Seriously! I was just there to be there with Peyton and Chad gave a great interview on what the fashion show means to the PCF and Nikki did a fantastic job of telling viewers how fun it is for the girls involved. I just got to sit back and watch my baby girl shine in her dress.

After the taping I met up with two friends for lunch, Brandy Fishman and Kara Potterbaum. We had a fun lunch and time to just sit and gab. There sometimes feels like there’s this line in the sand between the families still in treatment and the ones who have lost their child. Yet, I’m so thankful that line is fading away because I have the most precious friends and I would hate to lose them because of the loss of their child. That would make it a double tragedy as far as I’m concerned.

Wednesday I got to brainstorm some ideas with my friends Holly and Sherry who have both lost children and then today I spent time with Kara. As I’m thinking about it, before Peyton was diagnosed there was no way I would have gone out of my way to spend time with people who lost their children. I would have been horrified and saddened and unable to get past that glaring point. I would have have been so self-consumed by what it made me feel that I wouldn’t have been able to cope. I know what it feels like to be on the other end of that now. To have people who just learn that my child has cancer be completely unable to talk to me or to focus on anything but my bald kid. Yet, these are the friends from who I gather the most strength and focus. Holly shared with me that it gives back to her to be with the parents still going through treatment, to connect with them. I’m so glad because these are some mighty special ladies and I love having them in my life.

Tonight was our family support group night at the CCC and we enjoyed the time there. The kids ran in the door, I got them some food and I never saw them again until it was time to leave. They love it there, they feel at home and completely in their comfort zone. It’s awesome to have that place, it’s a wonderful gift.

In fact, it’s so wonderful a gift that I’m getting a tattoo.

Ok, I’m pretty sure I just heard my mother and Peter’s mother both fall over in their chairs!

Yes, I’m getting a tattoo on Monday. There is a group of moms getting together and we are getting inked together. We are either getting kites (the symbol of the CCC), a ribbon (childhood cancer awareness) or a ribbon with their child’s name on it. Can I just tell you that Peter hates the idea of me ever getting a tattoo?? He’s argued with me for it forever and I’ve always said ok, no tattoo. When I told him that I was getting one he sort of laughed at me. Then I told him I was getting a kite in honor of Peyton.

He got this great blank look on his face and then he said, “Nothing. I got nothing I can say no to about that. You actually found the ONE tattoo I can’t say no to.”

I’m getting a kite, either on the inside of my wrist or on my ankle. And a kite isn’t any sort of recognizable cancer symbol, but it’s so symbolic to me. That kite represents the CCC and what it brought into our life: understanding, encouragement, support, strength, friendship and love. It enabled us to make the friendships that have been our strongest support system throughout Peyton’s treatment, it gave us the opportunity to give that to other families and it has brought so much happiness into our lives at a time when joy seemed very far away. That kite will always be a reminder, not that I could ever forget, what Peyton has been through, our growth and learning as a family and the knowledge that cancer won’t always be a part of our lives, but the calling to support families going through it and to raise awareness always will be.

I have to give a HUGE thanks to a friend, Tammy Nettina. She is such a wonderfully generous person and I am just blown away by her big heart. Her daughter is a size bigger than Peyton, so we get her hand-me-downs. When I was a kid I got hand-me-downs that started with my sister, went to our preacher’s daughter, stopped by another cousin and then made it’s way down to me. This means that by the time I got them, the clothes were generally out of fashion (I don’t know how much fashion was involved in the 80’s in Indiana though) and on their last threads. Needless to say, my younger cousin usually got lots of new stuff because the hand-me-downs never made it past me. The clothes that Peyton got are GORGEOUS!! Tammy sends us some fantastic stuff and it keeps Peyton in fun, frilly new clothes.

But with this package of clothes was a purple IPod for Rachael and an ITunes gift card for Nathaniel. In the rationale that she couldn’t very well give something to Peyton and not to the other two. She’s read about Peyton’s less than gracious gloating in front of Rachael and went out and got Rachael something she desperately wanted. Nathaniel was stoked because there was a ton of music he wanted to download.

More than just the gifts and sweet generosity, what touched me the most is that it’s easy to remember Peyton in the spirit of gift-giving. She’s been through a lot, she’s easy to want to gift. But so often, Rachael and Nathaniel get lost in the shuffle. These two have been though a crazy 3 years. They were old enough to be scared when I got sick, they knew things were not right. Then they had to deal with the whole world revolving around their sick baby sister and their needs always ending up behind chemo trips, steroid rounds and whatever funky mood Peyton was in. And they’ve done it in a manner that makes me so proud to have them as my kids.

I won’t sugar coat it, they have their issues, but they are also funny and compassionate and loving and understanding. They fight often, but forgive easily. They are on the path to becoming amazing adults. Thank you so much to Tammy for recognizing their needs and going out of your way to make them feel extra special, remembered and valued.

Peter comes home tomorrow night. We have a whole week to spend together!! And we are going to be running and doing the whole time we’re here.

Saturday we have a birthday party for Baby Leo and a Relay for Life to attend that our good friend Greg is a part of at Riverview High School.

Sunday I am going to a baby shower.

Monday is body art day!

Tuesday night is the Fashion Funds the Cure show.

Thursday I’m having a medical, girly bits procedure done to take care of a fibroid I have.

And at some point we have to eat and sleep!

I will share with you that I took a HUGE round of heckling tonight!! My less than stellar math skills, my promising future in nail maintenance and my apparently obsessive blogging all got highlighted tonight. And I only have one response to that.


2 Comments on “Issues”

  1. #1 Marie
    on Mar 7th, 2008 at 12:39 am

    Oh HOORAY Rachael finally got her Ipod!!! I felt so bad for her being left out like that. And yes like you said, it's so unfair for them to see their sick sister get everything while they are left behind. And you know what, it's usually the siblings who end up with issues later in life not the sick one, even though the sick one seemed to be suffering so much more, emotionally they got a ton of attention and when they get better they just move on. It's the siblings who were often neglected, and grow up kind of bitter! You're one of the few "cancer kid website moms" I've seen who always makes sure to talk about the other kids and it's great to see!

  2. #2 Amy Nasworthy
    on Mar 7th, 2008 at 7:13 am

    I just love you to pieces!! You always crack me up. I'm glad that your getting rid of your unwanted guests and the nasty corn. My 11 year old son, Austin had a corn on his foot and it was ewwwww.
    I saw you on Studio 10 yesterday and of course I cried. Nikki and Peyton did a wonderful job!! It was a bit odd to see you so quiet!! haha
    I recently got some ink myself. I got a ladybug on my left leg a couple inches above my ankle. I got the ladybug because of Katia Solomon, she loves them. That was when people ask about it, I tell them all about childhood cancer. I want to get a couple dragonflies too on my shoulder area. They will be a reminder of all the angels. So good luck with yours!!
    Have a great weekend and I'll see you next Tuesday. Last years Fashion Show really touched me and I will never be the same.
    (I'll email you a pic of my tattoo)