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It’s a long one!

We made it home safe and sound. 42.5% of our trip belongings are still sitting by the front door. I haven’t unpacked bags. The kids haven’t put away their toys.

The Wii is hooked up and functional, though! It’s all about having priorities.

Peyton proves she should have a Wii….not quite a full elbow-licking, but close enough.

All the usual suspects

Saturday’s trip seemed to take a lot longer than our trip up. It was probably a mixture of being tired and just ready to be off the road, the kids being ready to toss each other out the window and me having heard “Apple bottom jeans, boots with the fur…” ONE too many times!

Leaving Pete was hard, this was the first time Rachael didn’t burst into hysterical tears. She was very proud of herself and told me, “I really wanted to cry, but I was afraid I’d make daddy cry if I did.” Awwwwwww I did feel better about leaving him up there having met some of his friends, having gotten the chance to know that he’s surrounded by some really awesome people. I guess I worry a lot that he’s up there all alone, living in a barren house and spending all his time talking to the walls. He’s got friends, and they’re good ones!

I did give him a list of things to do in preparation for our return trips over the summer. He is to find a few more pieces of furniture, he is to equip the kitchen with the essentials to make more than ramen noodles, and he is to hang the pictures that he has of us.

Return trips over the summer….that may answer the questions of when we are planning to move. The big decision was made while up there. Taking into consideration a ton of issues, the kids and I will be staying in Florida for a while longer, hopefully making the move at the start of the new year. There are things in play that I am not at liberty to share yet, but they are good things and it is just a few more months.

We are planning a summer full of trips to Alabama. It should be interesting and we will have to branch out further than we did on this trip to keep busy. Within about 2 hours we’d seen and experienced most of what Valley had to offer, but we did make a quick trip into Auburn (one of our favorite nurses will be so happy to know that I got a great picture of Peyton on a tiger!) and that was a tease of civilization. Summer plans include a trip that will include a side trip to my sister’s in South Carolina, traveling to see what sorts of trouble we can get into in Atlanta and definitely a pit stop by Six Flags. With only a few more weeks of school left, we are anticipating a full and fun summer!

It’s so weird how far 12 months can take you. Last year at this time, we were deep in the midst of one of Peyton’s hardest rounds of chemo, we were planning for her radiation treatment, our biggest goal was to make it for our dream wish trip. Now a year later we are venturing out of our comfort zone, making real trips and trying to see what life can be like beyond the cancer bubble.

There were times, like finding out that a child had passed, realizing that we were somewhere else than Little Tales on Tuesday morning, that I felt so detached from what was going on. I talked to several friends and stayed up to date with websites and such, but it was hard to know that Sierra had gone into remission and I so badly wanted to be there to hug Mary Lynn and celebrate that news. It was just this feeling of “where am I?” These things, this life, these people have been such a huge part of our lives for the past 21 months, it felt strange to think about being up there and not a part of it any more. I know that when we get up here we will find that support we need, but I worry that I will lose part of my purpose up there. Not so deep in it, not so day to day with the families and the reality of it, I worry because I think I’ll lose that fire and passion for supporting and helping others. I know that for some, getting done with the treatment and moving out of the cancer life is all they want, and I so understand and respect that. I also think that God calls some to find a purpose and plan in it and make something of it. I don’t know what the something is, but I hope it comes clear soon.

So now we are back, gearing up for the bustling life we live. The kids head back to school tomorrow morning….at 8:15 I’ll be dropping the off and at 8:17 you’ll probably be able to hear my happy dance of joy and screams of delight. Seriously, we have enjoyed our spring break time together, but I am looking forward to some quiet again. It could be a very long summer.

We have big plans for this upcoming week.

Peyton has her clinic visit with Vincristine and the start of her 5 days of steroids. She had a rough time physically on this trip. I think that a big contributing factor was the inconsistency of our schedule, I’m pretty strict on our bedtimes and all that here, and up there it was just sheer chaos all day, every day. But she has been very tired, she’s been waking up at night with complaints that her back and legs ache, and she’s been flying through anti-nausea medication. She’s been constantly complaining that her stomach hurts, I can tell it’s not right because she isnt eating hardly anything. She eats very small amounts and she’ll tell me it tastes “YUCK!”. Just looking at her, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’d lost a little weight. I can usually tell when her issues are an attempt to get her way or a reason to get out of bed, but most of the complaints are happening durng the day and actually waking her up from a sound sleep. I’m eager to get in and get some good counts in my hands and just have my crazies all corralled back and put into the “It’s ok” box for a while longer.

We have family group night at the Center on Thursday. We have the Zach Tucker Golf Scramble to benefit the Giving Hope Through Faith foundation on Friday. We have the Mike Alstott Celebrity Softball game to benefit the Children’s Cancer Center on Saturday. Rachael’s going to a play with a friend Saturday night. Plus we have to squeeze in all that Wii time too!

Prayer requests:

Emily Lester passed on Saturday, April 5th. I didn’t know her well, I’d only met her family a couple of times. But through her website, through the words and stories from friends that we share, I’d heard about her amazing strength and perseverance, the love of her family, the way she impacted those around her. Her uncle posted the eulogy he gave at her service yesterday, it is humbling and inspiring and heartbreaking. I pray for the strength and comfort of the Lester family, that the knowledge that her battle with cancer is over and she is safely and wonderfully in the arms of the Lord gives them peace in their hearts.

I am just overjoyed to share that Sierra Kesler is in remission!! She is inpatient at the time being, her counts are very low, she is suffering through some very harsh side effects of the high dose chemo. Pray for this sweet girl to stay in remission, for her body to be strong through the treatments, for the strength, faith and comfort of her family.

Mathew Gliddon and his family are still at home, dealing with so many issues, but positively and faithfully greeting each day as a blessing. Just keep this precious family in prayer for many treasured days and for Mathew to be comfortable and happy.

Jimmy Reichert is inpatient for a blood infection. His counts are very low, his body is taking a serious beating from the high dose chemo he’s undergoing. There was happy news that he is remission again and that his sister Lindsay is a bone marrow match for him. I read a post on his website that his sisters wrote and it was just a few lines but said so much. It said that they were bored, Jimmy was so sick they couldn’t go to the hospital to together, that Lindsay was scared about being a marrow donor and that LIFE SUCKS. Well, she pretty much nailed that one on the head.

Mandy Willis is a newly diagnosed 7 year old that lives near us in Brandon. She has a condition called Neurofibrmytosis (Did I get that spelled right, Natalie?) and it has led her to developing tumors in her brain. She has an Optic Glioma that is treatable with chemo, but she has several other tumors in dangerous spots that are critical because of location. There is little that they know about treatment for these tumors and I just ask for tons of prayers for this family. They need encouragement, strength to handle the every day life they’ve been handed, and faith that God has his hands wrapped around Mandy.

Please just say some wonderfully large blanket prayer. You don’t have to name each child, God knows. But these kids fighting the battle, the brothers and sisters who suffer on the sidelines, the parents who cry the tears of frustration, anger and pain for their child, we all need your constant and faithful prayers.

f.r.o.G…fully relying on God

3 Comments on “It’s a long one!”

  1. #1 Jennifer Rivera
    on Apr 13th, 2008 at 11:41 pm


    I can feel your anxiety about leaving the life you have grown so accustomed to. I can understand why you would feel trepidation at the thought of not finding your place and not feeling as comfortable as you do where you are now. I also agree that God is at the wheel and it would not surprise me one teeny tiny bit if His plan is for you to bring the comfort to others now. I certainly can't be sure, but I suspect that the family you have at CCC is a rare and special network that can't be found in many other areas. You just may be the one to develop that kind of network in your new hometown. Sometimes God gives us experiences like you have had at the CCC so that we may help bring those experiences to others. If anyone could, you would be the one! What an amazing gift that would be!


  2. #2 Jennifer Rivera
    on Apr 13th, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    By the way – I can't believe Peyton's hair!!! It's growing so fast and she looks so GOOD! So HEALTHY! So BEAUTIFUL! Will you kiss her for me?!?

  3. #3 basi
    on Apr 14th, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Hi Anissa,
    Glad you survived the road trip.
    All I can say is you're brave. I wish we had a Wii. Maybe someday… My brother's in-laws live in Alabama and we might go up there this summer to meet our new baby niece who is expected in Aug. in Alabama. So who knows we may see you one of these day.
    I'm glad your trip was good and that you guys are happy and excited abou your summer plans. While it's tough being apart, when you consider where you guys were last year…you know you can hang in there.

    take care love, basi