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Stuff stuff and more stuff

Dropping the kids off at camp was an emotional moment for me….my kids, getting so grown up, getting more independent and able to be on their own away from me for days at a time…not so much emotional for Peyton, who’s response to the whole event was, “I said goodbye, can we leave now?” For her, it’s more about the chance to prove that she’d make an EXCELLENT only child…

“Mommy, it’s so quiet in the van without the kids!”

“I can sleep with you now, because the kids are at camp, right?” Forget about the dad who’s side of the bed it REALLY is, but Rachael and Peyton fight over that empty spot like two wildcats.

“I like it when (and get THIS!) THOSE kids are at camp.”

THOSE kids, like they’re some crazy homeless folks we picked up from the nearest shelter.

I know you like all the attention, Peyton, but your brother and sister WILL be coming home soon, so get used to it!

Rachael’s cabin was quiet when we dropped her off. We made up her bunk and got all her stuff organized and I made sure she knew where everything was. She had counselors that she knew from last year and from church, so she was comfy right from the get go. As the girls started to filter in with their matching bed sets and color-coordinated luggage, the pitch of the giggles and screeches reached a level that I’m pretty sure I’ll have to take the dog with me on Saturday because she’ll be the only one who’ll be able to hear them!

Nathaniel’s cabin sounded like they were rehearsing “Lord of the Flies”, I fully expect them to be naked, covered in mud with a big boars head on a stick by Saturday morning. Luggage? Sheets? I think not! I could have packed him a stick and some beef jerky and he would have been good to go! It was nonstop chaos from the moment I walked in to the moment I realized he didn’t pack his toothbrush and left. Really? Did I think that he was actually going to brush his teeth with any regularity anyway? I made him promise to put some toothpaste in his mouth at some point in the next 4 days. They were wrestling, planning their big adventures for the rest of the weekend and I could already see the counselors’ eyes starting to roll back in their heads.

Peyton and I did have a really nice day today. We went and got our nails done, we went out for lunch, we took a nice long nap…and I wonder why she wants to be an only child. For our evening plans, we headed to the Children’s Cancer Center for family group night where she got to dress up in princess clothes, play with all her best buddies and be doted on by the staff and volunteers and her favorite Bertochs. In a nutshell, her day was pretty much Utopia.

Updates on the rest of the world, because today I was informed that I was supposed to know EVERYTHING and pretend to be the TMZ of the cancer world.

Jimmy Reichert is doing well after his second surgery in two days. He remains in the ICU at Tampa General, where they had to move him from St. Joe’s to have the surgeries to remove the fungal infection in his lungs. Hopefully he’ll get to move into transplant quickly and get cancer far far behind him.

Connor Hernandez is doing not so well. He had surgeries to have his port removed and to remove a large chunk of his left arm because of an incredibly awful infection. They had to go to the bone to remove what they hope is all of the infection and he has now lost the use of that arm. His bowels and bladder are non-functional and he has a fungal infection in his blood. He’s suffering. However, his brothers were so sweet tonight when they told me “Connor missed us, he laughed when we went in to see him.” It’s a blessing to know that despite it all, he is still able to find joy and love when his family and friends come to visit. He’s fighting as hard as his little body can.

There are so many that require prayer: Justen Jones, Mandy Willis, Nikki Hawkins, Brooke Martin, Kate (Sugarkate), Joshua Czorapinski (name: joshuaczorapinski)…the list continues to grow and the reasons are far and varied. Although prayers through treatment are precious gifts, please never forget that the battle goes on long after the chemo stops. The lasting effects for some of these children are devastating in their own right. We talked long and hard at group tonight about how wrong it is that even after the cancer is “gone”, we are still never back to normal. If it’s not the worry about relapse, it’s the fight to regain what was lost during treatment…cognitive, social, physical strength and ability…and for some it will always be less than what it was before. Cancer may not win the war, but it sure feels like it takes some of the battles. Please pray for the kids, all of them, no matter what their needs might be…just blanket prayer them all. God knows their names and their needs, you just be the one more prayer to lift them to Him.

Sherry and Peyton

My wonderful friend Sherry Tucker, mother of Zach Tucker and founder of the Giving Hope Through Faith foundation is now the author of the upcoming book “Unfinished Love – Walking by Faith Through Pediatric Cancer”. I can’t wait to read this book and let her enormous faith inspire me, because she has never failed to be a strong friend, a shoulder to cry upon and a warrior of hope and faith. Feel free to pre-order this book on Amazon.com, I know it will have a tremendous impact on your life, there is no way it can’t.

Rachael, Peyton and Mandy

There is a fundraiser in Brandon this weekend! Mandy Willis is a sweet Brandon girl who is battling a brain cancer called an Optic Gioma and secondary tumors in extraordinarily danger spots. The Willis family has become really special to us, the way we found each other is a real God thing. Delaney Potterbaum had just passed and I had a post about her on the website, Natalie (mom) was googling Optic Glioma…I know in my heart that Delaney reached out and brought us together that night. An email, a phone call and now we have these precious new friends.

A group of Natalie’s co-workers are holding a yard sale fundraiser this weekend. It will run from 8-12 on this Saturday at 1210 Thomas Jacobs Place in Brandon. Please come out if you can, please consider if you have sellable stuff you’d like to donate to the sale…it can be dropped off tomorrow…please think about donating directly to Mandy’s fund via the Children’s Cancer Center website. You can donate “In honor of” and make sure to put “Mandy WIllis” in the notes section when you make your TAX DEDUCTIBLE donation!

Most of you are blessed to never know the financial strains of cancer treatment, having to lose an income so you can care for a desperately sick child 100% of the time, how much Carabbas you can’t afford to buy, but do anyways because it’s the only thing your child can stomach. Every donation makes an impact on that, no matter how small or big, because in the grand scheme of things, the bigger gift you give is the knowledge that someone cares enough to give.

Our preacher made an awesome point when talking about our missions from God. He said, “Some are meant to go, some are meant to give, and some are meant to pray.” So, please do one!

f.r.o.G…fully relying on God

1 Comment on “Stuff stuff and more stuff”

  1. #1 Dawn.
    on Jun 6th, 2008 at 3:39 am

    I don't really have time to be typing this – should be out the door already. But you have a way of writing, and touching people, that makes it impossible not to respond to! Just to say I will be praying, praying, praying for these sweet children while I'm driving to work – don't worry I'll keep my eyes open! God hears me anyway.
    With my love,