Thursday, February 2, 2012

There are no words....

Feb. 2, 2012

We are HOME!!! We got in late last night. We walked down OUR stairs. Our house has never looked more beautiful. It even smelled better then I remember. Kayla and Aj were beaming. Kramer (aka meow-meow) came running up to see us. He was very excited. Not as excited as Kayla was to see him! Her Cat!!! It was something I will never ever forget.
Our friend Carolyn, (who I can't even describe in words what she means to me) had decorated the inside of our house to welcome us. It was so heart felt..... She ALSO spent hours upon hours researching calorie rich foods to stock the fridge, pantry and cabinets up with... and STOCKED them for us. THANK YOU CAROLYN!!!  :)

 Taken LATE last night..... I didn't want to sleep. Didn't want to waste a second!!!

Ok, let me back track a little. I am SO sorry to have left you all hanging. We have been so busy getting ready to head home. There are many tests and appointments to get through that left us exhausted. The emotions.... leaving what we have just been through. Thoughts of what we will face. Trying to get our heads ready to enjoy EVERY second of just being home. It will be such a short time here.... I don't want to waste any of it fretting what might happen. How all of this "could" turn out. I just want to enjoy being HOME. It takes a lot of pep-talks...... but we got there. (Mostly!) We also met a few more incredible people on our way out. One who will most likely be there at St. Jude for the remainder of our months there. One who we will only see for two weeks once we return. Please keep 4 year old Peyton and 10 Year old Angel in your prayers. Two more kids who should never have had to know those walls, floors or tables.

On Tuesday, Kayla finished her 31st round of radiation!!! She did it! 

 They gave Kayla her masks to keep... Not sure how I feel about that still. She wants them though. Anyone have suggestions for these morbid things??? Sorry, but they are!

 Holding up her week 8 & END of radiation beads... SO happy! Waiting to see Dr. Pai and say GOOD BYE :)
 We were joking how from the side it looks very "Han Solo"(from Star Wars)

It took a few hours (about 8) to get our stuff that we will need on the next leg into storage. We had to get all of the things we wanted to leave at home crammed into our already packed suitcases. It is hard having to pack up knowing you will need all of this in such a short time! It was hard throwing away SO much food that would have kept just fine in the freezer and fridge. Denny really did try and eat everything up. Yesterday morning after pancakes he ate 3 ice cream snicker bars. He begged for help and no one could do it. So we tossed the last one in the garbage. Because of contamination issues, you can't just give these items to anyone else.  We got checked out of the Target House. All mail that is filtering through will be sent to our home address. Who knows how long that will take though. Sometimes it takes about a week to get regular mail there for some reason.

The four of us took the shuttle to the Airport and off we went. I will have to save up my rental return and TSA stories for my next blog. There really isn't much to report except that we can't stop smiling!!!!!!!! I have never loved my house or my bed more. Kayla said that she just wanted to "relax" this morning and just soak up the house. It was so classic. Soak up the house? She is so funny! Within seconds she was asking for the phone so she could call "the girls". She dialed Carolyn's house and asked for Maggie and Audrey. Within minutes they were here and it was just like old times! What a way to wake up... I will never forget it! Kayla got to ride to school with them to drop them off. They even had some time to play on the playground. Here is Audrey and Kayla:
Kayla realized that her purple chucks no longer fit her anymore so she gave them to Audrey. Audrey... who NEVER wears anything without "bling". (look at the shirt!) She told me after school that she couldn't stop looking at them. She loves them b/c they were Kayla's. SOOO sweet!!! I love this very normal picture. I will cherish it!!!

I spent a good amount of time today (happily) attending to our fish tank. It MISSED me. But it looks BEAUTIFUL!!! Carolyn took notes..... GOD I LOVE HER. How blessed am I to have her only 3 doors down??? 

Now I realize the importance of a before picture. Haha. Can you say green?  
You can still see a hint. After taking out over 50% of the water, soaking Buddha in bleach and adding new plants, I hope our fish make it. It sure looks better... SO not important. Really? SO not important. (but it was a good work out for me... haha)

Later on, as promised, we headed on over to Tommy's Salsa. Kayla ate about a quarter of a little amigo burrito. Our goal by the end of this is to at least have her finishing a whole one! She LOVED every bite.

It was great being back in one of our local hang outs. I couldn't help but tear up. Sometimes I just can't believe I am HOME. We were blessed tonight with a gorgeous sunset after an almost 70 degree sunny day. God gave us that sunset... Even Kayla came running to our window to admire it's beauty. Taking it all in. Sitting here at MY desk. Laying on MY couch. Sleep was like heaven........ No hepa-filter running in the background. No sirens blaring down Poplar Ave. at all hours of the night. No drawers slamming on the other side of the wall. No desk to walk past. I can set the temperature of the house to the exact degree I want. Kitty purring at our feet and jumping on our laps. It's all heaven. I don't want to miss a beat.

This time home will be too quick. Way too quick. SO, with that said, I don't want anyone to worry if I don't blog. Know it's because we are LIVING every moment to it's fullest here while we can. We have a very long and rough patch ahead of us. Hopefully the longest patch ever in our lives. There are no guarantees.... so we just want to soak this up. Selfishly, we NEED to soak this up. We need this to recharge our depleted batteries for what is to come.

Tonight, Anthony and Kayla got visits from their life long buds Megan and Amanda. It was so needed. It's all about recharging batteries. Even though both kids (especially Kayla) are exhausted, it was an amazing night filled with lots of laughter and hugs. Here is Megan watching Kayla get her lines flushed.  Kayla was very proud to show Megan how it all worked.
Buddies since they were 2! 80+ more years to come!!! :)

 Here is Kayla and Denny explaining the process (Kayla is so brave):
"It's ok.... I will show you what it's like to be me for a day"

 Denny has a wonderful way of explaining what does what. Kayla makes it all seem "ok".

 Gotta get the bubbles out...
 Kayla is very PROUD to show her friend how brave she can be!
 Look at Megan and Thal's face here.... I love it. Are you REALLY ok with this??

 When you have no choice.... strong and brave is your only option. CURE CURE CURE!!!

 SO proud of this very brave girl.  Keep fighting Kayla. We love you!

Ok, So... we are home. We are HAPPY! Things are wonderful........... We are IN HEAVEN! If I don't blog. Don't worry. We are living in the glory of this moment. Even if there aren't words, I will try and at least send pictures. Sometimes pictures are worth 1,000 words anyway!!! I think I know now more than ever why I picked Blogger. This is SO me. I am all about the pictures. :)

I tried to capture one or two of Anthony and Amanda, but they were a blur. RUNNING from place to place. Giggling and getting into trouble. Just like normal..... Just like normal!

We love you all....... thank you for sharing in our journey. Thank you for spreading our story. Most of all... thank you for sharing the facts and our NEED for a cure. And I don't mean just for Kayla. I mean for ALL of our children. I never ever thought it would be Kayla. Not her. She is smart and healthy. She is a GOOD girl who everyone loves. It doesn't happen to those kids....... oh wait...... it does.

Spread the word..... the "average" donation to St. Jude is $30. So many of these recognized organizations don't even donate to Pediatric research. They too haven't been affected. That's the only reason why. One example: Relay for life only gives 1%. (relay for LIFE!!!???) I am in the relay for Kayla's life........ Our kids deserve more than that. All cancer research deserves funding... but some don't have the proper endorsements yet. PLEASE please pass this on. That's all I ask. I didn't know either....

With love, from HOME :)


  1. Oh what happy, glorious news! As Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz, There's No Place Like Home, There's No Place Like Home!! Thank you, Annie, for the delightful photos and descriptions of your return. It makes each of us appreciate even more where we are. So happy that you have returned to "normal" spaces for a time, being in the moment, with friends and family to nourish you all. As always, we're there with you in spirit! Love, hugs, AuntieAnn

  2. Just seeing you surrounded by your home MAKES me smile. Welcome home my dear!

  3. So happy you are back at home with family and friends. Hoping all of you can recharge and gain more strength.
    Enjoy every minute and stay strong!
    Love and BIG hugs,
    Lisa, Dan, Brittani, & Sophie Byrne

  4. Welcome home!! I'm crying with joy for you ALL! Soak up every one deserves it more! Have fun, enjoy, and Kayla continues to be in my prayers EVERY NIGHT. WELCOME HOME!!!

  5. So happy to see the kids home with their bestest buddies! WELCOME HOME!!!

  6. wow i bet Kayla is having a blast playing with her besties!!!!!!! Annie i bet you will cherish these moments forever. As they say in extreme makeover home eddition WELCOME HOME DHENERT FAMILY WELCOME HOME!!!! I also saw your car at Tommy salsa and when i saw that I thought of Kayla chowing that burrito down.

  7. I am so happy that you are all home. Stay Strong Kayla! We have missed you all dearly.

  8. I am so glad that you get to come home for a break and hope that you get all the rest and "normal life" you need!

  9. Welcome hone Denhart Famiky! Enjoy and recharge.

  10. Welcome Home! My girls shrieked with joy when we pulled up the blog and they saw the pictures. My six year old shouted "where's the phone we need to call her!" Because of your wonderful blog they feel as if they know and are friends with your sweet girl.
    Enjoy your time at home and please feel no guilt about not blogging. This is your time. We recognize that and are so glad you get a few precious weeks to enjoy together before next phase of this war begins.
    I am so sorry that you are having to endure this trial. But I am forever grateful for the beautiful lessons it has helped to teach our children. In pioneer times as wagons were crossing the plains, when night would fall or danger was felt, the wagons would form a circle and those that needed protection were put in the center of the circle. It has been a saying that we have used when someone we know or love needed help. "It is time to circle the wagons" It has been an amazing, inspiring thing to watch all of Novato "circle the wagons." I love that I am seeing people from every different part of my life pull together to help one of our own. I love that my kids are learning the lesson that whether we know you personally or not, you are one of our own and we will do everything we can to lighten the load...all of us. Know that when you are out, and people stop to notice Kayla's beautiful bald head that many of us will not be looking with curiosity, but with admiration for your little warrior and her indomitable spirit. Know that we know you didn't choose this war, but are fully aware of the CHOICE you have made to be as positive as possible (and it IS a amazing choice). Enjoy your time at home. Share joy when you feel inspired and we will be joyful with you. Share pain and frustration you need to and we will help to bear you up. It is what we do...the wagons are circled! :-)
    K. Freemantle

  11. What a beautiful, wise comment, K. Freemantle. It takes a village, and your village of Novato is there, with wagons circled. It is a huge help to know this for Annie's East Coast family. We thank you, thank you all, with gratitude, Annie's AuntieAnn