Saturday, March 31, 2012

Day + 12

We woke up slowly. For the first time since Chemo, the smell of Coffee didn't make Kayla hurl, or want to. I  have found that if I spray some bath & body works body spray in the air around her, she is fine... she even likes it!  We spent the morning straightening up the tiny apartment which was much needed. It only takes one day for four people to clutter up this tiny space!

We decided to go outside for a little while before we headed into the hospital to start our "St.Jude" day. It was HOT. I can't believe the weather out here!!! If this is any inclination as to how the weather will be this summer, we have been warned. I love it though. I do! We went outside and met up with some friends,  Laurie, Jenny and Sarah. It's so great to finally start to getting to know some of the families out here. I think our guards are down and we know we will be here for a while and it's ok to get "close". Just as we were all having fun, it was time to go. We headed on into the hospital 30 minutes early. We just knew that even if we went in early, we would end up running late as usual. We had a date with ALSAC. It's time for their annual "Thanks and Giving Campaign". We were happy to help...

As we left the hospital to head over to the ALSAC building, we were surprised at how much hotter it had gotten. The kids were rearing and ready to go! They are doing a lot of construction around here so of course, I made a few wrong turns into some wrong areas. Finally, our car made it into the parking lot!  We walked in through the huge glass doors and were greeted with beautiful friendly faces expecting us. The halls were empty (because it's Saturday). The walls were covered with beautiful portraits of many St. Jude kids. There were rooms off to each side filled with memorabilia.  The sweet and gorgeous greeter told us that she too was a St. Jude patient when she was Kayla's age. She had ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia) and had relapsed three times! It goes to show that even after that, you can still be cancer-free in the end. We LOVED her spirit and enthusiasm. You could tell that working here was planned and exactly where she belonged after being here throughout HER journey. She is another example of hope.

Thanks and Giving campaign. This is what they were shooting today. Sorry... I didn't have my "good" camera obviously!

We walked back and got Anthony settled in with an abundance of snacks, drinks, games and FUN while Kayla had her own fun. I have to say, everyone at ALSAC is so patient and kid centered. They know what it takes to have families who can hang for hours and make magic happen. It is fun to be a part of.

Kayla got into wardrobe and had her make up done. Of course she was hesitant and checking in with her parents and especially mom when it came to every step of the make up process. I also learned that Kayla regularly visits my make up drawer at home... haha. We swapped out earrings and had a blast getting ready. The girls at ALSAC started to get to know our Kayla... the real Kayla. Remember, their first experience with her was straight out of her first round of Chemo. We were lucky to have her cooperate at all!

So, they did a VERY good job at making her just look natural. A little brown enhancing. A smidgen of mascara on what remains of her lashes. A little blush on the apples of her cheeks and powder to keep her dome from becoming too shiny and she was done! Well, one of the "ideas" was to have her holding a powder puff and a stick of lipstick. The idea was to have her put it on herself.... the example was of a girl with lipstick all over her face. Those of you who know Kayla know that wouldn't fly! She is TOO neat and clean for that nonsense. Maybe if she had been prepped a day before, that could have worked. She went with the flow and asked her normal 1,000 questions. She matched that with 1,000 expressions. We all had a blast with Kayla today. Here is her face after the lipstick! WHOA...
These pictures will air in black & white with a smidgen of green infused into the wardrobe by choice. I am too tired to remember the name of it... but you know what I mean. You've all seen it!

We did a few different approaches and found a few favorites in each. Kayla was full of spunk and laughter. She was good at being "serious" when asked too which seems to be ALSAC's favorite look on Kayla so far. 
Dad keeps her laughing....

All in all, such a great thing to be a part of. If we have learned anything though all of this, its that pediatric cancer is grossly underfunded. We are happy to dedicate our time to help in any way!

We returned back to the apartment to have a snack and to gather up our outdoor toys. I gathered up my clippers. We would FINALLY be allowed to use the salon room that they have here (next to the work out room) so that I could give Anthony and Denny some haircuts. What a treat that was to not have those tiny microscopic hairs to clean up after. We headed on out after to play play play! 

The clouds started rolling in and we felt an occasional big drop fall on us from time to time. It reminded me of Hawaii a bit, minus the smells of those amazing tropical flowers. The grass seemed fluorescent green and the air was warm and a tad moist.  Families were starting the barbeques and we were all getting hungry smelling them!  

 "UM... Anthony... GET OUT OF THE TREE!!!!!"

 Kayla taking a time out enjoying looking at the charms on her bracelet that remind her of home

 This kid is SO athletic! It's crazy!!!

This SHOULD be their softball pic this year. Next year will look a lot different!

We had a heart felt talk tonight with Kayla about various types of cancers. About how some tumors can't be operated on at all. About how some only end up in a partial resection (and what that means). She understands that we were lucky to have hers completely removed. She also understands that sometimes it still means that the cancer can return after treatment. We explained how important all of this research is and how we need to raise money for a CURE. That even if this treatment is her cure... it might not be the cure for too many of these wonderful kids. We are happy to help however they need us while we are here... and we will continue our fight to find a real cure until there is one!


  1. I read this last night, but just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading it and seeing the pictures. I always enjoy reading the blog, but this was one where I really felt like I was there with you guys. I could even feel the Memphis heat which is nice to feel because of the recent rain and cold in Novato. The kids are beautiful. Anthony is crazy athletic and love seeing the spunkiness of Kayla. Love you guys!!!

  2. Thank you guys so much for these posts. It is great to see some beautiful smiles on Kayla, knowing she is enjoying the outside, a movie out, and playtime together with her brother makes me smile for you guys. Even though you are all far away from California...I hope that you are finding another 'home' among people that can truly get what you are walking through....step by step. Prayers from Northern Cali continue!!