Friday, June 22, 2012

The upside to Cancer? Day +9

What a day! Wow... My head is whirling in so many directions.  Today has probably been one of the funnest days in our life. How is that possible when we are here? Battling. Who knew?! You aren't supposed to have fun days when you are going through cancer. You aren't supposed to be laughing and playing or listening to live music, right? You certainly aren't supposed to be out doing all of these fun things while dear friends are stuck in the Med Room because their daughter had a bad reaction to platelets and is covered from head to toe in hives. You also aren't supposed to enjoy yourself while friends are holding their babies while they fight through high fevers, rashes, oxygen rates spiking and plummeting because they are going through a very risky transplant. For sure, there were times today when during these fun moments I found myself staring into space thinking of them and how it doesn't quite feel right having fun when I know they can't be out.  For sure, I teared up during Jordin's song titled "Faith" thinking of all we have been through and all that friends are still going through. I will miss it here....

Ok, so maybe I wasn't entitled to fun, but Kayla and Anthony are. That in itself gives me peace about it all. Our day started out with a private concert from Jordan Sparks. We were second in line to get in and got wonderful seats. Second row. Center. Probably the only time we will ever get seats like that! What a beautiful girl inside and out! Just so sweet. So Real. Kayla had been looking forward to this as soon as she heard who the artist would be. I made sure to get up early to "bet the crowd" and get her the best seat I could. What I didn't expect was for her to fall asleep near the end! Just as Kayla was nodding off in her dads arms trying to fight through some tummy pain, Jordin waved to her. It was so sweet. We can't wait to go and see her movie Sparkle when it comes out in August. You can't help but feel like she is a friend when you go to one of her shows. She is great at connecting to her audience. Anyway, she has a very special place in my heart now for coming here and doing this for these kids!
 The stage is set and the red carpet rolled out. We are excited!
 Yes, she's dancing! You know how this kid loves to groove... SO excited waiting for the show!
 Miss Jordin Sparks! Look at our seats!! :)

After the show, we enjoyed a nice lunch hosted by Corky's BBQ  and headed back to the Target House to rest up before the big party. I wasn't sure how all of the kids would all handle it outside because it was SO hot out, but by the time 5:00 hit, the sun started to get lower and a nice breeze started up. Kayla's spirits were high, so we went out to enjoy ourselves. After watching the preparations for days here, it was so much fun to sit and admire all of the hard work that went in to creating the magic of tonight. Pinwheel flowers were on every table and all over the hill. Everything shined. What made it even better was seeing the smiles on everyone's faces. Clearly, everyone was enjoying themselves. I watched and laughed as the kids had fun taking turns at the dunk tank. It's not every day that you get to take turns dunking pro-athletes.  It was great to see everyone just having a good time! Music played outside. There were huge bins for tie-dying shirts. A volley ball net was a hit complete with an array of brightly colored beach balls. Scott Hamilton and his sweet and beautiful wife, Tracie were also mingling. The Hamilton's were the incredible donors of two of our favorite rooms here at Target House. The Craft room... you KNOW how much Kayla and Anthony love it in there! And also the Gym which Mom and Dad have appreciated so so much! Just more wonderful, beautiful, down to earth people we are proud to call friends!  I can not say enough about what today meant to us. We have just been so blessed to be here surrounded by so many wonderful families going through the same things as us. It's not fair, no. But, we continue to take the positive route. Smiling as we go. Crying when we need to. Laughing and tickling our crazy kids. Forcing them to hug and love on each other whenever we can. It's not the year we envisioned, but I still feel blessed. Life is what you make of it.... so make it GOOD. Surround yourself with people who keep you lifted and you will feel blessed too. 
 Look at this peanut! She is eating. Trying SO hard to get off of this TPN. I am soooo proud of her!
 Who can't stop to watch this kid dance? I LOVE that she doesn't give a hoot who's watching!

 Ice Cream for dinner? Only at St. Jude! Yes, please!
 Kayla and Marcus (Angiel's brother)

 Kayla and Angiel. We will MISS each other so much.

 Brought together by chance. Bonded by choice. Angiel will have her second surgery on Monday. Please share your good thoughts/vibes/prayers with her!!!!
Two of the coolest, most down to earth people we have had the pleasure of meeting here. Scott and Tracie Hamilton! Love you guys <3  Thank you for ALL you have given to these kids. You guys ROCK!


  1. So freaking great to see all of you having such a fun, FUN day!!! You ALL deserved it, Annie, believe me!!!

    It just warms my heart tenfold to see the joy on your faces in these pictures, especially our Kayla.

    Celebrate LIFE!!!

    Love you all infinity,


  2. WOW! Wonderful! So happy to see so many smiles and all the magic. Love, Mary and Frank Hoburg

  3. Glad to see Kayla feeling good and gettin' down. Love that you can enjoy such a special day! Leslie, Randy, Keira and Cam

  4. All of you deserved this wonderful day!!!! Cherish every laugh, smile and happy feeling, don't feel guilty for it, it might help those around you who are struggling to remember how that feels.
    They will see your strong family and find the will to be strong too. Love, love watching Kayla dance!

    Love and Big hugs,

    Lisa Byrne

  5. Emily (Hoburg) RaakaJune 22, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    This was all so wonderful to see!

    We send you love... We saw Jordin Sparks in concert and she is so wonderful. It is great to see Kayla so thrilled, and such a huge treat to see Scott Hamilton and his wife and what they have done!


  6. Cristi Boyle BarrettJune 22, 2012 at 9:53 PM

    Kayla you deserved all the fun you had today and more!! And mom and dad don't negate the fact that you have also have a very hard job and you also earned a day of fun!! Jordan Sparks was wonderful!!

  7. What a wonderful day, indeed & what a BLESSING it was meeting you & your beautiful family & spending time w you!!!l We are so flattered that u included us in your blog & look forward to seeing all the great things God has in store for your family! We feel exactly the same way towards u guys! You made our day! Thank you for the light u choose to radiate! We will be praying for u guys & cheering Kayla on & we'll definitely pray for Angiel & her surgery on Monday! God BLESS You!!! Love, Tracie & Scott

  8. How great! So glad to see what a fantastic day you all had! Absolutely you are deserving of fun and laughter and joy. Absolutley...because you know what it is like to sit in the med room as your little one fights for her life. Because you endured the fevers right along with her. Because you have felt the terror and the helplessness that those parents are feeling and that only those who have endured it can truly understand. Absolutely you deserve joy, as much as you can possibly take in...because in feeling joy you will take in strength and hope and fortitude so that you can go back and offer support to those who still sit in those rooms. So that you can show them that there is still joy to be felt. All four of you are deserving of all the peace and joy that you can get your hands on. So glad your day was fantastic...and so glad to see food in Kayla's little hands! You go girl!!

  9. Annie dear - ditto to everyone's comments! Or course you are entitled to fun! Laughter, smiles, and dancing help heal and look at that Kayla go! Love that! Hugs and love from PA and your AuntieAnn

  10. What an amazing place that with what you're going through, they can create FUN for all of you! Wonderful photos from a super day! xo Allie

  11. Yes yesterday was such a great surprise..U never know what will going on at the jude.... Just to think we were really only going there thursday for a hour visit then back to bama.. Then by Friday Ryan was in Surgery and my girls are at a Jordin Sparks Kayla looks amazing and we are so glad yall are done... medulloblastoma is a scary cancer and seems like forever to treat... Just remember we are right here with you and if you need anything or advise or just need to vent find me... Like I said it is so hard to try to releate to others outside to the jude and you may feel all alone like I did.. But just remember your not... Our 7 yr olds are both amamzing and have beat this monster! xoxox Ryan and Jasmine

  12. Thrilled to read of your having fun. It's totally ok to experience something wonderful in the midst of what you're going through. You are always so grateful. :) Cate

  13. These pictures and post made me smile ear to ear reading it :). I am soooo very glad that you were all able to celebrate with friends at the end of treatment!! I'm sure leaving will be incredibly difficult...but the perpective you bring into so many lives back at home is invaluable... as the 'family' of St. Judes is to you :). Praying for Angiel's second surgery on Monday!!! I am glad for such a sweet and fun friend for Kayla through all that she has been through. grateful for this day for you! stacy

  14. Kayla, you look beautiful as ever! And those sunglasses are a hoot!! You definitely put a smile on my face! I'm SO happy you got to enjoy this very special day - you ALL deserve it