Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hard Days

Sleeping and healing with her pal Hank

Emma has had a few hard days of feeling pretty tired, headachey and nauseous following her 14th round of chemo last week.  It's really the way I was imagining she would have been feeling the entire course of treatment, but thankfully, it has been a rarity.  I can tell she doesn't feel good when she walks around with a furrowed brow and her lips pressed together like she just tasted something gross.  She fights hard to feel good and even got dressed for school yesterday, made her lunch and rode in the car all the way to the sidewalk, and just couldn't get out of the car.  I drove her home and she promptly cuddled up on the couch and fell asleep for the next four hours....hard.  I had to remove her glasses after an hour when I realized they were making permanent indentations in her cheek and she didn't even notice. 

She wanted to try to go to school today, but I have to say, I saw the same furrowed brow and pressed together lips on the ride there, so I'm kind of waiting for the phone call.

Emma holding one of the eight new Mini Dachshund puppies.

Thankfully, we only have one more of these rounds to get through and then her little body can start to cleanse itself from all the medications and bombardment of foreign chemicals that have entered her bloodstream every three weeks for the last year.  I'm so looking forward to that.....I can't imagine how much more she is looking forward to feeling back to her self again.  Thank you for continuing to hold her up in prayer.  She needs it now, just as much as in the beginning.  This little traveler is getting weary on her journey.

At the BMX Nationals in Reno, Nevada with her brothers and Dad

In case you missed out on the email or Facebook invitation, we are planning a low key, but personal and meaningful celebration for Emma Kait on her final day of chemo...February 8, 2012.  We are going to surprise her with helium balloons filling her room when she returns home.  We hope to have notes of encouragement from many of her supporters tied to the strings of the balloons.  We will then remove the notes, before releasing the balloons into the air, marking an end to a very long and difficult year for our family.  If you would like to send a note to her, please email it to and we will print it and attach it to a white, silver or pink balloon.  Thank you so much for your love, support and cheering her on!  We have not traveled this road alone.

At the Keaton Raphael Memorial Foundation Christmas Party-December 2011


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

30 Days

This past Tuesday was another milestone in Emma's treatment....January 10, 2012.  That day marked the 30 day countdown until her last clinical dose of chemotherapy and the celebration of the end of her formal treatment of stage 3 Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma.  I can still barely believe that this was part of our life.  I can hardly wait to celebrate with her that huge accomplishment.....the fact that she had cancer and she beat it. child....faced it head on and with so much grace.  She stayed strong and brave and courageous through countless needle sticks and tests and machines and hospital stays and appointments and losing her hair and gaining weight and  headaches and vomiting and sleepless nights and swallowing pills and and mood swings and disappointments.  We can also look back and celebrate the support that was shown, the love that was showered upon us, the generosity that was given and the prayers that were offered....all on her behalf.

In a way she was blessed because she got sick. Not blessed to be sick, but blessed in spite of being sick.  She got a glimpse into the ability of humans to show deep kindness and love to one another, love to her as an individual, love for Emma Kait.  What a gift to be given at the young age of 10.  If only all kids could have the opportunity to know and see how much they are loved and supported by their family and was wonderful for her and we will never forget it.

A year ago we were in the hospital room in Roseville thinking she had a mysterious staph infection that wouldn't respond to antibiotics. We now sit on the brink of finishing 15 rounds of chemotherapy and countless physical hurdles.  It's simply amazing how fast this year has gone by for us.  Partly it's been a blur due to just taking one day at a time and not being able to look around and take in the surrounding details.  It's also been a year full of forced rest and bonding as a family and redirected priorities.  Sometimes the things that shake us the most, cause us to move into the directions we need most....our families, our friends, our community and our Lord.  If only we could get there without such trying circumstances....but maybe that's not the way God works all the time.  Sometimes He whispers to us, and sometimes He allows challenges to remind us that we are not in control, but we are being carried and cared for in every detail of our life by One stronger and larger than any hurdle put in our path. 

Thank you dear friends for being a part of this story....Emma Kait's journey......all of our journey of increasing faith.

The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?
-Proverbs 20:24 

I know the Lord is always with me.  I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. 
 -Psalm 16:8

The Lord gives His people strength. 
The Lord blesses them with peace. 
-Psalm 29:11

Even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 
-Psalm 139:10 


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thoughts and words from Emma

***Updated photos at the end of post.....

Hi everybody. I am doing pretty well. I am just getting past my sleepy/head achy stage of my chemo round. So when I go back to school I will be in tip-top shape:) School is going awesome!! I love my teacher. He explains things very well and digs deeper into the subject. I am soooooo exited that I only have two chemos left!!  We have two mini dachshunds. We have a 1 year old boy Hank and a 4 year old girl Ellie.  Ellie is pregnant! Like the rest of my family I am waiting. . . and waiting for the puppies to come. She is absolutely huge!! We think she will have three-four puppies. My mom and dad say we can't keep any. They think three dogs is enough so we will find good homes for them. I have been measuring Ellie's belly and it is growing! I think she is at her max which is 23 1/2 inches round.
Ellie and Hank sleeping
 School is going to be here sooner then we know, but I am VERY thankful that I have no HOMEWORK!! On New Year's Eve my family and I were brainstorming on what we wanted to do in the new year. My ideas were: read one book a month, fix "the 70" so I can ride it ( which is a motorcycle), and join swim team. I also want to go back to soccer and dance. . . FINALLY! I know that is kinda a long list but this year I have missed some things I love to do! We have a lot of trips and tasks ahead of us in the new year,  but at the same time  FULL of fun!!
Hank loves Ellie

Emma Kait 

Ellie with her puppies
Eight puppies total arrived Friday 1-6-11 all healthy and strong after 12 hours of labor!

Our Emma Kait

Our Emma Kait

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