Friday, September 29, 2006

How I love that boy of mine!

I seem to be talking a lot about Kurtis lately. Don't worry - more about Ryan will definitely follow!

Today is the Terry Fox Run at Kurtis's school (well, it's actually a short walk but it's the thought that counts). Instead of asking people for pledges, the children are asked to bring in a loonie or a toonie ($1 coin or $2 coin for those of you outside Canada). So I dug out my wallet last night to get each of my boys a toonie. Kurtis told me "No, I want to use my own money". I told him he didn't have to pay out of his own allowance, I would give him the money. But no, he insisted and after debating back and forth for a short while, I let him take the money out of his allowance. He reached in and grabbed $3..... He said he wanted to give a lot of money so they can do a lot of cancer research. I couldn't help but start crying...and told my little man how proud of him I was.

45 Years!!


Today is the day they were married, 45 years ago. We celebrated their anniversary last weekend with them but I didn't want to forget them on this very special day.

We are so thankful that you can celebrate 45 years of marriage. Through the good times and bad, you have always been there for each other. You have been an amazing model for me to follow and to aspire to.

We love you very very much Mom and Dad! Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My chemo holiday ends today

I start my new treatment protocol tomorrow morning. This chemo is on a 3 week cycle as well. It's administered over 24 hours, but the good news is that I don't have to stay in the hospital. Instead, they hook me up to a pump and I can go home almost immediately. Home Care will come on Friday to disconnect me. This chemo has fairly minimal side effects - they're pretty much the same as the last chemo and again, I'm happy because apparently the nausea is pretty minimal with this one. I do have to go to Toronto to get this chemo - thank goodness for supportive friends and family!

Please keep me in you prayers tomorrow. I'm a bit anxious about this. It's been a while since I've had chemo. My hair is growing back (although there is a very good chance I won't lose what little I have) and my energy is returning. I'm dreading the low energy, the low blood counts (and watching for infections and being wary of crowds) and the general feeling of "yuckiness" that you get when you go through chemo.

A great article about my friend Nicole and her daughter, Tarenne

I met Nicole on-line when Ryan was born and have had the pleasure of meeting her twice in real life. Tarenne is an adorable little girl and they did a great article about them! Check it out...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What a great big brother!

Sometimes I really wonder about my kids - especially when my 7-year old is going through major attitude and my 5 year-old thinks listening to his parents (or any other authority figure) is optional. But then...every now and then your children say or do something that makes you realize all that teaching is paying off!

Last week, Kurtis couldn't sleep so he came to snuggle in bed with me. I was watching CSI or something else totally inappropriate for a 7 year old and quickly switched the channel. It turned out to be Supernanny. For some reason, this show got his attention and he wanted to watch it (and I admit, I watch it in between commercials of my other show as well). The children in this particular episode were horrible. Hitting, yelling, swearing.... Kurtis couldn't believe it and he made a comment something along the lines of .."we're not nearly that bad, are we?" I told him that Ryan and him were good kids - kids who just misbehaved sometimes. We talked for a bit about those kids and behaviour... I was amazed at his comments and how we were having a chat about this! Then I said something about how Ryan has been misbehaving a lot lately and how he has been hitting and not listening to what is asked of him. Kurtis's response blew me away: "but Mom, Ryan has Down syndrome... and that means it takes him longer to learn. So maybe it's just taking him longer to learn good behaviour". Not only is he defending his younger brother to me, he's also realizing why Ryan sometimes behaves the way he does. He's a very insightful boy, that kid of mine.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Summer 2006

Here are some other pictures from this past summer.

RibFest - our family tradition

Our visit to the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum)

Kurtis being a Knight at the ROM

Kurtis's Rabbit Catcher. Our neighbours received 2 rabbits from their grandparents - unfortunately, they kept escaping from their hatch. The kids spent hours and hours catching (and re-catching) these bunnies. We did have an actual trap, but Kurtis had fun devising this one. His creativity never fails to amaze me.

Kathy and the boys

Ryan learned to swing all on his own this summer:

Pouty boy

I let Ryan eat his grilled cheese in front of the TV one day. Well, he decided he didn't have enough ketchup (he NEVER has enough ketchup) and went and got himself some more. Where was I in all of this?? Posting on my blog! :)

Tom and the boys

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

What's on my mind today

Nothing really... no new insights on the human condition... nothing new on the quantum physics front... In fact, it's something everybody already knows! What's on my mind today is music.

I've done a lot of driving over the past few days and have been enjoying listening to the music on my iPod. And it struck me how amazing music is. It makes us laugh and cry. It can teach and inspire. Music can be bubblegum fluff songs that have a good beat and just make you happy. It can bring you to tears over the tragedy the story tells. Music can make us want to dance. It can make us want to praise God. It creates memories like no other vehicle, in my humble opinion. Art and poetry just doesn't do it for me like music does. This is what really got me thinking.

My thinking started last week when I received a package in the mail. It was from a dear old friend from high school. She had sent me a CD of Modern English which had the song "I Melt with You" on it. My friend and I have recently reconnected and I told her how, over the years, every time I heard that song on the radio, I thought of her. And in particular, I was reminded of our Grade 12 trip to Quebec City. So I was very pleasantly surprised when I received this CD - it brought back so many memories.

So as I've been putting the miles on my car, I started thinking of all the songs that bring back memories for me. I thought I'd share just a few of the oddball memories that popped into my head:

- driving to and from my co-op job one hot summer in my 1978 (?) Pontiac Sunbird... I listened to Bruce Cockburn and Elvis Costello there and back... and over and over again. I can't hear either one of them without being transported back to that road and that car.

- Terence Trent D'Arby (remember this guy?) - I bought a tape (what I realize now was a pirated version) at a market stall in Turkey when I travelled through Europe. I also am reminded of various places throughout Europe when I listen to Eurythmics and Sting. Who needs pictures of the Notre Dame when you have music to bring pictures to your mind?

- I travelled through the Rockies when visiting my cousin in Alberta. I couldn't get any radio stations and the car I rented didn't have a CD player. So I bought one tape (Eric Clapton - Unplugged) and I listened to it probably 100 times. I can't hear a single song on that album without picturing the beautiful mountains in front of me... with gorgeous clear blue lakes beside me.

- The Statler Brothers (see my list below). My parents played the Statler Brothers a lot and the album on my list is one of theirs. It's not available on CD or vinyl anymore (I've checked). I grew up listening to this album and I still love it. Their version of "How Great Thou Art" will forever be the version to compare to. And I still listen to this regularly and am immediately brought back to sitting in front of the 3 foot high speakers in my parents living room, singing along with them.

I think that's why many people love listening to the songs that they listened to when they were teenagers. So much teenage angst and emotion... so much fun with many memories being created.... All those songs (horrible as they may be - I was a teenager throughout the 80's so enough said) bring back memories from that time.

Since my children have been born, I haven't listened to "my" music nearly enough. We listen to Raffi, Barney (ugh), Sharon Lois & Bram and Laurie Berkner to name a few. But I hope to create good childhood memories for my children with music. I hope they remember listening to Raffi as we drove down to African Lion Safari (I do!). I hope they remember dancing in the dining room with Mom as we listened to our Signing Time CDs. I hope they remember falling asleep to Sunday School Songs on their tape player.

Finally, here's a list of my favourite albums. These are in no particular order. And they are not necessarily my favourite artists. These are albums I can listen to over and over again and not skip a single song on the album.

1. Tapestry by Carole King
2. Famous Blue Raincoat by Jennifer Warnes
3. Graceland by Paul Simon
4. Self titled album by the Indigo Girls
5. How Great Thou Art by the Statler Brothers

There's a song by ABBA that says it well, although it is a bit corny. (Just as an aside, ABBA is my all-time favourite band, and yes, Tom still loves me despite this little quirk). In their song "Thank you for the music" they say,

...."And I've often wondered, how did it all start. Who found that nothing can capture a heart like a melody can? Well, whoever it was, I'm a fan".

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Our game plan

We saw "the sarcoma expert" at Mount Sinai in Toronto this past week. He's not yet convinced that we need to stop the chemotherapy I was just on. Of course he didn't receive copies of my CT scans so he doesn't know for sure (as he's just going by what the doctor wrote when she asked him to see me). I'm getting the CT scans to him on Monday so he can figure out if Plan B is still a viable option for me. If that isn't possible, then we do have a Plan C - a clinical trial drug. This isn't a totally new, experimental trial. There are no placebos - everybody who is in the trial receives the drug. They've already figured out dosages and schedules for administration. The side effects are similar to most chemotherapies and the good news (for me) is that nausea is again minimal.

The one thing I can't do while on this drug is take the i.v. vitamin C therapy. It's going to be an either-or situation. I'm very disappointed in this, but I do understand why. There are some concerns that the vitamin C may interfere with the chemo. AND,,, if we do see some successes, they wouldn't know what to attribute them to - vitamin C or chemo? Right now our decision is to stick with conventional chemotherapy.

That's all for now! I'm feeling more energetic than I have in weeks and I'm off tonight to enjoy some lobster at Lobsterfest!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

First Day of School

Such mixed emotions today... happy because the kids are going back (yes, I will miss them, but it's good to get back to structured days).... worried as I didn't know who their teachers were or who Ryan's aide was. I was prepared to stay with Ryan for the morning because I couldn't see dropping my child off with a teacher or aide who didn't know Ryan. The odds were that I would at least know who the aide is because there's only a few at Ryan's school and they all know him - but if it was someone who had never worked with Ryan before, I wanted to stay there to help Ryan through the morning. And the teacher was brand new to the school as she is just filling in for mat leave for the regular teacher (who we LOVE and who told me two years ago when Kurtis was in her class that she couldn't wait to teach Ryan). BUT, in the end, Ryan has the same aide as last year! We're thrilled about that! His aide is a bit overprotective of Ryan - and we'll continue to work on that - but she is AMAZING with developing his reading and fine motor skills. So, overall, it was an easy morning for Ryan.

Kurtis found his class with a little bit of help too. He's happy with his teacher and he has some of his old friends back in his class. There's 1.5 classes in his grade so there is always one split class and they switch them around regularly so he's getting to know everyone in that grade.

Here are my boys on their first day of school. Ryan had a bit of a fall yesterday and scraped the whole side of his face and neck - poor kid!

An apology from Q92

This one seems more heartfelt. I still don't think "Igor" gets it - and he probably never will.

Contact: Don Peterson, III
General Manager: WZKL/WDPN Radio
Station Apologizes for Radio Bit
ALLIANCE, STARK COUNTY, OHIO - September 1, 2006. Q92 Radio in the Canton, OH radio market has formally apologized for a contest “bit” called “Name that Tune with Mongoloid Mike”. The bit had a character voice lyrics to a popular song as if sung by a person of special needs. Listeners were invited to call in to “Name that Tune”.
“I apologize for the behavior of my on-air staff. The ‘bit’ that occurred was wrong and I am VERY sorry. It is reprehensible and will never happen again. My sincerest apology to ARC of Stark and all ARC affiliates worldwide. I would also like to apologize to the employees of the Stark MRDD, friends and associates. Also, to anyone directly or indirectly associated with anyone with a disability,” said Don Peterson, III, General Manager of the station.
Peterson continued, “We (Q92) aired an apology beginning at 7p Wednesday (8/30) evening that ran every hour and all day on Thursday. An apology appears on our web site and the DJ that aired the bit has been suspended and his pay scale has been adjusted accordingly.”
“Igor (the DJ airing the bit) is a very talented and valued employee, but this segment crossed the line. He is young and his future is bright. I know Igor has learned a very valuable lesson and obviously the segment will no longer be aired by the station,” said John Stewart, Program Director for the station.
“Plans have been put in place to partner with the Stark MRDD to better educate our listeners of the gifts people with disabilities have and how they contribute to our society. I am looking forward to that opportunity and on behalf of the station and our staff, I am sorry for any harm that came out of our broadcast facility,” Peterson concluded.