Thursday, October 11, 2007

Back to 'Normal'...

For those who kept up-to-date on our blog during my more prolific times, thank you! The last several months have been incredibly busy as we began the process of ever so slowly returning to 'normal' life. It's amazing how that simple word - normal - invokes such a sense of wonder in us now. During the height of Sophie's treatment we referred to each day as our "new normal" or "what is our normal today?" Now we take for granted that everything we do is, more or less, normal.

We get up each morning, we make breakfast - okay except for the past month of Ramadan - we get everyone out of the house, we go about our days, we return home, have a meal, get everyone clean, and then retire for the day. Isn't that just about everyone's day? Of course there's much more complexity there than the statement allows, but in a nutshell, that's it. We're normal again.

So a quick update on our princess and the rest of the royal family...
Sophie has been off treatment for seven months now. Where did the time go? She has the six month scans scheduled for next week. A CT scan and the nuclear test, the MIBG. We don't expect to see anything, but we're always a bit on pins until the scan is over. We're down to monthly visits to the clinic. Boy that was a hard habit to break. Actually, it was almost like a loss. The folks at Lombardi have become much more to us than clinical staff. They have become such an important part of our lives that it has been a little difficult letting go. Alas, it's time to move on and let Sophie begin her life without all of the medical hubub. And that's exactly what she is doing.

In August Sophie started preschool. She's following in her big brother's footsteps and is a Tigershark at the Bright Horizon's center in my office building. There's another group that is, thankfully, a tremendous part of our lives. A fabulous groups of people doing amazing things for such little people and their families.

Zach started firts grade in August. We are thrilled to report that he is thriving. He's in an accelerated math unit, and is reading at the appropriate level. This is such a wondrous time in a child's life. I love to watch him read random things. It's such pure joy when he sounds out a word that he's never read before and get it on his own. His eyes light up.

On the non-academic side, Zach spent the summer at a terrific sports camp, Camp Olympia. There he learned sportsmanship, accountability, responsibility, and soccer, horseback riding, swimming, netball, basketball, and much more. All in all it was a fantastic experience for him and really laid a perfect foundation of first grade. Zach is quite the popular kid now. I affectionately call him the "frat boy." He's apparently stated a recess club where membership hinges on ones ability to arm-fart. Yet another lesson learned at camp this summer! I think he said there are three club members, and growing. I have this visual of him on the corner of the blacktop at recess with a line of boys ahead of him. As each boy approaches, Zach assesses his arm-farting abilities. In my mind's eye there are no girls in line, but you never know!

We also celebrated a birthday in September. Sophie turned three on the 23rd with a backyard carnival with friends from her school, the neighborhood and our family and friends. It was a terrific day - I'll include some pictures in the next post.

Mike has been observing Ramadan for the past month and we've just determined that today is the last day of fasting - tomorrow we feast! This past weekend really tested his willpower. All four of us attended the Redskins / Lions game at FedEx field. It was easily 95 degrees in our seats. Mike made it through the entire event without even water. Amazing! The game was terrific incidentally. If you haven't heard, they won 34 to 3. Sophie wasn't thrilled about the heat and the disruption to her nap schedule, but Zach had a fantastic time.

As for me, well, I've just been hanging on for dear life. I returned to work full time in May. It took a bit to reacclimate to work-life. It was almost like getting a new job with a lot of deja vu. Most of what I did before I left wasn't on my plate anymore, but there was, and is, plenty to do. Well, those who know me well know that I wouldn't let my plate remain unfilled for long. I've managed to fill an entire place-setting with things to do at the office and schools. Creative Memories is still a great part of my life and I've had the pleasure of completing many albums over the past many months. All a testament to the strength and determination of our children - every picture is of our joy in the past year. The chronicle of the difficult times is still pending. That to will come, in time.

So here we are, it's a seasonally chilly night, and time to end another busy day. Sophie's had croup for the past two days - and nights - and we're hopeful that we can get everyone back to school and work tomorrow.

During the throes of treatment and hospitalizations, someone once commented to me that when they didn't see a post on the blog, they knew that things were busy, but well. That's where we are now. Busy, but relatively well. We hope you are too! Until next time, peace.

Monday, May 21, 2007

They say they comes in threes.....

So usually when there hasn't been a post in awhile, that means we've been just living our lives, catching up and making up for lost time. Well for the past few weeks it's been that and some. I'm still trying to eek out three full days at work - not going as well as planned - and the kids are trying to find normal in our lives. We weren't doing so bad until about a week and a half ago when things just started to go crazy!

On Thursday morning, 5/10, in the wee hours, three young folks came through out quiet and trusting neighborhood checking for open cars and taking what they could get. Luckily one of our vigilant neighbors caught one of them in our car before they could get much more than my cell phone. There was apparently a girl in a car parked near by and the two guys with her were running amuck and then tossing the goods into the car. Once the neighbor approached the car to see what was happening they took off - but not before the neighbor got their plate number - ha!

So the neighbor called us, at 3:40am - uhg, and we spent the next hour with the police running down what happened. It's just a shame that our quiet community is now on alert (and hopefully the police too!) to such senseless crime. It turns out all they were able to get for our troubles was my phone and a stack of music CDs from another car. We don't have an update on any arrests following the licence plate, but hope we'll hear something this week. We'll call that #1.

So #2 didn't take long to materialize - however we were not on the alert for a trend or anything. We were just trying to recover from the loss of my phone contact list - what a pain, and we thought that was the worst! Friday morning Mike was on his way in to work when a car cut him off on Georgia Ave, at the 495 underpass. Instead of hitting the offending car, Mike reacted and swerved into the jersey wall smashing the driver wheel base pretty badly. Thankfully Mike wasn't hurt - with the exception of some superficial burns from the airbag explosion. The offending car probably even made it to work on time that day, and of course no witnesses stopped to help! Well yesterday we heard from the insurance company that they will total the car, as the damage far exceeds the value of the car at this point. So in the next few weeks we will get a new car - and a new car payment too - woohoo!

So we were still reeling from these incidents, but getting by day by day - then on Monday, 5/21, we have a minor scare at Sophie's Daycare. Sophie fell and hit her head and a cart fell on her as well leaving a nasty mark on her forehead. We were worried, but the nurses at the facility check her out throughout the day and the mark is all that remains of what could have been worse. Then on Thursday of the same week, Sophie and I start the day walking Zach to the bus stop. On the return to the house, Sophie decides to take a detour to a neighbors house. As I stand in the neighbor's driveway talking to other Moms, Sophie runs to have me pick her up. Well we both missed, and she went backward, first landing on her bum, and then tossed her head back and smacking the pavement, hard. I immediately picked her up as she screamed. The neighbor consoles me that as long as she's crying it should be okay. At that very moment, she stopped, went limp and lost consciousness. Of course my heart sank and we, the other Mom's and I, went into emergency mode and called 911. She awoke crying again about 20 seconds later, but as you can imagine, it seemed like an eternity. Her first thoughts and words moments later were, "I lost my Croc" or more accurately, " Cwoc." Apparently, when I scooped her up I dropped a shoe and she wasn't going to let me get away with it, no matter what. Well, by the time the paramedics arrived, she was walking around and sort of playing with the other children. We did decide to bring her to the local emergency room to get checked out just in case. A head CT later that day confirmed that she was fine. And except for a very lumpy head, she's been fine since. That was #3.

So that is our saga of late. In the midst of all of this we had a lovely Mother's day at home - a holiday NOT spent in the hospital for a change! The adults ate and drank and the kids bounced and played. A good time was had by all!

This week we are in recovery mode once again. Mike is in Hollywood - Florida that is - at the Mid-Year meeting for the American Society or Consultant Pharmacists where he works. He will return on Thursday. Then we have a few days at home and head to the beach at Fenwick Island, Delaware, for a week of respite courtesy of a wonderful organization called Believe in Tomorrow Children's Foundation. We haven't been away for almost quite some time now and could sure use a break! Believe in Tomorrow provides retreat housing for families of sick children and has two properties on the Delaware/Maryland shore for families to enjoy. We are very luck to have this getaway and the generosity of this organization! Thanks also to the team at GUH Lombardi who started the wheels in motion for this amazing gift.

Well, that's it for now. We hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day - for you, your Mom, you as Mom to your pet, or whatever! We leave you with a few photos from the past few weeks to show that although we've hit some more bumps in the road, they are all surmountable in the end and we keep on keepin' on and hope you will too! All our love!

Notes on the pics...Stuck in a tree, but feelin fine ...Taking time to smell the, weeds?... Oooh, Fries, Mmmm (at a Hoya Lacrosse game)... All I want for Memorial Day is my two front teeth (there's a story here too, maybe later!)... Gwamma, trying to be a good sport - didn't make it in much farther though!... Gwamma and Paw Paw safely outside the moonbounce with Mike getting tackled inside. PEACE!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

When it rains it pours...

So the title of this post may seem a bit ominous, but actually, just as the rain and cool temperatures have subsided over the past few days, things have been good. Sophie is milling about the neighborhood like a regular little girl now. Even playing in the dirt! Right now it's pouring good times!

Since her central line catheter has been removed from her chest, she is even more bubbly than usual. She has always had such charm, with a party seemingly following her around all the time waiting to happen, but now, with no real restrictions, she is so full of life and it's just wonderful to watch!

Since Easter, there have been some difficult times, including a stomach virus that plagued the house putting Sophie back on IV fluids for a few days, keeping Zach home from school for a day and ending a night at CPK early for Mike. Mom got a respiratory version of the virus lasting for several days, but never enough beyond annoying to stop regular activities - and there were many!

We've also been struggling with oral medications for Soph. She has always hated any medications by mouth, but without the central line, there's just no other way (and we want to avoid putting line back at all costs!) We tried all sorts of creative things, like oral disintegrating tablets, a flavored liquid version, and just plain old pills. We tried hiding it in food - yogurt, frozen yogurt, spinach dip, olives, berries, bananas, and other things -- no luck! Finally we tried grinding the pills and putting them in a little bit of apple juice. We put a gummy candy in her mouth and she takes sips and eats more gummies until it's done, usually about 20 minutes. Then we have a big dancing and clapping party to celebrate! Sophie takes any opportunity during the day to tell others that, "I take my medicine, Yay!" We're not arguing with the process, it works!

We've been spending a great deal of time enjoying home lately. The weather this weekend kept the kids out and playing late into the evening each day. Sophie wouldn't even stop to take naps, but fell asleep before her head hit the pillow!

Zach is doing great lately, he's reading and spelling and enjoying math too. He raised almost $200 for St. Jude's Children's Hospital as part of a school sponsored Math-a-Thon fundraiser. It's a really cool program that has the students do math to earn money - who wooda thunk?!? Even better most of it was done on-line. You can check it out at He's been really busy doing Kindergarten stuff, he even lost another tooth last week. A front one at that. He's not really listhping, but it sure looks cute! Tomorrow he heads to the National Zoo for a field trip and Dad is even a chaperon. There's great weather in store and hopefully we'll get some great pictures to post!

We are so happy to report good times, and hope that your lives are doing well also. Best to you all, until next time... Peace!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Bumpity Bump Bump...

Happy Easter everyone! Just for the record, if you have ever been on the guest list for a holiday dinner at out house, please - with all due respect - do not expect another invitation soon! (just kidding of course!) This is our third major holiday since Sophie got sick, and the third time we've spent one in the hospital! Can you believe it. We joke that next time we'll call ahead for reservations!

In any event, the Easter bunny found us and, as usual, we will continue to celebrate for the next week or so.

Sophie is improving. Of course, she doesn't look or act sick. She's tearing up C53 as usual and making new friends along the way. Apparently the infection was in her external catheter, so it had to be removed on Saturday. She has a regular IV in her right wrist now until her blood cultures are clear. we are trying oral versions of her regular, daily medications to see if she will tolerate them. If this works, we can forgoe having a new broviac catheter installed in her chest. At thispoint it's all up to Soph. She's just too little yet to swallow pills with skill. This story is to be continued...

Well, we hope the bunny found you too, and that you've had a hoppy holiday! Till next time... Peace!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Bumps in the road...

So the last post left us excited and looking at the road ahead filled with improvements and a return to 'normal' life. We are still thrilled with the news of Sophie's remission, and optimistic about or future. With that said, this is turning out to be a trying couple of weeks!

There are great things, like Spring Break from school this week - too bad it was on my calendar for next week (oops!) We've managed to get some fun time in for Zach after all, especially much needed one-on-one time with Mom and Dad. On the down side, Scheduling is much more difficult than I ever thought possible after returning to work. There just aren't enough hours in the day, no matter what your circumstances! Sophie has been waking in the night again and practicing her fancy footwork on our bodies as we try to sleep (the up side, her leg strength is quite improved - the down, we're battered, bruised and tired!)

Our quest for just the right med for Zach's ADHD is nearing the end as we now adjust dosage to see the degree of effectiveness throughout the day. Zach's school also just sent a note indicating that he failed the last vision test - apparently when Zach was mixing up letters in reading, it wasn't because he was being difficult or lazy, rather they were/are too blurry for him to distinguish well - how bout that!?! Taking control of the situation, Zach promptly selected a pair of 1.5 magnification reading glasses from the dollar bin at Target. He was disappointed in the selection of shapes and colors, but finally decided on a lovely hot pink plaid pair - thankfully they only lasted a few hours and then were broken beyond repair - Awwww (Chuckle!).

Next on our list of things to do was to watch Sophie's eyes for further signs of the O in OMS (opsoclonus, or dancing eyes). There are traces, but it can be deceiving, so we're going to stay on the current course of increased steroids until we can get a good neurological consult - probably in a week or so, it's just a matter of scheduling!?! Well, that was put on hold just as Soph came down with a fever Wednesday evening. It was quite high - 102.8, so we headed off to the emergency room after a consultation with the oncologist. This was anticipated to be routine blood work, line culture, and a dose of antibiotics, but the fever would reduce, but it actually rose a bit, so they decided to admit her. There were no beds in the general peds ward, so we ended up in the Pediatric ICU - much noisier and disruptive by design than the regular ward. Sophie got a little sleep, Mom on the other hand, not much! Today we found that there is a possible infection in her line, so what started as a 3-4 hour trip to the ER may turn into a 3-4 day visit to C53. While it's nice to see the friendly and familiar faces at GUH, it would be nice to celebrate a holiday at home! Hey, maybe we'll just get Chinese take-out like we did for Christmas and call it a great day! We'll play it by ear.

All in all things are good, but as you can see, very hectic. We are thankful for those we've been able to see and talk to lately, longing for those we have not. We are wishing safety and joy to those who will travel this holiday weekend and beyond. And sending our thanks and love to you all, wherever you are and wherever you are going! Peace.

As promised, here's some recent, and not so recent pics - enjoy!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Free at last...

Happy Spring everyone!!! So the weather is really shaping up, but the past couple of weeks have been very stressful, full of tests, new schedules, an annoying respiratory bug that has plagued each of us in its own way, little sleep, and weird weather happenings. Today, however, most of that just drifted away as we received news that Sophie's latest nuclear scan, the MiBG, came back clear. This means that the scan did not detect any traces of the cancer - all together now... WOO HOO! The CT scan did show that there is some residual tissue left from the surgery and chemo, but the MiBG confirms that these are mature cells with no malignancy - once again, can I get a WOO HOO!?!

I don't think we had expected anything less than the all clear, but we learned through experience to be prepared for the worst! Her doctor tells us that there is a 10% chance that the ganglioneuroblastoma could recur as growth in the current tissue or the formation of a new mass. This rate drops dramatically after the first year, so we will keep a good eye on her for the next 12 months with regular scans. We expect nothing but great news from here on out!

The news on the neurological from is not as great, Sophie has had a bit of a set-back in treatment. The opsoclonus, dancing eyes, has returned a bit in her right eye, but is not considered severe as it doesn't seem to interfere with her vision, but is noticeable periodically throughout each day. We are doubling her dose of steroids in hopes of reducing the problem. Keep your fingers crossed on this one, we should know if this is effective in a week or so. This small set-back means that the steroid therapy will last longer than the originally anticipated 12 months. Actually the doctor running the study indicated that most children require about 18 months on the steroid therapy before weaning completely. More watching and waiting.

Other happenings include Music Night at school tonight. Zach and his fellow kindergartners and the first grade classes sang a number of melodies, they even had hand movements and some dance moves thrown in! It was very cute, and of course we have pictures and video (pics to hopefully post tomorrow). Zach is doing well on his now forth ADHD medication and we're hopeful we've found a long-term solution. He just started this particular drug on 3/20, so we'll report back when we have more time to observe the affects.

Sophie's hair is growing back - blond! Not quite as blond as before, but light nonetheless. Again, pics are pending.

Mom and Dad are getting through one day at a time. I've returned to work - albeit on a very limited schedule until I can get a handle on all of the post chemo and OMS related appointments for Soph. We're getting there, day by day, week by week.

Thank you all again for your prayers and positive thoughts! They worked and continue to bless our family. Until next time...Peace!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Catching up...

Okay, so we've been REALLY busy with life lately - so busy we haven't had time to post. But, that's a good thing, right?!?

Since the last post Sophie has completed her second round of chemo and is now awaiting nuclear and CT scans to see what's left of that pesky tumor. We were scheduled for this past week, but we had another little run-in with croup. Harken back to last June when we spent a couple of days in the pediatric intensive care unit for the same illness. This time it was, thankfully, not as intense! However, the first night, Tuesday, gave us a bit of a scare - enough so that we called the paramedics. Sophie was breathing much better once they arrived and we decided to drive her ourselves to the GUH emergency room for treatment. By 6am she was asleep in the ER and we awaited the clinic opening for an appointment scheduled for that day. The nuclear injection was scheduled for that afternoon and the scans for the following day, Thursday. Sophie needs to be sedated for the lengthy scans and any compromise to her breathing and airway is risky, so we're rescheduling for next week.

Next week also begins another chapter in our progress. Mom returns to work after more than seven months. There are still clinic appointments to attend to, physical and occupational therapy, and the ongoing possibility of hospitalization for fever or other complications from Sophie's central line. But, this is a step in a positive direction for everyone, and hopefully a sigh of relief for those that have been covering for such a long time. If you're reading this, thanks you! - you know who you are!!!

Zach is enjoying school, and started his ADHD meds a couple of weeks ago. We're still trying to figure out what does of what drug is best, but we are definately seeing improvement in his ability to control impulses. And, we still have a very creative and energetic boy, so our greatest fears of medicating the Zach out of Zach are thus far unfounded. Whew!

Well, there are a ton of pictures to post, but unfortunately, no time to decide which ones and upload now. Hopefully next week. We just wanted to post a quick update and hello to let everyone know we're still hanging on and in some respects even moving on!

Love and peace to you all!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Happy Birthday...

So our big boy is turning Six!!! Where does the time go? Tomorrow (2/6, the actual big day) is also the 100th day of school, so there will be a bunch of activities to go along with our cupcake feast! Yesterday, Sunday, Zach and his buddies had a blast at Chuck E. Cheese, playing games and dancing. Afterwards, a group came back to the house for lunch and the kids ran free in the basement, again having a blast! The best part was spending time with friends and family that we haven't been able to see much lately.

There is nothing like getting everyone together around the kitchen table and eating and talking and eating some more and talking some more. At one point, just after finishing the main meal, the conversation digressed into an in depth discussion of diaper changing - who had cloth diapers, who used a diaper service and who, unfortunately was the diaper service. We have it easy these days gals! Disposable diapers and zip-top bags rule!!!

So this is just a post to say things are going well. Sophie had a CT scan last Wednesday that was thankfully clear - except for what is expected to be residual scarring from the surgery. Our LAST scheduled cycle of chemo is next week. Then we will need to monitor her blood counts, and continue to check her weight weekly. A few weeks later we will have another MIBG scan that will let us know if the chemo has done its job and removed all traces of the cancer. We're knocking on wood, hopping over cracks, and keeping positive thoughts that all will be well soon in the oncology department soon. once we clear that hurdle, we'll focus more on making sure that the neurological issues are in check. We will start physical and occupational therapy this week, and will have a developmental assessment next week to see if she's on target. We will also begin scheduling time to go back to Illinois to see the Opsoclonus-Myoclonus specialist to see Sophie's progress with treatment.

This coming weekend, Mom will get some much needed away time and attend a Creative Memories convention. Wow, two days without cooking or cleaning, or changing diapers. I see a spoiled Mom in the future.

Whew! We're busy as usual (and tired :), but smiling! We hope you're smiling too! I know I keep promising pictures - these are from Christmas-time, the family shot is from Christmas eve at our home away from home, GUH C53; Zach and Sophie in the grass is actually the day we cut down our Christmas tree - it was about 68 degrees; the last "I'm too cool" is just a bonus from some fun time at the hospital. We'll get more recent shots on the blog once they get out of the camera!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

And the beat goes on...

So we're nearing the end of January and we're back at GUH again for scheduled chemo. Since New Years, we been idling along, still trying to catch up from 2006. Sophie has good blood counts which has helped a bit by allowing her to go to day care a few days a week. The last I posted, we were preparing for Zach's colonoscopy. The two-day prep was a bit tedious, but Zach did wonderfully, taking it better than most adults might!! The procedure took a mere 20 minutes and they found the expected single polyp and removed it. The polyp was sent for biopsy, and thankfully returned with positive news of a negative finding!!!

As unnerving as the year has begun, we have only good news and hopeful outcomes coming our way. As I write this, Sophie has just completed the seventh of eight Chemo cycles. We will return in three weeks for the eighth and final treatment. Woo Hoo!!! This round is really taking a toll on her little body. Between the chemo and surgery, she's lost about 4 lbs since we started treatment in June. That doesn't sound like much, but it's about 15% of her total body weight. she seems to be rebounding a bit thought with spoonfuls of peanut butter, calamata olives, and hummos among her favorite foods right now. She's also much more tired than usual, quite ready for naps and bedtime - but still full of energy and difficult to catch all other times!!! She's a tricky one from doing chin-ups in her hospital crib to running circles around her IV pole, she's basically unstoppable! At night we had difficulties keeping her in her crib. She would climb out repeatedly after being put to bed. Not only was this annoying, but dangerous, so we lowered her crib to a toddler bed - her big girl bed! Go Sophie, growing up now!

Well that's the medical update. Now for the fun stuff...
This past Friday Zach attended his first school dance, the Stonegate Kids Ball. Mike attended as his chaperon and reported that they had a blast! Saturday, they both headed for more fun at a special event sponsored by Georgetown University through the Hoya Dreams program. They attended at Hoyas basketball game at the Verizon center with other families of sick children and a slew of Hoya athletes. Again Mike reports that they had too much fun! The pics are still in the camera, but we'll include them in the next post.

Our next big event is Zach's 6th birthday, which is a mere 10 days away. We are scheduled to gather at Chuck e. Cheese for cake, pizza and games on February 4th and then home that afternoon for a family lunch and then the Superbowl later that evening. It is sure to be a fun, but exhausting day!!!

Stay tuned for pics and updates soon! Until then, Live, Love, and don't forget to Laugh!!!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Happy New Year...

We are sending wished for a wonderful New Year to all of our family and friends! May 2007 be healthful and prosperous for you all!

Today we are waiting for discahrge from GUH after a night's stay in C53 for Sophie's sisth cycle of chemo. Everything is going fine, and we hope to be on our way in an hour or so. Sophie hadled everything great as usual, but had a little nausea and vomiting early this morning. After going back to sleep for a few hours, she woke up asking to eat and threw back a banana and some cereal, so the tummy is much better now.

So far so good for the new year, Zach is back to school, and we're hoping that Sophie will be able to go back to daycare net Monday, even if only for a few days. We all need a break from each other following the holidays.

Santa was very good to our little munchkins. Zach got an acoustic guitar which he has decided he already knows how to play, so he won't need lessons of course. Sophie got a Disney Princess kitchen and tea set which is keeping us all busy keeping it put away. Zach has decided he is The Handsom Prince (not price Charming - as he was mean in Shrek 2 - Zach logic!), Sophie is Cinderella (of Course), Mom is princess Aurora (it's a blond thing I guess) and Dad is the King (or the Prince's Dad as he calls him). Sophie and Zach bake us cookies and serve tea on a regular basis now. Luckily there are no calories!

Zach's teacher had a baby boy last week, so he has a new teacher for the rest of the school year. He seems to like her very much and is very excited about school.

Well, we've been dedicating a bunch of our time and effort to Sophie's health for some time. Now, it's Zach's turn. He has had some blood in his stool for a couple of months which a pediatric gastrointerologist tells us is probably what is called a juvenile polyp. We've scheduled a colonoscopy for January 18. They will Check things out and remove the polyp. The doctor doesn't think that this will be a long-term issue for Zach - just another inconvenience. Lucky for Zach he is familiar with the environment here at GUH, so he doesn't have anxiety about the procedure. The major part ofr him will be the preparations - a liquid diet for two days prior (Can you make a chicken nugget and freich fry smoothie?) That same week, we are seeing a specialist to do an ADD/ADHD assessment. We've been putting this off hoping that he would 'grow out of it', but his impule issues are starting to affect his schoolwork so we want to get things on track while the school demands are still low in kindergarten.

So that's an update for the beginning of our 2007. Everything is actually moving in a very positive direction - although it seems to have some bumps in the road. We are all in great spirits and ready to take on whatever life throws at us. Our family is stronger now than a year ago!

Wishing you all well - those near and far. Youare always in our thoughts and in our hearts!

p.s. - a special shout out to our nurse friends You know who you are! - those that are returning from travels soon - we can't wait to see you; and one who is leaving us for a new adventure - all the best and thank you!