Hugs

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I heard a cool thing Tuesday that I forgot to share. One of our presenters, Ginno Kelley, said that he learned about hugs from one of his former students. There are only two things that you need to about hugs. 1. Always squeeze, don’t pat. Squeezing means more. 2. Don’t ever be the first person to let go. Having experienced my fair share of hugs lately, this really hit home with me. Pretty good advice, I’d say.

I also forgot to mention that David is embarking on a new dietary plan to try to help keep him healthy in his battle with cancer. Basically, he’ll be laying off of the fast food/pizza diet that most teenagers are on, and trying to eat more vegetables and organic food. He was only momentarily hesitant about the changes, and has now changed to seeing it as more of a challenge. He’s trying new foods and expanding his palette – a good thing for a chef! He’s already  discovered that he likes hummus and organic milk. We’re also going to explore some more ethnic options for variety.

If you have any healthy recipes to share that involve cabbage or curry, please let me know! Those are two real “cancer fighters” that we don’t regularly consume.

Catching Up

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I’m a little behind on my posts, so I’ll try to fill in the gaps. David had tutoring on Saturday morning at his dad’s house and then he went to lunch with his friend, Megan, and her mom. He got back around the time Austin finished with her tennis lesson, and I picked them up for the afternoon/evening.

We didn’t have a firm plan, so we started out with the cafe at the Joseph Beth bookstore. Turns out they have a nice menu with some great fresh soups that we had to sample. As we were eating, Austin was texting with friends that we have recently reconnected with. As it turns out, they were only a few miles away, so they decided to meet up with us and go to a movie. The friends were mom, Nichole, and two kids, Timothy and Tori. David, Austin, Tim, and Tori were all in the same Navy daycare home together when David was about 3 or 4 years old. We haven’t seen them in years, but we had fun swapping stories about them as little kids.

We watched “You Again” which had us all laughing. I wasn’t sure that the boys would want to see that one, but there were pretty girls and Betty White, so they decided it was ok, as chick flicks went.

I took David and Austin back to their dad’s in time for them to have a bonfire with their step-sister, Kelly, and her friends. On Sunday, they had another bonfire with Tonka, their step-grandfather, and some other family. They had a good time, and of course, David loves anything involving fire.

We’ve switched up our schedule a bit for this week so I could go to a conference in Atlanta with Richard. I’ve been working from Virginia and haven’t left the state since David went into the hospital, so I guess it is good for me to re-enter the working world for a little while.

This conference is full of great people who we’ve known for at least a few years (some longer) so it has been nice to be surrounded by people who care about what’s going on. It’s hard to be away from David & Austin right now, but ultimately, they are doing just fine so now is probably a good time to be away.

Richard and I will be back in Virginia on Wednesday, so we’ll be back in that routine for the end of the week.

Weekend!

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Mark drove David to his appointment on Friday, and they made it back to Fredericksburg in record time. David went to his newly appointed 2nd period class. It’s been a bit of a challenge to figure out what classes will work with our crazy schedule right now, and ultimately, David went from Latin IV to a “digital input” class to Journalism. We’re all happy about that because Austin is in her 2nd year of Journalism, and the teacher, Mrs. Gill, is awesome.

I picked the kids up after school along with Jimmy. (For those of you new to the blog, I am staying with Jimmy’s family while we are in Virginia. Jimmy and Austin are the same age.) They were hungry, as teenagers usually are, so we went to Wawa (the local 7-Eleven) and got drinks and sandwiches. They have a pretty decent deli in Wawa… not just those pre-made sandwiches.

After that, we were off to Jimmy’s for another “epic Friday night”. There’s always a crowd, and this was no exception, but the crowd was much older than normal. Seems that word had spread that David would be here, and a number of folks in the Bowles family who are praying for him wanted to say hi.

Jimmy’s grandparents and great-grandfather stopped by along with his Aunt Heather with her family – including her in-laws from Florida. The Moore family also came over, and I think there were about 5 teenagers who weren’t part of one of those family groups. It was a lot of fun. Mark picked David and Austin up around 9:30 pm so David could be ready for his tutoring session on Saturday morning. Austin has also just started taking tennis lessons on Saturday morning, so they are keeping busy.

After the kids left, I had a very uplifting conversation with the moms that were left. They were so encouraging and let me know that they have lots of people praying for David. They shared stories of hope and faith that let me know we will get through this.

When everyone went home, I watched a movie called “Facing the Giants”. It’s a football movie produced by a group of folks in Georgia. It was loaned to me by one of my new Virginia neighbors, Carole. The movie is a message of hope and overcoming overwhelming obstacles. I really recommend it to anyone who wants to see what God’s power can do. With God, all things are possible. He can do great things if we just let Him. We do our best and give the rest to God. That’s a message I’m living with daily. We praise Him with the good and the bad. He knows the outcome. He knows what’s best. We just have to trust Him to lead us through.

0 Dark Thirty

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Yesterday started a little earlier for me because Richard wasn’t here. He’s in Kansas, so I had a little more quality time with Cooper, our Shiba Inu pup, than I normally have in the mornings. Since I knew I’d be dealing with that, I got up at 5:30 a.m. I don’t like walking the dog when it is still dark outside, but nature calls!

David got up and around and even had time to take Cooper for another short walk before we had to leave. He wore his new Puma sweatshirt. His friend, Jimmy, turned him on to the Puma brand, and they think it is the coolest. I have to admit, I bought some Puma socks for myself, and they are pretty comfy!

On our way down to Richmond yesterday, we passed a car transport truck going the opposite direction. It just happened to be behind a big hill in the median, though, so it looked (to me) like the car was sort of flying. I said that out loud, and David got a chuckle out of it. It’s an hour drive, so we try to make it interesting.He’s great company, and we talked about the Bible study they did on Wednesday night.

He said the study concentrated on not getting caught up in worldly possessions. For teens, they were talking about giving the stuff they don’t use to charities or people who need it. We expanded that a little by talking about using your monetary resources wisely and not buying stuff you don’t need to begin with. He’s always been a generous kid, but these days he seems to be thinking on a deeper level. I’m appreciating the discussions we have.

He had a quick radiation appointment and we were back on the road in no time. We were early for his class, so we stopped by Target and bought some candy to take in for the teachers. We had a big debate about what kind of candy to get, he wanted a bag that had 3 Musketeers and I thought Twix would be more popular. Wouldn’t you know it, but one of the first teachers who saw the candy asked if there were any 3 Musketeers!

After school, I picked both kids up to take them to their dad’s house. Austin needed to take some pictures at the Key Club meeting, so we hung out around school for before heading over to Mark’s.

They are both doing really well, all things considered. Thank you all for your continued prayers!

First day of “clinic”

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Well, today was David’s first day of clinic. We headed down to Richmond in the rain, and made it to his radiation appointment a few minutes behind schedule. We checked in and waited patiently… apparently too patiently! The lady didn’t mark us as checked in, and they completely ignored the fact that we were sitting in the waiting room. After about half an hour, I asked when they might be able to work him in. They took him straight back once they realized he was there!

After radiation, we went to see Dr. Khan in clinic. We waited about an hour in the waiting area, and then a little longer in the patient exam room. David checked out ok, though. Everything was as they were expecting it to be. After the exam, he had blood drawn so they can make sure his platelets and other levels are ok. We probably won’t hear anything about that blood test unless there is something wrong with it.

It took so long at the doctor today that David didn’t make it to school. We did grab lunch before the rainy drive back to  Fredericksburg. David had tutoring with Mrs. Woodside this afternoon, and I took Cooper with me to go pick him up from his Dad’s house (where the tutoring takes place). Austin got to show Kelly what Cooper looks like when he is NOT wearing a cone. I think everyone agreed he is a much more handsome pup without the cone. David and I had dinner with the Bowles before before it was time to head  to church for youth group. He’s really enjoying the Bible study and fellowship time. I’m glad that he’s found a group that he is comfortable with.

On a funny note for today, he talked to our next door neighbors, and he and Nate had a lengthy chat about dissecting owl poop in science class. It’s funny what boys can talk about, and it got quite descriptive. Nate had just completed this lab today and so he had a list of things he found in the pellet he worked on. David wasn’t as lucky back when he did his lab and found nothing interesting in his pellet. LOL! Who knew finding stuff in poop could be so interesting!

On a sweet note for today, David’s nurse came out and said, “he’s so nice, I hope you have 10 more just like him at home.” I told her we don’t so they need to take really good care of this one!

He’s always been a sweet boy, but seeing him go through this with such a caring spirit for others is a real blessing. I’m so proud of him.

Lastly, I have a mailing address for anyone that wants to send messages to David. We are compiling a scrapbook for him of the cards and letters he receives, and it is really cool to see how far away folks are who are praying for him. The address is:

David Pearson

754 Warrenton Road, Suite 113

PMB 137

Fredericksburg, VA 22406

We appreciate everyone’s continued prayers.

Tuesday

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David’s dad took him to his radiation appointment today and then to school. Today was his first day to attend English class. They are studying the Crucible, which is not one of David’s favorites so far. He loves to read, but he’s more about dragons and the stuff of imagination and fantasy.

Richard and I picked both kids up after school. They both enjoyed their day at school, and Austin seemed particularly pleased with her day. We got milkshakes and took them to their dad’s house. Mrs. Woodside got there shortly after we did for her tutoring session. The kids now have LiveScribe pens so they can record audio of their teachers to replay as they go over their notes. I’m still not sure all of the capabilities of the pens, but Mrs. Woodside has used them so she’s going to help them get up to speed. Hopefully that will help both kids stay on top of their school work amidst all the distractions.

Being of good cheer

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I thought maybe I’d start sharing some of the words of wisdom that are carrying us through this trial. One of the things I’ve heard a lot is how strong we are and how positive we are being. I can’t take any credit for that. I believe that the faith that we have in God and the many, many people who are praying for us is what is holding us together through this. There are many times each day when I can feel God’s peace and love, and I know it is coming because of the prayers lifted on our behalf.

So with that in mind, I share a verse for today: A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. – Proverbs 17:22

This crisis has brought our family much closer and we are so much more thankful now for all the moments we get together. And yes, we have joy each day, even though we also have cancer.

Richard and I drove David to his radiation appointment today. Like any teenager, he complained about the early hour, but was good company anyway. We watched some cool videos on YouTube on the way down to the hospital. Thanks to Beth Sczempka for posting a cool dance video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYL3j27sSH8) on Facebook that got us started down the YouTube path.

We talked about the homecoming dance because I hadn’t really seen him since the dance. He said, “apparently brain cancer makes you popular.” To which I replied, “Well there you go, you always wanted a weird way to be popular.” He said, “Yeah, but I thought it would be something like spontaneous movie stardom.” I said, “Well next time you get to choose, choose that.” He laughed and said, “Yeah, I’m definitely choosing that!” He really does have an awesome sense of humor, and though I know this is tough for him, he is always positive. I feel blessed just to know him, much less be his mom.

He still has a healthy appetite and talked us into buying him a breakfast sandwich on the way out of the hospital. While in line, we saw one of his nurses, Rae, from the PICU. She was a student and has been transferred to a different department, but she was happy to see David and gave him a big hug. She still owes him some Lumpia, though. (She’s a very cute young lady of Filipino descent.)

David was done in time to go to both his 3rd and 4th block classes. That’s basically half of his school day, so he will get to see more of his classmates. Today it was History and Culinary Arts. He has managed to get caught up with almost all of the work he missed while out of school for the first three weeks. Those Saturday morning school sessions really add up!

Homecoming Dance

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David and Austin were both able to make it to the homecoming dance this weekend. Richard and I went to their dad’s house before the dance to take some pictures. A couple are posted on Facebook, but I’ll try to get the others downloaded and post some here as well. He had quite a crowd accompanying him to the dance. David said he had a great time, and we were able to rest easy knowing Mrs. Woodside was there keeping an eye on him for us.

David does take his chemo on the weekends, so that continued. He is taking Temodar, which is just a pill, so it doesn’t affect his routine too much. He can’t have it with food, so he does have to plan on not eating for a total of 4 hours (two before, two after), but so far he’s doing pretty well with that.

Tomorrow is our day to drive him to radiation, so I’m looking forward to seeing him – even if it is at 7 am! Neither he, Richard or I are “morning” people, but we cherish the time we get to spend with him. He mostly likes to watch a movie in the car, so I’ve been looking for stuff that will make him laugh. If you have any suggestions, please send them my way. We have quite a few drives ahead of us!

Homecoming Game

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Well, the kids didn’t go to the homecoming game after all. It was very cold and windy, and I called to tell them not to come. They had already reached that conclusion themselves, though. We can’t afford for David to get sick at this point.

Richard and I went to the game, though, and we texted updates and posted pictures to Facebook so the kids could see what was going on. Not the same as being there, but I’m sure they were much happier being warm.

Several parents asked about David, and it was nice to see that folks are thinking about him.

Day Three of Radiation

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David went for his third radiation appointment today. His dad took him today since I took him yesterday. He reported that David was tired, but that could be because of the early hour of the appointment. His appointment today was 8:30 a.m., which means David was up by 6 a.m. That is far earlier than he has been getting up, but we want him to try to make it to at least his last class of the day. Today, the last class was preempted for the homecoming pep rally. David got to go to his pep rally, and Austin (his sister) won a giant glass jar of candy. Needless to say, she was pretty excited after school. I picked them up after school and drove them to their dad’s house, where Mrs. Woodside met us for David’s afternoon tutoring.

Mrs. Woodside has been coming each day to work with David, and we are very fortunate to have such a caring teacher helping him with his assignments. She is young and energetic, and he really enjoys working with her. She is also Austin’s math teacher, so it works out well for both kids.

They are planning to go to part of the homecoming game tonight to see the floats and their friends. It’s supposed to be pretty cold , so I don’t think they will stay for the whole game. I am happy to see David and Austin taking part in the activities at school. I hope that these are memories that  they will carry with them throughout their lives.