Sunday, May 24, 2009

Only 18 More School Days Left!

Many students do not think that teachers look forward to holidays and summer vacation. They believe that teachers love school so much that they would live in the school building year-round, if they could.

Well, that is what I believed as a kid at least.

Let me dispell this myth for you! I am so looking forward to summer vacation!

I cannot wait for summer days with my son, daughter, and even husband on some days! We plan to take walks, go to the park, have picnics, and then on Fridays to go to the beach with daddy on his day off! Yay! It is going to be very nice. We might try to squeeze in reading and math readiness activities for Gideon so he is nice and ready for kindergarten, but that is pretty much all I want to do with school this summer.

School is officially out on June 17th. The teachers have one and a half more days after the students are released. I know this sounds so late for my Kentuckian counterparts, but we don’t return to school until after labor Day in September, so it really isn’t that bad. In fact I would rather have it that way. This year’s Labor Day is unusually late and we don’t go back until the 7th of September!

Don’t get me wrong, by the time mid-August comes around, I will be chomping at the bit to get in my classroom. I love the smell of school! I know this sounds odd, but it is so true! I don’t know if it is a universal teacher thing or not, but it is definitely true for this die-hard teacher! I love the smell of pencils and of desks and of the new lunchbox you get every year. Oooh! It gives me goose-pimples just thinking about it! I usually cannot sleep the night before school starts because I am so excited to get started and see my lovely students!

I usually cannot sleep the night before school starts because I am so excited to get started and see my lovely students!

So in other words, have no fear! This teacher loves school and her students. I am just in need of good bit of R&R with my kiddos this summer!

Hasta La Vista la escuela! For now at least! J

I know the pictures have not necessarily coincided very well with the topic at hand but these two are the very reason that I look forward to this summer!
There is one pic that I would like to give a bit of explanation for. All the others are pretty self-explanatory.
The one where Maia is wearing the Ronald McDonald House onsie is very special. She is finally able to wear the onsie Grandma Judy bought her from our stay the Ronald McDonald House while waiting to have Maia discharged.

We love the Ronald McDonald House and the amazing service and love they give each of the families. We will forever give to this charitable organization. It is truly a house that LOVE built!
We weren't sure how long we would be there and we weren't sure if Maia would ever get to the stage where she could wear this onsie, so we are forever grateful!

Friday, May 22, 2009


Hey Everyone!
My dad had a stroke yesterday and Praise Be To God, He is doing wonderfully. Here is my mom's email giving all the details.
Tom met Jim Bickley, a friend, for lunch today across the river on the Indiana side. As they sat down to eat Tom mentioned that his left hand felt strange. It wasn't until they had finished their meal and Tom tried to reach for his credit card, that he realized he couldn't move his hand at all. *
Jim promptly drove Tom to Baptist Hospital East where a team of medical personnel (nine in all) started working to get the necessary medicine, i.e. blood clot busters into his body. Before I arrived at the emergency room he had a CAT scan and then after I arrived they scurried him off for a MRI. About 5:15 the doctor came in to give us the results.
The CAT scan showed that some time in the past Tom had a small stroke. The MRI showed a stroke today in his right brain affecting the use of his left hand. He was admitted to the hospital where he will remain for three days while they get him started on an all out aspirin regimen, conduct tests to determine where the clot originated (neck or heart), and start physical therapy on his hand. They also will not let him come home until they can get his blood pressure down.
Tom is in good spirits and isn't experiencing much pain. When I left him he was begging for a steak. I doubt seriously that he will get one. In fact, he will probably be sorely disappointed in whatever they happen to bring. Please be in prayer that he will not suffer any undue stress during this time and that he will be allowed to come home in a timely manner
I appreciate your prayers for my father and also for my mother during this time ( for his recovery and for her stamina while trying to go to and from the hospital to visit him while recovery for chemo and getting ready for radiation) Fortunately, my mom's good friend, Yvonne Perry, is coming for a week starting tomorrow! Yay! She will be good medicine for them both.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Beautiful Brenna

My sister-in-law, Becky, sent us some beautiful pictures of our niece, her daughter, Brenna, today and I just had to share! She is just becoming such a sweet looking young lady!

She was getting ready for her 5th grade dance in the above picture.

Look at those cute little freckles. Okay, I am a doting Auntie, but who wouldn't be with this cute kid? Right?

The below pictures are right before she left for her big event! The kid is disappearing so quickly! And a young lady is appearing right before our eyes!

Stop that, Brenna!


With the one below I had a little fun with the Picasa site and the editting features.

I just had to!

That "Brenna look" was screaming for me to dabble just a bit and create a work of art out of my niece!

She already is!

"How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful!"
Song of Solomon 4:1
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Monday, May 18, 2009

Not My Lumbego?!?

Well, here goes another Not Me Monday,
originated by MckMama herself
and now presented to you by Suth-ern Momma
Well, where to start? Hmmm!
I, in no form or fashion, had completely sore legs today. I wasn't wondering at all why they were so achy either. It couldn't be from some cancerous tumor or fatal disease? Right???
No hypochondriac tendencies here!
Hmmm! Maybe all that re-organizing Gideon's room yesterday into Gideon and Maia's room, from all the bending over, up and down, picking up toys, putting toys away, moving beds, etc. Naaa!
Couldn't be!
I am not that out of shape that my legs would feel like a baseball bat was taken to them?
No way!
I did NOT look like an arthritic granmother feebly going up and down the school stairs today (why don't they have an elevator anyway!?! hee hee). I in no way caused a traffic jammed behind me of hungry high schoolers who were trying to quickly get to lunch so they could scarf down their ham and cheese hero sandwiches before being tardy to 6th period.
Oh, my lumbego (sp?)!
Oh, and I am not totally grateful for all those intercessors
and prayer warriors we don't have for our heart baby, Maia.
Nope! Not one little bit!
God NEVER EVER answers their prayers.
First, He never answered their amazing prayers for Maia's tricuspid valve and pulmonary valve to be enlarged more. It wasn't the perfect size for the valvuloplasty when she was born.
And Now...
She didn't grow almost 50% more in two months time, after we never requested those same prayer warriors to get down on their knees.
I am NOT totally and utterly humbled and amazed by our circle of friends and more so of our Lord God!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Contagious Laugh

Okay, if you would like a nice chuckle or laugh, then you need to view this viral video, Contagious Laugh.
It definitely got me to chuckling today and I hope it brightens your day just a bit and maybe is just the "good medicine" you needed.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Kayleigh Is Home

Last night Little Kayliegh Freeman went Home to be with her Heavenly Father.
Please be in prayer for this hurting family.
If you left click on the above picture you can view their farewell post and pictures of their precious daughter.
Thank you.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Does Our Hearts Good!

"The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my HEART trusts in him, and I am helped.
My HEART leaps for joy
and I will give thanks to him in song."
Psalm 28:7

Miss Maia Elisabeth "Ladybug" Sutherland had her first cardiologist appointment in 2 1/2 months yesterday and WOW is God amazing! He has done more in her little life than we could have ever dreamed! If God saw fit 6 months ago to take Maia from us so she could live with Him in heaven we were prepared and ready for whatever came and to give Him praise for He is good, but that was not His plans.

Dr. R reported to us yesterday that Maia is doing so well she MAY not even have to have the second valvuloplasty!

What?!? Did we read that right?!?

Yep! You did!

Here is the low-down.

1. Maia still has her VSD "hole" and it is measuring exactly the same as it did 2 1/2 months ago and pretty much the same as it did the day CHOP released her from the Cardiac Unit when she was two weeks old, but at the same time Maia's heart has grown and the hole has not grown with it! It is much smaller in relation to the size her heart was 2 1/2 months ago. Does this makes sense? I hope so. Anyway this is great! We will just have to see as time goes by if we need to do anything with that stubborn VSD or not. Hmmm.


2. The pressure in Maia's heart has gone down quit a bit! This is wonderful news. Babies with HRHS have a lot of pressure in their heart because of the narrow pathways and tight valves. In other words, it is really hard going, but Maia's pressures have calmed down.

3. So let me reiterate this from earlier in this post. Since Maia has such little pressure, her heart is growing well, and her VSD does not seem to be hindering her in anway...she might not need to have another procedure! Boo-yah! We are more than ecstatic! We are beyond thrilled! God you just blow us away!

4. Maia is doing wonderfully with her weight! She is now officially 15 lbs and 3 oz. Again...another wow! At the last appointment, Dr. R was very concerned with Maia's weight gain and was afraid she was trending down, but now Little Ladybug has made up for that it such a nice way!

5. She is strong. Anyone who has met Maia knows this! She has always been a bit of a she-ra, holding her head up when she was only about two weeks old, grabbing on to people's fingers with a death grip. Ladybug kept grabbing the ultrasound instrument from Dr. R yesterday, literally.
Everytime Dr. R was busy keying things into her computer and not actively working with the instrument, Maia was knocking or grabbing it out of the doctor's hands each and every time. i am not sure if the Dr. saw the humor in this. :)

Kenny and I are so very glad to hear this news. 2 1/2 months is a long time to wait to see how your daughter's heart has grown and changed. Everything was looking good from the outside, but we wanted definitive answers about what was going on the inside.

It was only suppose to be a 2 month wait and we aren't sure if everything is totally worked out with the insurance company and Dr. R's office. I think each side thinks they are in the right so I don't know what exactly is going on. All I do know is that I don't want a phone call the day before her appointment in August stating that we can't come in because of insurance issues once more.

Continue to pray for wisdom in how to deal with this. Should we stay with Dr. R who is very reknown in the field of pediatric cardiology and was a godsend to us as we prepared for Maia's entrance into this world, but has an office manager whom we prefer never to deal with again OR should we start the process of switching over to another highly recommended pediatric cardiologist, Dr. A? We really want to have the best for Maia. We want God's best. May the Lord direct to the best decision.

Three months now until the next appointment. She is doing that well! Thank you, Lord! Nice belated half-year present!

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
His mercies never come to an end!
They are new every morning! New every morning!
Great is thy faithfulness, Oh Lord! Great is thy faithulness!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Laugh at My daughter crying? Not Me!

Well, here is my first "Not me!" Monday participation blog. If you would like to learn more about the founder of "Not me!" Mondays, go to MckMama's site here. This is Stellan's momma! Yes, that is the famous Mirculous Stellan! Now that MckMama is back into the swing of things at home, she is also back to her routine blogging format and this is what every Monday brings.
This format is a cute and funny way to confess your faults by stating it definitely was not you!
Get the picture?
Well, here it goes!
First of all I never I have a problem admitting my weaknesses. Nope, "Not me!" :)
Pride! What? I am the humblest person EVER! Pshaw. Pride...definitely not me!
This is not weird at all for me to tell you what I did wrong this week. Nope, "Not me!" I am totally cool with exposing myself, yuck and all!
Well, yesterday, I did NOT laugh at my daughter as she cried her little heart out because I was force feeding her homemade green beans puree' . Nope, "Not me!" As her crying escalated to a frenzy, I did not chuckle one bit, not me! Okay, at first it is was only a little grumble of protest: I promise. Then as I kept NOT trying it, get the picture. I am not a sadistic mother in the least bit.
Oh by the way, I was not covered in Green Beans Puree' by the end of the meal session either, if that is what you are thinking! Not me!
I did not daydream about what I could be blogging about during yesterday's sermon on...umm well never mind that. Not me!
Cinnamon tortilla chips are very yummy and I want to bring in some homemade ones for my homeroom tomorrow for Cinco de Mayo. I was cutting tortillas into strips yesterday for a practice turn and I did not carelessly slice my thumb open with a knife. I am not that clutsy. Never! Not me!
And lastly, I never-ever procrastinate. Just ask my mother or husband. They would say I am absolutely perfect in this area of my life. One of my strongest suits. Yes-sirree, Bob! I did not even postpone one little iota on my lesson plans this weekend and end up staying up until 11 p.m. on a Sunday night to email them to my vice-principal. Nope, notta, never me!
Okay, you get the gist now? Whew! Hmmm! That was a bit cathartic!
I recommend you try this post yourself, if you haven't already!
Oh, I forgot one!
And I absolutely never want to curse out blogger for always formatting my posts incorrectly!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Last Chemo For My Mom

I am so glad to report that my Mom had her last chemo treatment this past Friday! I am so very glad. I have been so worried about what this chemo was doing to her. I know I should be worried about the cancer, but the chemo symptoms are what are visible at the moment and it is so hard to hear what my mom is going through! She emailed her circle of friends and family last night with the latest. Here is what she wrote...

Chemo, Numbness, Fingernails & Leaks‏

Sat 5/02/09 8:11 PM

Chemo or No Chemo?Last Friday I went in for my blood work and a private exam by one of the Oncology nurses. Primarily we discussed the numbness which had taken over my fingers, the bottom of my feet, my toes and, strangely enough, my upper lip and bottom of my nose. Katie sighed and said, "You know, Judy, you have been through so much and have had so many side affects to deal with. When you come in next week for your treatment you need to discuss this with Dr. Code and if you really want to, they will allow you to pass on your last treatment." I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I could have a free pass? Why that was like the "get out of jail free" card, wasn't it? I contemplated what she said the rest of the week and decided that if the doctor could answer two major questions I would go ahead and pass go and head straight for home.

Tom and I arrived at 8:30. I was surprised to see all my chemo buddies still sitting in the waiting room. Usually they were there ahead of me and already setting up their beds, saving one for me in the middle. We all started discussing why we had been allowed a little extra bed time and decided it was because of The Oaks (the fillies equivalent of the Derby always run on the Friday before the famous first Saturday in May). In fact, all morning and into the afternoon the Oncology Clinic had their own versions of The Oaks and The Derby right there in the hallways. It was a gas! As Tom and I waited in the examination room I was a little on edge, not having met this new Dr. Code on previous visits. Would he be able to answer my questions? He arrived and I had to stifle myself from laughing out loud. Why he was barely wet behind the ears! Was this a joke? Doogie Howser was going to answer my questions? Let's get real. But in his eyes I saw such kindness. I asked him, "Have you read my records?" He replied that he had read every single word and couldn't believe all I had been through. Such gentleness...such empathy. I liked this guy. He asked me some questions and then it was my turn. I asked, "I have experienced unusual numbness in my hands, feet and lip. Will this next treatment of Taxol mean that since this numbness is still with me, that it will be twice as bad as the last time?" His answer, "It could." Second question, "Can you assure me that if I have numbness again that it will eventually go away?" His answer, "No, I can not." Well, that was to the point! Then he continued, "For some people it subsides rather quickly, maybe within six or eight weeks after treatment. For others it can last a year or so. And for some, it never goes away." So I said, "Katie mentioned to me last week that I could consider not having this last treatment but that I should discuss it with you before making a decision. I know there has to be a reason why 8 treatments were prescribed for me. Can you tell me what you think?" He answered that eight is not necessarily a magic number but that in trials eight treatments were used with the most successful results. He told me that considering the type of cancer I had it would be wise to take full advantage of the treatment recommended and the results would be a less likelihood of the cancer returning. But, he also told me I could opt out if I really wanted to.

I looked at Tom. He had heard the whole conversation. I asked him for advice. His reply was, "Judy, you need to weigh the options here. Opt out and take a risk that the cancer will return at some point but you won't have the numbness. Take the treatment and know you have done everything you can to squash this thing and risk having some numbness." Well now, that was simple. You heard him, Doc! Dr. Code did say that he would instruct the nurses to give me a lesser dose, instead of the two and a half hour Taxol drip, I was to get 30 minutes lopped off. So the grand total treatment with premeds, flushes, (Oh you bet I make sure I get flushed out!) and other drips came to six hours instead of six and a half.

I was the first one back to the beds so I staked out claims for all my friends who arrived shortly thereafter. For Lorrie it was to be her last treatment, too. She admitted to me in private that she almost opted out, as well, but not for the same reasons. She just has had enough of the pain. She had breast cancer when she was 28 years old and begged the doctors to take both her breasts. They told her it was too drastic a step for someone so young. She said, "Judy, if they had listened to me I wouldn't be laying in this bed right now with stage 4 cancer in my gut and I can't get that out of my mind." Mid morning Donna Gunnoe arrived with Panara Bread quiches and pink roses (two of each - one for Lorrie and one for me). Right before I left one of the nurses brought me a card that had been signed by all the treatment room medical staff. They had each written a special note. It meant so much to me.

When I return for my last blood work and doctor's visit I am going to bring them all a big box of My Favorite Muffins. Yum! Everything has been set up for the radiation. My first appointment to get records in and pre-examinations with tattoos put in place will be within two weeks at Bluegrass Radiation in Frankfort. I'm delighted they would take me. What a blessing. The actual treatments won't start until June.

Fingernails It appears that, unless the Lord intervenes, I will be losing all but my thumb nails. The nails are working their way out from the nail beds which is a strange sight, believe me. Last week I spoke with the Athem BCBS advisor who insisted that I needed to take the polish off so that the nails could "breathe". When I did, I could see that my nails were turning black and blue, just like I had hit them with a hammer. I decided they didn't need to breathe at all so I covered them back up with polish. Today when I was working on them I could tell that they were buckling up and away. All it would take is a nice sized bump, tug or pull and adios! My toenails might fall to the same fate. The last time I wore closed toe shoes I was in agony so I'm glad that spring and summer have arrived so I can wear open toe shoes/sandals without freezing my little piggies off.

Leaks No, ladies, it's not that kind of leak. It is my tear ducts! I think it is the steroids I have to take right after my treatments. Whatever it is, though, it is a nuisance. My tear ducts drip/leak constantly and at the most inappropriate moments. Some days it is all day long. Other days it comes and goes. When I'm working and someone comes into the model I just have to apologize and say, "I'm so sorry. I'm really not crying. I'm having a reaction to some medicine I'm on. Don't mind me." Everyone has been so gracious and understanding thus far.

The Last TimeSo here it is, Saturday evening and, yes, it has started. It begins in my back and then my shoulders. Tomorrow it will be in my feet, legs and knees. But this is the last time, Alleluia!!!


Next comes the radiation treatments in a few weeks. They will be every day for 6 weeks. Whew! I am so glad one leg of this journey is over, the next one is soon to come, and then by mid-summer it will be over and we can all breathe!

I covet your prayers for my mother once more! Thank you so much for your intercession!