What a long a busy and good few weeks. We have so much to share and have chronicled it in word, pictures and video. So sorry we have not written recently, but Hurricane Sandy made it difficult with power outages this week.
The week before Halloween, Julia had a full week of radiation. She did have some nausea but still made it to school each day. She was able to take Zofran, her belly pills, and it definitely made her feel better. Surprisingly, she has not been very tired. When she saw Dr. Tochner on Thursday for her check-up, he was amazed at her energy and said that if she did not start to feel the side effects by now, Julia would most likely not have any other issues. He gave Julia a quick exam and lots of hugs. Dr. Tochner explained that we would not need to bring Julia for any other exams unless there were issues that arose in the future. When we said goodbye, Julia gave him a kiss and we said we hoped we didn’t see him again, unless it was to dance at Julia’s wedding. Dr. Tochner said he would be there, even if he had to come back from Israel. Check out the picture that we posted with Julia and Dr. Tochner.
On Friday, October 26, Julia had her last radiation treatment. She was especially excited, because she would get to ring the bell – a sign of triumph, marking the end of treatment. Julia proudly walked into the waiting area and rang the bell with not only a sound that echoed through the halls, but a smile that brightened everyone’s day. We were able to get a video and have posted it for everyone to see at http://youtu.be/Dn9lzaSeLtg
After radiation, we rushed for Julia to get home in time for the Danceathon at school. When we get home, she quickly changed into her Halloween costume. We headed to school for a night of dancing and celebration. After the dance, we went to Julia’s friend Jake’s house to carve pumpkins. It was a good day.
On Sunday, Julia was a special performer at the American Cancer Society’s “Party with a Purpose”. She was asked to sing for the event, and not being shy, Julia agreed. She watched the movie Annie a few times and listened to the songs so she could learn the melody and words. The “Party with a Purpose” is the ACS Gala event and this year it was held at the Bellevue. We watched as Julia stood on stage in front of the 250 guests with the poise and presence of someone well beyond her seven years. As Julia sang “Tomorrow”, the words hauntingly rang out through the ballroom –
When I’m stuck a day that’s gray, and lonely, I just stick out my chin and grin and say.
The sun’ll come out tomorrow, So ya gotta hang on ‘til tomorrow Come what may Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love ya Tomorrow! You’re only a day away!
I cried as I listened to Julia sing – I don’t think I was alone. We were able to get a small part of her performance on video http://youtu.be/tmIQD9gPJmc
Monday brought the storm and days without power – camping at home with fun nights cuddling in bed and reading by flashlight. Even though it was difficult, we made the best of it, playing card games and Zingo by candlelight. I wish for days like these to be suspended in time – time to just enjoy being together.
On Wednesday, Halloween, Julia had a clinic appointment. She dressed in her costume (a Medieval Princess) and was able to go Trick or Treating in the clinic visiting the nurses, pharmacy and lab to get special treats. Julia had lab work and her counts were great. She will head back to clinic the day before Thanksgiving for another exam. Scans won’t be until December (at least six week after radiation is completed).
The school Halloween parade was postponed until Friday. That evening, Julia went Trick or Treating in the neighborhood with her friends and Cousin Laura. It was cold, but Julia loved every minute, walking door to door, carrying her bag of Halloween treats.
Saturday was the big surprise. Julia and Dad went shopping for supplies for the new puppy that was promised for Julia’s eighth birthday. Even though Julia’s birthday is still two weeks away, she knew we needed to prepare the house. In the meantime, I went to pick up the newest addition to our family. Julia didn’t expect to get the puppy so soon, but when I didn’t go to the store with them, Julia figured the surprise was coming.
Julia grinned as her new puppy entered the house – a six month old Bernadoodle (half Bernese Mountain dog, half Poodle). “I think I will name her Sophie” declared Julia. They have been inseparable. As I tucked, Julia into bed later that night, she was so happy. “Mommy, tell me this wasn’t a dream and I really have my dog”. “Julia, it isn’t a dream. Sophie is here to stay.”
So welcome Sophie to our family, to a soon-to-be eight year old little girl with a heart full of love and optimism, who will be your friend forever.
It has been a good few weeks.