Thursday, October 29, 2009

We partied in the USA with....

...Miley Cyrus in Little Rock this past weekend!!!! And not only that, we managed to become a VIP instead of sitting in our nosebleed/section 208!! Ok, well, we were not really VIP, but it sure felt like it. We ended up in the Coke suite with a friends in-laws. It was amazing...from the food to the free drinks, to the awesome seating for the girls. There is no way we could thank the James family for everything they did for us. We will never be able to take these girls to another concert in regular seating. Spoiled Rotten...all of us!! :-) It was wonderful in so many ways.
Lainey Taunton, Anna Claire Strebeck, Jenna Cate Roberts, Alia Jones, Laney Bolin, Sydney
The one time in Sydney's life she doesn't wear pink and everyone else does. I thought that was funny. We always like to keep it different! haha

The moms...eating the free food!! haha
Me and my girl.

Gary and Renae James with the girls. Thank you James Family for a wonderful night!!

The whole group. The picture is not very clear. Sorry.

Check out the video. Be sure to pause the music below on the playlist! Sorry about the blur at the end. Sydney was looking for her "flashlight"!

After our wonderful weekend, we came home to find out that one of our dogs had been run over. We have tried everything to prevent this from happening. Thankfully Alan's dad was here with him when it happened, so Rusty had to take care of it. We told Sydney he ran away.

Alan's parents stayed with him and Carson at our house so Sydney and I could enjoy our girl weekend. We also celebrated Alia and Anna Claire's birthday at Party Time Pizza. This place was great. It's like Chucky Cheese X's 10.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pumpkin Patch in Grady!

Last weekend the kids and I went to Hardin Farms in Grady, AR. This is a really neat place with alot of activities for the kids. Basically, you kind of play at the farm for a while and then hop on board the hay ride to the pumpkin patch and pick your own pumpkins. We went with a group of our friends and we had a great time. Alan did not get to join us for this trip...:-( I know the kids and I wished so much for him to be with us, but it just didn't work out. I don't know how we got so lucky that it actually did not rain this day. Thank you Lord for allowing our kids to enjoy this day outside and not cooped up in a house! We all came prepared with our rain boots on, but thankfully the farm was not too muddy. Thank you also to my friends for helping with my two kids. They were always wanting to go in opposite directions. Now for pictures!

Carson's FAVORITE toy at the Farm.

Swinging on the large Oak trees.

Sydney, Anna Claire, Alia, Laney, Anna Kate

Me, Jenny Lynn Strebeck, Stormy Jones, Ashley Bolin & Amber Pope...hehe

The goats on the roof.

Carson thought this nasty hog was pretty neat.

Carson playing on the hay bales.

Sydney milking the cow. It was wooden, but it had pretend utters in that "area" so you could give it a try, lol.

On the hay ride to the patch.

Carson and Sydney in the pumpkin patch. Sydney had her fake smiles on for sure this day.

Laney Bolin, Anna Kate Pope, Alia Jones, Anna Claire Strebeck and Sydney

Monday, October 12, 2009

"I Will Rise"

This morning I was doing a little "blog searching"...catching up on some of my friends blogs. I feel like lately I have been so wrapped up in our battle, that I have not had time to give to others. Anyway, I came up on this post with Chris Tomlin's "I Will Rise". I love this song, so I wanted to share this video with my followers. Sometimes words you need to hear just pop up, but that is God working in your life and leading you. I hope you enjoy this.

Be sure to scroll to the bottom and pause my playlist first!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Houston Update!

We are home!!! Thank you Lord!! First let me start out by saying Alan's report was pretty good, well actually, it was great considering what I thought we were going to hear. I'm going to break this post into sections. I think it will be easier to follow. Before I get started, I just want to thank our wonderful friends, family and community for your prayers and love. Thank you all for everything you have done and are doing for us.

Traveling South
Our trip south was not good. It rained pretty much the whole way. Just when we thought we were out of it, the bottom would fall out again. At times it was hard to see the car in front of you. Alan was able to sleep most of the trip down. I felt like his personal ambulance service. He had a pretty comfy bed in the back, but it was still a rough ride for him. We made it to Houston, called in dinner, ate, went to bed!!

Alan's Scans
Alan had an MRI and CT done Monday. It was a long day of waiting, but again, he handled it like a trooper. I think the MRI was pretty hard on him. We finished up with the scans, grabbed a bite to eat from the near deli and Alan went back to the car to lay down. His dad stayed with him, while his mom and I went and waited in the Dr. office for his appointment. Nothing is close at this place. You have to park in the parking garage, and then walk pretty far to get to Amato's office. Everything is inside and all of the buildings are attached, but it's all very spaced out. Anyway, when it was Alan's turn, we called him and his dad for them to come up. It worked out pretty good b/c Alan was able to rest. I think we waited another 45 minutes in the exam room before we actually saw Amato. Very long wait!! ughhhh

The Report
First I want to start with there is no new cancer! That was a major blessing!! I was expecting some pretty bad news because of how this last month has been. I can't even explain the relief I felt, but still on guard. That's just me. Many of the spots in Alan's lungs have decreased in size, so that was also very good news. The bad part about Alan's lungs is that they are full of inflammation and look pretty bad. Dr. Amato says this is from his chemo, so he will be off his chemo for 2 weeks starting today. Hopefully this will clear them up. The inflammation is also the reason for the low grade fever and shortness of breath Alan has been dealing with.

Alan's Back
The tumor in Alan's back has not changed any. Yes, we wanted something, but that something is that at least it didn't grow. The tumor has just taken over so much of the bone and of course, that is the reason for all of Alan's pain and for him not being able to walk. Although, he is getting around pretty good with the walker still. Dr. Amato talked to us about Alan having back surgery sometime during the beginning of next year. I guess the plan is to wait and see how much the tumor in his back is going to change and then they, Dr. Amato and the Neurosurgeon, will go in and put a rod in Alan's back for support and pain relief. The bone is a weight bearing bone that the cancer is in. For now, the pain meds are just going to have to be the relief. Dr. Doshi, another oncologist we see in Amato's office, changed up Alan's pain meds again, and let me tell you, he is doing so much better. He rode home most of the way today in the front seat. What a major change from our trip down. Update...I think Alan wishes he would not have ridden up front so long yesterday. He said this morning it felt like someone beat him all over his body!! Ughhh

Alan's parents went with us this time and what a big help they were and it was just nice to have some family with us. I was also glad they were able to meet Dr. Amato and his staff.

I guess for now that is it. If I think of something later, I'll add it in another post. We go back to Houston November 30th for the same process...minus the MRI...I hope for Alan's sake. It was pretty bad. I get on my soapbox usually at the end of my post, so I won't this time...mainly I'm just really tired, but...God is Great and always believe in prayer and the power that it has. Look at us...our family...everything we are experiencing and going through right now. It's for a reason, and that reason might be to bring someone reading this very blog closer to God. If it's just for that one person or many, so be it. Well, so much for not getting on my soapbox.

We love you all and thank you for everything!! I'm going to bed!! I wonder how many words I spelled wrong or left out!! HA I'm sure my "special friend" I work with will let me know tomorrow, hehe. I'm not naming names, but she knows who she is.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Heading to Houston

Well, the weekend has finally arrived that we head back to Houston. I can't say I'm real excited about it. I wish my outlook was a bit more positive, but I'm just a little nervous. I'm nervous about our trip and I'm nervous about Alan's appointment Monday.

I'm sure everyone is anxious to know how we are getting to Houston, so here is the plan:
We have put a mattress in the back of my mom's Expedition. We did a trial run last week to see if Alan could get in the vehicle. He used a step ladder and did pretty good getting in. Then we took a short drive just down the road. He said he could feel every bump, but he said it seemed ok. I know it's not going to be the most comfortable ride for him, but it's the best we could come up with. We did have the option of some family friends flying us down in their plane, but Alan will have to be in a seat, buckled in, during take off and landing. I'm just not sure if he could do all of that. We also wanted a vehicle in Houston that we knew he would be able to travel in, so all in all, my mom's vehicle just seemed the smarter route. Alan's parents will also be traveling with us, but they will be in their car. We can't all travel together since we have the mattress taking up the full back part of my moms. We also need extra room b/c we will have to bring the walker and a wheel chair. So, anyway, that's the plan.

Alan's scans start Monday morning at 9:15. He will have an MRI of his lumbar spine first and then around 10:45 he will have his normal CT. After that I'm sure we will grab a bite to eat close and then go and wait to see Dr. Amato. You never know what time you are going to be called back, so it's just a long day of waiting. I have no idea how Alan is going to be able to handle all of this waiting and having to sit up for so long. This is going to be a long, tough day. Our plan is to head back home Tuesday, unless plans change when we get there.

I'm sure I've forgotten some details, but it's 11:oopm and I'm still not completely packed and by no means ready to go. I feel like I've been in slow motion all day. Maybe because I wanted to be because I'm trying to drag this day out as long as possible. I say it so often, and I'm saying it again....please just pray. Pray for our travels, Alan's pain, Alan's scan results, strength, comfort, healing!! There is no possible way I can stress to you how important my next statement is, but you NEVER know what tomorrow holds for you...NEVER, so I hope you have God in your life!!! If he was not in mine and Alan's I can't even imagine how our life would be right now. I lean on him alot and I know he has a plan....a plan that I'm not allowed to see the future of. Don't you know I have prayed to see the future, but that's not how it work. I struggle with this, but have peace with it too.

Also, please remember in your prayers our good friends Jeff and Lisa Woods. They will be in Houston also this week and Jeff will be getting new scans to see how his new chemo is working. Also remember Blayton Craig. After 7 months of fighting Leukemia, this family is finally all together and home. What a wonderful feeling. Blayton seems to being doing very well. Cancer is everywhere and it is literally a nightmare. For those of you that have never been impacted by this, I pray you never will be. For those of you that have been, I pray for your strength to get through the numbing and uncertain days. As my grandmother would say..."It's the pits!!"

Love and Prayers to you all!!

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Romans 8:18