Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Raney had her scan today. Although the tumor had not grown bigger or smaller, it had changed, which the Dr. did not like. So Raney will now stop taking Tarceva, and go on a traditional chemotherapy course of Taxol/Carboplatin along with Avastin, given together at one time every three weeks. This will most likely last for 4-6 rounds if it is successful, followed by just Avastin for as long as that works.

Unfortunately, being a more traditional chemo, Raney will suffer the side effects of nausea and hair loss. I know this will make it increasingly difficult for her to care for her three month old baby and 4 year old son. Continue to pray for her, her husband Chris and their boys, Jaren and Conor.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Thanksgiving, etc.

Ella looking forward to a picnic lunch
Hannah & Ella on swingset
Mikayla helping Ella "hang"

We had a great time at Thanksgiving. Ella enjoyed playing with all of her cousins, aunts/uncles and Nana and Pa. The weather was absolutely beautiful, so we were able to spend most of our time outdoors. This was a very welcome thing since we've already been trapped inside due to the cold here in Chicago.

Ella, Pa, Nana, Hannah feeding Jeannie
We had several animal experiences: Ella was able to play with a tiger. Well, actually she was able to play with "Tiger", the adorable kitten with no eyes. One night I said there's the kitty cat, and she said, "NO--he's not a kitty cat, he's a tiger!" I then had to explain to her that his NAME was tiger, and she had been playing with a kitten, not a tiger cub. I think she was a bit disappointed. Jeannie the horse also was a star as Ella not only got to feed her, but ride her. I will attempt to post a video shot of this. If it doesn't work, I'll put a photo up instead.

Thanksgiving day itself began great, until we pulled up in front of my Aunt's house and Ella vomited all over herself, her car seat and her poor cousin Hannah. Apparently the milk I was begging her to drink on the ride over had been out too long. (I was hoping it would help her fall asleep, knowing she would need a short nap to make it through the day). So I spent a long time cleaning up a big mess. If you've ever had to try to clean a car seat that was vomited on, I need not say more. I think the smell is finally out though. The good news is that Ella definitely was not sick, and proceeded to eat a lunch of turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, etc. after getting a bath and borrowing some clothes from her cousin Gage.
Papa & Ella playing softball
After lunch we had the traditional game of softball. This was Ella's first year to really participate. Again, I'll try to post a video clip. David had fun helping her hit the ball off the tee, and said by her second time up to bat she understood the concept of trying to hit it. Of course her girly run didn't help much, but luckily nobody under age five can get out according to the unofficial family game rules. My mom, took a tumble in the dirt during the game. Actually, she fell face first hard, mainly on her leg. She ended up at the emergency room, and came home with an immobilizer and having to face Aetna HMO. What a terrible insurance plan. Don't ever sign-up for it! It's the same one Raney is trying to deal with right now. So my Mom saw her "primary care" Doc who thinks she should "wait it out" instead of seeing an ortho Doc as the ER Doc suggested (he thought she most likely tore a muscle, but couldn't tell yet due to the swelling). Managed health care is a joke. Many people think it's such a bargain, that when given a choice by their employer--they willingly enroll. DON'T MAKE THIS MISTAKE!! It's really not worth the cost savings, unless you are young, single, very healthy and have no plans for that to change...don't join an HMO!!

So I'll stop raving now and pray that my Mom's letters and attorney threats will get her to an orthopedic surgeon before it's too late, or without having to go as an "uninsured" and pay out of pocket for it.

It was great to see all of our family, and to be able to spend some time with Raney and her kids. You might notice the green bracelets that people are wearing in the pictures. These are bracelets to support Raney. They say "Be strong" RF. Remember December 12th is the date of the scan. We're hoping and praying for the best.

Before our chill set in, we had some crazy warm weather ~60 or so. Ella and I went to the zoo one day and had a picnic lunch--you'll see some pics of that too. Of course she loved the Meercats, heard the lions roar, petted the goats, fed the cows, climbed the tractor, and had a great time. She loves to play on the monkey statue.

This is getting to be a very long post so I'll end with an update on my sewing class. I have now completed a skirt for myself, a hat and dress for Ella, a hat for Ella's friend, and am working on a coat for Ella. You might see Ella's dress or coat in our holiday photo.

Enjoy the pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chicagochronicles/sets/72157594417317356/

Friday, December 08, 2006

Blogger problem confessional

O.k. so I guess all the lousy things I said about blogger (and to David blaming him for making our computer more secure and losing our blog again) in the past when I lost my blog this summer, and on a comment to the angel-butterfly-princess post have to be retracted. Apparently I had created, unbeknownst to myself, two different accounts on blogger. The blog is only attached to one account, so whenever I remember my username without the blog and log-in with it, voila--no blog. But here I am posting again under my other account with super ease.

I would feel terrible about the help messages I've sent to blogger, but can't bring myself to do it since I found my blog again by clicking on help, yet again, and discovering the #1 topic under Most frequent problems, NOW is exactly my problem. This of course, after numerous replies from them telling me that blogger is too busy with beta and most likely would never get around to helping me find my blog.

O.k. so now you know why there have been no new posts since Halloween. My confession and confusion is over for good hopefully.

I will post Thanksgiving pics later today from our trip to Scottsdale. We're freezing in Chicago. For real. It's "long poofy coat weather" as we call it--negative wind chills, and single digit readings. They say that 40 degrees will be here soon. Ella looks like a snow bunny and still begs to "bundle up and go to the playground". Even if we could go, I can't imagine how she would play since she's so layered and bundled she can hardly walk! I'm pretty sure she wouldn't fit in the swing.
"Mama, I fell down and the snow is all over me" Snowbunny Ella
Also, quick update on Raney. She is continuing her Tarceva, has completed radiation, and will have a scan on Wed. Dec. 12th to evaluate the tumors. This will let us know if the treatment has worked. Our hope is that the growth not only stopped, but that the tumors have begun to shrink.
Raney and Conor Chris and Jaren
Take care all. I'll post more Pictures soon.