Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hey There!

HEY all! I have a couple of posts brewing in my lil head but havent had the time to sit down and write. I will though. Ill sit down with a nice cup of apple cider one night this week and hammer it all out. PROMISE!
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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


What kind of family do you have? Do you have the kind that will drop everything at the drop of the hat to help you or be with you in your time of need or do you have the kind of family where everyone fends for themselves? You can also have a variety of in between families as well. I however, am proud to say that my family is the first one mentioned. They are phenomenal beyond words and I just wanted to cred for a few minutes.

I was raised by a single mom. I say that for one of two reasons. #1 Dad was never around growing up. He was always working and doing things (i.e. working out, running, rock hunting) #2 Dad left us when I was 15 for his secretary. So therefore I was raised by a single mom, got it, okay good.....moving on. So I was raised by a single mom who was making no more than 10 dollars an hour and had 3 girls to support. While my father did provide while they were married and subsequently child support after the divorce, funny things happen, teenage and tweens require money.....and usually lots of it. Between clothes, after school and weekend activities and extra curriculars, I am not really sure how she did it.

Even if my mom made mistakes....and I am sure she did somewhere, although I have never seen the remnants of it,........she has 3 girls who turned into women who...for the most part are "normal." I for instance graduated high school, got a bachelor's of science in Elementary Ed, got married to my husband after dating for 4 years at the age of 26. My middle sister "auntie M" graduated from high school and went on to college where she graduated with a nursing degree and is now a LPN or is it RN, not sure.......who married the love of her life after dating for 5 years and recently had a son. My third sister, we call her itchy bay, graduated from high school, went to massage therapy school, she is currently managing a local spa and wants to go back to school. She has been seeing someone for awhile whom we all hope becomes part of the family soon.

Now, I am not saying that we are perfect or have the perfect life however, I am saying for single mom....she did pretty damn good! She instilled values, morals and strength in us to raise us to be the best version of ourselves.

With all that said, I would like to mention that the support and love from my mother and two sisters through the last 3 years has been nothing shy of phenomenal. When we were at our lowest, which seemed to happen more than once, they were there to help scrap us up off the pavement and give encouragement. They all lived, breathed, and lived some more for our little boy. They were our rocks and our shields in the fight. But while our hearts broke, theirs did too. They loved Keegan and Keegan loved them.

On a weekly basis my mom would drive up to Riley in Indianapolis so that Ry and I could spend one night a week together in our room at the Ronald McDonald house while she keep Keegan company in his hospital room. Most of the time she never slept a wink. Both my mom and sisters helped with fundraisers and drawing awareness to the horrible beast that is childhood cancer. They have all done so much for us and I know we can never ever come close to "repaying" them for what they have done.

But I hope this post shows what a fantastic a loving family we are blessed with. We help each other, we love each other, and we fought and now grieve together. I wouldn't trade these fantastic ladies in our life for anyone or anything.

Thank you Mom. Thank you Mary Ellen and Thank You Abby. For taking care of Ry and I when we couldn't take care of ourselves and loving Keegan and loving us despite our brokeness. Even though I might not tell you all that much, we appreciated everything you have done and will do to keep Keegan's spirit and legacy alive. We LOVE You!

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Friday, September 14, 2012


May 9, May 11, September 16, September 23, October 20, November 11, December 6th......these plus many many more dates are a part of me now. Never in my life would I imagine that dates can play such a significant role in someone's life. They have become days that I look forward to with anxious anticipation. They have also become squares on a calendar that I dread for I have no idea how I will wake up that day. Will I look back with glee, thinking of happy times or will it be one of "those days" that I find myself just going through the motions trying to get to midnight so the day is over?  Either way that specific days pans out it can be terrible and very heart wrenching.

Why do dates play such a significant role in cancer parents/patients lives and lives of those that loose a child? I have been asking myself this for quite awhile now. Our minds tend to play cruel jokes on us. We will be chugging along in life just fine and then realize the significance of the day and in 2.5 seconds your day has gone to hell.

We know we can't rewind time and take back the day. We know there is no mulligans in life and that no matter how much you want it to be like groundhog day it's not. September 16th is now a day associated in mind with hope. Hope for the future of a cancer free life for Keegan. I remember thinking on this day that we got through radiation and quite possibly killed every cancer cell in Keegan's little body (today a year ago was his last proton beam radiation treatment in Bloomington Indiana). Today though, September 16th, 2012 is a bitter day. That hope that I had a year ago was ill fated, in just over a month we would find out that the radiation really didn't do ANYTHING at all and that Keegan's cancer was worse than it ever had been. The radiation seemed to "feed" the cancer, not destroy it like everyone thought.

The worst part this year is that my husband is not home with me. He is about 2000 miles away while I am here, playing the date game in my head. We were so happy a year ago to return home as our little family living in the same space for the first time since July when we went to Florida on vacation. We were so happy for what the future would hold and the possible return of the use of Keegan's legs. How fleeting those moments now seem.

Why 'o why do I do this to myself?

Right before we walked into this building for the last time:

After ringing the bell on the wall behind Ry, signals you have completed your radiation (its kinda a big deal):

Our little family during the party to celebrate the end of radiation:

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Sunday, September 9, 2012


I have missed a lot of things this year. Like wrapping presents for Keegan at Christmas, buying him something silly for valentines day to "show my love", filling a Easter basket, and going to the fireworks with him on the Fourth of July. The biggest thing I will miss this year, by far, is buying/making him a adorably cute costume for Halloween.

Walking through stores shopping today it hit me. Not in a huge "I'm gonna break down" way but in a "man this is just another reminder of how we and he were robbed. Robbed of life, love, and memories."

As evidence to his cuteness, like you need any of that here are some pictures. For his first Halloween he was a little over a month old he was a ghost:

His Second Halloween he was a very upset bumble bee (just a few days post stem cell transplant):

Last year '11 he was an adorable moo cow:

I don't think he liked dressing up much but I sure loved dressing him up. I looked forward to making him a dinosaur costume with mom. I guess ones day we can dress my nephew as a dinosaur. That would make my heart happy. I miss him more than words can describe.

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Standing Up

Last night Stand Up to Cancer aired on all national channels (ABC, NBC, & CBS...unsure about FOX). If you caught it, even a glimpse of it, you probably found yourself trying to take in all these terrible facts, statistics and heart wrenching stories. I found myself, just words in the actual programming bawling like a baby.

It didn't take long for the tears to turn into a big ugly cry. The more stories they told the worse it got. I cried for the mother diagnosed with pancreatic cancer while pregnant, and for Justin, he was one of St Baldricks 2012 ambassadors. I love this quote that Justin said during the telecast:

"I don’t even think about me passing away. But if I do, I’m taking my Legos with me!”

How great is this kiddo?!? In the face of terrible odds and never ending cycles of chemo and other procedures he DOESN'T even think about passing away. I think that is just a testament to the will and fight of a child, don't you think?

The highlight, in my eyes, of the whole entire night was when Taylor Swift performed "Ronan". Ronan was a little boy diagnosed at 3 with Stage IV neuroblastoma. He fought this terrible disease for a little less than year succumbing to the cancer on May 9, 2011. His parents have started a foundation in his name: The Ronan Thompson Foundation. I found out about him and his fight on facebook, of coarse! His foundation also has a page here.

This song hits close to home for this momma. I urge you to watch it and listen to the beautiful words Maya (Ronan's mom) and Taylor swift wrote.

I tried for 30 minutes to get through on the phone to make my donation. It was right after this song that the call finally went through. The poor person that answered had to ask if I was okay and when I told her I was making my donation in honor of my 2 year old son who lost his battle to brain cancer the phone went silent for a few seconds.

It was a very moving and hopefully impact full telecast. I hope the more they put cancer in the spotlight, specifically childhood cancer, the more people get it!  I am Standing Up to Cancer, I hope you do too!

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Monday, September 3, 2012


You know how in hindsight things can be so much more clear than they were during the actual time the events occurred? Yeah me too, I knew it would happen; I don't know why I feel like its hitting me like a MAC truck though. I knew that when I looked back, especially to the day of Keegan's passing and the time surrounding, that my views and feelings of the event as "part of my history" would be totally different.

Well, I was just looking at pictures to edit for childhood cancer awareness month and I stumbled upon the pictures of Keegan this time last year. They are devastatingly sad and to be honest just break my heart. I was comparing how he looked from our July beach trip to the end of August when we were stationed in Bloomington getting radiation. Oh he looks so sick. He looks so sad in most pictures and it freaking tears me up that MY SON had to be put through hell and back.

Here are the pictures I was referencing:

At the time I didn't really see it. How could I? I got to see that beautiful face everyday. But here, as I compare the pictures, this is one of the most significant changes he underwent....and honestly he never came back from. The way he started to bloat in August from the massive amounts of steroids that were being pumped into his small body just got progressively worse. The glimmer in his beautiful blue eyes is not there and that smile, that smile is masked under little steroid chipmunk cheeks. While we got compliments on his adorable cheeks all the time I always said I couldn't take credit for them, they were man made (steroidal).

I know I am just torturing myself by doing this comparison but looking back I wonder if he felt as bad as he looked.  Did we delay the inevitable and make him suffer more? I know we will never know but these pictures and thinking back to the way he acted I wonder.......was that anonymous poster back last summer right....did we do all these "extra" things for the wrong reason?

Hindsight can really be a bitch sometimes.
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Saturday, September 1, 2012