Kari had her last chemo treatment for the Interim Maintenance I phase last Monday. We got to clinic early which meant we got out of there fairly early. Kari and I always make these big plans to go to the mall and out to eat and all kinds of fun stuff after clinic but it never happens because she's usually worn out and not feeling well afterwards.
Monday, however, she felt great and Malachi was in a good mood too so after I let them nap in the van for an hour or so we went to Tony Roma's for supper. Why Tony Roma's when you're going out to eat with two kids? For one, I love their food. Two, we wanted to go to Joseph Beth to feed the ducks and Tony Roma's is inside Joseph Beth. Much easier on this mama to kill two birds with one stone.
Normally trips like this that I plan can turn out pretty disastrous. But since I played this outing by ear and let the kids decide what we did, it was seriously the best little outing we have ever had.
After feeding the ducks, we played inside Joseph Beth for about 2 hours. They have an awesome train set, doll house, and building blocks that kept the kids and I entertained and, yes, we rode the escalator about 5 times. :)
Then a trip to the mall for cookies and play time in the little play area in the middle of the mall. I was taking a picture of the kids and told Kari to kiss Malachi and this little girl who must have thought it was a free for all walked up to Malachi and laid a big smacker right on his cheek! His eyes were big as saucers! All the parents and I got a big laugh out of it!!!
Last for the evening was a trip to Bath and Body Works to get Kari some "hanitizer" as she calls it. LOL...cancer kids quickly learn to love it.
As I've mentioned before, the only thing on Kari's "Fun Things I Wanna Do" list that we hadn't crossed off yet was the zoo. But...the next day we went to the Cincinnati Zoo with our friends Jess and Chase. We were so excited that they invited us to go with them. We had such a good time and the kids were so good!
Two things happened here: while we were in line to ride the train, everybody around the stroller area was pointing and laughing....at my stroller. Come to find out, a huge squirrel was stealing all the snacks out of my snack bag. It would go inside the bag, take a snack out, run around a tree and hide it, then come back for more. It was so funny but I had to throw a whole bag of goodies away! Pesky thing.
Then when we got back to my van after we were finished at the zoo, we found this:
Van locked up tight as a wedge....with the door open. Seriously? Only me. Nothing was missing, thank the Lord.
I appreciate your friendship, Jess! Love you and Chase bunches!
Yesterday, Kari had to go to Clinic for an EKG and an echo of her heart. Next Tuesday when she starts the new phase of treatment, she will be receiving a medicine that can damage her heart. They needed a reading of everything so that they can monitor any changes. Thank God things were normal to begin with and her ANC is at 5580!! Pappy got to go with us yesterday and we had a blast with him!! We took him to the mall for lunch and then to play again in the play area there. I'm beginning to love that play area in the mall. My kids enjoy it so much and it's actually relaxing for me!
During this horrible battle we're facing, God is always there to give me the strength I need to face each trial. But there have been times when I feel like I'm at the end of my rope. Mainly when Kari seems at the end of hers. She is so strong and seems to bounce back pretty quickly. Only a few times has she let it show that this sickness not only wears on her body, but her little mind as well. Once was when her hair was falling out and she cried her little eyes out watching me put handfuls of her hair in the garbage can. Another time was when she had to face getting "magic milk" every week for her spinals. She has since came to terms with both of those things and I'm so proud of her.
But while we were at the mall yesterday, she had been playing with a little girl and was so happy and carefree for a while. She ran and played until she couldn't go anymore. When I finally made her stop because I was afraid she was going to overdo it, she was ready to drop. She looked up at me with sad eyes and said "mommy, will I always be like this?" I thought my heart would just break into a million pieces. Because all she sees is the here and now. The endless clinic visits and procedures, the restrictions that she has due to her condition, the fact that she has no hair and no longer looks like other little girls...it's hard to imagine what she must be thinking.
But I've also seen her grow in the Lord. That's been my prayer from the beginning and I'm so thankful to God that I can see the change in her. She prays so sincere when we do our prayers before bedtime. When she's in pain, she doesn't cry for Tylenol (I'm the weak one that wants to do that) but she cries for someone to pray for her. I'm so proud of who she's becoming! Malachi is also learning a lot. He says prayers every night and is learning to be sensitive to things that are going on around him. He worries about Kari when she doesn't feel good and will lay his little hands on her and pray when she cries. They are more precious than anything in this world and I'm thankful I was blessed enough to be their mommy!
The other night, mom and I took the kids to the park to feed the ducks. At the end of the day, Kari saw the sun setting and said "Mommy, will you take a picture of the sun? It's the perfect end to a perfect day."
I love these kids!