Sunday, November 30, 2014


Callum's counts finally rose today, enough that the drs felt comfortable sending us home!! He's actually still neutropenic but they feel confident he's turned the corner. Yay!!

As soon as I got the news I immediately started packing us up. :) I grabbed a wagon from the entrance (there's a lot left out front for people to bring stuff - and kids - in and out). Callum REALLY wanted to ride in it on the way out, so that's what we did! :)

The minute he realized we were outside - he just TOOK OFF running. It was pretty cute. I couldn't blame him one bit.

We have to go back on Wednesday to get his counts checked, in hopes that they've risen enough to start up with his chemo again (when he's neutropenic, they withhold the chemo we give at home).

Since home, I've been unpacking and doing chores and giving Logan and Jon lots of hugs. Callum and Logan have been sharing their latest toys and games with each other and I think it's safe to say we're all glad to be home and a whole family again. :)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

More beads!

We are adding quite the collection to our beads this visit!

Who's competitive?

Callum is killing me in Spot It! :)

Jonism of the century

I just got off the phone with Jon a little bit ago.

"I've been doing laundry constantly!! Where does it all come from? There's no one even here!!"

LMAO. That had me cracking up for awhile. :)

These two guys

Staying in the hospital, for so long, in isolation without even being allowed to leave the room, is pretty tough. But I think for Callum and I, the hardest part about these (unplanned) stays, is missing our time with our two favorite guys.

This past week, Logan had his Thanksgiving break from school, where we had planned a lot of fun activities like painting decorations for his upcoming birthday party, getting Christmas decorations out and up, going to the movies, and generally hanging out and enjoying time together. I know there's nothing we can do about these hospital stays but I felt really bad that we didn't get to spend the week with Logan. Thankfully we have tons of help nearby to keep him busy - and I think he ended up still having a pretty sweet week off. If anything, he got a lot more quality time with his Daddy, which I know he enjoys. :)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Cabin fever

I'm going a little stir crazy, so I figure, why not work on a project while I'm here?! And had Jon send our holiday cards up with Kim today (she brought Logan up for a visit, since Jon has a cold he's not allowed up).

Thank you Kim!! (For the bag full of fresh underwear, corn dogs, and materials for my project!) ;-)

Dressing Change

Since we've now been here a week, that means we also have to do a dressing change and pull out his needle and re access him with a new one. :( That's the only bummer part of the port, but thankfully doesn't happen often since we rarely run into this situation where we've got it accessed for more than a week.

I thought we'd try to "soak" the adhesive on his chest with some of the adhesive remover cloths, so the actual removal wouldn't be as painful. And I also thought he might like to help me. You can see it still wasn't pain free, as evidenced by that big ol' tear sitting on his cheek. But overall I think the dressing change and new poke went pretty well (our nurse was also SUPER patient and took her time which helped him quite a bit).

Christmas Lights!

Well, we are still at the hospital. :( it's now been a full week! *sigh*

Callum's counts haven't recovered enough to go home yet (in fact today they dipped even lower than before! to 20), although thankfully he's doing much better. Since he's doing so well the doctors and I have talked about going home once we see an upward trend in his numbers (vs having to wait until he's no longer neutropenic, which would be above 500). So now I'm just hoping for his numbers to rise nicely over the next couple of days so that everyone feels like he's finally recovering.

*cross your fingers!*

They've also moved him from Flagl, the awful gross tasting antibiotic that made him throw up several times, to Vancomycin. If you'll recall, he's had Vanco before, and got the "red man's rash" after receiving it, but that almost never happens when given by mouth, which is what we are giving him now. They switched since they really wanted to get the antibiotics straight to his gut, to treat the C-Diff more directly, and so they'd feel comfortable that we have a manageable treatment plan going home. So far he's been fine taking it (he doesn't really like any medicine he gives, but he tolerates it and keeps it down), so that's been good. :)

As dusk was approaching, Callum happened to notice some twinkling lights out of our window this evening. Upon giving it a closer inspection, we discovered the hospital has now dressed up the animal shaped bushes out front, at the entrance, with Christmas lights!!

Boy, what joy that brought Callum! He got very excited and told me that even though the hospital doesn't have chimneys, Santa could still bring him presents, because he could just open a door (to get into our room).

Duh Mom, duh. ;-)

Thursday, November 27, 2014


So much to be thankful for every day. But today, we're thankful for amazing friends and family, who continue to support us, far and wide.

Love to you all and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Excitedly waiting

Our room overlooks the circular driveway/entrance to the hospital, so we have a good view of all visitors.

Unfortunately, our plans to have Jon and Logan come up and join us for a small Thanksgiving family dinner in our room were spoiled, as Jon has caught a cold (and anyone sick isn't allowed onto the oncology unit).

So, we had a couple of other visitors today instead. My mom and Kai brought us some food earlier - they also could not come to our room due to a cough, so we talked on the phone and waved to them through this window. The food was delicious and we scarfed it down right away!

Then later in the afternoon Jill, her sister Beth, and Trent came up to visit. They stayed for awhile which was really nice. I had thought the boys would play more together (this is who Callum was eagerly waiting to see through the windows), but they mostly just hung out watching TV. ;-)

Regardless, it was really nice and we've enjoyed the cheer they brought to us for the day!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Home cooked anything is always better!

Callum has refused to eat most everything I've offered him today, even though he claims he's hungry. :(

An old coworker and friend of mine, who lives nearby, texted me this evening saying she and her daughter made us cupcakes and wanted to drop them off.

Sure enough, Callum not only devoured one, but TWO, in a matter of minutes! :)

Here he is, giving a big thumbs up!

Look at my hot cocoa mustache!

Someone's feeling much better this morning! Amazing what a long nap and a good night's rest will do. :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A rough day

Today has been rough for poor Callum. He was complaining of nausea and back pain last night and this morning. Unfortunately, he threw up (everything!) after his two meds this morning. :( I could just tell he was off.

One of the meds is a new antibiotic for his C-Diff infection that he's been getting via IV up until now but they'd prefer via mouth so it hits his gut quicker. However, that one tastes horrible apparently and he just can't keep it down. :(

We tried again another hour later and immediately he threw it all up. So, I convinced the drs to put the order back on IV, since I argued at this point, something is better than nothing and I could tell he would continue to vomit if we continued to try. :(

I also had the nurses give him some Benedryl to help with the nausea (he's getting Zofran around the clock but it seemed like today he needed some extra help), but to also help conk him out since he woke up pretty early and was just a little ragged most of the morning. Thankfully it hit him pretty fast and he has been napping since. I hope he'll feel better after resting (and now that we've stopped the crappy meds for at least another day or so).

Unfortunately, his counts are at an all time low (his ANC is 31, so essentially he's got nothing to fight all this crap right now), and sadly, there's nothing to do but wait it out and allow his body time to start producing good fighting cells again. It's stressful and exhausting, but I know we'll get through it eventually.

Monday, November 24, 2014


We finally got called for Callum's LP. While going into the procedure room I asked the nurse if they had some emergencies that caused our delay. No, but because we're on isolation they pushed us out to the last case. Ugh! I wish someone had told us that this morning! :(

Anyway, here he is in the procedure room, acting super silly and goofy while all the nurses bustled around us to get ready. He was a little rough going under but otherwise it went fine (I snuck off to shower while he was in his procedure - they just called me to say all went well and he's done, so I'm heading back down the hall to pick him up again!).

In isolation

Before, our door just had the green sign on the right, since Callum tested positive for rhinovirus (which is essentially the common cold), but given kids here are immunocompromised, it means we must stay in the room and nurses/doctors need to wear gowns and masks to protect themselves (and from spreading germs to other patients).

However, last night he had a bit of mild diarrhea, which unfortunately tested positive for C-Diff, a bacterial infection in your gut. It's not common for healthy folks because even if you did get it, the good bacteria in your gut would likely fight it off. But when you're immunocompromised and/or on antibiotics that have wiped out all good bacteria in your body, it's quite common to then get C-Diff. It's also very contagious, thus the new red/orange sign on the left, added to our door.

So, we started another type of antibiotics in the middle of the night to fight the C-Diff (I have to admit I was getting pretty irritated with the nurses since it felt like they were in and out every hour last night, but now I know why!).

He's doing well otherwise (and has only had that mild incident of diarrhea so far).

This morning we've been "on-call" waiting for the day hospital to call us in for his scheduled spinal tap (neither his neutropenia nor this new development with C-Diff will delay the chemo for his spine). It's kind of nice since they've got him on fluids and we're just down the hall, relaxing in our room while we wait. However, because we've been admitted, they bumped him to a later time than usual, which means he's getting irritable since he hasn't had anything to eat or drink since dinner last night (which was like 5pm!!). :(

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I'm always 6% sad.

This is the first time we've been at the hospital where Callum has been in some pain. So, this is the first time where he's been asked to rate his pain level, based on the faces shown on this piece of paper. Every time, he's told the nurses he's a 6 (which, in my opinion, is questionable given he was clearly in more pain yesterday than today, but oh well, the nurses don't seem to care how exact he is) :)

He later told me he's always 6% sad. I asked him to show me what 6% sad looks like, which he showed me, immediately followed by the giggles. ;-)

Hospital selfie

No more fever

I'm not sure yet if it'll stick, but Callum doesn't have a fever anymore which is great. I'm hoping that means the antibiotics are starting to kick in and help fight his ear infection!

Unfortunately, he started complaining of ear pain in the other ear (and the dr *did* see the start of an infection on the other side last night), so during rounds this morning they decided to give him some drops (which have benzocaine) to help with the pain. His congestion also seems to be worse, so we suspect the pressure is making the ear pain more pronounced, poor guy. :(

After we finished with the drops, Callum was very insistent on Logan joining him in his bed (he was thrilled to see his big brother). In fact, he told Logan: you can't watch any movies unless you're laying in his bed (with him), thus here the two are, enjoying a movie together. ;-)

iPad time

Hanging out, waiting for Daddy and Logan to visit. :)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Chest X-ray time

We're now in the inpatient side of the hospital, in our assigned room, getting settled in. The doctor is a little concerned that his cough has lingered for so long (sound familiar? I feel like they say this every time we are here with a cough!) so she ordered chest X-rays to make sure there's nothing more to be worried about.

Otherwise, now we're just hanging out and waiting for the time to pass as we have done so many times before. ;-) Callum already seems much better now that we've got fluids pumping into him on a regular basis, and some antibiotics and Tylenol to help manage the pain. Phew!!

Finally getting some sleep

I think the Tylenol must be kicking in. Still has a bit of a fever though so we've got cold washcloths on him to help him cool down.

Another admittance

Well, little Callum woke up last night a little after midnight complaining of an earache. I thought maybe it was just some congestion or something due to his cold so we got some Benedryl to give to help him sleep - but before we could give it he threw up, poor guy.

This continued throughout the night. Several episodes of throwing up and miserable terrible screaming pain from his ear. :( Thankfully, we could give him Tylenol once we spoke to the on call doctor and confirmed he didn't have a fever. But even that (nor some stronger painkiller meds I had for him) seemed to work very well. He, Jon and I probably got a total of 3-4 hours of sleep (in spurts of 20-30 minutes) all night. :(

So once the sun rose and businesses started opening, I called his pediatrician and brought him in right away to check out his ear (knowing it would be faster than driving to the clinic at Stanford). Sure enough, he had a nasty ear infection (and a mild grade fever of 100.6 had started to develop). :(

We got a dose of antibiotics in him and he would catnap in and out of sleep on my lap on the couch. When I could, I'd sneak away to pack our bag and check in with our nurse, Carly, throughout the morning. We decided she'd get a room in the day hospital for us to come in, since we wanted to try and avoid a trip to the ER in the middle of the night and we both knew he could hit a fever (and stick) any minute. Plus, he wasn't eating or drinking so we thought getting some fluids in him couldn't hurt.

About 1pm I packed up the car and we headed to Stanford. Jon had cleared his schedule for the day thank goodness and stayed home to do a bit of work before picking up Logan.

The drive to the hospital was terribly stressful and long(er than usual), since Callum was on the verge of puking and screaming about his ear pain the entire time. It totally sucked. :(

When we arrived, we were quickly ushered to our room and vitals were taken, where we discovered he had hit another low grade fever (101.1). Ugh. They took blood work for a number of things to check, but the biggest being his counts, to see how well his body could handle fighting this infection on his own.

Unfortunately, he's not well equipped to fight it right now - his WBC is 800 (the lowest he's had yet) and his ANC is 240, meaning he's severely neutropenic. :( So, we are now hanging out watching a movie and waiting for them to make room in the inpatient hospital, since we'll be staying the night.

We will have to stay until his counts recover, and he's fever free for 24 hours. Another wrinkle in all of this is that he's scheduled for a lumbar puncture (with chemo) on Monday morning. Unless he gets much much worse, we will go through with the LP, but that also means (I think), that they'll at least keep us here til Monday (unless he's recovered miraculously overnight and they're desperate to get a bed back).

Jon and I were talking about how we've actually been pretty "lucky" with how well things have gone so far, and that one of these visits was bound to come up soon. Still, it's funny how much you quickly forget about all of the little things while at the hospital - yet now that I'm here again, it's all quickly coming back to me (and I'm sure for poor Callum too).

Wish us luck.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

"We make it easy..."

Don't let Wilton fool you. There ain't nothin' "easy" about making gingerbread houses with young boys.

Callumism of the day

I haven't done one of these in awhile but this was a good one. Callum is fighting a head cold so we're taking it easy this morning and lounging in my bedroom, playing video games.

He was struggling with a particular level and, while throwing the remote down in a huff he says to me, "Mom, I can't beat this level because I ate some Cheerios! It's all your fault."

No matter what, you can't win with these guys. ;-)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wild Pants Wednesday

It's finally starting to get a little chilly so I got myself some longer workout pants. I've been doing Pilates with a private trainer to help me get back into strength for my bad back and knees, and it's been great! I already feel stronger and it's only been a few sessions. :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Picture Day Today

Callum being silly while we hang out at his school for picture day today.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Making party decorations

The party store has NO decorations for our theme (crazy!).

So, I'm making them. Wheee!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Little reminders

So, I've been planning and prepping for Logan's party little by little in the background (now that the Cookie Exchange party is behind me, I can get into birthday party mode full time!).

While writing out his bajillion invitations, it occurred to me that we are about to open our home to a bajillion germy kids!


A year ago, I didn't think anything of it (I just took a deep breath and accepted my house would be full of hyped up boys bouncing off the walls bat shit crazy for a few hours).

But this time is different.

Suddenly a bajillion (that's my word for the day) questions started flitting around in my head. How did I not think about this ahead of time??? Can we even do this? Am I being an idiot? Do all the kids (and their parents) who we want to invite, even know about Callum's cancer? Should I limit who we invite? Will Logan understand?


As it happened, I got a text from one of the moms at Callum's school, about her son who was going to get the flu mist spray on Friday - which is a real bummer since it means he can't go to school now for 2 weeks. :( There were a couple of things happening at his school this week that I still wanted to do (like school pictures), so I called our nurse to discuss our options.

While talking about that (she is supportive of him getting his pictures taken - yay!), I brought up Logan's birthday party.

Am I a complete idiot for inviting 15-20 kids into our home? Into Callum's home?

She said no, but suggested I add in a personal note to the invitations, mentioning hand washing and no coughs/colds allowed, etc.

While I think it's common sense that you don't send your kid to a party when he/she is sick, a sniffle or cough wouldn't hold up most families. And, it's not something most moms really think about actively writing, printing, and adding to an invitation card either! Yet, here I am, creating personal "Read me" cards.

Once again, I'm reminded that we're not really back to (our old) normal.

This is now our (new) normal.

On the upside, I think I'm getting better at saying "We'd like to see you, but not while you're sick. Let's touch base in a couple of weeks." :)

I got second place!

After packaging up my cookies this morning, I showed Jon the final result and asked what he thought. He said they looked great but didn't think I'd win. (he said that with lots of love, he knows how crazy the gals are that go to this party!) ;-)

So imagine my surprise when I placed second for best presentation!! Cherry (pictured with me as we showed off some adorable ornaments from our prize bags) put together an amazing set of gift bags herself. She and I tied at first - we laughed because we both voted for the other one! :)

(I think my little touch of creating a QR code to scan in the recipe was a hit - heehee!)

So, everyone voted again, this time just between Cherry's and mine, and she won first and I got second. Her's was so well deserved and I was just happy to get a little recognition for my hard work! :)

We all had a really fun time chatting and sharing stories and snacking all afternoon - I think we all agree going to these Cookie Exchange parties is a lot of work, but they really end up being so much fun! Jenn also makes a great hostess which always helps.

Can't wait for next year's! :)


First pic shows 6 dozen cookies all ready for packaging!

The next two are a closeup of my final product, and then me trying to fit them all into boxes (there's actually 12 bowls since we're giving 1/2 dozen per person!).


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Candy Bowls

Aren't these pretty?! This is what I'll be packaging up my cookies in for tomorrow's Cookie Exchange party. :)

This baker is pooped!

Just baked 6 dozen of these puppies! (Citrus Butter Cookies - I love anything citrus for desserts) :)

They're not nearly as pretty as the site I got the recipe off of, but they're mighty tasty. ;-)

A BMW Family

While Logan and I were at a birthday party, Jon and Callum were picking up my new car that arrived today! It's an X5 and we love it!

Here's a pic of Callum showing me this cute little teddy bear that our sales guy gave him. ;-)

Happy Birthday Haris!

Logan and I went to his friend Haris's birthday party today. It was at this place where the boys could race little remote controlled cars.

The first pic is pretty much what Logan's face looked like half the time he played. It was very hard to control the cars since the controls were so sensitive and the cars went so fast. :)

He did finally get a little better after about 45 min of playing but man, it was frustrating for him, which in turn was frustrating for me since I had to keep calming him down. And then I'd try to help him because he'd ask, but then immediately yell at me about not wanting any help. *sigh*

The second pic is of most of the boys lined up playing. It was a little crazy as you can imagine, but Logan did have a really great time, despite how hard it was to play. :)


My kitchen smells great right now. :)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Movie Night!

Jon and I are having a movie night in, complete with ice cream sundaes and all. :)

Big Brother Advice

C: But I can only play Level 1.

L: You just need to practice. And then you'll beat more levels. How do you think I got better?


Trying out a new recipe for the Cookie Exchange this weekend. :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Early Christmas Presents?

Isn't this a pretty inconspicuous box...? Haha!!

I ordered Jon a few different Lucchese boots to try out since he's been wanting some for awhile, and they arrived today.

The last two pics are of Callum modeling the boots for his Daddy. Doesn't he look like a tough cowboy?! ;-)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

That time of year again!

Holy moly, Logan is going to be turning 7 next month!!

I finally realized why this time of year is so hectic for us - it's not just the family visits and holidays in general, but the decorations and food and baking that come with all of that, and for us, it's ALSO all the prep for Logan's birthday party!

(Which falls smack in between Thanksgiving and Christmas - talk about busy!)

But, I do enjoy putting together the boys' parties. The theme this year should be pretty fun. :)

A loving greeting

Yesterday, since the boys had the day off from school, we three headed up to visit Jill, their kids and especially their new baby, Everest! As always, the boys had a blast hanging out with their buds and Jill and I had a nice time catching up in person.

Eric and Jon joined after work was done and I thought it was pretty cute how the kids swarmed both of them, as they each arrived to the house. :)