Sunday, January 31, 2010


I love that for as long as I can remember, Maggie has been the responsible type...and did her homework all on her own. She is too rule oriented and governed by consequences to even think about not doing it. I truly hope she continues to be this way...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

International Festival

Today was a wonderful day for our school International Festival. It was great to participate insomething we love and to see so many friends out and about! Great day.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Spelling Bee

The school wide spelling bee was today. I'm so glad I was able to attend...even though it is gut wrenching to watch! Maggie proudly made it to the top 4 and will be challenged to another bee next week! Ugh...another whirlwind of hard words to master!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Love Thursday

our favorite family game, Rummikub
I am SO HAPPY to report that the scans/x-rays Monica had Monday shows that it is post-surgical scar tissue causing her current symptoms, not large tumors!!! Even better, they also show that a couple of the small tumors have actually shrunk with the initial chemo, so she's responding! Wahoo!!! So, back to plan A. She will continue with the original chemo prescribed. She's opted to wait until Monday to start that so she can be around for some activities over the next few days over the weekend. The symptoms she's having are very real, and her oncologist stated that these are exactly what she sees with tumor growth, so that's what she expected. Dr. Seifker had the scans read and re-read and even looked at them herself to be sure. Monica will have to just live with these symptoms, which she's just fine with. This is wonderful news, of course, that gives her the chance to keep fighting. I really do not mean to be putting y'all through an emotional roller-coaster. I know that every one of you cares about this dear family. Please do not let me take away from this good news when I remind you that this disease is still dreadful and the road is still very tough. We can celebrate today that rather than many steps back, she has taken a tiny step forward! Thank you, as always, for your thoughts, hopes and prayers. - Jennifer

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Dear Friends, Monica and I have heard back from so many of you in the past 24 hours. Of course, everyone is devastated over this latest development for Monica. After reading many of your notes, I decided that I may need to clarify some things. As much as it breaks my heart to say it, it is important to understand that the goals of Monica's doctor's are to prolong her life and to provide her with a quality of life as long as they can; there is not a cure (and never has been) for her type, stage and extent of cancer. I do not want to discourage anyone from paying for total healing - I know we all hope daily for this walk-on-water miracle. However, I'd like to ask you to add to your hopes and prayers some other things like peace for her family, pain and nausea free days, ease of breathing, removal of fear and sadness, the right timing and finding the right words to talk with Maggie, etc. - Jennifer

Monday, January 25, 2010


Hi, everyone. I have some important news to pass on regarding Monica's health. As some of you may know Monica has been experiencing symptoms similar to what she did before the tumors were removed from her lungs - coughing, shortness of breath, and of affected voice. This has progressed through the past week, and today her oncologist said that, as Monica suspected, it is likely this is due to rapid growth of the small tumors that remained in her lungs. They have cancelled chemo today and are running emergency CT scans/chest x-rays ASAP. There is a small chance that this is scar tissue from her original lung surgery, but along with her doctor's, Monica feels pretty strongly it is cancer. Her oncologist was wanting to talk about hospice care. She will meet with the oncologist and review the scans as well as plan-forward on Thursday. She was told she will likely start a new chemo regime then. They told her that the chemo she was getting originally was pretty hard-core, and this will be even more so. What I mean by that is she can expect to be pretty heavily impacted by the side effects. They originally went with what they thought had the best chance of arresting the growth of the tumors. This new chemo is not as targeted for her specific disease and her oncologist suggests a 20% chance it could stabilize her cancer. Basically, as she moves forward having to try new things, the chances of those new therapies working decreases down to less that 1%. The new chemo regime will take 36-48 hours to administer, and therefore, will require a minimum 3-night stay at MDACC. She will do this every 2 weeks. Her oncologist does not recommend surgery at this point to remove any new tumors. She says it is a quality of life issue, that the cancer is spreading so effectively, the time spent on recovering from major surgery is not worth it. This is definitely a time for prayers for peace and strength for this family, and I thank you so much for caring about them. - Jennifer

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Once Maggie found out about these miniature frogs she knew she had to have some! She had Christmas money to use and bought her own frog ecosystem. The frogs only have to be fed twice a week through the top of the aquarium and the water changed twice a year...can't beat that! She named them Sam and Lilly. Cute.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Love Thursday

When I was a child I would find multiple shark's teeth (and sand dollars, too) every visit to the beach in Galveston. Now for some reason I just cannot make that happen. I've told Maggie about this so now she's hot to find a shark's tooth (and a sand dollar), too. Maybe this summer...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ian's birthday

We had a quiet celebration at home together to celebrate Ian's 40th birthday.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


At the last moment we decided to take Jennifer's offer seriously and borrow their beach house for the MLK holiday weekend. It was a bit windy and chilly but we were able to spend some fun times together alone as a family. We also found AMAZING shells...which is very unusual for Galveston!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Why aren't our pets "normal" like other people's pets? Apparently, Clementine has had a hidden passion for skateboarding! He even climbs aboard and let's Maggie and I push him for fast rides in the hallway!

Monday, January 11, 2010


Monica had her appointment this morning with her oncologist's physician's assistant. This is her first week off chemo, but she keeps up those weekly appointments so that they can continue to monitor how her body is tolerating the chemotherapy. Today the PA was able to let her know that Friday's brain scan was clear and healthy. While this was not really something that the doctor's or Monica were concerned about, it is definitely nice to say "healthy brain." All seems to be going well, as far as they can tell. Monica has her nausea managed, and her primary side effect is simply lack of energy (and lack of sleep, which clearly doesn't help the lack of energy). Hopefully with these two weeks of rest, her body will have a chance to recover nicely before the next round starts. If you see Monica (she's been at school and otherwise out-and-about) you will notice she is sporting a new haircut. The volume of hair she was losing was so much, she decided to lessen it by getting a cute bob! The next couple of weeks may be quiet simply because there won't be much to report. Don't worry, I'll definetely get back to everyone as there's more information to disperse. - Jennifer

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

5th graders!!!

It's hard to imagine these girls are already in 5th grown up compared to when they met as babies less than a year old! I'm pleased as punch they've remained friends. Hopefully, that will continue regardless of which middle school they go to.

Monday, January 4, 2010


We actually went out to a restaurant with family this evening...we haven't done that in months!
Monica's chemo treatment was uneventful today. She is, however, totally exhausted. The expectation is that nausea will hit sometime tomorrow (sounds like a hurricane making landfall!), so she's taking the new miracle drugs preemptively. Let's keep crossed fingers they do their job this week! After today, she will have the next 2 Monday's off, starting back on round 2 at the end of January.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Look who it is!!!

We saw Zada!!! Well, the picture tells me I did. I seriously don't remember seeing her at all. I remember going to my grandmothers funeral but I don't remember seeing Zada. I was newly on my trifecta of non-nausea medications...that's all I can say about that.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! My hope is that we may all prosper in good health and happiness!