A Childhood Cancer Survivor Blogging about the World of Childhood Cancer

Archive for March, 2010

Cottage Hospital Therapy Dogs

I saw a lady in the store last weekend, and she was wearing a shirt with a very cute dog picture on the front.  Come to find out, her dog had just graduated from Therapy Dog Training.  I think I scared the poor woman with my robust reaction.  (I did ask her if I could hug her before embracing her!) 

When I was in the hospital, the therapy dogs brightened my spirits like I cannot even describe.  There was 123 pound Leonberger, Rowan, and teeny-tiny Sugar, and spotted Dottie, and Sammy who kicked off the Let-Larry-on-the-Bed-Campaign, and many more.  Thanks to all of you therapy dogs, and your “people.”  You made me happy when I was very, very sick, and you still make me happy!

From Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery:

Dogs, dogs, and more dogs… my third round was Dog Round.  Jaynie knew just how much I loved visits from the many therapy dogs, so with one quick phone call, I nearly had dogs lining up at my door.  Echo, Scruffy, Carmel, Dottie, and Ralph all came to cheer me, with lolling tongues and wagging tails. 

   And then… there was Rowan.  Rowan is Jaynie’s registered therapy dog, a 122 pound Leonberger, with just as much love as fur.  Of course, Rowan not only had to be on the bed with me, but on top of me.  Her giant tongue painted my face with a layer of slobber.  Ah… I loved it. 

  She wore a bandana that read, “I didn’t ask to be a princess, but if the tiara fits…”

     Her giant paws were as big as my feet and, in terms of pounds, Melinda + Melinda = Rowan.  Her huge, gentle, compassionate eyes stared, not only into my eyes but, into my heart.  

Dogs, dogs, and more dogs… my third round was Dog Round.  Jaynie knew just how much I loved visits from the many therapy dogs, so with one quick phone call, I nearly had dogs lining up at my door.  Echo, Scruffy, Carmel, Dottie, and Ralph all came to cheer me, with lolling tongues and wagging tails. 

   And then… there was Rowan.  Rowan is Jaynie’s registered therapy dog, a 122 pound Leonberger, with just as much love as fur.  Of course, Rowan not only had to be on the bed with me, but on top of me.  Her giant tongue painted my face with a layer of slobber.  Ah… I loved it. 

  She wore a bandana that read, “I didn’t ask to be a princess, but if the tiara fits…”

     Her giant paws were as big as my feet and, in terms of pounds, Melinda + Melinda = Rowan.  Her huge, gentle, compassionate eyes stared, not only into my eyes but, into my heart. 

“Someone #3” Believe it or Not!

My mom smiles as I squeal when a new endorsement comes in 🙂  There are three things I would love to blurt out, but I have found that there is a certain etiquette to this book endorsement gathering process.  “Someone #1” is reading Chapter 8 right now– his manager requested more, and already promised an endorsement.  And then there is that “Someone #2” who I have received the endorsement from, but I need to get her management a release before I “release.”  And then, there is “Someone #3,” who I have yet to tell you about!  This “Someone #3” is part of an organization that has already told me they would be “thrilled” to endorse my book, but a testimonial from this “Someone #3,” who is associated with this organization, would be simply amazing

I am really, really, incredibly excited that Greenleaf has begun the cover design process for Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery!  I know what the “theme” of the cover will be, and I am anxiously awaiting the opportunity to view the cover designs to choose from.

Do you know that Roger Daltry of The Who started Teenage Cancer Trust?  How inspiring it is to know that he has a heart for kids.  I am going to add him to my Golden List of “Heroes for Kids” right alongside Jeff Foxworthy.  Thanks so much for caring, you have no idea what it means…

Subbing, Silliness and Dr. Josh

Guesses? 

There hasn’t been a correct guess yet for “Someone #1” or “Someone #2.”  I have had some very thoughtful ideas, but no bullseye yet.  Do you need Clue #2 for “Someone #2?”

First I want to tell you that all weekend, I have been thinking of Dr. Josh at his computer.  I wonder how it is going?  Do you think he is enjoying writing the Forword for Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery?  I am so excited to see what he will write!  Dr. Josh has a great sense of humor, even donning a cardboard crown for my end of hospital chemo party.  What a guy.  You know, looking back, I realize even more how much his kind and caring ways helped me express joy that day that I needed to let out.  Being my “substitute” doctor, he could have stayed aloof and indifferent.  But he chose to give me joy by participating in my silly party games, and by wearing silly props. 

Silliness rocks.  I love silliness. 

Thank you Dr. Josh… for subbing, for silliness, and for your kind gift to me and the rest by writing the Forword.

Clue #2 For “Someone #1”

I loved being able to see many people who I love and care about today at the book signing for Relay for Life!  I was so surprised to see my basketball coach (who was an awesome coach,) Joe Moreno walk in.  Another wonderful surprise was Nat Fast showing his always incredible smile and warmth, and if you haven’t seen his artwork… well, it is way past time!  (Faculty Emeritus, Art Department, Allen Hancock College/PCPA Associate Artist)  Barbara Miller, my homeschool teaching advisor for several years before I got sick surprised me too.  And then, there were Gramma and Poppy who are always there to love and support me. 

It was fun sharing, and the people who came asked really good questions.  It seemed like everyone had fun, and we raised money to fight back against cancer.  Very, very, very cool.

On to the Guessing Games…

Okay, now for clue #2 for “Someone #1.”

Do you remember clue #1?

Anyway, clue #2 for “Someone #1” is “Type of.”

Wait till you see the prize! 

By the way, have you figured out who “Someone #2” is yet?

Wow, you are quite sharp, aren’t you?

“Someone #2” The Guessing Game Expands

Okay, how am I supposed to keep quiet when I feel like squealing?!  Another really, really cool endorsement for Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery came in today!  This someone, who shall henceforth be referred to as “Someone #2,” sent me a quote that touches my heart.  And I know that this “Someone #2” is just as busy in life as “Someone #1” or “Cheese.”

I am thinking hard about a clue for “Someone #2,” while we are awaiting the finalization of papers… hmmm… 

How about “Morning Person.”  Yes, the first clue for endorser “Someone #2” is Morning Person.

I will be thinking of clue #2 for “Someone #1.”

Happy guessing– or telepathy, or whatever other assett you plan on using!

I had better think of a prize.  Prizes make things more fun!

Say Cheese!

Okay… I need to breathe… you know how it feels when surprises come out of the clear blue air?! One of those “clear blue air” things happened!  My oh my!

Are you guessing yet?  Do you like Guessing Games?

Okay, let’s play!

I received an email response from one of my endorsement requests that, to be very honest, tickles me. “Someone’s” manager asked me to call when I “get the chance.” I found the chance as soon as I could. On the other end of the phone, I found the warmest, most caring man who told me that he has been “Someone’s” manager for twenty-three years. And then… he told me that “Someone” is going to endorse my book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do you know who “Someone” is?

I will give you a clue.

“Cheese”

Kairol Rosenthal

My favorite thing about the whole book endorsement process is meeting new people.  It has been fascinating, and an amazing study in human nature.  I love seeing how people respond.

One person who responded with tremendous warmth and kindness is Kairol Rosenthal, author of Everything Changes: The Insider’s Guide to Cancer in Your 20s and 30s.  Besides being a fellow cancer survivor, she shares my love of dance as well.  It means so much to me that she took her very valuable time to read my work, and she responded with a heartfelt and well-thought out endorsement for Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery.  

Kairol told me that she gets inundated with endorsement requests from authors who write about their cancer experience.  I can imagine her email inbox exploding.  And then I very gratefully acknowledge what she has done for me.   Kairol, thanks so much for showing your care for cancer kids in such a beautiful way.

Dr. Joshua Schiffman

I don’t think I have told you that Dr. Joshua Schiffman, Medical Director, High Risk Pediatric Cancer Clinic Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Dept. of Oncological Sciences at the Huntsman Cancer Institute has agreed to write the Forword for Grace:A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery !  I am very, very happy about this for so many reasons!!!!!!!!!!!! 

I met Dr. Josh when he came to Cottage Hospital to “sub” for Dr. Dan during my fourth round of chemo.  Without spoiling the Forword, I will tell you that he and I have a lot in common.   I liked him so much when he took care of me that I made him a Giant Card in my “hospital art studio.”  Dr. Josh and Dr. Dan have something in common… they give and give and give and give so that children like me can survive. 

From Grace

    Next in my hospital art studio, was the creation of The Giant Card.  It was for Dr. Josh, and it was a 3′ x 5′ masterpiece, if I might say so myself.  I couldn’t merely make him a normal card– I wasn’t normal. 

     Coloring the huge, block letters, spelling out, “Thank You Dr. Josh,” I told Mom, “I want to give him something he has to lug around.”

     I taped and glued just about everything to it.  Examination gloves, medicine cups, sterile wipes, and those sticks they use to squish your tongue down, were all adorned with flashy, silvery glitter. 

     My lunch arrived right in the middle of my project.  I felt I was far too busy to eat, but quickly observed my food options.  Opening my bowl of soup, I found an unexpected item floating amid its brothy liquid.  Nurse Nancy and Nurse Gail surprised me– with a plastic fly swimming in my soup.  Laughing, I turned to them, and their sneaky expressions changed to smiles.  Ah… I loved it.  Thank God I didn’t get boring nurses.  I would have died, not of cancer but, of boredom.  We all decided that I should tape the fly on Dr. Josh’s card and, once it was securely fastened, I observed my work.  Beautiful.  He was going to love it.

PET/CT Today

Well…I’m back! No passing out and I only had to get stuck once! 🙂 Yay! Also, Dr. Dan said that the preliminary check on my PET/CT looks good! Double yay! Between the oral contrast (which was SO not berry!) the injected CT dye, and the injected radioactive sugar compound (flourine 18..haha 🙂 look it up,) I’m feeling pretty sick right now but not caring a bit! I am too thankful. 🙂

PET/CT Scan Tomorrow

I am going down to Cottage Hospital tomorrow for a PET/CT scan, blood test, and who knows what else! I’ve got a new tube of EMLA (numbing) cream…I’m ready to go and hoping for good results! I’m hoping that the new berry-flavored barium sulphate tastes okay, the dye for the CT doesn’t make me pass out, and that the butterfly needle works to draw my blood! hahahahahahaha (I know WAY too many medical terms) :

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