Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Picture Time

Just a couple of photos from the past couple of weeks...

This is Elle in the playroom at MMC with Beth when she was in for her VAC two weeks ago. That cupcake looks...delicious?

Here is Elle doing her best imitation of "The Thinker", complete with knitted cap. She looks wise beyond her years...or she may be hatching a nefarious plot. We still aren't sure which one it was.

These two pictures were taken after Elle got back from MMC. She is modeling the last fashion trend; wearing a Ramones t-shirt over a nightgown before going to bed. I think she pulls it off with ease.

This photo was actually taken before the other two but I save it for last for two reasons. First, to show off the nice hat Beth's friend Buffy and her family sent Elle (anything with Tinkerbell is a winner). Second...notice how the room behind her has been utterly destroyed? That is all courtesy of Cyclone Elle, who ripped through the playroom with a furious vengeance.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Not Much To Report

This past week has been relative calm. Elle had her vincristine push last Monday (and has another one tomorrow). And Elle and Davey got a visit from my parents for a couple of days, which thrilled them to no end. Elle monopolized my mother's time while Davey rough-housed with my dad so much I think the poor guy has a hernia.

I am going to try and upload some Elle photos tomorrow as she poses in various costumes and outfits. Her next major chemotherapy session should occur July 6, when she has to take Doxorubicin and Cisplatin.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Week In Review

Yes, that's right, you are looking at Beth and Elle sitting on the floor and listening to Barbara Bush read a book.

This occured when Elle had to go in for her next round of chemo on Monday. They got into the hospital around nine that morning and were informed that Mrs. Bush would be arriving around 11. So Beth gave Elle a quick primer on how the hospital was named after her and that Monday was her birthday. Elle then took it upon herself to write out a birthday card for Mrs. Bush.

When Mrs. Bush arrived with her Secret Service contingent, she came by and talked with the different patients and their parents. Then it was time for Mrs. Bush to read to the kids. You can't see it in the picture, but Elle is holding her birthday card for Mrs. Bush. After the reading Elle gave it to her, which Mrs. Bush appreciated very much. And then there was birthday cake.

So Elle was eating a piece of cake and about halfway through, she decided she was done. Beth had stepped away for a second, so Elle turned to the nearest adult...a Secret Service agent. She looked up at him, extended the half-eaten cake and said to him, this agent with the gun, the suit and the earpiece, "You can take this, I'm done."

The agent willingly took the cake from Elle to throw away. Beth rushed over to apologize but the agent said he didn't mind at all. Apparently he didn't mind the line of frosting he got on his sleeve either. Chalk up another convert to Elle.

But that wasn't all. After the agent came back he said to Elle "Aren't you the perfect little princess?" Elle smiled sweetly and answered "I know", which elicited smiles from the whole Secret Service contingent. No matter how tough you stand no chance against Elle.

And when Mrs. Bush was leaving, she made sure to stop back in Elle's room to say good-bye. Maybe we'll get an invite to the compound this summer...

That set the positive tone for Elle's stay. Her chemo went so well that she got out a day early, which weren't expecting at all. Now for the rest of July she gets a vincristine push once a week. And she needs some filgrastim shots this week, which Elle isn't fond of in the least.

The rest of the week went very well for her. And Elle and Davey got to sleepover at Beth's parents last night, which they always enjoy. So it was a great week for Elle.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Oh What A Day!

Where to begin about Saturday?

First, there was the dance recital at the Merrill Auditorium in Portland. Elle and her class did wonderfully. Below are a few photos of Elle dancing to "Candyman."

And then we got a very special surprise. After the dance, her teacher kept Elle out on stage. She told the story of Elle having cancer to the audience and then gave her a special award, the "Heart of Dance" trophy. This thrilled Elle to no end. Especially because earlier she had seen older dancers get 5, 10 and 15 year trophies for how long they had danced and asked Beth "Where is my trophy?"

Beth said "You can get one when you dance 5, 10 and 15 years."

Elle's response? "I want one now." And by God, it happened.

And one last picture of the recital. This one is post-dance with Elle holding all her flowers and with her trophy.

Then, after a celebratory dinner at Applebee's (complete with the aforementioned "burrito") we went to the "Ride and Rock" at Mike and Christine Paul's home. Which was a great time.

The Paul's had a tent set up in the back complete with a band. There were lots of people there and everyone was waiting to meet Elle.

The first picture is with Elle and me talking to the singer of the band as she and Mike (in the middle) introduce Elle to everyone. She was shy at first but came out of her shell when they asked who her favorite ballplayer was (David Ortiz was the answer).

The next picture is of Elle playing the tambourine with the band. She loved this and has spoken often of starting her own band. In fact, the whole way home in the car she used her trophy as a mike, had Davey introduce her and then would sing each song that came over Beth's i-Pod. It was pretty great.

And then later came what may have been the highlight for Elle. Mike brought his bike around and Elle got to sit on it with him. You'll notice the do-rag Elle is wearing. This great guy at the party saw Elle and gave her his, which put a HUGE smile on her face. She wouldn't take it off for about the next half-hour.

Elle slept like a log last night after what was a wonderful, wonderful day. And after a relaxing day today, she heads back with Beth to the hospital tomorrow to start her next round of chemo. If all goes as planned, she'll come home on Wednesday.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Busy Weekend

Just a quick update on Elle's treatment: she goes in Monday for her next round, which will be the VAC. She recovers relatively quickly from the VAC round but has a nasty bout of vomiting while getting it. But now that the medical staff give her the anti-nausea meds before she starts, that may be mitigated somewhat. No word yet on when the surgery will take place.

In happier news, Elle has her dance recital tomorrow afternoon. She'll be on stage at the Merrill Auditorium in Portland with her dance class, hoofing it to "Candyman". It's pretty damn cute and yes, there will be pictures forthcoming. After that, it's the annual post-dance meal at Applebee's (her choice) where she gets a burrito. Yes, I know there are no burritos at Applebee's. We get her a quesadilla and tell her its a burrito. Why? Because she insists that Applebee's has burritos.

Then, after coming home for a quick rest, it is off to the Ride and Rock that I wrote about earlier. It's a combo fund-raiser for the Saco Food Pantry and one other cause, which happens to be Elle this year. The motorcycle ride starts at 12:30 at Jimmy the Greek's in Old Orchard Beach at 12:30. The music kicks off at 5 PM at 172 Flag Pond Road in Saco and runs until 11. If Elle is up to it, that's where we'll be showing up. Hopefully we can get a good shot of Ellie on a bike. And thank you again to Michael and Christine Paul for making Elle the recipient of this great event. Make sure to show up if you can; Mike and Christine put a TON of work into this every year and it's all for a good cause.

Monday, June 1, 2009

A Special Package

A few weeks back, Elle received a package in the mail. We opened it up to find this:

Inside was a letter from the best swimmer in the world, Michael Phelps:

Along with a lot of cool stuff from the Beijing Olympics:

There's some neat stuff there, including a swim cap that Michael got from a Hong Kong swimmer (they exchange caps the way soccer players exchange jerseys), some Olympics pins and a lanyard that Michael used for his credentials.

Elle loved all of it...heck, we all did. Beth and I stayed up all hours of the night watching Michael win his medals. And to have something like this come in the mail was just amazing. Suffice it to say, Elle has a new favorite athlete (sorry, David Ortiz). And she wears the baseball cap all over the house yelling "I'm an Olympian!!"

This was made possible by Marissa Gagnon, a Saco resident who works for the Michael Phelps Foundation. So thank you to Marissa for doing this. And thank you to Michael Phelps as well for taking the time out of his busy, busy schedule to do this for Elle. It was incredibly kind of both of you to put this together.