Courage for Kennedy – Journal


June 14, 2006

No news is good news and other ramblings from a very busy family!

Category: Family,Gratitude,Treatment – Melenie – 10:40 pm

I know, I know…I said I would be better and while I have been very busy, it is really no excuse to keep you all at the edge of your seat chewing your fingernails! I will give you a rundown of the lowdown with some details but because of the time, it won’t be as detailed as the majority of my posts 🙂

First let me say, that it is ALL GOOD news this round! Where should I start? I know…the top 10 things we have done this month!

1) Kennedy has been named an honored child for the annual Candlelighter’s Ride for a Child event! Less than 10 children are honored a year and Kennedy is excited to be one of them. Kennedy has 3 riders who raise awareness and funds for Candlelighters by sharing her story. We felt very privledged to meet with them on Sunday afternoon and all of us are excited to follow them as they train and fundraise through the summer. They will be riding in September with Cycle Oregon but will be busy over the next few months preparing for the event. We will celebrate with them at a banquet in October. If you would like more information or would be interested in donating to Kennedy’s team to support Candlelighters, please visit their website at www.4kidswithcancer.org.

2) Austin has taken up a new sport…rodeo! It’s true! He has actually rode bareback and bulls (okay, steer in his case)! His first rodeo was the 1st weekend in June and while he didn’t make it the full 6 seconds, he was VERY proud and ready to do it again. He had a few strained muscles in his neck but we bought a neck roll which will hopefully prevent that! I will be posting pictures soon! He also finished up baseball and was one of only two kids to hit a homerun this year. One of his teammate’s grandfather gave Austin a $5 gift certificate at Dairy Queen! What a surprise!

3) Kennedy officially started maintenance chemotherapy on her 1 year anniversary, May 9th! A process that normally takes 7-9 months took us exactly 12 but we know that we have done everything possible to kick cancer’s butt! May 9th was certainly a day to rejoice and praise God for all that He has given us!

4) Kennedy has new insurance! You read that right! After 6 months of fighting with PPC (by the way, if you have them for an insurance provider…run the other way as fast as you can!) we contacted our state and US reps, the BBB of North Carolina, the governor of Oregon, the Oregon Dept. of Consumer Affairs and many others, with their help we were able to get Kennedy insurance through the Oregon Medical Insurance Pool and Blue Cross/Blue Shield. We have a $500/deduct and an out of pocket of $1100/year. Fantastic! We were also advised that due to our extinuating circumstances we had the right to ask for retroactive enrollment back to December 2005. They are expected to deny the first time but we will continue to appeal. My only prayer is that Kennedy’s providers (not her oncology office!) can hold off sending our bills (now around 500K) to collection as we walk out this process. Some have been very demanding and we have used Kennedy’s fund to pay them with the hopes that we will get the money back when this is worked out. It is true that we have to pay separate premiums of $207/month in addition to what we pay for the rest of us to have coverage through PPC but we are able to use the money in her fund to cover this expense and keep her insured. We are thrilled to get her back in to PT and OT rehab as she needs it very much.

5) We MOVED! If you haven’t heard, we bought a house and property with my parents! We will be adding a second house this summer so everyone will have the space and privacy needed. We just love it and plan to get a horse soon for the kids with the hopes that they will continue their love of rodeo by adding more events! I have always wanted a horse so this fulfills many life long dreams for me to…hmmm…maybe mom should take up some event, huh? The property is absolutely beautiful and our house is just perfect for us. God’s timing is perfect! The price was much lower than what we had been looking at and the payments came in at just where we needed for everyone’s budget and amazingly…4 adults were able to agree!

6) Kennedy’s Make A Wish trip is almost here! She has been cleared for travel and things have come together. We leave next week for the trip of a lifetime. We will be spoiled completely by MAW and have absolutely nothing to pay for except our two extra nights and even then the hotel gave us an absurdly good deal…especially because it is peak season! Check back soon for pictures! We also had an incredible MAW Bon Voyage party. Many thanks to Joy and Wendy (her wish granters) for the pink balloons, pizza, strawberry pink cake and goodies wrapped in (what else?) pink paper! Thanks to Amy and Chuck (Kennedy’s Chemo pal) for coming and remember that Austin is SUPER too!

7) Kennedy is doing AWESOME in maintenance! Her counts are staying steady and exactly where they should be. Even her liver is functioning at or near the normal range (with meds of course) and is showing signs of healing! That is an answer to prayer! She is doing so well, that we are waiting 4 weeks before we have to return to the clinic! I’m not sure what we will do with ourselves!

8) Things are becoming “normal” again. No longer is cancer in our face 24/7, always staring at us…mocking us…we are not constantly thinking about it. We are filling our time up with the things we love and want to do and doing less of what we have to do. Who knew that even in treatment things could feel “normal” and the old routine could come back? It feels so good to be just a family again and not a “cancer” family all the time.

9) Kennedy is growing hair!!!! She has eyelashes and eyebrows coming in! Her head is fuzzy and soft instead of shiny and smooth! Dr. McGann told us that in a month we will hardly believe she was bald! She can’t wait!! It is very blond again (much to her delight) and we are just at the edge of our seats to see if it will be curly (her dad, brother, aunties, both papas, nana and many other relatives have curly or wavy hair) or straight like it was before (and like grammie and mama’s). She has big plans for her new hair and will be anxious to show it off!

10) Finally, we were able to attend the Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade!!!! The weather was perfect (a big surprise for those who have attended in the past) and even though Kennedy was covered in sunscreen…mom forgot and was slightly burnt.

It has been a fantastic month! Prayers? Definitely for all of the children still fighting cancer, those who have earned their angel wings and those still dealing with the effects of treatment. Prayer for Kennedy as she is making a new transition and working things out emotionally…prayer for us for wisdom and strength over the next few weeks while we find our new place. Prayer for our upcoming trip and prayer for upcoming fundraising.

You are all so incredibly wonderful and we know that we could never do any of this without His amazing strength and never ending grace and your continuous, loving support…it really does take a village.

Happiness is a form of courage. ~Holbrook Jackson

We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have. ~Frederick Keonig

Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Being alive is the special occasion. ~Author Unknown

Oh, many congratulations to Lyndsee and Jeffrey on their upcoming wedding! You guys are so wonderful and we have been blessed by having you care for our family.

Hope-Faith-Courage,
Mel

One response to “No news is good news and other ramblings from a very busy family!”

  1. aprilb says:

    YEAH!

    Yes, I have been waiting and waiting to hear an update on Kennedy and the rest of you! But I knew you had moved and I know how much work and time just THAT takes! Josh was an honored child last year too along with Madeleine. It was a very special time, except that he had just finished treatment and had all the breathing problems, so we weren’t as involved as we would have like to be.

    Where are you going with MAW? I’d love to know unless it’s a secret!!! 🙂 I hope you all have a fantastic time!

    Your new home looks fantastic and I’m so happy for you all. Hope the building of the new house goes quickly.

    Hey, new insurance! YEAH!!! I hope that all gets straightened out SOON!

    Tell Austin my girls and I are SO IMPRESSED he’s becoming a rodeo rider!!! We love rodeo, especially my Joy who has a horse. Way to go Austin! COWBOY UP!!!

    Anyway, good to hear from you. Have an awesome summer! Enjoy your family.
    Love,
    April

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