Courage for Kennedy – Journal

August 2, 2007

We are really here!

Category: Treatment – Melenie – 3:57 pm

I can hardly believe that it has been so long since I updated this site. WOW! Is there anyone out there still reading? I do hope so! Actually, there must be as I have had several e-mails from you all wondering what in the world is happening around here 🙂

Well, since February…a lot! Lots of good and some crazy stuff and of course, the usual as well.

I have been continually amazed at how much life can start to seem like normal again. Instead of cancer being a constant in our lives, it comes and goes and comes and goes. I know after talking with other families post treatment that it never just goes away (especially with the long term effects rearing up) but there comes a day when you can carve out a new normal. And here is ours…

Let me start with some of the fun things we have been up to…our horse, Chaz, came home and life has not been normal since! He is such a delight and this fulfills a life long dream for me. He talks to us every morning, noon and evening…almost every time we see him and we all have had a fun time riding him around the Christmas tree farm or on the 56 acres of trails at our neighbor’s house. We also acquired a pony, Champ. He has his delightful moments 🙂 He is an old boy that would like nothing more than life as a pasture pet with occasional trail rides, but the kids have dubbed him a rodeo horse 🙂 He does fantastic for Austin but really gives Kennedy a lot of trouble! Part of it is Kennedy does not multitask well and he takes full advantage of that!

Let’s see…we went to Seaside for 5 days…the weather was fantastic and we played and flew kites and swam in the pool all week. We spent 4 undescribable days at the Children’s Cancer Association Caring Cabin in Pacific City, Oregon with my parents, my sister and her family and my auntie. Again, the weather was amazing and the house was beyond even my unlimited vocabulary! It was like something off of Extreme Makeover or the Street of Dreams! If I ever get a decent internet connection I will flood this website with pictures. Oh, we also went to Montana for 4 days…can we say HEAVEN ON EARTH! We were there Easter weekend for Aunt Amy’s wedding to Alan…Congrats…and it was beautiful. The wedding and the state! Keith gave his sister away…an honor he was beaming with pride over and she looked incredible. Alan is a perfect choice for Amy and we are so happy to acquire another nephew and two nieces. It was good to visit with his mom and his dad’s family over the holiday weekend. What a long drive though!

Oh, how could I possibly miss this! Kennedy’s one true wish came true when KUPL helped her have a private meeting with her most favorite star ever…Gretchen Wilson! She was in town doing a fundraiser at Duke’s for Doernbecher and did a lunch concert for about 40 people at Big Al’s in Vancouver and KUPL got us in to the event. A HUGE thank you to John Paul who made it all happen. Kennedy was in line to have her picture taken but was so overwhemed by the crowd that she started crying. We waited outside while everyone went through then Kennedy was allowed time alone to talk with Gretchen! She is so cool! Really down to earth…like you could invite her to your own backyard BBQ! She signed a couple of autographs (including the picture that Kennedy carried everywhere from the concert Nurse Megan went to) and took a picture and gave Kennedy her guitar pick she used that day. It was so cool. Kennedy had a funny comment to make but you’ll have to ask about it privately!

Mmm…what can top that? Rodeo season started…Kennedy is doing barrels and goat tail tying this year. She will only walk the pony (she has already fallen off twice) but she has more heart than any other kid I know! Inevitably Champ will avoid the goat and blast the end of the arena where someone will have to catch him…Kennedy is NOT detered by this and just jumps off, runs to goat, catches and holds him and ties his tail. She does NOT care that she probably has the slowest time of all the PeeWees…she just got r done! Kennedy’s therapists have repeatedly said that Kennedy has no understanding of the phrase, “I can’t.” It is not even in her vocabulary. Come hell or high water she will see it through till the end!

Austin is again competing but seems to have a bad case of the “sophmore curse.” He had an AWESOME rookie season and even acquired a few sponsors but this year it seemed to elude him. Opening weekend in St. Paul he rocked right in to 2nd place in both bulls and bareback and did decent in barrels and goats, but just crashed after that. He rode in several more NYRA events (Clark County and both Spirit Mountain rodeos) but failed to cover even on horses and steer he just rocked on last year. He competed in Lebanon at the Oregon Junior Bull Riders with much bigger steer and looked fantastic but was always 1/2 a second away from getting a score/time. He also competed at WVJRA in Molalla and his form was beautiful but his steer stopped and his free arm swung back hitting the horns and disqualifiying his time. Then he was plagued by steers that laid down either in the chutes or just outside in the arena. He could not catch a break! But it was all over Saturday when he tumbled off his steer after qualifying and cracked his right collar bone in half. I knew something was terribly wrong as I have seen him take much harder falls and though he jumped up, he would not move his arm and could not stop crying. Now, if you know Austin, crying just ain’t his thing. I have seen him cry initially when injured but as soon as he realizes he didn’t lose his eye (when he split his cheek bone open), or his teeth (splitting his chin open) or his arm (horrific case of road rash down his side) he stopped and wondered what all the fuss was aobut. Not this day. He did stop on the way to the ER and was even moving okay but something was not okay. Keith said he was sure it was bad when he saw the lump on Austin’s shoulder. The ER doctor and nurses thought he had just pulled his shoulder as he was so calm and not crying or wincing over it. In fact, they thought I was being over cautious for asking for an x-ray! Never mind that they assumed we were crazy when we said he had fallen off a bull! One nurse thought we meant a bowl! The doctor asked if it was alive! The x-rays came back with a clean break and even then the doctor said he has never seen a kid Austin’s age so under control with a broken bone. Like father, like son! He was hurting really bad that night and for the next few days but he’s up and raising Cain again. Oh, and we made it back in time to watch Kennedy run barrels with Chaz. 🙂

Well, that’s just a teaser and I’ll update more before heading to bed tonight. We have to be up early though so Kennedy and I can head to Santiam to cheer on our hope for Miss Teen Oregon Rodeo…Tenisha!

In His hands,

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