Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!

I was going to blog sooner, but I couldn't remember my password to log on, but my mom just called me with it...so here I am!!!
Christmas was fantastic for me. I hung out with family, ate the best food, and got really awesome presents. Our big family gift this year was a Wii, and we all love it!!!! Often in this time, many people forget that Christmas isn't just about presents (like a Wii), its a time for us to rejoice in the birth of our Savior all those years ago in Bethlehem.
This Christmas (well the whole holiday season-since Thanksgiving) as been really humbling for me. I can't get over how many people, some of whom I have never met, have shown their love and support for me. I know I am constantly saying how much I appreciate all of you for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers, but I honestly thanky you from the very bottom of my heart. This year was a definetly challenging, but having such an amazing support system made it that much better.
I want to wish everyone a Happy New Years and a blessed 2010!!!!!

Love,
Carlene

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

After Port Surgery...

My surgery went really well. I got to the hospital at 6:30 and we filled out paperwork and I got checked and ready for surgery by 8:20. By this time I was very hungry. Since I have had a cold I wasn't sure if they would still let me do surgery but they did. Once I got up into the surgery waiting and recovery room a nurse asked how I was with getting the anesthesia and I told that I didn't care once I was asleep with the mask. Then she said that they don't usually use the mask on older patients and she would have to 'check and see.' Lucky for her, she said that they could do that, because of course I would have demanded it. :) So I got to use the mask and it worked good because I don't remember anything after they put it on me. I woke up back in the recovery room and this time I didn't wake up crying for morphine, like when they put in my port. One my parents came back in I was basically awake, just kinda tired. Once I was functioning enough I started texting Heather, Oli, and Alicia and telling them that I was still very hungry. Since I ate my ice chips the nurse gave me jello. I got wheel chaired out to the car and then I went to sleep. This whole time my port was barely hurting me but around 2ish I took some tylenol and kept up with that all of Tuesday, but I haven't taken any today and it feels pretty good. As for my cold, that is basically gone but since I am such a giver, I shared it with Alyna and she's not to happy today. 8)
Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!
-Enjoy food, friends, and family...
-God Bless
Love-
Carlene

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Port Surgery

So tomorrow Im supposed to arrive at CHLA by 6:30 am and my surgery is scheduled for 9am. I am very excited to get my port out. I will be very hungry tomorrow since i cant eat past midnight tonight. Today I am sick so I hope that I am all better by tomorrow or i cant get my surgery.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Children's

So Friday was my EKG and echocardiogram. My mom and I left right after school and got down there around 2:30. I had my blood drawn then instead of having to wait forever on Monday. Then we went up to a floor of the hospital I had never seen before. We never even had a wait. They took us back into a room where they attached some wires to me and then they did an ultra sound of my heart. That gelly stuff is so sticky and it got all over me, it was disgusting. Then they put alot more wires on me and I was done. It took about 15-20 minutes. Afterwards I had a thrifty ice cream, it was delicious. Tomorrow I have to go back down to meet with my doctor about the appt on Friday. So no school for me, I have a 3 day weekend... sorta. I also take my drivers test tomorrow, i hope i pass!!!

-carlene

Friday, October 23, 2009

Children's Appointment

So I have an appointment down at Children's next Friday. It's not a scan, like I thought. Instead they are doing a EKG, something to check my heart. Hopefully, it wont take that long. Then I see Dr. Gaynon on the 2nd for a check up.
Okay, this coming up Monday i am taking my drivers test, man i hope i pass the first time. I really want my license.
The leona valley pagent was incredible and everyone did amazing. Alyna did really awesome on Levi. I had so much fun running the flag for the last time, even though i was sad too. On coronation day, i wore an amazing dress that my mom and john designed. When i had to say my goodbye speech, i was a wreck. i was cryin even before i got on stage because of my jr. miss donna's speech.
I am sad that my year is over, but i am very happy for all the new queens.

-carlene

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Its been awhile!!!

So school has been good so far. My hair is growin so fast and thick. Its even kinda curly when I gel it. I absolutely love leavin at lunch time to go to Saddle Up, it is so much fun. I am not sure when I am goin back in for another scan but it should be later this month sometime. This weekend I give up my crown as the Leona Valley Gymkhana Queen and I am very sad, but it was an amazing year. Alyna is running this year for little miss and she is doin great on Levi.
The only thing that has happened that is worth writin about, was Friday at school when I got dizzy. I've had a cold for the past week so I guess my equillibrium was off. I was in first period when all of a sudden I felt really dizzy and the room was spinning and I thought I was goin to pass out. I told my friends and they told the teacher. I asked to sit on the floor, because I really didnt want to fall out of my seat. So I sat on the floor with my friends and waited for the security to come with a golf cart to take me to the nurses office. I went home and took a nap and when I woke up I felt alot better but I still went to the doctors and they told me it was just because I was sick. I am still sick, but I havent gotten dizzy or anything which is very good, because I dont like that feeling.

To everyone who has ever written me a card or anything: THANK YOU!!!!
I will be sending cards out really really soon. :)

God Bless,
Carlene

Friday, September 18, 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

No More Hat

Monday was the first day I went to school and didn't wear a hat. It felt really great and anyone who did say anything said my hair looked really nice. It's getting alot longer, I am soooo excited. I am still very exhausted but other than that I am doing great. I hope the fire stops soon and I hope no more homes or lives are lost. I also want the smoke to be gone by this Saturday for the gymkhana.

-Carlene

Saturday, August 29, 2009

School Again... and fair time

My first day of school was on August 10th, and it was amazing!!!! I hardly slept the night before because i was so excited to see everybody again. For the first week I had 6 classes but then I switched to only 4...so I leave at lunch time. Oli and Alicia have only 4 classes also. On September 2nd we will start going over to Saddle Up Theraputic Riding Center after school to volunteer for credits.
Fair went really well and we all did really great. I was unable to show my lamb or goat because I was to exhausted so my sisters showed them for me. I was able to show my pig though and she got first in her class. This year was my first year that I didn't compete in showmanship. Overall fair was amazing and I cant wait to get my check!!!! :)

-Carlene

Monday, August 3, 2009

Hats Approved

After having the VP tell us "No" to the chemo hats and having the secretary for the principal say it would not be fair to the other students, my mom sent an email to the district superintendent before our appointment to meet with the principal. It was obvious that the superintendent had paved the path because the principal had absolutely no problem and never even questioned the request. It was a nice surprise. When we got home from the appt we had an email from the superintendents office saying that we were to contact them if we had any further problems and thanked us for bringing it to his attention.

Monday, July 27, 2009

God Answers Prayers!!!!

Went to doctor today and he told us that I am in...


REMISSION!!!!!!!!!

I have to go back every 3 months for a CAT Scan to monitor my remission, but for now I am enjoying the thought of no more chemo, no more radiation, and no more doctor's appointments!

I am still very tired and have to get my strength back, but each day is better. The doctor says that the fatigue is different for each person and sometimes it lasts forever. I sure hope I can get back to normal. I really want to be back in the saddle again and able to compete a full day at my rodeos and gymkhanas!

Next I get to go back to school...I can't wait! I am sad summer is over because that means Olivia and Alicia have to go back to their mom's house, but I am excited to be able to go back to school and see all my friends. School starts on August 10th and I will be a senior!!!! It has been hard, but I have kept on track to graduate a year early so I am skipping my junior year.


Thank you so much for your constant support and prayers. I couldn't have gone through this without you all! Through the last 7 months I have been blessed with the best of friends that didn't desert me. You stood by me and helped me through it all! From my diagnosis, to shaving my head, to chemo, to radiation, to remission....THANK YOU for helping me through it! My hair is beginning to grow back, but I will always wear the super cute hats/scarves I received at my "hat party". Thank you...thank you...thank you!

Now my mom has to take on my school because they do not want to allow me to wear my hats at school because "dress code" says that only school hats are allowed. My social worker at Children's Hospital put us in touch with a disabilities attorney who can't believe that the school won't make an exception. I will keep you posted on it all.

I also want to thank God for helping me through this also because I relied on Him through it all.

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

-Carlene


Monday, July 20, 2009

AV Fair Tickets

For those of you who live near by and attend the Antelope Valley Fair, I have discount fair admission tickets and 1/2 price carnival cards for sale. I am selling them as a fundraiser for the Grange Fair Team I am part of. We use this fundraiser to help pay for the supplies we need for the fair like shavings, grooming supplies, etc. This year my sisters and I are raising beef, sheep, swine, goats, and turkeys for the fair. We currently have over 40 animals on our farm, 19 of them we will be taking to the fair!!!

Admission tickets are $5 (save $3)
Carnival cards are 10 rides for $10 (save $10) - the carnival cards are only good Mon-Fri

Fair dates: Aug 20th -30th

Email me for more information:

orangekrazeecowgirl@hotmail.com

PETScan & Doctor Appt.

My next PET scan will be this Wed July 22 and my follow up with the doctor is Monday July 27th. He seems to think we will have results by then, but we have never had them that quickly so I doubt it. I will keep you posted on if I am in remission as soon as I know!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

JONAS BROTHERS!!!!!!!!



So on Friday the 3rd a limo came to my front door to pick us up. It was amazing and full of soda and a DVD player, but we didn't know to bring any DVDs. I sat next to Oli on the plane ride there. It was really pretty when we got into Utah. Our rental car was a Sequoia, or a really big SUV :) We went to The Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant, for dinner and it was delicious. Our hotel room was very cool because it had an ihome in it=) On the 4th we went to Provo's festival and walked around the park that was set up with vendors of all types. It was so big and so much fun. Then we went to our hotel and I took a nap to get ready for my big evening. When I woke up it was time to go to the concert. Our make a wish coordinator, Candace, met us at our hotel and then we drove to the Stadium, which was like a minute from the hotel. We rode into the stadium on golf carts and got badges to get us into the back. Our meet and greet coordinator was Stephanie and she introduced us to Kevin's fiancee Danielle. They gave us a goodie bag of basically everything you could buy at the merchandise stands. Everyone was very nice. As we were standing around waiting to go see the firework set up, the Jonas Brothers walked right past us and smiled and waved. It was sooo awesome. They were surrounded by a dozen body guards and one of them told us not to charge them. I guess we must have looked a little starstruck.

While we waited for the Jonas Brothers to finish with their meet n greet, we rode in golf carts up to the top of the stadium to see how the fireworks display is set up. There were soooo many and the fireworks people said I could push the button to start the whole show! After that, we went back down and waited for our chance to meet the Jonas Brothers. We kept hearing girls screaming so we would think they were coming back from another building, but there were a lot of false alarms until... THEY CAME. Stephanie walked over to them and motioned to us. I was sooo nervous!!!! We all shook hands and introduced ourselves and they were very nice and welcoming. Then I was able to ask them one question so I asked "What is your favorite song to perform?" Kevin said "World War Three", Joe said "Same, World War Three", and Nick said " Burnin' Up 'cuz every one sings along, what is yours?" I told them that my favorite was "A Little Bit Longer." Then I took some pics with them and Alyna, Oli, and Alicia stepped in too. They signed a photo album and a plaque for me. Then we all hugged and said our goodbyes. It was soo amazing! They were soooo friendly and easy to talk to.

After catching our breath, Stephanie showed us our seats. We were 19th row, floor right by the stage walkway! After She Daisy sang, I got to push the button to start the fabulous fireworks show and then the Jonas Brothers came out. Oli and Alicia were up at the stage the whole show but I couldn't find them in the crowd so I came back to my seat. I jumped and cheered and sang along the whole time. It was sooo awesome. I never wanted that night to end. After they finished singing there was the most spectacular fireworks show I have ever seen. I started sprinkling just as it started and it was awesome to see the rain and the fireworks at the same time! Because I was soo energetic on the 4th, the next day I did not feel well. I was weak and naucious. So we had to cancel the plans for the day and I watched movies in the room all day. On the 6th we flew home and I sat with Alicia. The limo picked us up at the airport and drove us home. The whole weekend was absolutely amazing and I'll never forget it!!!!! Thank you Make-A-Wish for making my dream come true!!!

Radiation #14 and Disneyland!!!

So Wednesday July 1st was my very last day of radiation. I got a certificate of completion from the staff. Everyone there was sooo nice. After my appontment we went to Disneyland with our friends, the Broskey's. I got a wheelchair again so everyone had a chance to push me :) We went on soo many rides and had a blast!!!! While we were on the buzz lightyear ride they rushed us out of the building and we have no idea why. We got back to the Ronald House at around 1:30AM. It was soo nice to come home the next day.

Sorry its been soo long since the last blog.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Radiation #10, #11, #12, and #13

These past few days of radiation have been really easy and fast appointments. My skin is beginning to become a little irritated and red so they gave me a lotion to put on it. My throat is also starting to get a little sore but its not that bad. Today we went to the beach with our cousins and it was sooo much fun. Tomorrow we are going to go to Disneyland again and I can't wait. This time I get to go with Olivia and the Broskey family our friends from Sacramento area. Tomorrow is also my last day of radiation so I'm very happy!!!! I go in for another PETScan in about 3 weeks and will hopefully be in remission!!!!!! This Friday I'm flyin' to Provo, Utah to see the Jonas Brothers, I can't wait!!!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Radiation #7, #8, & #9

This week radiation has been quick appointments like they are supposed to be. In and out in half an hour. This week we went to the fashion district in Los Angeles to try to find leather for a dress that I plan to make for Carlene. However, since she wants lime green it is going to turn into an internet search! Can you believe we found orange, but not lime green? Go figure...but, it would not be the same without the search...that's always the main part of any project with Carlene's colors=)

Last night John and Alyna went on a father/daughter date to the Griffith Observatory so Carlene and I could go to the Pantages theatre to see the Dirty Dancing play. We found out that 2 hours before the performance, they sell extra seats for $25 so we decided to try and get some of those seats and we got in! It was a well done show and we enjoyed some mother/daughter time away from everything! What an experience =) I particularly enjoyed driving 5 minutes back to our room instead of the usual 1 1/2 hours back home! That just topped off a great evening with a quick trip to my pillow =)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Radiation #6

6 down and 8 to go! Seems like we have been away from home forever...came home today and it sure feels great to be here. Only home for tonight though because we can't be away from the Ronald McDonald house for more than 24 hours or we lose our room. We would love to checkout for a weekend, but they are so booked we might not get a room for the next week so we don't dare. We are trying to make the best of our stay down there and have some fun, but we do miss being in the country with all of our animals! City traffic is getting to me!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Radiation #5

Today's appointment was also a quick 15 minutes. Then we headed to the Santa Monica Pier...mommy took John to work at 4:15 in the morning so we could have the car today! We spent a couple of hours at the beach and then went and saw the movie UP. We all loved it! Tonight we are going to watch So You Think You Can Dance and I am going to do more school work.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Radiation #4

Today we were in and out of my appointment in 15 minutes! Today is a quiet but fun day here at the Ronald McDonald. We cooked up some Chinese Pepper Steak for lunch then played X-Box in the game room. We also cooked up a batch of cookies and some apple crisp. Yesterday we went to Universal Studios and Alicia pushed me around in a wheel chair. It was a lot of fun! Tonight I plan on working on my US History summer work. Tomorrow we hope to go to the beach.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Radiation #2

So yesterday Alicia and Olivia came home for summer. Oli is going to be staying with our friend Bobbi and Alicia is down here with me. This morning I had to go and get all of my books for Summer School. I am still on track to graduate a year early!!! My radiation appointment was not until 1 o'clock so we went to pick cherries at our friend's house. When we were picking them I started to feel dizzy and nauseous . I slept all the way down to Children's but when I woke up I threw up and still felt dizzy. They drew blood at radiation but all my numbers were fine. This time my appt. only took about 10 minutes but I stayed there for about an hour more to get some anti-nausea drugs. When we left I felt a little better and I ate some dinner when we got back to Ronald Mcdonald house. Now I'm just laying in bed and reading and watching TV. I feel a lot better and not as dizzy. They are not sure why I am dizzy unless I have an inner ear infection starting. Since my numbers were good today, I do not need a transfusion as of now. I had a sore throat over the weekend, but the doctor said it was not from the radiation he thinks I might have something viral. Hopefully, I will feel better tomorrow.

John's car broke down tonight on the way here. He thinks the transmission went out. So now he has to use our car and we do not have a car to do all the fun things we wanted to, but we can take the red line subway to some of the places. It has a station right next to Childrens. Tomorrow we might go to Universal City Walk and see a movie...if I am feeling OK!
-Carlene

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hat Party Photos I've been promising!!!!

Me and Traci


Everyone and our paper hats

Me and Heather with my ribbon/bow hat.


Me and Alyna in our crowns.



Me very surprised and confused!!!!





Blood Donation Info

Anyone planning on donating blood for Carlene (just in case she needs a transfusion) can do so at Children's Hospital. You must make an appointment with the blood bank and designate your donation for Carlene. I was told they will be able to store it for about 5 days on hold for Carlene, then if they have your permission will use it for another child before it expires.

Blood bank (323) 361-4200
Carlene Hadden: medical ID #1741858

Right now we can only use O- blood type, until she is typed, which they will not do until she actually needs blood.

Thank you for all of the support we have received! Be sure to let us know when you are coming down. We are staying just behind the hospital at the Ronald McDonald house and would love to see you! If you want to make a fun day for the family when you are down here, we are just around the corner from Griffith Park, the LA Zoo, Hollywood attractions, Universal City Walk, etc. If you have not been to the observatory plan that into your schedule. It is free to walk the exhibit and if you want to see a show, they are reasonably priced too. We have also gone to the Santa Monica Pier which without traffic is about 30-40 minutes away. Fun...fun...fun =)

Friday, June 12, 2009

My first radiation appointment

We got to the radiology office at 10:30 but I didn't get called back until almost noon, because they had had trouble with one of the younger patients earlier in the day that needed to be sedated so that put them running late for my appointment. I laid in my body mold and the longest part was when they had to make sure I was in the right place. This time I brought my ipod with me so they could plug it in to the speakers and I could listen to it while I laid there. I started my play list on the Wicked soundtrack and they all loved that. After I was in the right place they did my treatment which only took about a minute or so. Since they have to radiate me from the front and back the whole machine swings around. Finally they told me I was done and I could move again... it was 12:55. I didn't move for almost a whole hour it was so uncomfortable and boring. I go back again on Monday at 1 o'clock. I should be done July 1. In the future my appointments will be much quicker. Today they had to finish the final touches to the blocks that protect my lungs so that is why it took longer.
-Carlene

Ronald McDonald House

We have been able to get a room at the Ronald McDonald House that is located just behind the hospital. We will be down here for the next 3 weeks. Our dear friend Bobbi has generously accepted the task of house sitting and feeding our 40+ animals for the month of June! A HUGE thanks to Bobbi and our neighbors The Nelsons for feeding and keeping the ranch alive and well during our time away from home.

Radiation is a daily treatment during the week with weekends off. She is scheduled for 14 treatments with the last one on July 1st if all goes well and she does not have to miss any days due to blood counts or illnesses. The treatments themselves are very short and we have the rest of the day to "play". We are hoping to make the best of this trying time by going to the beach and doing other fun LA things. On Wednesday, her treatment was canceled due to having to meet with colleagues to finalize the radiation plan, so we made a last minute trip to Disneyland. This was the first time we have gone without our entire family and a first for Carlene and her best friend Heather to go together. We had loads of fun...my favorite part was watching Heather (this tiny twig) push Carlene in her wheelchair up the hills and through the crowds as we rushed to California Adventure to ride Soaring before our fast pass expired! This entire trip to Disneyland came about because our dear friends from Arizona The Boltz Family made their way to CA to celebrate their twin daughters 13th birthday with Mickey Mouse =) Wonderful times and awesome memories were made on this day!!! Thanks for letting us join your birthday bash!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

O- blood donation needed for possible transfusion

Finally we are on-line and able to explain the blood donation request. Carlene's hemoglobin is 10.4 and normal is 12. As long as it stays above 10 she can continue with radiation...if it drops below 10 then she will need a transfusion before continuing with the radiation. The doctor seems to think that she will not need one, but said we could be proactive just in case the need was to arise. Since they will not blood type her until a need arises, we were told O- blood type donators would be the only option right now. Her levels will be tested at the beginning of each week before treatment for the week begins.

Thank you to everyone that has offered to donate for her! A HUGE thank you to Brana and everyone that responded to her request at Joshua Elementary (where I, Tara, used to work). Several teachers have offered to donate if the need becomes a reality. Thanks friends =) It just proves the point that Joshua is not just a school, but a family! Thanks for keeping me part of the family even though I teach elsewhere now.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Radiation Appts.

Last Wednesday I had my appontment at the radiologist office. They made a body cast of me and then drew all over my arms, neck, and chest with a purle marker so every time I go I'm in the exact same spot. Then I had a CATScan and I went home. The doctor called us yesterday and my first radiation is going to be on Tuesday. Today was the Cherry Parade and I got to carry the American Flag at the lead. I had soooo much fun. It was very cold and stormy which is not typical "cherry" weather. There was also a festival which was also fun. Tomorrow we're going to the Celebrate Life down at Paramount. And Heather gets to be my sister again. I'm not sure what exactly it is, but it should be awesome!!! We might start staying at Ronald Mcdonald House either Monday night or Tuesday night. I really want to stay down there Monday because they have a TEENImpact, which is like a fun support group, meeting at CHLA.
I'll attach pictures!!

-Carlene

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

PETScan, Doctor Appt., Radiology... Oh My!!

Yesterday was a crazy but typical day down at Children's. After the rodeo on Sunday, Heather spent the night so she could come with me on Monday. We got up early and left the house at 5:45. Alyna got dropped at a friends so she could go to school and we arrived at CHLA at 7:20. After checking in they took us back into the "blue room." I have to wait an hour after I get injected with the radioactive stuff to go into the PET. I finished with the scan around 10ish and then we went up to the doctors to check in for my 10:30 appt. When we checked in they said that I would have to get my blood drawn but they didn't draw any. At 11:20 a nurse came and found us in the waiting room and asked if I had gotten my blood drawn, which I hadn't. So I quickly put the numbing cream on and waited....again. We were scheduled to talk to the radiologist at noon so my mom ran down there since we were running late. At 12ish they finally took my blood and told us to wait 40 minutes for the results. They gave us a pager and we went to eat lunch down at the cafeteria. After we ate, we went to the radiologist office at 1 and talked to the radiologist. We went back up to the doctor's office and got a room at 2. Then we saw the doctor for about 10 minutes and we got to leave. After our super long day we went out to eat ice cream at Thrifty's. It was delicious!!!

-Carlene

Rodeo

This weekend I had a two day rodeo down in Corona. I was so excited because I was going to do all of the events. We brought Levi, Kiowa, Kid, and thanks to some friends our new horse Chubbs. On Saturday I did Poles on Levi and Goats on Chubbs. After goats I got really tired so I didn't do Barrels. After the rodeo we went back to the hotel and ordered pizza and went swimming for a little bit. It was alot of fun. Then we went back to the rodeo grounds for a goat tying jackpot fundraiser. We just ran on foot, no horses, it was fun. I tripped and fell the first time and then the 2nd time the goat came untied. On Sunday I did Poles and Goats on Levi and we did really good. I again didn't ride Barrels so I went home early and finished my typing homework for my college class. Overall the rodeo was sooooo much fun. I can't wait until July. This coming weekend is the cherry parade and I get to ride in it with the American flag. I'm excited cuz I love cherries, they're so yummy.

-Carlene

HAT PARTY!!!!!!

Wow its been forever since I've blogged!! On the 22nd of May I thought I was going to my best friend Heather's house for an end of the school year party. Instead we got there and my mom sent me out to the car for the last bag of soda (which I later found out was planned) and when I came back in everyone yelled SURPRISE! And that's exactly what I was, totally and completely surprised and a little confused! Everyone there had kept it a complete secret. It was so much fun. We all made paper hats and decorated them and throughout the night I opened presents which were mostly hats and some were earrings. I felt so happy and supported. Thanks to everyone who was there and a HUGE thanks to the Londergan's for hosting the party and being there for me. I love you guys. I have a lot to blog about but I'm going to do in a few short blogs not a giant long one. Pics will eventually make it on the blog.
-Carlene-

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Weekend

After having our air card swiped during a sleep walking expedition, we are finally back on line again! I apologize for the limited blogging.

Memorial weekend marked Carlene's last episode of low blood counts. Of course, she could not just sail through it smoothly. Saturday evening she began to feel light headed and started running a fever. After calling the on call doctor at Children's Hospital we were sent to our local ER. So we packed up and headed in around 10:30 pm. I chose to go to Lancaster Community Hospital this time because I have started getting bills from AV Hospital from the last visit. It seems that Blue Cross is undergoing contract negotiations with them so they are not a covered hospital right now. I had no prior experience with Community and I wish it was that way still! Our experience was horrible and I will never go back willingly. If we had not already experienced this before I would not have really known the difference, but there was no sense of urgency at Community and it took 1 1/2 hours before they finally got around to drawing her blood. At AV her blood was drawn within a half hour of walking in the door of the hospital and she was wisked away into a private room that was sealed off with caution signs and nobody entered without being masked and gloved up. However, at Community she was placed in what I came to call the closet. It was curtained partition of their main room which housed the supplies for all of the ER. So every couple of minutes staff entered the room to get something from our "closet". When I questioned them I was told they did not have private rooms. Long story short...at 1:30 she got some Rocephin antibiotic and was sent home with the need to return the next day. Being the holiday weekend we had no choice but to go back again. We returned on Sunday and things were better, but the bad taste of our prior visit still remains in my memory. She received more Rocephin and they re-checked her blood counts. Her white blood count was up to 900 from the 600, but her red blood cells and her hemoglobin were both still critically low. The doctor at children's hospital said that because of the holiday, we would wait until Tuesday and see if her counts would improve themselves. Since they were not declining, but holding steady we were safe to wait. Had it been any other time she would have received a blood transfusion. So over the holiday, she took it easy and completed homework. On Tuesday, her counts were still not normal but were increasing enough to keep her from getting a transfusion. She is now feeling much better, her fever and lightheadedness is gone!

Our next step is a PET scan on June 1 and a consult with her doctor.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Chemo Completed!!!

Today was the final day of chemo! All 3 rounds are now a thing of the past in this journey. Carlene has done remarkable throughout this entire process and has kept that beautiful smile beaming every day (well maybe not the couple of puke days during round 1)!

Yesterday was a gymkhana and she was determined to be there even though she had little strength. With the generous help of many she was able to complete her queen wave...instead of riding her horse, Levi, she rode in the back of Jason & Tania Williams 4-wheeled mule. They had it decorated beautifully with a bale in the back that had an American flag horse blanket and and American flag stuck in it as well! Jason even said he had washed the mule the day before for his "girl". After that wave around the arena she mounted Levi, with the help of many, and walked the American flag around the arena. Not the flag run she would have liked to have done, but she was so excited to be able to be there! She looked absolutely beautiful in her red, white, and blue LV queen chaps and that never ending smile! She was quite concerned that her hat & crown was going to fall off-wig and all-but they all stayed put! In July, she will have to wear toupe tape to hold on everything, because I can bet she will be flying around that arena just like bombs bursting in air! We will post pictures soon=) In the meantime, check out lvgymkhana.org to view the gymkhana website.

This week will be a better week, still will be weak and tired from today's chemo, but next week she will be back to full energy and ready for a 2 day rodeo on the 30th & 31st! Her next PET scan is scheduled for June 1st then radiation should begin soon after.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Feeling Great...before the 3rd chemo cycle

This past week was a great week for feeling better. However, we were at our pediatrician's office daily for IV antibiotics because she got that dreaded sinus infection back. We opted for the IV over oral meds so that she would be "healed" by her next chemo treatment...this meant daily trips to town and no sleeping in =( We did make use of the daily trips by doing a little shopping and visiting with a few friends. (for those of you that do not know what a "trip to town" means...we live about a 1/2 hour from civilization so a trip to the doctors is not just around the corner)

She also had her first roping lesson on horseback and was extatic to "catch" on her third try and cannot wait to get back in the saddle again! We had a fantastic Mother's Day weekend...Mother's Day for me always includes horses in some way...usually a gymkhana or a rodeo...however, this year we opted to drive to Vegas (about 5 hours away) instead and bring home a roping horse. Carlene decided that she wanted to invest some of her cancer policy $ in purchasing an experienced roping horse. I did not think that we would find one so quickly, but God already had it in the works and Chubbs now has a new home. If all goes well, the girls will be actively competing in roping events by the end of the summer!

We are just finishing our 2nd day of the 3rd round of chemo. Our next PET scan is scheduled for June 1st and radiation will begin the 2nd week of June. If all goes as scheduled/planned she should be in remission by the end of June.

Thank you for your prayers and well wishes...we love you all and want you to know that we appreciate your interest in Carlene's Journey through this season of her life!

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Great Week Ahead!

Things have been much better this chemo round =) This next week will be a great week. Carlene has her strength back and plans to take a rodeo lesson this week. Her next round of chemo will begin on Monday the 11th.

I apologize for the limited blogging, but there is a strange reason behind it. You see we live with sleep walkers and one evening they (no names Olivia and Alicia) both found themselves out of their beds and in the living room and the kitchen. One of them must have been dreaming about our computer, because our air card (which is our only internet connection) mysteriously disappeared that evening. It has yet to be located and we are anxiously waiting to find it's hiding location.

Soooooo...the blogs are fewer...and I highly apologize for this! Hopefully, we will be up and running sooner than later =)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Carlene's weekend.


Howdy all,  Here is an update on Carlene. She had her second big bout of the heavy Chemo last week which thank goodness didn't bring the Nausea with it like the first time around. She had a good week but was extremely tired with a slow recovery in the days that followed her treatment. It was our weekend to have everyone home so the family was a whole starting last Thursday night. Having Carlene's sisters home really gets her up and laughing again. We had a youth rodeo on Sunday and Carlene had enough strength to ride in one event and she did awesome. It is always great to see her ride and keep on going throughout all her bod is going thru. She makes quite a lovely bald women too rivaling Lt. Ilia from the first Star Trek movie. Carlene just doesn't were the sassy outfits like Ilia though!!! Monday she had her mild dose and somewhere in the middle got a bad cold to add to the fatigue. She's a toughie though and is handling everything very well and with a smile. She has really become a cuttlebug lately and loves be close to mom. Today she is going to the DR. to get her cold checked out and also to check on her white cell count to make sure she is in the green.  More updates to come later and again thanks for all the prayers and messages of support. We love you all!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Anti-nauseu Meds Worked!

She is finished with day 1 & 2 of the second round of chemo. Her nausea meds were changed this time and they worked wonders. She has not felt nauseous and is doing much better than round 1. She is drained of all energy and is resting on the couch watching TV, but this will hopefully pass quicker than last time.

We received the results from her PET scan last week and it shows that the cancer is greatly reduced but is still present. This means that after she finishes round #3 of chemo she will need to undergo radiation therapy. Even if it is gone after round #3, studies show that the return of the cancer is probable if the PET after round #1 was not clean. I do not yet know what the radiation will entail, but will let you know when I have some answers.

She has started her daily shots of GCS-F to help with her white blood cell count. It is expected that she will drop low again, so we have cleaned and disinfected the house and are keeping her away from anyone that has been sick or been around someone who has. This is difficult when it is her sister. Alyna stayed home from school today with a sore throat and a stuffy nose, so I have her on one side of the house and Carlene on the other and they are both quarantined to their area and I am on the constant run back and forth to help my two patients. I am not convinced that Alyna is really sick, as she is my drama queen and is always wanting extra attention. She is quite convincing though even when she is not ill, so a little extra love and more of me often helps her "ailments" disappear when she forgets to "act". None the less, we are not taking chances and they are separated.

Olivia and Alicia are home this weekend and we have a rodeo on Sunday. Carlene is excited to have them around as she misses them very much. She can't wait until summer when they are here full time. She is not used to not being with them as they go to school together and she would see them everyday. Now that she is home schooled she does not have that opportunity. Their mother finally agreed to let them go with Carlene on July 4th to see the Jonas Brothers in Utah! At first she said was not going to let them go because it is her year to have them on the 4th, and Carlene was considering changing her wish because it would not be the same without her sister counterparts in attendance, but the girls called yesterday to say that she had changed her mind and was letting them go =) Carlene is excited that she can have her true Make-A-Wish and not have to alter it.

As for the rodeo on Sunday, she hopes to have enough strength to attend. Her best friend, Heather, has offered to tack up her horse and warm him up so all Carlene has to do is get on and run the pattern. That way she can sit back, relax, and watch the rodeo. Of course, this will all depend on her white blood cell counts. A nurse will be coming to the house on Thursday for a blood draw and then we will know where she stands on the possibility of attending.

Thank you all for your prayers and concern...we all appreciate your love and support.

Monday, April 20, 2009

2nd Round of Chemo

We were at the hospital from 8-6 today. This was the same chemo as round 1, but they changed her nausea medication. This time she has no nausea, just burby. We are at the Ronald McDonald House and she is resting after having pizza for dinner!

Day 2 chemo is scheduled for tomorrow at 8am and we should hopefully be on our way home around 4:00.

She had a fantastic time at camp is looking forward to attending next year as well. She can continue attending this camp until she is 19 years old. I am sure she will blog the details when she is back at the computer.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Camp!!!

WOW! It's been forever since I've blogged. I am feeling much better. The 2nd round should be better because I'll have better nausea medicine and I won't be sick. Today I had a PETScan to determine if I will need radiation or not. Hopefully it won't take that long to get the results. I'm super excited because tomorrow I am going to El Capitan for the weekend. This group called Teen Impact is putting on this camp for teens with cancer. I know I will have lots of fun. Make a Wish called and I get my Jonas Brother wish. They are going to fly me to Utah for a meet and greet and I think a concert, on July 4th. The people said that they didn't know how long I would get to "hang out" with them. The longer the better:) I hope that Oli and Alicia can come with me, it wouldn't be the same without them. All I know is that it would be the best 4th of July ever!!!! Hope everyone had a fantastic Easter. I went to a sunrise service and even though I wasn't fully awake, it was still amazing. God is Great.
Love,
Carlene
-I'll blog again soon:)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Home and Feeling Great!

We came home yesterday from the hospital and she is feeling back to almost normal. Today was the first day since chemo started that she ventured from home to have some rodeo fun. We went to roping lessons today and she roped for a short while then watched her sisters try out their skills roping from horseback for the first time (Olivia even caught one today!). She is hoping to get in the saddle tomorrow and enjoy some Levi time.

Happy Easter...remember His sacrifice that has saved us all!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Possibly Home Today

Her white blood count is now 8700...which is now within the normal range. We are waiting for her complete blood work to come back and for the doctor to come around on his rounds. This morning, the resident doctor thought it looked positive, but we have to wait for final approval for discharge from her doctor.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Improving

We are on the "possible" list for heading home tomorrow=) Her WBC is up to 1600 now and the doctor is hopeful that it will continue to improve. She continues to have body aches and a slight headache, which are both side effects of the medication that is supposed to be helping to increase her white blood cells. She is finding relief from these symptoms through Tylenol w/ codeine.

She met with representatives from the Make-A- Wish today and here are her wishes:

#1 meet the Jonas Brothers =)

in no particular order...go the Rachel Ray show in New York, a horse trailer with living quarters or a camper for the back of the truck (air conditioning for rodeoing), and she added a 4th wish to choose from and that was to get an all around rodeo horse.

Later this afternoon she received a call from Make-A-Wish asking her to elaborate on her Jonas Brothers wish. They asked why did she want to meet them, what she wanted them to know about her, and what she wanted to do with them. She said she wanted to "hang out" with them and go to their concert. Carlene had difficulty answering some of their questions and called the girls for their help...Alicia did not know the lady could hear her and was making her laugh with their silly conversation about marrying them. It was quite a hilarious few moments=) (especially when Alicia found out the rep was listening)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Update

I am so sorry for the limited information in the last post. I was using my new i phone and could not get it to work properly. I could only put in a heading and not anything else.

To get everyone up to speed...Carlene was feeling achy all over and had a headache throughout the day. Around 3:00 pm we called Children's for permission to take some Tylenol, they said as long as she did not have a fever. We checked her temp and it was 99.4, but she was bundled up on the couch in heavy blankets so we took them off and rechecked a short while later. This time it was normal at 98.6 so she took the Tylenol and we shrugged off the first reading as a fluke reading. At 10:00 pm she started aching again and her headache was worsening along with the chills. In the next 45 minutes her temp went from normal to 100.3. We called Childrens again and he said that if it went any higher to immediately take her to the closest ER. A few minutes later it was 100.5 and we left John and Alyna at home...much to John's dislike...and were on our way. The entire way to town (we live 25 minutes from civilization) she complained of having the chills and her headache was getting worse. I had been told by Childrens that she must not wait in a waiting room under these circumstances and should be rushed in immediately and isolated. I must say that AV Hospital did a phenomonal job of getting her back to triage and then into a private room, plus she was seen by the doctor immediately. They drew blood and did a chest xray. Her white blood count had dropped to 600 (5000 is the low side of normal) and her chest was clear. They started IV antibiotics and gave her pain medication. By 2 am she was set and ready for transport. That was the only wait of the evening. We finally arrived via ambulance at Children's at 5:30 am.

This morning at Childrens they ran more blood tests and her WBC is up a little to 900. We will be here for a minimum of 48 hours. Everything depends on her blood test results. They are running cultures on her blood which will show if she has any bacteria in her blood, if she does that would be a 7-10 day stay.

We do not have a private room this time, so there is not enough room for visitors. There is barely enough room for my chair that opens up into a lounger. Good news though is that she is not quarantined to her room this visit. We can go walk the halls and go to the teen lounge as long as she wears a mask. So far today, we have watched a movie and slept =)

I am very thankful that she did not just go to bed last night and sleep through her symptoms!

Hospitalized @chla for WBC of 600 & fever of 101.5

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Blood Count

A nurse is scheduled to come to the house twice a week to take blood to keep an eye on Carlene's blood counts. Yesterday the draw showed that her white blood count had dropped drastically to 1000 (the normal level they want is above 5000). At our appt. on Friday it was 14,000, but we were told it would probably drop over the weekend. We have to keep a close eye on her and if she shows any sign of an illness she has to immediately be taken to the hospital and started on IV antibiotics. Needless to say, we have become a germ-o-phobic household. This also means that she has to continue getting her GCSF shots that help to increase her white blood cells. She was not too happy with that one! We will have another blood draw on Thursday and hopefully the counts will be better.

Overall she is feeling better. All nausea is gone and she is eating and drinking normal again. She remains very tired and is not able to be up much, but she is a fighter and is coping well with it all. She says each day is better and hopes to be up and at 'em by this weekend, as Olivia and Alicia come home on Thursday and of course horse riding is planned. They have not been home since before her chemo treatment and she misses her sisters dearly. It will be great to have our entire family together and possibly have a "normal" weekend.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Relaxing Birthday?

Well, I guess you can kind of call it that. Not exactly the kind of relaxing I was planning for when I wrote the last blog. You know the basking in the warm sun on the sandy beach with Carlene while John chased Alyna up and down the wet sand trying to avoid the crashing waves. No, but it was relaxing in it's own way.

I woke around 6 AM ready to take that morning walk on the beach with John before the girls woke up and to my shock, I could not move. When I tried to roll over a stabbing pain shot through my body with enough force to bring me to tears. I tried to sit up instead...impossible. My neck was out!!! Then it really hit me...I am now 40 and my body fails me on my birthday. We tried ice. We tried heat. John called our friend who is our chiropractor. He told me how much Motrin I could take and instructed John on how to massage my neck...NO WAY! I hurt so much I could not move much less touch it! John got a hold of our regular doctor who called in some Vicodin. While he was gone to the pharmacy, Alyna watched out our window and informed me of how many people were enjoying the beach. First there were 10 then there were a thousand. She also noticed that the wind from the evening before was gone and the weather was perfect. Together we cried, wishing we could be out there with them. I laid flat on my back in our gorgeous hotel room all morning. John and the girls went and got breakfast and brought it back to room to feed me (atleast I got breakfast in bed in on my birthday=). Then I insisted John take Alyna to the pool for some fun before we had to check out. Carlene had done back to bed as breakfast did not sit well with her chemo tummy. I found that if I cocked my head sideways to right and wrapped my arms around my head I could sit up. I insisted that I had to sit on our porch and watch the waves while John loaded the car. At least I got to enjoy the beach for a few minutes...from a far! That was the longest car ride home I have ever had. Every bump and jolt sent me through the roof in pain (and there were lots of railroad tracks to endure). Once we made it home, John set me up on the couch, as our waterbed was out of the picture. That is where I have been for the past 2 days. Flat on my back. I am finally up and moving slightly, but my head is still cocked to the side, but at least I do not have to hold it any more. This has been some birthday weekend! I can at least say I took the weekend off and did not do anything=)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Last Day of Chemo for this Cycle

Carlene was finally back to almost normal today. After a week (the longest she has ever gone) she finally had the energy to check her email and make a few phone calls=) I know it was difficult during this first week of chemo, but we really appreciate that you all relied on this blog for info and did not call. Having the quiet time was much needed, plus cell phones are not allowed in the hospital rooms so calls had to be made in the hallway. This was practically impossible because Carlene would not let me leave her side...even time to use the restroom was difficult to find when she was awake.

Today was a quick trip as this chemo drug was only an IV push and she did not have to have IV hydration with it. Her blood counts were still good today, however, they may drop over the weekend so she will need to take precautions and be a "germ-a-phobic". A nurse will come to the house on Monday to do another draw and re-check her counts. Her next chemo is set for April 20th.

Since my birthday is tomorrow, John decided we needed a get-away...and he was RIGHT! We booked one of the free rooms he has earned with all of his hotel stays with work these past few months. It is a gorgeous room on the Oxnard beach (where we got married 10 years ago=). Of course with the free room we can enjoy some luxury and not a Motel 6 or Travelodge hotel! We have not stayed here since our wedding as the prices sky rocketed and we could never afford it. We enjoyed a relaxing drive up PCH from the hospital and had one of the best lunches ever at the Malibu Pier. Upon check in we discovered that our room one that we have always dreamed of staying in...patio opens to the beach with the most fabulous view...our only regret is that it is only for 1 night, but I am thankful for the time to get away after this week and relax. Carlene and I plan on sunbathing tomorrow and watching John chase Alyna up and down the beach=) We are also hoping that he will have a few more free days by summer so we can come back with the whole family. I guess that is one of the perks of working so far from home and hoteling it during the week. (hotels.com offers a free night for every 10 nights booked)

Carlene will be attending a cancer camp at the beach the weekend of April 17th. What a wonderful opportunity to meet others facing her same struggles and to learn how others are coping. She has already met one girl who has ALL that will be attending too. There is also an opportunity to attend a week long camp with Olivia & Alicia this summer at the Ronald McDonald Camp. Unfortunately, Alyna is not yet old enough to attend=(

Thank you all again for your prayers and support. This was a difficult week and we are glad it is over...hopefully the next round will not be as hard. I think going into this one sick with the sinus infection and not knowing which anti-nausea medicine worked for her made this first round more difficult. We are hoping for a better round 2!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Eating Like a Horse

Carlene has her appetite back, but she grazes all day. About every 30-40 minutes she wants something else to eat.

I don't think I mentioned that she has to get shots at home during the 1st week of chemo. She hates them!!! She never understood how Alyna could be poked for her glucose levels all the time and now she must endure the shots! She still hates needles, but if you would have told me she would go through all of this a few months ago I would have never thought is possible. However, she is a trooper and is taking every needle poke like a cowgirl that wants to be healthy again. As I always tell Alyna, "You might not like it, but you gotta deal with it anyways". Carlene is definitely dealing with it well! She makes me proud!

Tomorrow we go back down to Childrens for blood work and the final day of chemo for this round. Then she is off chemo until April 20th when round 2 begins. She will have a total of 3 rounds. After this first round they will repeat the PET Scan...if it is clear then she will not have to have radiation. If the cancer is still present then she will have radiation therapy after the 3rd round of chemo. That is our prayer...a clear PET after round 1 completion.

Make-A-Wish History

The following is cut & pasted from an email from Carlene's grandma on John's side of the family (Jim is Carlene's grandpa)

About 28 years ago, Jim became acquainted with a wonderful little boy (6 or 7 years old at the time) who was terminally ill with leukemia. Jim and some of the guys from DPS, became his buddies; they made him the only honorary DPS patrolman in history, had his own official uniform made and presented to him. He came to the DPS compound where Jim took him for a ride in his patrol car, let him use the loud speakers & siren. He got to ride in a DPS helicoptor. He got to be on a DPS motorcycle with Officer Frank Shankowitz. The whole department fell in love with this little boy named Chris Grecius. Several days after his big event at DPS, his mom called Jim and said she was taking him to the hospital; Jim spent the next several days at the hospital with his mom & dad; and Jim and I were with this little boy when he passed away. His mom & dad had left the hospital to change clothes and weren't there when he passed away.

To make a long story short, that was the beginning of Make-A-Wish; the DPS friends of Chris Grecius started the whole program, with only about $17.00. After that, it became a world wide organization for terminally ill children; but about 10 years ago, it was changed to be for seriously ill children.

Who knew that 28 years later, we would be actually needing them for our own granddaughter?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

1st Day at Home

Day at home was not really a day at home...Carlene had a difficult night's sleep because of her constant cough, so I took her in to see our doctor...thinking this would be a quick trip to town and then back home again...wrong. He sent her over for a CAT Scan to get a full view of what's going on in her sinuses, then back to his office for the results...sinus infection! He had wanted to give her antibiotics via her port, but was unable to access it with the needles he had in his office so we ended up with oral meds (hopefully the port is not clogged!). We are hoping to get it under control before she becomes immune deficient. Just before leaving the office, Carlene decided to add a bit more drama to the day and almost fainted after all of the exertion and had to be helped back to a room where she rested a bit before heading home. Once we got her home, she ATE a whole tomato on a small salad with mushrooms slices that was drenched just the way she likes it with italian dressing. She also ate almost an entire Del Taco nacho and has been drinking gatorade. Before her most recent nap, she requested Tutu's delicious porcipine meatballs with mashed potatoes for dinner, which I have currently brewing on the stove. Now that her appetite is returning we are hopeful that her energy will too.

We have been contacted by the Make-A- Wish foundation who will be sending out some volunteers to interview Carlene for her top 3 wishes. She (and her sisters) came up with the following as one wish...go on a cruise to Hawaii with the Jonas Brothers...sound like my girls??? To help figure out your wishes they suggest to finish the following prompts:

I wish to be...
I wish to go...
I wish to have...
I wish to meet...

Carlene has thought about visiting Rachel Ray's set in New York, meeting the Jonas Brothers, going on a Disney cruise, and asking for a new horse trailer. If you have any other suggestions, let her know =)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Finally Going Home!

Carlene is drinking now and just told the doctor she wants to go home!!! They are scheduling a nurse to come to the house to check in on her and do her blood draws. Yea...less trips to town. We have even been told that she could receive her day 8 chemo in our regular doctors office (if they know how to access her port and are willing). Dr. Bakhaya, are you reading this???

Monday, March 30, 2009

Still Here =(

Got any red Dorothy slippers? Carlene was given the option to go home today, but was still feeling too icky to wanna go home. She is nausea free, but not eating and drinking enough. She is no longer tethered to her IV pole, so trips to the bathroom are much easier now! Doctor said that it is not the food that concerns him, but the lack of liquids. Her blood sugar levels are now within normal limits, but it will be something to keep an eye on. Since today marked the end to the weekend and a new week beginning, we were bombarded with services. Mark and I attended a new diagnosis parent training, met with her social worker and her care coordinator, and was visited by a family liaison with the Michael Hoefflin Foundation for children's cancer.

We just said good bye to Michelle, our nurse we have had for the past 3 days. Michelle had an ease about her that really helped Carlene endure her first chemo experience. She is one of those people that you you feel like you have known forever...in her "dramatic" way =) Thank you Michelle...you know just how frustrated we have been and you really helped us all more that you know!!!

Tutu and Grandpa brought Alyna down to the hospital today. It sure was wonderful to get one of her sugar hugs! I missed them these past few days. It was of course nice to also see T & G =)

Tonight Carlene is feeling a little better and is trying to eat and drink. Hopefully we will get to go home tomorrow.

Home?

If she was to eat and drink we could go home, but so far today she has had a handful of Fruit Loops, a few sips of Gatorade, and about 2 oz of OJ...we have discharge approval, but she has to meet her end of the bargain. They are going to remove the IV to see if that will force her to feel thirsty and want to drink.

Nausea Under Control

We have been able to get her nausea under control. The new med seemed to do the trick. She slept all night with only a few restroom trips. She has kept down orange juice as well through out the evening. Hopefully she will be able to tolerate food come breakfast time.

Wish I could say that I have slept...we had some extremely rude nurses on duty tonight. At 3 AM it sounded as if we were at a party in the park! They had popped popcorn, which could be smelled throughout the floor, and were laughing and carrying on. I could not imagine being in a room next to the station. We are down the hall a few rooms and it sounded like they were right next door. At 4:00 I finally went the to wing next to us and complained. After I heard the phone ring they were quiet and respectful, however, the damage had been done...my sleep had been disturbed and falling back to slumber just was not happening. Sure wish I could have had some of Carlene's Benadryl =)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Resting now

The second round of chemo hit harder than the first, so the anti-nausea meds have been changed and the benedryl doubled. She is finally resting and will hopefully sleep awhile. If she gets over the nausea and can eat/drink she will be discharged tomorrow. They are currently also watching her blood sugar because she has been running high the last few lab draws. She was taken off of the glucose drip and put on saline drip instead, but her sugar level stayed high. Tomorrow morning they will retest. Since we have diabetes in our family, this is a concern and something to keep an eye on. Hopefully tonight will include a little rest, as last night had little to none.

Day 2 Chemo

Carlene has 2 new best friends, and she calls them...Morphine and Phenergan (sorry Heather...you have dropped to #3, but still top of the list=). Phenergan has beat out Morphine today as the pain from surgery is gone now and she does not need the Morphine anymore. The Phenergan eases the nausea but does not take it away. She just got her 2nd round of chemo and we will see if she tolerates it any better. There is another anti-nausea medication they can try if needed, but the Phenergan seems to be doing it's job today.

Chemo Started

Chemo began at 4:00 pm yesterday (Sat). It has hit her quite hard. The nausea set in around 9:00 last night and they have tried 3 different nausea medicines, but they do not seem to be getting her over that first hump of day 1 treatment. She has stopped eating and drinking, so they are planning on keeping her over night again instead of getting to go home...but that is just fine since I really do not want to take her home until she is stable. She will have the day 2 chemo today at 4:00.

Heather, Kathy, and Chris Londergan came to visit this morning...unfortunately, Carlene was sleepy from the meds and did not get to really visit with her much. However, they brought her a posterboard card from everyone at the gymkhana yesterday, silk flowers, and photos from yesterday. To honor Carlene they asked everyone to wear green, purple, or orange yesterday (lime green=Hodgkins/ lavender=lymphoma /orange=Carlene's favorite color) At the gymkhana everyone entered the arena and released purple & green balloons.

Thank you to everyone for remembering Carlene during her absence from the gymkhana. She was very upset when she could not be there so everything you did to "have" her there was very touching!

Friday, March 27, 2009

No Bone Marrow Test Needed

It took a week to get the Pet Scan results...no bone marrow test is needed which means that the largest mass is smaller than 6 cm. We will be meeting with the doctor today to finalize the treatment plan.

Carlene is scheduled to have surgery today to put in the port-a-cath and then start chemo either today or tomorrow, however, last night she came down with a fever so we will have to wait and see what the doctors decide.

The last couple of days have been quite eventful, but our internet was down so we could not blog for you...sorry.

On Wednesday, Carlene decided to have her hair shaved off. The thought of having it fall out was not inviting, so she took the proactive approach and donated her hair to Locks of Love and then with a smile on her face, had her head shaved. She looks adorable (photos to come). Then she spent the day with her best friend & supporter, Heather, who then spent the night.

Thursday brought more adventure, what day doesn't in our home? The turkeys the girls are raising for the fair arrived via mail. We got them set up in their new home, packed our bags for our weekend stay at the hospital, then headed to the mall for a small shopping spree with Carlene's best friends, Heather and Ashley, where Carlene spent her report card allowance from her dad. After taking her friends home, we headed for the Ronald McDonald house where we will be staying during her hospitalization. This is when the chills set in and the fever began. We are not sure what her temperature was since we were away from home without a thermometer, but with her chills and warm cheeks I can safely assume a fever was present. During dinner, we received a phone call from our neighbors, who are so kindly taking care of our farm animals, to tell us that our doe had 2 babies. They looked wet and they thought that they might be new additions that we might not be aware of yet. Assumption correct. When we left home at noon, she was still prancing around with her huge, uncomfortable looking belly. We are anxious to get home and see them!

This morning, Carlene feels cool and says she feels fine. We will head over to the hospital at 10:30 and find out if she is OK for surgery and chemo. Carlene is kind of wishing to be sent home, because that would mean that she would be able to attend the gymkhana tomorrow=) She has said all along that nothing would keep her from her queen duties...hmmm...is she faking a fever???? Just kidding =D

Friday, March 20, 2009

Chemo Finally!!

Depending on the PET results, I might have to have a bone marrow test, next Friday, and when they do that they will just put my port in at the same time. Then they would admit me into the hospital and begin chemo over the weekend. Since its my first treatment I have to stay 2-3 days to see how I react. If they don't have to do the bone marrow test than I will have my port put in up here on Monday and try to begin chemo sooner in the week because I have my first gymkhana flag run on Saturday. I would be very sad to miss it:( I will let you all know when I know what's going on.
-Carlene

Radioactive...Again!!!

I'm sorry I thought that I had posted a blog about my PET a few days ago but our internet has been giving us lots of problems. So today was my PET Scan and it went really well. I had to stop eating at midnight so last night at 11:30 I ate waffles:) After my Pet Scan I ate a foot long subway sandwich, it was so yummy. I am not sure when we will have results from it though.
I would like to send a HUGE thank you to the Beery Family, especially Jacque because I have received so many wonderful handmade cards from all over the country and I love them all!!!!
Love,
Carlene

Saturday, March 7, 2009

More photos




Rodeo Photos






Thanks to Mrs. L I enjoyed cake on my face...one of her many birthday victims! I thought I was safe being at a rodeo and all.





It was a great day!!!

for more information regarding youth rodeo check out the website at:

avyrarodeo.org

Friday, March 6, 2009

Day after my Birthday!!!

My birthday was sooo awesome. My mommy and I hung out all day. She took me out to breakfast and then to a massage. It was awesome. I also bought some wigs. They are so cool. When we find the camera cord, we'll download pictures:) Then Alyna and I saw bridewars. For dinner we ate STEAK, my favorite. After presents I had my oreo cake with extra oreos. It was sooooo delicious. So, I had a fantastic birthday!!!!
-Carlene

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My Birthday!!!

I totally forgot to say that its less than 1 day till I'm 16. I am soo excited. The doctors were all asking what kind of car I wanted :) By the way I want a lime green beetle. Since tomorrow is the 5th I get to have my favorite.... Oreos. WooHoo I cant wait. I just finished watching American Idol and now I'm gonna go to sleep. I'll keep ya'll posted!!!
-Carlene

After my Surgery

It is now 6:30 at night and I am home and getting ready to eat some soup. The surgery went really well. The lymphode is usable so I don't have to do this again. I wasn't even "loopy" when I woke up, just a little sleepy. We also saw Dr.Gaynon, the oncologist, and he said I have to have another PETScan and other tests for my heart and lungs. Then I can finally start my chemo. I was asked before "what is a PETScan"... it is like a CATScan because I drink contrast and I have an I.V but I am also radioactive afterwards. The machine is a giant donut. The first time I have chemo I will have to stay in the hospital for 2-3 days so the doctors can help us learn about the side affects so when I am home it will be okay. I will also probably get a pickline (i think thats what its called) in my arm so I don't have to get poked with needles everytime. The doctor also said I will definetly loose my hair in 1-3 weeks after I start chemo, so I guess I'll wear hats:) I am very glad that we are finally getting somewhere. Thank you soo much for all your support. God has blessed me with all of you and I thank Him very much.
-Carlene

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Surgery Tomorrow

Tonight I am staying in another hotel because I have to be at the hospital at 5:30 am. I am the first surgery of the day at 7:30am. I am just glad I actually have something to do instead of just waiting. I hope this biopsy works and they don't have to do it again. Last Sunday, was the first youth rodeo of the year and I was so excited to be able to compete. I had so much fun. Levi and I placed in every event. For dinner tonight I ate at the best restaurant ever, Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. It was the best food in the world!!! I have only 1 day left until my birthday. I don't think I can wait that long :) I know I haven't blogged in a while but I haven't had anything else to write about. I have just been working on alot of my schoolwork. Thank you guys so much for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers.
-Carlene

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Surgery Date

My mom called the hospital today, because they hadn't called us. Luckily, Dr. Stein was in the office and could talk to her. So this time they are going to take the lymphnode out of my neck and from the same site as last time so I'll only have 1 scar. But the date of the surgery is on March 4th.... the day before my birthday! I guess it'll just be an early birthday present. I am just glad we finally have a date for it even though it is a ways away. I would like to thank Alpine Grange for the cards and cute little monkey. I also want to thank my grandma and grandpa for the Valentine Box and their friends Melinda, John, and Sandy of L'atitude for the gift bag. Thank You!!
Thanks for following my blog and keeping me in your thoughts and prayers. I appreciate it so much.
-Carlene

Friday, February 13, 2009

Surgeon called...and the wait continues

Dr. Stein called today to let us know that they have a meeting scheduled between him, the oncologist, and the radiologist on Monday. Together they will determine which lymph node to remove. They are trying to ensure a testable sample this time. The difficulty with which one is that Carlene was prescribed several days of a steroid when this all started...unfortunately, the steroid affected the nodes in her neck and they may not be able to get a correct result from one of them. The next best area to biopsy is from her armpit, but only one node "glowed" on the PET scan showing the presence of cancer there and that node is small and rests high in the armpit. Finding that exact one causes difficulty. The final area to biopsy from is her chest. She has several larger nodes behind the ribcage which are the best to biopsy, but that entails a more intrusive surgery, so they are hoping to find a different solution, but might decide on it. He will give us a call when they know what the plan is.

Thank you all for your prayers and support while we wait this out. Everyone says the waiting is the worst, because you don't really know what to worry about. Hopefully the wait will be behind us soon and we can move on to treatment. In the meantime, Carlene has done a remarkable job with the change of diet =) Limiting sugar, milk and red meat have been the most difficult (have you ever tried to buy something that does not contain high fructose corn syrup, etc? If not, try it...check out your pantry and see just how little you have in there that does not contain it...but she is devoted to eating healthy...a salad is not complete without a WHOLE tomato on it...she has become a pro at taking her handful of vitamins...she has learned to enjoy her Monavie drink and is enjoying fresh processed juice. She says she now drinks her apples =) Next time you see her, ask to see her beautiful, long fingernails...a benefit of being soooo "healthy".

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Doctors Appt.

So today was my long awaited doctors appointment. We met with the surgeon and the oncologist. They still aren't sure which lymphnode would be the best to remove. According to the PETScan they could remove one from my armpit but they are trying to see if they can just remove another one from my neck. Now they are sure that I have hodgkins lymphoma, they just have to decide what kind and what stage. When the doctors call us back we'll hopefully schedule the biopsy for sometime next week.
I want to give a HUGE thank you to Trish Lynn of the Cowgirl Chicks, she sent me her version of the National Anthem for my flag run along with autographed pictures, a DVD, a CD, and a T-shirt that I am actually wearing right now. :)
I also want to thank my best friend Heather and her mom for the awesome orange and green necklace and bracelet. I LOVE it!!!

Love,
Carlene

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Finally!

After numerous phone calls over the past several days, we finally have an appointment set for Carlene's pre-op. We will be going down to meet with the surgeon on Tuesday 2/10 @ 10:30. I am not sure what the hang up has been, but somehow she had been "misplaced" in a huge system and the surgery orders were never placed. Now that we got to the bottom of that, the ball is rolling again and we are on our way!

I can eat OREOS today. On the fifth of every month, I will treat my self and eat 3-4 oreos. They are my absolute favorite cookie and this time there double stuff. :) I never realized how much stuff has sugar in it. I'm doing okay with out all that tastey stuff because I no longer crave an ice cold cola in a can... but it would be really good!!! I just want to say thanks to everyone for there support. Thanks Racketteers, You all are awesome and I love you. Thanks Rohaleys, you rock and of course I love you!!! And I thank God for blessing me with all of you.
Love,
Carlene

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Thank You


We want to send a huge shout out to the Leona Valley Racketeers for collecting donations for Carlene at one of their functions...this is an absolute blessing...thank you for helping out with our gas, lodging, parking fees, etc. Even though we don't officially live in Leona Valley anymore, it is where our hearts are. It will always be home to us and we will always consider you our neighbors =) We want to send an extra special thank you to Cynthia Hull for her extra generosity.


Thanks to Sharon Rohaley and Father Serra Parish in Lancaster. They made a beautiful, orange prayer quilt for Carlene. Thank you for your prayers and the quilt. It is stunning (even if it is Carlene's favorite color - orange)!!!


THANK YOU TO EVERYONE FOR SUPPORTING CARLENE!!!!!!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Still Waiting




Just wanted to let you know that we are still waiting for info. Spoke with the doctor today and he is trying to schedule her next biopsy for next week, but he hasn't heard back from the surgeon yet. We will update as soon as we know something! The first photo is of a very excited Carlene because Marne brought her some of her favorite potatoes...only Marne can make them to Carlene's satisfaction =) The second is of Carlene and me in front of the hospital.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I'm Radioactive!!!!!






So today I got my PETScan and it wasn't that bad. First, the nurse had to check my blood, like Alyna, I didn't even feel it. Then, they sprayed my arm with this cold stuff so the IV wouldn't hurt. It didn't. They injected me with radioactive liquid and I to stay in my room for an hour so the door to my room was made of led and it weighed sooo much. I also had to drink contrast, which is nasty. I was a little worried that the PETScan was going to be a really long tube, that would probably make me panic and freak out.... but it wasn't. It was kinda like a CATScan, but with 2 donut machines instead of one. It took about 30 minutes and my nurse was super nice. John also took a bunch of pictures. These are of me with the PETScan machine. Thank you all for your continual support.

Love,
Carlene

Monday, January 26, 2009

PETScan tomorrow

I am in the car with my mom because we are staying at a hotel tonight, so we don't have to face traffic in the morning. This weekend I bet that Alicia couldn't go a week without soda since I can't have it. You can do it Alicia. :) I was able to see some of my relatives from Texas. Thank you guys soo much for the books, I'll miss you. I hope tomorrow goes okay. I'm a little worried about the whole shot thing. Maybe it won't be that bad. I know I will be in God's hands and under His watchful eyes. Thank you all for everything.
Love,
Carlene

Friday, January 23, 2009

Movie Night 1-22-09




Yesterday, a bunch of my friends and I were supposed to go down and be extras in a movie but the rain canceled that. Instead some of us got together and saw Mall Cop and then ate pizza. It was sooooo much fun. If you haven't seen that movie, you really need to. (The flash was super bright in the first one, so if we are smiling weird or squinting that's why:) On Tuesday I have to go down for a PET Scan. After those results come back they will know which lymphnode to byapsy. Then after my surgery, and those results, they will know what type of chemo I need. Thank you guys for keeping in your prayers, I know I say that in like almost every blog, but it really means alot to me. I know that God has blessed me with amazing family and friends and I will find my strength through Him.


Love,
Carlene

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January 21,2009


Yesterday, my mommy called the doctor and he said that the lymphnode that they removed was dead tissue. So now I will have a PET scan and they will determine which lymphnode will be the best to biopsy... AGAIN!!! They still need to figure out what stage I am in and then I can begin my chemo. They are hoping to have everything figured out by the end of next week. I am very excited because this Saturday I get to run my first flag run as queen. :) Thanks for all of your support. The picture was taken at the Palmdale Christmas Parade in December.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Thursday Movie Night

On Thursday evening, we have the opportunity to be a part of the movie Warrior. It is filming in Valencia and they have advertised for background people. We have put in for a group, but we need 30 people. It sounds like so much fun. If you are interested in going with us let us know via email or a call and we will get you on the roster. You can check it out at www.beinamovie.com. The age limit is 16 and they have a dress code which is nice casual. We will be in the grandstands of a Lacrosse match...they provide food and maybe transportation...Come be in a movie with me...and lets have some fun before my chemo starts. We are in the process of working out the details with the group reservationist and will get you more info when we know more. Feel free to invite your friends so we can get to the 30 limit!!!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Photos


Braniac Olivia figured out how to include photos...she's the computer whiz in this family.  So we have added a few photos from our first two visits to the hospital.  Carlene enjoyed driving her bed and cuddling with her puppy that her sisters gave her to keep her company. Having Heather by her side was a true blessing!



Not another needle!

Thanks to Heather holding her hand, Carlene made it through the blood draw without any tears...that's a first!

Friday, January 16, 2009

January 16,2008



Today I officially disenrolled from my school. I'm sad only because I'll miss my friends soo much. I am doing really well and recovering with no pain from my surgery. The doctor said we will have the results on Monday. He is trying to schedule a PET scan for the same day, so we can make less trips. After the results on Monday and the results of the PET scan, they will know what type of chemo I will need. Thank you for all the comments and for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers. You all are the best and I thank God for such a stable and loving support family.
Love, Carlene

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

January 14,2009

Today was my surgery where they took out the one enlarged lymph node on my neck for further testing. We were caught in traffic on the way down so we were about an hour late. Once I got there and  checked in a nurse took us back and I got to wear very comfy unmatching pants and gown. The nurse gave me a teddy bear but I couldn't take it out of the box so I just took my stuffed puppy Kiko, that Oli and Alicia got for me,everywhere.   Then we sat in another waiting room for a little while. Finally, they took us upstairs. They gave me some nasty tasting medicine to make me relaxed and calm. After about 15 minutes they rolled me away and thru the double doors.  Since I HATE needles (like many of you know) they put a mask over me and thats all I remember. When I woke up I had an I.V in me and all sorts of other things attached to me. The clock on the wall kept making double and it freaked me out. I guess I was acting loopy but to me it was perfectly normal. Now I am home and I feel fine just really hungry because all I had was some apple juice at 7:30 this morning. For dinner I had some broth and a roll, so I'm hungry. We'll know more by Friday and then I'll post it. Thanks again for all your support. I keep thanking God for having such loving and caring friends and family. 
I love you. -Carlene

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

January 13, 2009

After a 13 hour day trip to Children's Hospital , we are finally home. The doctors were very accommodating...after having more blood drawn and then meeting with her oncologist, he set up an appointment for an hour later to meet with her surgeon...he wanted to save us an additional trip down there...long story short, we will be returning back down there tomorrow morning to have one of her lymph nodes surgically removed so that they can do further testing to determine the exact chemo treatment. She will also be doing a PET scan, but that is not yet scheduled.

A HUGE thanks to everyone for your prayers and especially Heather, Carlene's best friend, for rearranging her finals so that she could make the trip with Carlene. She really helped keep Carlene at ease and made the day more bearable.

On the horse side of things, Carlene received approval to ride at an ease...she was ecstatic about that...much more so than the surgery news =)