Wednesday, January 29, 2014

1 Year Anniversary of Last Day of Treatment

It's hard to believe that today is 1 year since the last day of Liam's radiation treatments. How different life is a year later. This morning, we attended a performance that Liam was in at school with his Kindergarten class! Last year in January, we almost had no activities besides Liam's 15 minute daily radiation appointment and were very housebound. Now Liam is in Kindergarten, he has soccer, yoga (Kids Cancer Care) and PEER (Pediatric cancer survivors Engaging in Exercise for Recovery with Kids Cancer Care).

This is the video of Liam 1 year ago after his last treatment, when he rang the bell.

It speaks to how great the people at Tom Baker Cancer Centre were to us, Liam has no negative memories of radiation at all. Troy and I cringe when he gets ahold of his radiation mask and wants to play with it. How Liam got bolted to the table with that on his head every day for 6 weeks without anesthetic, without freaking out, I will never understand.

At school, in addition to help with printing and speech, Liam is also now getting physiotherapy. He's come SO far physically. Last weekend, both Liam and Madison climbed a climbing wall at the park for the first time. I suspect when Liam saw Madison do it, he had to as well. Madison pretty much did it the first time, it may have taken Liam 10 times to master it, but he did it.

Happy boy, 5 1/2 years old! I just realized that Liam is wearing the same shirt as in the video!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Parents' Quest for the Cure

Something I've learned through Liam going through cancer diagnosis and treatment is that very little money goes to kids cancer research. Kids cancers are different than adult cancers. More research is needed for kids, to find better ways of treating them. More research is needed to help kids deal with the long term effects of treatment.

This has motivated me to volunteer with Kids Cancer Care's event "Parents' Quest for the Cure". A wonderful lavish gala, which the money goes towards kids cancer research. The gala also holds a silent auction to raise money for childhood cancer research.

I am looking for your help in finding auction items for the silent auction. If your company can donate any items for the auction, or purchase gift cards, wine baskets, tickets, etc. There are many ways to help! The donating company to have business cards at the gala, and have their company name on the signage.

Cash or credit card donations are also accepted, by contacting Leah at Kids Cancer Care at 403 984 1223.

Please contact myself or Leah if you or your company would like to donate items for the silent auction. This would be greatly appreciated! You can contact me at karlablackwell at (substitute the 'at' with '@') or phone/text at 403.681.5860.

Any tips as to where I can find auction items would be greatly appreciated! Thank you everyone for your help!

Information on the Gala:  Parents Quest for the Cure Gala

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! We had a great Christmas, the kids loved every minute of it! Decorating the tree, Elf on the Shelf, Santa, flying to the North Pole to find Santa, presents and more presents, Christmas morning with cousins and playing with friends.

It's hard to believe January 29 will be 1 year out of treatment. Liam continues to have MRIs and checkups with his oncologist every 3 months. These are so tough on us, we just get into the routine and almost feel "normal", then 3 months rolls around again. Then we get that dreaded little appointment card in the mail from oncology for the next round.

2013 was a great year. Both Liam and Madison attended Jamie's Preschool for immune compromised children from January to June. This was such a wonderful place for the kids, they loved it so much. We were so fortunate to have had a safe place for the kids to play and avoid the flu season. In March, Aunt Ami came for a visit from Florida! The kids had a wonderful time playing with their Auntie and doing Easter activities together.

Thanks to Children's Wish, April was Liam's wish trip to California. We went to Disneyland, Legoland, Sea World and San Diego zoo. It was just such an amazing trip for the kids and us. We can hope that Liam remembers more of this than he does of his time in treatment. Even though Madison was only 2, she loved it too. The biggest trouble was she got SO mad when she wasn't tall enough to go on some of the rides! Both kids loved seeing all the characters. Liam could have stayed in Radiator Springs the whole time, he loved every detail from the Cars movies.

Early July, we celebrated Liam's 5th birthday! How emotional for us all! We had a BBQ and party and had a wonderful time at our pirate party.

We had a great summer of sun and fun in the Okanagan. The kids loved hanging with Grandma and Alex in their motorhome and playing at the playground at Kin Beach. Liam had a bit of a tough time with the heat, so spent more time in shaded play areas than at the beach. (In August, the temperature is generally around 30C/85F) Liam loved riding with Grandma and Grandpa in their boat on Okanagan Lake. Picnic lunches on the boat are awesome! We're always on the lookout for the Ogopogo, but haven't seen him yet.

September was a big milestone when Liam started Kindergarten. Kindergarten is 9:00-11:45am daily, with quite a few Fridays off. Liam is doing great and loving Kindergarten. Liam is getting extra help from speech therapy, and from O/T with his pencil/fine motor skills. Liam requires some extra help in completing tasks, fortunately, the Kindergarten class has a wonderful assistant.

Liam plays soccer every week and loving that. It's great to see him running and getting stronger all the time. Liam also participates in PEER, a program by Kids Cancer Care. The focus is to help kids recovering from cancer treatment restore their strength, balance, etc, with a program designed by exercise physiologists.

Madison is in preschool in our community. She was a bit hesitant to go alone, but now she is loving it. She is going to start a dance class soon, we'll see how she likes that. She turns 3 this week, she's no longer a baby!

Troy continues to enjoy playing soccer. He plays outdoor soccer in the summer and indoor in the winter. This summer his team won provincials, very exciting!

Thank you to everyone who gave us support and good wishes through 2013. We wish everyone a wonderful 2014!