Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What's Today like?

Well Devree has not been doing her best these last couple of days. The doctors told us that some times the effects of radiation can make you tired and sick for weeks after you are done. Devree did the v word yesterday and has not been feeling up to going to seminary. She got really discouraged last night because I think she was over tired. We went and saw "Race to Witch Mountain" as a family for family home evening. We all felt like a truck ran over us this morning because it made a late evening. Todd thinks that when she doesn't drink enough water, it starts the road to nausea. She still is not eating the way I wish she would. Devree did tell us that yesterday her right eye started watering. Last night when she was crying, it did not cry though.

Yesterday I went to Dayton High School and signed her up for homebound school. Brother Watts will be her teacher. This will help her stay on track to finish her freshman year. She will have all summer to get her work done too. For those times on chemotherapy where she will not feel very well. The St. Jude Psychologist did some testing on Devree and said she is at college level on most things. Devree is thinking of finishing school earlier. I recommended not doing that. I don't think it was that beneficial to be at BYU when I was 15. I don't know how my mother let me do it? I guess because my older sister Kalene was in the same apartment as me, some of the time. But there is no way I could let Devree go to college at 15.

I really don't have to worry about that with Devree because we need to kick this cancer, FIRST! I have now hung up the new family picture on the wall. The one that is one this blog, in the tiny spot on the right. Devree really doesn't like how her face looks, but I love that picture and we enlarged it and put it on our family picture wall. She didn't complain too much!

Here is my message for today. Don't postpone having fun as a family. You never know when something may come and interrupt your life!

Love, Shana

Monday, March 30, 2009

More on Monday!

We had a wonderful day at the Roesler's and saw Ruby Brody, Leah and Laura Wall, The Corless' and Shannon and Ray came to visit us there. It was really fun to see Lydia all grown up and reminisce with Mike and Karen of things that have happened in Fernley over the years. Cherie Corless really worked hard to get the horses ready and we really appreciate her hard work. Todd will put in pictures later.

Yesterday we got alot of planning done about what we are going to do this summer. We planned out when Todd and the boys will be visiting and there will be alot of flying back and forth. We want everyone that can go, to go to the Mackley Reunion, and we want Noble and Shay to go to their Scout weeks. But Dane and Shay are going to stay with Devree and I most of the summer. We had to find out from Brother Workman when school was going to start next year. He told me something I didn't know. St. Jude wrote him a letter about having Devree be a Homebound student. Brother Watts is her homebound teacher and I thought that was interesting because we are only here for 3 weeks because of the spring break. But this will help Devree too with her algebra and science. I had talked to Brother Watts about homebound seminary, but I guess we will do 2 birds with 1 stone.

Thanks again for the Mia Maid class in CV1 ward for the lovely casseroles. Todd and the boys will eat them when we are gone.

Thanks to Paul for bringing the eggs to our house and the math game for the Charter School.

About the charter school, we had a meeting at Arianne's and found out that other charter schools consider us competition for Federal funds. There hasn't been that much interest in it so I don't know if we can make it go. We will keep trying and I am going to a big Northern Nevada charter school meeting this week.

Thanks for still looking at the blog and seeing how we are doing.

Love, Shana

Friday, March 27, 2009

Super Duper Saturday!

I forgot to say for those that want to know what we are fasting for... we are still fasting that Devree will get her eye to close and make tears and that she will get her smile and expression back on her right side.

We are planning to have a lot of fun tomorrow and we will blog about it later. Noble is going to get contact lenses, Devree is going shopping for books with her friend, we are going to Fernley to visit friends and possibly ride horses, then Devree is going to a "Twilight" party.
Love, Shana

Friday is Here!

Well when some lovely mom's at Target House asked what I was going to do when I got home, I said about a 1,000 things. Sure enough it has felt like that. As soon as I came home from the airport we hit the ground running. I did laundry, cut Todd's and the boys hair, got ready for Sunday. Then this past week I got my teeth cleaned, got blood work done, saw my doctor, took Dane to the dentist 3 times, cleaned house, ironed clothes (all of Todd's) did the T-shirt order, did our taxes, balanced the 2 checkbooks, did Visiting Teaching stuff, shopped for Easter and that is just a few things.

I have 2 more doctor appointments and Dane has such bad teeth we thought he needed a root canal, but the tooth is still growing, (a permanent tooth) and didn't need one. The first dentist couldn't do it. The second dentist, I think, is better for kids.

It has been so lovely being home. There haven't been too many visitors and we are going to Fernley on Saturday to visit people there. We will be at the Roesler's at 2pm if you want to visit us. They offered to let the boys horseback ride and visit all of their critters.

Today we will take the boys out of school and go to see a movie. I will take Shay and Dane and get them new suits because Shay turns 12 soon and will be ordained a Deacon and Dane will get baptized soon. All while I will be gone, so I want to do some things that need to be done around here while I will be gone for 4 months. I really can't even think about that because I get so sad. Todd just said a Mary Poppins quote "Once begun is half done." There are some things to look forward to when we go back like seeing "Wicked" and I think I will have Shay and Dane stay with us for probably 2 months. We really miss seeing Jackson, Kallie, Talon, Tayzia, Celest and Breck while we are out here.

Devree is doing quite well. She is eating a little better and she is using less and less of her nausea medicine. She says the boys at seminary won't talk to her and treat her like she has a catching disease. She really enjoys seminary and she really liked going to school during lunchtime the other day.

I am really looking forward to going to California to see my parents and the mini reunion with my siblings as well. Nothing like California in the springtime! In my minds eye and minds nose, I can smell the orange blossoms right now and see the green grass everywhere.

Have a spectacular Spring Day! (Sorry all of you Canadians don't have spring yet!)
Love, Shana

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Christmas in March???

Devree has been feeling the love (Lots of letters and packages that helped her through the down times). We learned that sometimes the siblings of cancer kids will pretend that they are sick so that they can get attention too. Well Aunt Mary & Uncle John wanted to make sure the boys were feeling loved too. So they put together a package for Noble, Shay, and Dane.

Shay is so excited to open his packages.

Dane is showing off his share.

Noble is trying to go and hang out at Joey and Jason Joiner's house, but he can't help but get caught up in the excitement. Ray King is taking pictures for us. Could Shay's smile be any bigger? They were all having a lot of fun!!!

Shay and Dane happily hugging.

Displaying all of the treasure!

Thank you so much Aunt Mary and Uncle John!!! It was like a Christmas in March at our house.

Devree had packages waiting for her at home. She especially loves her "Cars" pillow case. Mater the tow truck is her favorite.

The Devree report is that she got a little low on fluids and was worn out on Tuesday. She ate 2 or 3 crackers and then slept for 30 minutes. The soda in the crackers settled her tummy and she was able to take her pills without throwing up. She was able to catch-up on her fluids today, but is still battling a little tiredness, aches and pains. I guess that goes with the territory (Now it is Thursday morning and Devree is back to feeling good!).

We found out that the young women at church had all coordinated to wear their "Team Devree" shirts. Poor Devree missed out on that. We felt bad about it, beacause Devree was so adamant about not missing her young women's night.

Love you all!!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Great To Have The Girls Home!

It is wonderful to have Shana and Devree home. Everything seems to be back to normal. Shana and I dread the thought of being apart for the 4 months of chemo that will begin on April 22, 2009.

Things were not back to normal immediately. I thought we had done alright, but there were a few things that Shana and Devree pointed out right away. There were very light muddy dog footprints where the rug for wiping your feet should be. Devree asked why the rug had been moved in front of Shay’s bedroom door. As I was asking myself why I hadn’t noticed, Shana went on to ask me why 2 pictures were missing off the wall. At this point I was feeling embarrassed about missing something so obvious. (We found 1 picture on the floor nearby, but the other picture is still missing.)

The sisters at church asked me if they could come and clean. Next time I’ll have to consider that more seriously. I’m sure these good women would have noticed things like that.

I thought we had done ok with bathrooms, but Shana disagreed and quickly remedied that situation.

Shana was willing to let me assume the duties of “Food Nazi” and “Pill Pusher”. I am happy to help with that job. Devree says that Grandpa Hamblin is her favorite “Food Nazi”. If she would eat 3 potato chips, he would eat 1 on the sly and let her take the credit.

Devree looks great!!! She has good coloring, good spirits, and she is happy being able to sleep in her own bed. However, she is as skinny as a super model, and there is no camera to add 10 pounds. We will have to work on fattening her up. So if you have any ideas for adding pounds… Devree needs you!!!

Lots of love to all of you!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Last Radiation of Devree's Life!

A small highschool jazz band from Iowa that played at the hospital. I got so homesick thinking of Noble and all of the other wonderful jazz kids. Mrs. Bum they had about the same numbers of every instrument just like Dayton. This band was in Memphis for a Band Tour and they were really awesome. Not quite as awesome as Dayton.
Having her balloons that say she is a gold star and "Operation Radiation Complete".

Nurse Devin throwing the confetti.

After she had her mask taken off and showing all of the world that it is thumbs up to be done with radiation and showing her bald head for the first time.l

Well we came with our camera and we took pictures. The child life specialist asked for any special requests that Devree had yesterday. Devree had seen children get balloons and a T-shirt that says "Operation Radiation - Mission Accomplished". Devree requested confetti, TOO. The child life specialist said there was a Doctor at St.Jude's that really doesn't like confetti but that she would break the rules for Devree.

So we got here at 8:30 and I went in and saw how she is strapped to a table. Then the mask that is molded to her face is clamped down and the radars are aligned perfectly. We go behind the foot thick door out to the computers that then do all of the work. The cat scan that St. Jude is trying to get FDA approval make sure the radiation is right on the money. It was so WONDERFUL because her tumors have shrunken and you could even tell on the CAT scan and the Lab techs showed me before and afters. YEA!

I took pictures of the homemade confetti that they threw but we forgot our camera cable to hook up to my handy dandy laptop. I will connect later.

We will blog once in awhile at home. We found out we have to fly back the 21st of April. So we start back appointments on Todd's birthday. How sad. Oh well we already have his birthday present. Have a WHOOP de DOO kind of day!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Season and Chase

This is Season and Chase and the cool Hope Hat that can clip any color ponytail you want. Yes Aunt Tammie, Devree as a red head last night had loads of FUN!
Chase loves Karoke as much as Devree!

Our friend Emma Wilcox, her big sister Clarissa showing her "ying-yang" face painting and their adorable 9 month old baby brother David who is the cutest flirt and will even come to me to play.

Devree doing her Karoke. See how the pony tail is clipped on the back of the hat?

Devree taking her own picture of her face painting. This is how we are feeling..."RAINBOWS and


We got to meet the famous Chase and Season Burch. Season was the one I first called back at Lucille Packard Childrens Hospital that told us to get Devree to St. Judes. What a miracle that was. We have lots of pictures to show you of the grand party that Sterling Jewelers put on for us. Sterling Jewelers are a huge contributor to St. Judes and they have a whole bunch of different jewelry chains including Jareds. The one right there in the Summit Shopping center in South Reno is one of them. I talked to the owner and he and his brother are Mormons from Logan, UT.
They had Karoke again last night and Devree and Chase sang several songs. Here are the pictures.

The other wonderful, fabulous, fantastic thing happened yesterday. I got my new laptop! It is so tiny and eveything is working just marvelous with it. I will yet conquer more technical electronics so that I can blog better.
Devree has only one more day of radiation and then we are done for her lifetime!

So here is my lifes philosophy, even before everything started happening to our family. It is a quote by our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson "Find Joy in the Journey...NOW!"
I hope everyone has a fantastic Thursday!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

3 More Days!

This is the Rice's and Devree after we saw Pink Panther 2. This is the sign for Ice Age 3.
This is Tayzia, Jackson, Devree, Kallie and Talon showing their eye puppets that a nice man gave us at St. Jude's.

Right in front of Chili's Care Center where Devree gets, x-rayed, CAT scan, MRI and as Devree calls it the "Radiation Torture Chamber".

Yea! They brought back the Mango Gelato, our favorite!

Here's the rest of us eating our mango gelato.

This is a camera that displays inside a chili in Chili's Care Center. The Rice's all crammed in the tip.
Devree's favorite sign at the ABC wall doing her impression of one of the most memorable things she does here.
This is Devree's party night at the Rice's last Saturday night. Notice the cute boys? She says that keeps the vomitting away. Hmmmm. I wonder why?
Three more days of radiation. Three more days of trying to blog. Todd found out that my laptop still hasn't been shipped and it will arrive here when I am gone. That is very frustrating because I have so many pictures I have to share and I am unable. I will keep trying so that all of you can see what is going on here.

Devree did really great yesterday. She eliminated her afternoon pills and even went and played games with the college kids that do "An Alternative Spring Break". It is this really cool program where different university's will offer a service week for college kids. The kids spend their own money and come to Target House or Ronald McDonald House and they do cleanup, landscaping, serve meals, do crafts and game nights. So Devree found a college girl that plays the piano and they went to the fancy schmancy music room where Devree brought all of her piano music and had fun. The sad part is Devree came back to the room and said, "I feel sick. Let me hurry and take my meds". I proceeded to crush them quickly and give them and just as suddenly, Devree threw everything up. All of the dinner too! It made me discouraged. But this morning she kept it down and even had some breakfast. Yea!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patricks Day!

Due to technical difficulties, this will not be as fabulous as I hoped. No, Cheryl I still don't have my new laptop. It was supposed to be sent to me and now Devree and I will be going home and it still hasn't come. So my laptop can't connect all of the wonderful pictures I have. So just imagine Devree with green shamrock sunglasse, a scarf, big shamrock hat, shamrock doingy things on her hat, green beads, green shirt and 2 different types of shamrock socks. She has made little cards to give to everyone. We already decorated her door. So that would have been some wonderful pictures.

More later....

So many hours later because I could never get on to any more computers. We had a fabulous day yesterday with the Rice's. They came to the hospital and had Mango gelato and they toured the hospital and we had lunch. Then we took Tayzia shopping with Devree and I and she got some new spring clothes. Then I was dragged to Pink Panther 2. Yes I laughed, groaned etc. We will miss Jackson, Kallie, Talon, Tayzia, Celest and Breck very much while we are gone. They are leaving to go on their spring break to the Gulf shores and the BEACH!

Look at yesterday's post too, because I finally was able to upload some more pictures.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Grandma and Grandpa Hamblin came with Chris and Shelley Richards. Chris and Shelley have 2 darling kids Brinna and Austin, (5 @ 2 years old). They got here Friday night and Grandma and Grandpa stayed with us. On Saturday we toured the hospital and we had lunch and Devree said she really didn't know who Elvis was so we went to the Civil Rights Museum. Then we came back for dinner at 5pm because one of the Baptist church's did a BBQ for the Target House.

Devree is feeling so great, that she doesn't need her afternoon medication. She wanted to go to a Bi Stake Youth activity that was called "Brown Bag" skits. The leaders put things in a bag and you create a skit to perform with those props. Afterwards they had a dance. The dance was not so great, so Tayzia invited a whole group back to her house and they partied till midnight and Devree stayed to help Tayzia clean up. Then she went to church and ate pretty well all weekend and still didn't need her afternoon meds. She stayed up pretty late last night too! She definitely is feeling great!

We said Goodbye to Grandma and Grandpa after sacrament meeting. Thanks again Chris and Shelley for bringing them down. Thanks Mom and Dad for making the trip. It was a great weekend.

So about the T-shirts. I called yesterday and we can order children's sizes. But we are going to stick to SML for kids and SMLXLXXL for adults. For kids we are going to take our chances about sizes and everything is still $8. each. Don't worry about shipping. We will do that. So if you want T-shirts put in your order this week by email to ibshana2u-devree@yahoo.com and send your money to Todd. I will reply by email with our address so that we can confirm how many shirts that you are ordering.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Grandma and Grandpa Hamblin are coming!

We are doing so much better this week that we are counting our blessings. Here it is Friday and Devree hasn't gotten sick and she is almost eating 3 meals a day with some snacks. This is very good news because by Friday she is "Fried" literally with all of the radiations through the week. Thanks again for all of your prayers.

I am sorry if I made some of you worry. The dye was not for the tumors but for her kidneys. The doctors were worried after the 24 hour urine test that her kidneys were not functioning as well as they should. But now they did the dye test and took her blood immediately after, 1 hr, 2hrs and 4 hrs and her kidneys are fine. Believe me there are too many people that want to know about Devree for me to withold any GOOD or bad information. I will tell all of you when I know anything. It is very therapuetic for me to blog so that I can help myself deal with these things.

Wasn't the Spaghetti Feed just awesome? Boy, Devree and I were so amazed and wished we could be there ourselves to witness it all. I really wished to be there because I know more people than Todd in Dayton through substituting at all of the elementary schools. I couldn't ask Todd because he doesn't know people like I do. Boo Hoo. But I am happy all of the same.

We are very excited that Chris and Shelley Richards are bringing Grandma and Grandpa Hamblin. We are going to show them St. Jude's and we think they might like to see Graceland where Elvis lived and possibly the National Civil Rights Museum or maybe the Underground Railroad used for slaves here in Memphis. The Civil Rights Museum was very interesting. We took the whole family there a few years ago when we visited Breck and Celest. We will never forget it because Shay who was probably 6 at the time, said in his loud voice "Wow! That is the coolest Halloween Costume I have ever seen!" as we passed the KKK outfit.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

FEEL THE LOVE!!!! DHS is Awesome!!!

I have to tell you all about how wonderful Devree’s High School is!!! Riley Fraser shared her idea of a Cancer fundraiser to the DHS Student Council. This Dayton High School Cancer Awareness week was the out come.

(The sign reads, "Within 5 years, Cancer will surpass heart disease as the leading cause of death, according to the American Hospital Association.")

There were multi-colored ribbons that represented the different cancers, and posters of interesting cancer facts. I was told that the students contributed names of people they knew that had cancer at some point in their life. Cancer affects 1 out of every 4 people, so it was a long list of names.

("The Cancer Wall", a list of people with cancer. Note: I only got the middle of the wall.)

I was amazed at the creativity of our DHS students. Noble told me that there were game systems set up in one of the classrooms. During lunch the kids could challenge each other with the games, “Rock Band” and “Guitar Hero”, for a small donation of course. :-)

(The poster says, "Embarrassing Picture Wall - Pay $1 to put a friends picture up! - To get your picture taken down you will have to pay $1 to $5." The other poster says, “Smoking is the leading risk factor for Lung Cancer.”)

Another creative idea was to have the kids bring in old electronics to donate. This included things like old CD & MP3 players, games systems, cameras, etc.. Gotta love those electronics!

(Dayton High School Student Body Council in "Team Devree" shirts. Sorry about not having all of you.)

Another popular item was the purple "Team Devree" T-shirts. (Devree is a big Twilight fan, and her favorite color is purple." The front of the shirt has "Team Devree" with a cancer ribbon in the middle. On the back of the shirt is a quote from one of the Twilight Books, "Yes, yes you're always gorgeous! -Alice Cullen"

(Calling all "Team Devree" shirts! At the end of the evening we asked everyone with a "Team Devree" shirt to get in the photo. There were way more earlier in the evening.)

Some people pre-ordered the "Team Devree" shirts, and a bunch were made to sell at the Spaghetti Feed. Would you believe that 200 shirts were made and sold? They ran out of shirts at the beginning of the evening. Order forms were handed out so that a 2nd batch of shirts could be ordered. If you didn't get a shirt, send us a note at ibshana2u-devree@yahoo.com. Make sure you tell us your size, and we will get your order in. The cost is $8 a shirt for small, medium, large, XL, and XXL. My original thought was to include the information for extended family members that want to get in on the fun, but if there are others that are interested, go ahead and send your request.

There was also an auction to raise funds for St. Jude's.

The spaghetti feed was quite a success. There were so many cars in the parking lot, that many of our friends thought that another activity was going on. In reality, it was an indicator of an overwhelming community response in behalf of Devree. When you came up to the building you realized that they food line was out the door and into the multi-purpose room where the Jazz Band was playing. (I wish I could have bought a CD, they did a wonderful job.) The line went into the cafeteria, past the band room, down and around the school library, then it looped down the hall and back into the cafeteria where the food was being served.

I went to thank the students helping in the kitchen, and I had to ask them if they had envisioned such a success. They all flashed broad grins, and through their smiles, they answered, "no". I know that Devree sometimes wonders if she has been forgotten by everyone. I wish she could have been there in person to get the answer to that question in person. Little Miss Alice, all of Dayton remembers you.

We all live in an awesome community. I think everyone there could FEEL THE LOVE. Thank you DHS for making that possible.

The Hamblins

For those of you that would like to see the article in the local paper yesterday, here is the link.

Race with Glee Run for Devree

THANK YOU KACEY and preschoolers Kyree, Spencer, Ryan, Addy, Kennadee and Brooklyn. I hope I got everyone. I read off of the lovely scarf you made for Devree. She loved all of your pictures and she is eating the yogurt raisins that you raced for raisins. Very clever idea Kacey. Thanks again. We painted Devree's fingernails last night and she has worn the socks.

Today is a good day. Devree got very dressed up, even wore her wig and cute hat. Could it possibly be because she will see Shane at school today? She even ate breakfast and had quite a bit of food yesterday. We are definitely having an up week. There are only 7 more days of radiation. I think she has finally turned the corner on nausea. HALLELUJAH!

I went down to work out this morning. It was very hard to put Todd on the plane yesterday and not have Devree and I go with him. We really want to come home and we kind of went into the "poor me's" last night. This morning I felt like I really need to go to the exercise room and get energized because stress usually makes me want to eat. I ran into a lady from Florida that has a 17 year-old daughter with a cancer that is so rare that only 300 people in the world have been diagnosed with it. The Mom's name is Carol and her daughter's name is Holly. Easy to remember because it goes with Christmas. Carol asked me what religion I was. I told her that I was L.D.S. or Mormon. She proceeded to say that we had our own bible. I said "We have a Book of Mormon but we also have the King James Version of the bible. In fact this year the youth of our church go to "Early Morning Seminary" where they are studying the New Testament and all about Christ's life." She went on to ask if our church was like the Methodist or Presbyterian. I said "Actually we are different. We believe that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are 2 separate beings with glorified bodies like us. We also believe in the Holy Ghost and we believe he is a spirit. When we are baptized by immersion we believe we can receive a Gift of the Holy Ghost that helps us to choose the right. Another part of our religion is we believe in eternal families and that we can be together after this life if we keep certain covenants." She then commented that she had always believed that families could be together forever. Carol then asked how do we do that? I told her that we have sacred buildings called temples where we make those eternal covenants. We had a wonderful conversation and I told her to go to http://www.mormon.org/ to find out more or ask me.

Today I will not have the "poor me's". There are so many people that are having a way worse time here than Devree and I. I can talk to others and uplift them. I already talked to a lady from Las Vegas. I almost wanted to hug her because she is from "Home means Nevada, Home means the sage and the pines". (The state song for all of you people that don't know). Her father just passed away and her mother has custody of her 4 year-old nephew that has cancer in his jaw. What a hard time for the grandmother. The woman I was talking to came to be a support for her mom. I told her "That is so important because your Mom has had a double dose of high stress. Losing her husband and now her grandson has cancer." I wish I would have asked their names so I could pray for them too. I just found out his name is Brayden and the grandmother is Brenda. Please pray for them.

Hey Today is the Spaghetti Feed for all of you Daytonians! I will write about it tomorrow. It is at DHS at 6-8pm. It is a pretty inexpensive meal for your family. I wish I was eating with all of you tonight.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Devree's Fundraiser organized by Glenn McFadden

We are so Grateful to Brother and Sister McFadden for all of their hard work for Devree's fundraiser last Saturday. This picture shows Noble and Dane watching. Connie O'Barr took Dane over and Todd asked Noble to attend the festivities because Todd was here with Devreee and I. I know that it was a lot of work and we really appreciate the McFaddens efforts. Here is the link to the local newspapers articles for those that would like to see it. Dane was very excited to know his picture was in the paper and his teacher at school had it there yesterday in class for everyone to see. I think that Shay was a little jealous because he wasn't in the paper. But Shay had a ton of fun playing at Stephen Watts house all day. Thanks again Watts, O'Barrs and Bogas for the sleep overs for the 3 boys.


Devree is doing so much better. She has passed her 3/4 done mark for Radiation yesterday. She actually felt up to celebrating at Olive Garden with Todd last night. She ate bread sticks dipped in marinara sauce and was feeling "saucy" the rest of the night. Todd commented that he leaves today and finally gets to see his daughter act silly and be herself on his last night here. Today Devree gets dye put in so we can see if the tumors have gotten smaller.

We wanted to tell everyone that we will be home soon. Although one of our life lines is getting snail mail, please don't send any more because we will be home for 5 weeks. We don't want you to send stuff here when we are not here. We have appreciated everyone that has sent mail. It really perks Devree up. We are counting the days. It is 11 more days and we will be home!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Feel Better Today!

So we had an interesting weekend. Devree always starts to feel better by Sunday night. I think that being at Breck and Celest' and their cooking! Celest made us "Chicken Pillows". Absolutely delicious! Thank you Celest. I am going to try it at home.

I am so glad that Todd has been here. I have been able to pass off being... as Devree puts it, "The Pill Pusher and the Food Nazi!" Todd and I have been more creative with the pills. We mash them in some yogurt and have a yogurt "chaser" and while she is taking them she has to sing or tell us all the words to Weird Al's "Amish Paradise". If she is still feeling too nauseous, she has to remember "Albuquerque". That is an 11 minute song so that usually does that trick.

While Devree was getting hydrated on Saturday I took Todd to Olive Garden. With my Kroger's card that they give me every week. It is a grocery card like Smith's gift card. Devree doesn't eat so I bought a gift card to Olive Garden. We enjoyed a fabulous lunch and tried not to worry about Devree for an hour. Devree told us to leave so she could rest.

We saw this weirdest car so here's a picture.

We went grocery shopping and finally we were able to get to Breck and Celest's and start our chick flick evening. THANK YOU CELEST and BRECK.
Love, Shana

It was good to be able to be the “Pill Pusher” and “Food Nazi” for Shana. Usually the man gets a job like, “Please boil water.” (Anything to just get us out of the way.) Todd loved feeling useful!!!

Devree did not feel like having her picture taken. But she is feeling tons better, and I want everyone to see how good she looks.

Shana told me that she hates driving in Memphis because of the crazy drivers. So I offered to drive. I politely nodded my head to acknowledge Shana’s complaint and slid behind the wheel (The world is full of crazy drivers! How bad could it be.) St. Jude’s is right down town (Next to the Salvation Army, Soup Kitchen’s for the homeless, and last chance high school for the teenagers kicked out of regular school. There are police cars everywhere. We see at least three squad cars every time we drive.) At night the homeless people walk across the road whenever they feel like it. You have to be very alert, because at night it can be scary if these people happen to have black skin and dark clothes. The wackiest driving experience happened in broad daylight. It was at the grocery store. I wanted to turn left. While I was waiting for my opportunity to go left. A kind on coming car from the left stopped. As I started to turn left, an impatient person behind him drove around. Now both lanes to the left occupied with cars coming towards me. I thought, “Oh, well. I’ll just turn right. Just at that moment, an impatient car from the right drove around a car that had parked in the road in front of the grocery store (This parked car blocked the oncoming right lane.) Now there were two oncoming cars from the right and from the left. It was uncomfortable for a little while, but I finally got out of that situation. As soon as I had safely escaped the parking lot, I humbly apologized to Shana for my silent thoughts. Maybe there was something to complain about after all.

Todd in St. Jude's clothing

I have to say, “Thank you!!!” To all of our wonderful friends at home for helping with our boys. Eric and Carrie have been so kind giving rides to Shay and Dane (The ultimate good neighbors. Carrie that was so kind to include the boys on doughnut day with Robbie! Thank you to Consiglio’s, and Voigtlaender’s for your help with giving Shay and Dane rides. Your support really helps us to make a more stable life for the boys. I am also so grateful to the O’bars, Watts, and Evans for inviting the boys for sleepovers and playtime. Thank you Dayton Sisters at church (and Bob Foster for your meat loaf), for feeding our family. The few hours between work and evening activities make it difficult to do laundry, meals, and all the other house keeping chores.

Love you all!!!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Saturday = Birds in the Wilderness

Now sing along with me "Here we sit like birds in the wilderness, birds in the wilderness, birds in the wilderness. (Repeat) Waiting for Devree to get hydrated, (Repeat) Okay this is the third time we have been to the Medicine room for the 3rd time this week. Everytime it is for HOURS and HOURS and did I mention HOURS! We want to start the chick flicks and the partying at Breck and Celest's. But it looks like we will be here till 6pm.

Shana busy blogging.

Devree just had her Saturday radiation. Thank you so much Dr. Pai. We will have to think of a wonderful nickname now. Dr. One More Thing made this happen and even visited us in the radiation waiting room this morning. Todd said we should name him "Dr. NICE AS PIE (Pai).

So we got some wonderful packages yesterday. THANK YOU DARCY for the wonderful package of goodies. We are excited to do the craft too.

THANK YOU JONES' for the wonderful T-shirt. Here is her picture of it on.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Ask and ye shall receive

Yesterday was a crap-ola day. Devree started out being happy that she got to lay on her back and have radiation. But now the radiation is BOOSTED for her brain and as the day progressed she got sicker and sicker. She still couldn't keep down her pills or food or water. She did want to go to a movie and she enjoyed that but was just so sick we went back to the clinic and they put her on an IV and gave her some medication in her IV. After 6 hours we went home. She usually perks up after an IV but we are here this morning because she still is not feeling well. I am so glad Todd is here because it is very draining on you. I am so glad that the "Emergency Room" is right here amongst the clinics. St. Jude's calls it the "Medicine Room". It does give me some worry to go home and if something happens to Devree and going to the Emergency room at home is not like here. St. Jude's immediately get you to a private room and attend to you.
There are other worries back in the west too. Since I have been here with Devree my Father has had stints put in for his heart and received more yesterday. My Mom is also having problems with her heart. I am really glad Todd is here to help me talk out what we can do to help my parents.
So why the title today? We asked a couple of weeks ago for her to get a radiation session on a Saturday so that we didn't have to wait around on that last Monday for her last dose. She will get to do that this Saturday. That means we get to leave 3 Days sooner! That will give us 5 weeks off. HURRAY!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

What Is A Bad Day?

This is Nurse Ginny.

Devree wants a perfect name for Ginny. Nurse Blog Stalker got a thumbs down as well as GiGi (for Ginny Googler). Devree says no.

It is so wonderful to be here with Devree & Shana!!! Putting my arm around Shana while sitting in the waiting rooms is paradise.

I have to say that I was holding my breath in anticipation. How would Devree look after losing 12 lbs? However, my worries were in vane. I think Devree looks good. She did have a bad day yesterday, so now I know what that is like.

A bad day is when Devree eats a little breakfast, and then looks at the pills that she has to take and groans. “Some of those pills are big,” She thinks. “Maybe I should have Mom chop them up? They taste nasty if they are chopped up…” She looks at the pills some more. “My stomach is a little unsettled; I sure hope I don’t throw up again.” (When they removed her tumor, they were worried about affecting her ability to swallow. Thankfully, that was not a big problem. She can swallow, but the paralysis affects the right side of her throat, and pills don’t go down as well if they happen to go on that side.)

Eventually Devree decides on breaking the pills up into pieces. Taking each piece is hard and she really has to think about it before taking action. She gets down to the last 2 pieces and winces because the first few pieces tasted nasty and now she is feeling nauseated. Now she is blanching at the thought of forcing down the last of them, but she does it.

Our poor little Devrs didn’t make it very long before both the pills and her breakfast were no longer in her tummy.

So that’s a bad day. When you start out like that, nausea haunts you the rest of the day. Today wasn’t all bad though. Devree was able to come home and have a long 3 hour nap and when she got up we watched a movie. The nausea let up and she ate a little.

Shana was able to pick up 1 more prescription to help with the nausea. Today will be a concoction of 3 different pills crushed in a tablespoon and mixed with yogurt. Hopefully this new mixture, combined with no more radiation on the spine (radiation that hits her tummy too), will get rid of the nausea permanently.

They have tons of fun things for the kids to do. So if Devree has a good day, it is a very good day. To me, yesterday was wonderful because I was with the girls all day. I hope today is wonderful for Devree.

I have to add one more thing to my long post. At lunch time I asked Devree if I could read something funny to her. She looked up and asked, “Is it ok if I don’t laugh?” But even in the midst of a bad day, Devree perked right up when I gave her the letters from her Sunday School classmates at church, and when Shana read the blog comments to her. Shana said that the letters from the early morning seminary kids (church bible study for teenagers that Devree misses) were a bright spot for her too. Devree loves to be reminded that she has not been forgotten. :-)


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

No More Honeycomb Face!

Here is Dr. Carlisle (Armstrong) but he is in the shadows and you can't see his nice blue eyes. He just got a haircut and told us all of his gray hairs are sticking up.
Today is the last day for Devree to lay on her tummy and have her face in a mask that causess honeycombs on her face from the shape of the holes in the mask. Devree just told me today that she hated when I told her that her face looked like honeycombs. I didn't realize this. I am happy for Devree because she had a problem with one of the male technicians that had this smirk on his face because he would expose her bum crack to get the alignment for her radiation. We had to tell the staff to be considerate of the "butt crack" because she is 14 and this bothers her. Now she gets to lay on her back to just have radiation on her head. We are hoping that she will not be as nauseous (as she vomits up her breakfast just now).
Last night I got Todd at midnight and I was very proud of myself for setting up the GPS and getting to the airport and the way home without getting lost. That is a FEAT here in Memphis because one road changed names 3 times. Going to the airport it is named one way and coming back home it is named another. I still can't tell what is East and West in this town. I knew that I needed to go East from the airport because that was how it was on the map. I took the road East and the GPS told me to turn around because I needed to go West before I could go East. CONFUSING! It is so nice to have Todd here and let him see what our life is like.
Sorry yesterday that I ended abruptly. My laptop was quitting.
So here is your funny message for today. Erma Bombeck wrote a book about cancer kids and Todd said this one girl wanted to play a trick on the medical staff. She put apple juice instead of urine in the container and in front of the nurse she said, "Oh this looks too cloudy so I will reprocess it" and drank it right then. Devree said that measuring how much she urinates "Is just CREEPY! That is something PERSONAL."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Thank you Grandma Jaynie (Aunt Mary's Mom) for the lovely shirt of I heart boys that Sparkle. You can't tell but it is very sparkly.
Thank you Kim and Sue (Aunt Paula's friends) for the lovely hats and Aunt Paula for the bears and chocolate frogs.
We are doing much better today. Devree wants to buy a green I love St. Judes T-shirt today so she will be ready for St. Patricks day. She is feeling a little less nauseous. In the mornings she feels pretty lousy but throughout the day she feels better and has been eating a little more. But today she gets tested for all of her blood work, weight etc. and she even has to measure her urine for a whole day which she isn't excited about at all.
Yesterday she met Elizabeth who is her psycholigist. Devree decided she needed to discuss things with.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Manic Monday

Becky and Jeff holding Devree
Liz, Devree, and Jessica

Kaylun, John, Becky, Jeff, Liz, Mary, Jessica, and Devree

This is Kaylun, Devree, Mary, John, Liz and Jessica is sitting on the floor.

So our weekend was fantastic and Devree ate and held everything down. She absolutely loved the Jonas Brothers movie. We were there with about 5 other girls and one mom. For 70 min. Devree got to be a normal teenager. She ate her popcorn, drank her soda, sang every song and clapped and laughed along. The girls behind us were standing, dancing and singing at the top of their lungs. The mom apologized to us after the movie for their behavior. I told them "Oh we enjoyed their enthusiasm." She told us that they traveled clear to Dallas for a Jonas concert. We said we have never got to go to a concert.

Then the relatives came. The lady calls up to our room and said "There are alot of people here to see you." I said "YEA!" I gave them a tour and took them upstairs and we laughed and went to eat at Wendy's and played "Apples to Apples". Devree got the first 3 green cards and you only need 4 to win. But Mary whoooped us all!

Jessica and Elizabeth stayed with us and the rest we had to have them leave at 10 to go to a hotel because we were being LOUD! and quiet time is at 10pm. They stayed in a hotel and the next day we gave them the grand tour of the hospital and Mary and Becky just about bought out the whole gift store. Devree got her St. Jude sweatshirt she wanted. We went to Breck and Celest' and partied till about 11:30pm. I tried to drive back to Target House but it was BLIZZARD conditions. It was so beautiful but the van I had in was not fun to drive. So we camped at Breck and Celest's and the other adults went back to their hotel that was on the edge of Germantown. The next day there was no church, so we partied again until all of the MO people had to go home. WHAT FUN! THANK YOU CELEST and BRECK For being such great hosts.

Have a Manic Monday kind of day because Devree and I have a 8-5 kind of day.