Friday, February 17, 2012

Chloe's POP (Port Out Party) - Details, RSVP, Volunteer

You are all invited to come celebrate Chloe's end of treatment - clear scans, end of chemo, and the removal of her port at:

Chloe's POP (Port Out Party)

Saturday, March 3, 2012
Third Reformed Church - Fellowship Hall
111 West 13th St., Holland, MI

Chloe wants to celebrate with chocolate cupcakes...
Henri wants lots of board games...
Martha wants sweet treats...
Christa wants live music by a band she heard at the farmer's market...
Kip wants good coffee...

It will all be there!

UPDATED:  Don't worry about the RSVP, just join us in celebrating!  We'll see you there!

(You can also send Kip an email (see below) or give us a call to RSVP 616.394.4131)

(you can also email Kip - - and he'll plug your name in)

No presents, please! You've all given us so much already.
However, if you don't want to show up empty handed, we'll be collecting small, unwrapped poke prizes (CT scan prizes, EKG prizes, ultrasound prizes, drink this medicine prizes, etc.) to deliver to the folks at the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.  There were some days that Chloe would come home with 2, 3, 4, more... of these in a day.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Full Circle

as the followers of this blog
will remember,
checking oxygen levels before surgery
in july
the idea of chloe's
hair loss
was difficult,
difficult for chloe,
difficult for kip and me.

the other day
the kids were at my parents'.
martha was brushing her long hair
and working on some pretty tough tangles.
"i HATE my hair," she exclaimed,
in dramatic fashion.

chloe looked up at her,
smiled confidently
and said,
"i LOVE my hair."

it felt like she came
feeling pretty groggy
full circle.

likewise, at the beginning of this journey,
when chloe's tumor was removed,
a port was placed in.
a port goes beneath the skin.
it was accessed weekly
to draw blood to check counts
and to give her chemo.

today, in a short,
20 minute surgery
that port was removed.

she had the same surgeon,
dr. robertson.
mmm...  pancakes & eggs!

we waited in the same waiting room.
again, it felt like we have come full circle.

it is not totally over.
she has a few more months of
intravenous antibiotic infusions
and scans every 3 months
for the next 3 years.

we will worry in ways
we never imagined
a year ago.

we will also celebrate
each clear scan,
each moment of victory.
we will breathe easier
if she has a fever.
we will not worry about
the implications
of a fever and a port.

and we'll have that POP
(port out party)!

come and celebrate
with us.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Surgery & Save the Date

Two quick details:

Chloe's port removal surgery has been set for this Friday, 8:55 am.  We need to be at the hospital by 6:55....  Prayers are always appreciated.

Save the date...

Chloe's End of Treatment Party or P.O.P. (Port Out Party)
Saturday, March 3, 2012
2:00-4:00 pm
More details to follow... but you're invited!

Friday, February 03, 2012

Good News

Chloe's CT scans came back clear.  An exam and a review of the scans was previously scheduled for next Friday, but we were able to take care of all of it yesterday morning while we were at clinic.  Instead she's scheduled to have her port removed on the 10th.
Chloe rocks the pinball at Jonny B's

It's great news.  We're excited about it.  Yet, we're wondering when our hearts will catch up with our brains and we'll fully be able to feel the extent of how great it is.

Chloe's oncologist showed us slices from her CT scans from yesterday in comparison to July 7, the day she was admitted to the hospital.  It's still a little hard to fathom how she could have had something so huge (roughly 13cm x 13cm x 13cm) inside of her (that wasn't supposed to be there) and we had no clue.

Once her port is out, we'll be able to return to "normal" life.  But what is normal for our family now?  Chloe's cancer has changed our family in more ways than we know how to describe.

Playing pinball at our lunchtime celebration
It's not that we not thankful, grateful, and relieved.  But I think we're all so exhausted.  And maybe shell-shocked would be the word for it.  At least the four oldest members of the H-A family.  Last week Martha burst into tears when she found out that Chloe would be going back in for scans every three months for a few years.  It was a "wait, this isn't really over?" sort of response.  I think we're all wondering when we can truly exhale.

Enjoying a celebratory cake
That said, Chloe is doing great.  Her hair continues to grow, she's gaining weight, there's color in her cheeks again.  Others have commented that she seems to have "her spark" back again.  For that we are so thankful. 

Last week, our neighbor Ellen pronounced Chloe a member of "Team Fun."  After caring for her so intensely for the past seven months, we're hoping that some of Chloe's Team Fun spirit will rub off on the the rest of us.  Heaven knows we could use it.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

scans today

this morning (februrary 2)
chloe has her final scans.
meaning, end of treatment.
chloe will return to devos
for scans every 3 months
for the next 3 years.

everyone is a little anxious
around here.
martha is particularly
please say a prayer
for all of us.

we'll review the scans
on february 10
and chloe will have a physical.
we're hoping for
a roadmap
that tells us our next steps
at that time.