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Sweet Remission! God is so good!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Holidays/New Year


This blogger completely missed December AND January!  So, as I sit here, hands poised over the keyboard......where do I begin?  Hummmm.........let's start with a picture!  A thousand words!


It would take more that a thousand words to share our struggles and blessings over the past year!


February 2011 was the beginning of Leslie's battle with breast cancer.  This diagnosis came less than one week after I had accepted a job with UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas!  To be 95 miles away from Les and her family as she began her treatments.......was almost unbearable for me, as her mother.  Six long months and so many prayers and tears later, I was so blessed to land my current job at Trinity Mother Frances.  I am so thankful to be home!  As I told my best friend, everything I want or need is here in East Texas, except Mandy, Andy, Andrew, Spencer, Mark, Buddy, Louie V & Seline.........but, they can come visit! 

Les has now completed chemo, mastectomy, hysterectomy, radiation and on Monday, February 27th she will have her last herceptin treatment.  The immediate plan for the future will be IV treatments every six months, indefinitely.  These treatments are for her bones.......due to the toll the chemo takes on the skeletal system.

In the midst of all this, Les has worked diligently to insure a happy home for her husband and her two precious little girls.  Thanksgiving.....Christmas......Riley's Birthday.........all were very special due to Leslie's planning and careful attention to the details that make for happy ocassions.

Christmas was so much fun and we celebrated all the way through to January due to Spencer & Mark's obligations at Presbyterian of Denton and Baylor Heart Hospital.  The extended celebration was very nice!  Actually just having eveybody together was wonderful!

One of Miss Avery's gifts was a cool pink basketball goal and as you can see from the photo, she can already "slam dunk".......She's a natural!!
Big Sister is excited too and cheering her on!


Slam Dunk!

Later we took the festivities outside as we cheered for Riley's much improved bike riding skills. 
As you can she, Riley was lovin' every minute of it!


And of course, no celebration would be complete without a cookie cake!


Celebrating a Brand New Year full of Hope

Later in January, Avery came to spend a few hours with me while Les & Jim went for a treatment. 
We played beauty shop and...........voila'.......Avery's very first pony tail! 
She is such a girlie girl, but climbs on everything like such a tom boy! 
Such a daredevil!   

Avery recently had surgery to put tubes in her ears.  She actually seems to be hearing better now and has increased her 18-month vocabulary to include......shoes, backpack, RiRi...........and of course every toddler's favorite....."mine!"  She has such a healthy appetite and every day is a new adventure for her.  Makes my heart so happy just walking in the room and having her run to me with arms outreached to be held.  ...........Somehow all the cares and struggles of the day just melt away..........

Just look at this little face after ear surgery.  She still has the IV and she is protecting it with her other hand.  She was such a trooper!  She actually did much better that her big sister, Stacy...........and I think Daddy had tears too........sweet.





I also was lucky enough to have Riley all to myself one weekend!  We went for pedicures, did some shopping and finished out the day with lunch at Red Lobster.  Riley would say, "Just livin' the life, baby."  She can be a real clown sometimes.  And talk about vocabulary.....she boggles my mind with her words and phrases........

Check out her modeling photos below...........by the way, she put this outfit together,
we purchased it and she wore it to Marvin for church the next day.  She was stylin'.....

OH!  By the way........Riley got to attend the Youth Hunt at the Mineola Nature Preserve!  Her Daddy got her all bundled up, added some snacks in her backpack and they spent a wonderful day at the Preserve!   

She was focused!


Leslie now faces one more major surgery to complete the reconstruction.  Her surgeon wants to wait until May for this.......to allow enough time for her body and her skin to repair itself.  The reconstruction process was started several months ago at the same time as the mastectomy.  This last surgery will be hard, but hopefully not as difficult as the mastectomy.......supposedly.  But, when it's your loved one...........each procedure is MAJOR!

Les really is looking forward to getting this behind her before Riley is out of school for the summer.  Please continue to keep Les and her family in your prayers.  They have come a long way!  But you guys have all been breathing life and energy into us through all that you do.  Your are so appreciated.........more than you will ever know.

Enjoy your February!
Happy Valentines Day!

 
























Friday, November 18, 2011

Last Day!

Today we celebrate the final day of radiation!! This past week has been the hardest on Leslie and left her with a blister, but we're chalking this final day up as a major milestone!

We've turned a corner and we're on the home stretch!! Herceptin every three weeks through February......that calculates to about four, maybe five more.........around first of March we should be ready for the final surgery to remove the port, remove the spacers...... and insert the more comfortable implants.

What a year this has been........actually February 15, 2011 was the diagnosis day and it has been a whirlwind ever since. Whatever you know about cancer and the treatment of........multiply it by a thousand or more.....it so so so much harder that you think.


In the middle of all this.......we are still counting our blessings!  So many!!

A few weeks back, Stacy came and helped Riley & Avery carve pumpkins.  Stacy is a bundle of energy and the girls absolutely loved this project!

Stacy & Avery


Clowns & Wizards (and Jim)

Riley & Her Jack-o-Lanterns


Jamie & Josh also came for a visit!  Jamie writes the best blog...
.....just love her way with words........

Here are some photos from their visit.......
Posing with the Scarecrows


Bath time is always giggly.....

Jamie (such an athlete).......even taught Avery how to palm a small basketball.....

Wow!  Look at that!!  (well, maybe it was an orange, but the technique was still there!)

Good job, Jamie!!

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we thank our Father for so much.  My friend Cindy Garcia put it this way..........

"Thankful for Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, David.......all the authors of The Bible.   It is my GPS for life. . .and just like a directional GPS, sometimes I think I know a better way to go, but when I find that "my way" has caused me to lose direction, my GPS (The Bible) ALWAYS shows me the right way to get back on track!"

Yes, I too tend to lose my way when I venture out on my own........then I remember to find some quiet time and give it all to Him.............."Sit quietly with Me, letting all your fears & worries bubble up to the surface of your consciousness. There, in the Light of My Presence, the bubbles pop and disappear."

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!  You are loved!





Sunday, October 9, 2011

Celebrating Riley's 8th Birthday and moving forward............


It was a sweet day......

Riley Girl turns "8" on September 11th



Our little 9 - 1 - 1 girl, Riley, celebrated her 911 birthday with family and friends at The Discovery Science Place in Tyler.  Riley was so happy and looked as beautiful as ever!!  Her big blue eyes were sparkling!! 

What a fun day!!


 
Then, Thursday morning, September 16th...........moving foward........back to East Texas Medical Center for the next phase of cancer treatment.........a double mastectomy. 

Leslie responded very well to the chemotherapy and the pathology reports following surgery showed no cancerous cells remaining in the breast tissue removed.  The lymph nodes showed a couple spots that were flagged as non-invasive cells.  We are told that these cells should be wiped out through the 4 to 6 weeks of radiation that will come later.

Tomorrow, October 17th, Les will continue moving forward to the next phase of the treatment process……complete hysterectomy.   This is a very necessary part of the process, as the type cancer Les has…….feeds off the hormones. 


Avery Jane Herlocker (Sarah Jane was her grandmother)
Following this surgery, Les will again be unable to lift anything for 4 to 6 weeks……..which is very difficult with a 15-month-old baby girl.  However, she has found ways to cope with most every aspect in creative ways…………Leslie has taught little Avery to grab each of her mama’s pointer fingers (one in each hand), then put her little foot on the edge of the sofa or chair and then pull herself and step up into her mama’s lap.  Avery with now grab Leslie’s hands and pull them down to her little body and while doing so, already has that little foot hiked up on the edge of the furniture……….Avery loves this new trick!! 

Avery can still climb up, however, Les will not be able to lift her into the high chair OR tuck her into her baby bed……….thankfully, we have been blessed with absolutely wonderful friends and family members all jumping in to help in whatever way is needed……….in addition to Stacy Morgan and Debra Heddin, now we’ve added Kelli Elmore, Vicki Forgey and Darla Dossett.  Thank you all sooo much!  I know there are probably others that I’ve overlooked……if so, my apologies!

Vicki Forgy, Eloise Mitchell, Betty Heddin, Debra Heddin, Kandis Hall……all dropped off delicious food.  Shane & Kelli Elmore even brought a full meal of home grown, home canned food…….AND chicken.  Do they raise chickens too?
And then there is Kennedy Elmore….who not only came to visit with Riley, but also brought a hand-crafted bracelet for Avery………..such a sweet little girl!


Amanda Burk

A special thank you to my dear niece, Amanda Burk!  Amanda flew from her home in Denver, Colorado to spend a week in Mineola caring for her cousin and dear friend (like a sister).  It was a comfort to know Amanda was there with Les helping with the girls, cooking healthy stuff, chopping up fruits and veggies for Avery to taste test…..and assisting with those cumbersome drain tubes!!   

She even taught Avery some sign language while she was here.  Now, when feeding Avery, she bumps her two little fists together as her way of saying "more please".....so cute!

Mandy…….it was great having you here!!  Love and hugs to you and your sweet family in Denver!!

Soooo, tomorrow morning we travel back to ETMC’s Olympic Center for 11:45 surgery.  Les will stay overnight and then recuperate at home with no lifting for 4 to 6 weeks.  Please remember her and her doctors in your prayers.  I’m sure there will also be a pathology report from this procedure as well………and we are praying for a positive report.

Tomorrow’s surgery will be another major hurdle!  Leslie said the mastectomy was actually easier than the chemo.  She added, “Mom, I can understand removing some part of your body that is affected by disease, but it’s hard to grasp pumping “poisons” into your veins to kill off something…….”    Good point.......this whole "trip" is hard to understand!! 


Alexa's FB Post

Wow......next time you hear somebody sharing something about somebody they know who is battling cancer of any kind, just stop and listen, patiently..............and if your family hasn't been touched by cancer, then send up an immediate prayer of thanks........and silently acknowledge that it is so much worse than you can imagine.............it really it.

By the way..............Alexa added a FaceBook post from her job at Tru Tan in Tyler..........brought tears to my eyes.......Alexa is a sweetheart.......Thanks Tru Tan & Alexa LeBeau for your support and for promoting awareness.

As always, Leslie has an awesome attitude!!  So, since I’m a “list maker”…….here’s how I follow the sequence of events/treatments….

  1. diagnosis
  2. surgery to put in port for treatment
  3. chemo…….so far the worst of it all!!
  4. mastectomy & beginning reconstructive surgery
  5. hysterectomy
  6. radiation
  7. finish herceptin
  8. cosmetic surgery to complete implants
  9. surgery to remove port

I might add here as number ten……..perhaps a CELEBRATION!!  It’s a possibility, but you know, we seem to be celebrating as we move through this process.  We are celebrating Leslie’s strength & courage, celebrating Leslie’s wonderful family, celebrating the outpouring of prayers from all over, celebrating how our God continues to take this awful disease and turn it around for the good.

Love to all reading this blog……..please continue sending up precious prayers.
"Sisterly Love"








Saturday, September 3, 2011

Happy Labor Day!

Les has finished the nasty chemo and now has a dark 5 o'clock shadow of hair on her head.  She really looks like G I Jane now!  Plus, the doctors say she responded exceptionally well to the chemo and freed her to eat whatever she wants to eat and get some exercise and take vitamins, etc.  Leslie told me just last week, "Mom, I didn't realize how really bad I felt until I started feeling good again!"  Bless her heart, she has been through the wringer.

Mastectomy is scheduled for early Thursday, September 15th.  Please put that day on your calendar, in your iPhone or Blackberry, on your refrigerator...........and remember to send up prayers, especially on that morning. 

Will send more updates later.  Thank you all so much for your continued love and support!  Couldn't make it without you!

We hope everybody has a fun Labor Day planned!  Please take time to remember what the day is all about.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Certificate!! WooHoo!!

Monday marked the completion of the nasty chemo!  Leslie was presented with an actual Certificate of Completion from the "Chemo Girls."  Way to go, Leslie!  We're soooo proud of you!

Today Leslie & Jim traveled back to Tyler for the "shot in the abdomen" designed to help fizzle out her ovaries and eliminate the hormone that this type cancer likes to feed off......... Les says this shot is really really painful and causes her bones to ache for several days afterwards.  Hoping to end these soon.........

Les will have to continue with the herceptin every three weeks, but it isn't chemo, rather something designed to help strengthen and protect her bones. 

Next step..........probably towards the end of this month, the three physicians/surgeons will coordinate their schedules to perform the combined surgeries.  One will perform the mastectomy, another will remove the reproductive system (this will eliminate the shots in the abdomen) and the third will perform the procedure necessary to prepare for some reconstructive surgery a few months down the road.  These surgeries will be really hard on Les, but she is anxious to more forward and she actually asked the doctors if they could coordinate all at same time...............she is a tough young lady, but please continue sending prayers for her and her family.  Little Avery is only one year old and Les will not be able to lift her for six weeks.  Just think of all the times a mother lifts her baby..........

Much love to our blog followers!  You have helped us so much more than you know!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Leslie's two patriotic girls!

September 11th and July 5th..........Les calls Riley and Avery her "patriotic babies."  Both girls celebrate birthdays with the red, white and blue!


July 5th weekend marked the one year anniversary of Avery's birth!  What fun!  First, a neighborhood parade on the decorated Kuboda..........a little tradition started years ago at Lake Cypress Springs.......what a fun 5 minute parade! 


All the neighbors sat along the roadway in lawn chairs to cheer and wave at the decorated floats.....everything from boats to trailers to lawn mowers to bikes!  Of course, we had the best!!

Later, Avery "tested" her birthday cake.............
...........and the girls posed for a picture.......(Josh said, "Les, you're really rockin' those bandanas!)

.................



and so did Riley & Budders.  They were "wide open" all day long!!

...............

...and even with a big lake at our disposal.....who doesn't love a good kiddie pool?!!




Later in the afternoon....John Morgan had a great idea (hey, don't let this photo fool ya.....John was tuckered out from swimming, eating AND cooking..........John is an awesome cook!!)





And of course, if there's a lake, then Larry LeBeau will be fishing......


What a wonderful day!  Family, friends, fun and fabulous food!





Then, back to reality............Monday, July 11th...........as Carol Harder says.."Dang Mondays"..........Leslie is such a trouper........Monday she endured yet another of the hard chemo sessions at The Cancer Center in Tyler.  During her visit a new patient came in to get started with his treatments.........only to experience an allergic reaction!  Les said it was very "scary" watching all that happened.......made her very thankful for her own non-allergic treatments. 

Strange that we can be "thankful" for NO allergic reactions.......amazing how when going through the middle of this aweful cancer...how we just naturally become more thankful for the small stuff.  How we really open our eyes to see what is around us.  As the rest of the world keeps turning and all the folks move through their "normal" lives.......our new normal is so very different.  In spite of it all, in many ways it's like we have a special seat to view our worlds.........it's like we now have the inside track and we see what so many around us cannot or will not or perhaps they're just too busy to see it........but, we now seem to love deeper, to appreciate more, to judge less, to criticize less, to forgive more and most of all we learn to trust!

God does use the bad for the good and we are seeing Him working on a daily basis........sometimes an hourly basis.  Yes, He is good.......all the time.

To summarize.........Only one more hard treatment to go and then on to surgery and radiation.  Leslie still has some hurdles to jump, but each day brings us one step closer.  Riley is especially anxious to see her Mom's new hair......she is told that hair that returns following chemo is even prettier than before.........could be a different color..........could be curly...........it'll be like waiting to open a gift!! 
(psssst....I think Riley is hoping for blonde!!)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The "Nasty" Chemo Begins.......

Invasive Ductal Carcinoma – that’s the name of this ugly cancer…….IDC

I’ve learned that IDC is the most common type of breast cancer.  It is also known as Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma and starts in the breast’s milk ducts and invades surrounding breast tissue.  If not treated at an early stage, it can move into other parts of the body through the bloodstream or lymphatic system.

The strange thing is that women over the age of 45 have a greater risk of IDC and about 50 percent of IDC cases occur after age 65……about 20 percent of women with breast cancer have a family history of the disease.  Other factors increasing the risk include having no children or the first child after age 30…..

Riley was born when Leslie was 26 and the only breast cancer was Leslie’s great-grandmother when she was in her 80s…….Leslie seems to be an exception to these statistics.  Of course, she laughs and says….”Mom, I always TOLD you I was exceptional!”

Most women diagnosed with IDC will be offered chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy.  Chemo……….oh my……nothing easy about chemo for Leslie!  And to make it even harder, you should have to be the family members watching her go through all this……..all of us feeling so helpless.

I apologize for running so far behind with blogging………somewhere along the way my laptop was “lifted” from my car.  I am not certain where or when and that makes it even more concerning, but it vanished. 

So, finally I’m providing the update…..on a borrowed computer.....

12 Weekly Treatments of the First “Chemo Recipe” Complete! 

The best part of completing this round……Leslie’s face has cleared up and is no longer puffy or swollen…...Les is soooo thankful for that…..although she always looks beautiful, she was very self-conscious of her teenager-like skin condition.  Soooo goodby to “taxol”……thank goodness!  The taxol also caused the hair loss, but hey, it’ll grow back! 

The twelve weekly treatments consisted of a drive to the Cancer Center about 8:30 a.m………inserting the IV line into the “port” in the upper right section of Leslie’s chest….near the breast bone……in goes a bag of anti-nausea medicine, followed by a bag of benedryl to help ward off any allergies, followed by yet another bag containing herceptin (some type of blocker) and finally concluding with the taxol.

This weekly procedures would take almost four hours every Monday morning.  Monday afternoon Les had no choice, but to sleep and rest……….then Tuesday and Wednesday she could only rest and let the “chemicals” do whatever they were designed to do…….by Thursday she would be stronger and able to be up and move around.

Now, picture this young lady as a young mother of two…………Riley, age 7 and Avery, age 11 months.  Think about what is needed to care for these little girls……..meals, homework, baths…….and the special mother/daughter times.  Leslie has mentioned several times that she feels this cancer has taken so much from her and from her family.  She is saddened that she lacks the strength to do all that she wants to for her family.

And then there is Leslie’s husband, Jim.  Jim is amazing……..works fulltime, cooks, maintains a beautiful, spacious lawn……plants and waters flowers………shops, cleans……makes sure the dog is fed and exercised…….spends time with the girls………provides love and emotional support for his wife…..he does so much and never complains.  Plus, Avery has decided that Daddy hung the moon!  Go figure!  When her Daddy walks in the room, he has her full attention and she kicks her crawling into high gear to greet him!

With the twelve weekly taxol treatments finished, Les began what the nurses call the “nasty chemo”……..can you imagine anything nastier that what I’ve just described?    Try these letters…..F – E – C …………nurses call it feck! 

Three chemo drugs……(1) 5-Fluorourocil, (2) Epirubicin, (3) Cytoxan…
FEC........following the FEC, an injection of something is required within 24 hours……so Tuesday morning they drive back to The Cancer Center for yet another injection.

The day after Memorial Day began the FEC.  Even though the taxol should be out of her system and hence the puffiness in her face and the redness and acne-like blemishes have subsided, now with the nasty FEC comes queasiness, heavy limbs, extreme exhaustion………..Leslie was literally down for three days……….she said, “Mom, I feel like I have the worst case of the flu…….ever!  Combine it with some kind of horrible horrible hangover………

As a mother, it was so hard to watch my daughter and feel so helpless to do anything…… Fortunately, I was able to be there for Avery and Riley and care for them, play with them and love them.  They are such sweet little girls.  Avery now has two little teeth and Riley lost another one!  Jim and the girls suited up for their first dip in the pool for the summer.  We insisted Les come out and sit for a while and although she was struggling just to sit up……she did her best.  I’m in awe of her determination and how she is fighting to get through this nightmare and get back to her wonderful life!  She has mentioned on numerous occasions how this cancer has taken so much away from her and how it is cheating her little girls out of the healthy, attentive mother they deserve………….not long after that comment, little Riley noticed two band-aids on her mother and asked, “Mama, why do you have that?”  Leslie explained the injections as part of the treatment.  Riley responded by giving her Mother a hug and saying, “Oh Mama, I’m so sorry you have to go through this.”  Little Riley doesn’t for one minute feel like her mother is letting her down or neglecting her……….her concern is only for what her mother is enduring.  What a special little sweetheart.

So, as I type this blog and recall the first week of FEC, with tears once again streaming down my cheeks, I’m reminded of all the ways that God has used this cancer for the good.  I think of all the wonderful people who are praying for our family………I think of Stacy Herlocker Morgan and her selfless contributions to “whatever is needed”………..Stacy never complains……..she is always available for “whatever is needed”……….I sat on the front porch swing late one night last week……it was one of those scary nights after some difficult days of feeling so helpless……after a couple of days watching my daughter suffer.  Stacy shared with me over the phone and we cried……..together.  Although we could not solve anything, I was so comforted just by sharing with Stacy and by the reminder that we are not alone……..Leslie is not alone……….we are a family and we are a strong family…….yes, God has and is using this bad for the good and we are getting stronger and stronger every single day!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

One day at a time..............Week 12

Nine years ago, my dear friend Barnie Trussell...........gave me a copy of Christie Lane's song...."One Day at a Time"............Barnie, that song is still appropriate today.  What was great advice back then, still holds true today.

Last Monday marked the completion of week #12 of Leslie's weekly chemo treatments.  She also met with Dr. Lee for exam and update.................good news and not so good news.  The good news.....while Dr. Lee was examining Les' breasts she asked, "It was the left breast, wasn't it?"  I'd say if Dr. Lee wasn't sure which breast has the "issue"............very good news!!!  Plus, at this point in treatment, many patients require a blood transfusion.............not needed!  Thank you Lord!!

The not so good news...........Les thought she'd now be having treatments every three weeks, only to find out she still has to go several times......the every three weeks was not happening...........but, hey....as we begin the second half of the chemo........what the nurses call the "nasty chemo".....Leslie is a bit scared, nervous and apprehensive............fear of the unknown.  But, with God's hand on her shoulder, Leslie will move forward with the treatment........

I'll be with Leslie Tuesday for the beginning of the second half.  Please keep her in your prayers for healing......that her body will accept the new process in a very positive way on her way to remission.  Tuesday begins what seems to be part two......as we continue this one-day-at-a-time journey.............do your know the song?

"One day at a time, Sweet Jesus
That's all I'm asking from you
Just give me the strength
To do everyday what I have to do.
..........Lord help me today, show me the way....
One day at a time."


Lord, please send my sweet Leslie the strength and courage she needs.....

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Week 11......No Sugar Coating...........

My friend, Polly, used to always say, "Sometimes you just can't sugar coat it."  What a true statement!

This past Monday, Leslie completed Week #11 of the first twelve weeks of the first round of chemo.  It was a hard day for her and as Polly would say......you just can't sugar coat it. 

These past weeks I've tried to share the good times and illustrate for you the bond of family and friends.......how all these wonderful people have jumped in to help Leslie and Jim as they move through these treatments that are now woven into the threads of their everyday lives..........EVERYDAY LIVES.....not just an occasional visit to the doctor's office for a shot or an x-ray......weekly (sometimes twice a in one week) trips to Tyler to the ETMC Cancer Center where Leslie spends about 4 hours receiving several IV bags of chemo, anti-nausea meds, benedryl and whatever else has been prescribed as part of her treatment. 

I was only at the Cancer Center for a short while, but I must say the employees and patients are very special.  Bob & Nancy Swain were there for Bob's final treatment and he was all smiles to be in remission.  He laughed and told Leslie, "I may just come back up here in three weeks just for the fun of it."  He was teasing, of course, but great to see his smile.  Such a good man.

Leslie started the day not feeling well and as the treatment progressed, she felt even worse.  She curled up on a little sofa with her blanket and tried to rest throughout the long process, but it just wasn't possible that day.  As her mother, it breaks my heart to watch my daughter dealing with this horrible disease.  With each week, we watch her move through the process.....staying focused on her goal to be cancer-free and get back to some kind of normal life.  We know she'll get there, but as we all also know, once cancer shows up we develop such a conscious awareness that invades our lives and never really goes away. ......that same awareness changes us forever and although she will beat the cancer, we'll all be keenly aware of how our lives have changed and how we all now want to join in to help make a dfference for others.  How many times have we heard the commercials for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure?  ........"So no mother, no sister, no daughter......ever has to go through this."  What a statement!  Sure rings true now for our family!  And folks, let me tell you....whatever you think you know about cancer and the treatment.....it is so much worse than you can even imagine.......

As my emotions continually run the gamut, I know my feelings of helplessness can't compare to what Les & Jim must feel.  I'm in awe of their spirits, their love and their devotion to each other and their girls.  I am frustrated that I can't be there for them every single day, but as I'm blogged before, so many wonderful people have stepped up to the plate and offered their assistance.  In fact, this past week, my sweet sister, Debra, dropped by with food on Tuesday evening after she had worked all day and then drove from Tyler to Mineola.........she provided supper (or do we call it dinner in East Texas?), stayed to feel little Avery, bathed Avery.......then announced to Les & Jim....."Put me down for Tuesday and Wednesday evening.  I'll be here to cook, feed, bathe....whatever is needed."  What a generous gift.......Debra, you are so loved and appreciated!

Sooooooo, since this is Wednesday, Debra is enjoying bathtime laughter at the Herlocker Household.......Avery can still fit in the kitchen sink and she loves splashing the water.........Note the single tooth shining..........



Such a sweet little girl........now, there's some serious sugar coating!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mothers Day; Special Day.......then on to Week #10

I remember as a little girl growing up in a Pentacostal church, I loved the Southern Tradition of the Mothers Day Corsage.

The tradition went like this..........a red flower honored your mother if she was still living and a white flower honored the memory of her if she had passed on.  All the church ladies came decked out in their prettiest outfits on Mothers Day Sunday....complete with a red or white corsage.  Although corsages are now thought of as old-fashioned, I think it is still a sweet and lovely tradition.

This past Mothers Day Sunday afternoon, Leslie's kitchen in Mineola was buzzing with wonderful mothers.......my mother, my sister and my daughter.  We all gathered in the kitchen to put together a hodge podge of food, share conversation, laugh and just enjoy the afternoon.  Later we relaxed on the back porch and enjoyed the absolutely perfect weather.  As my Riley would smile and say...."Livin' the life, Baby."

For entertainment, we can always count on Riley.  That little 7-year-old has a fabulous imagination and such an extensive vocabulary.  I've managed to document some of what LeBeau refers to as "Riley-isms"....but not nearly enough.  I could probably write a whole book if I really put my mind to it. 

This past weekend Riley sat with me on the porch swing for a while.  We were quickly joined by "Whiskers".....Riley's yellow and white cat.  Riley commenced telling me that Whiskers has turned out to be a really good cat.  In fact, Whiskers had actually caught three mice AND one bird.  Riley also shared that she and her Mom have been plagued with barn swallows who keep trying to build nests under their porches.  These are such nuisance birds as they make a mess and they seem be dive bombing at your head!  Riley then explained that the one bird Whiskers killed was actually a red bird.......BUT she thinks Whiskers accidentally killed the red bird while trying to get a barn swallow.  She is absolutely sure it wasn't on purpose......red birds are just too pretty!!

True to form, Riley then shared another story that had never even crossed my mind!  She said, "You know, Whiskers has turned out to be a much better cat than Tom."   I asked, "Tom?  Is Tom one of MiMi's cats?"  She replied with such seriousness...."No.  MiMi doesn't have any cats now.  You know Tom from "Tom & Jerry".  Whiskers has caught three mice already and Tom can't even catch one little mouse.....and he has been trying for years!!"  Humm......she certainly had a point there.

Today Les & Jim made their usual Monday trip to ETMC Cancer Center and marked off Week #10 of the first 12 weeks of chemo.  Leslie sent me a text message at 12:49 p.m........"10 down!!!! 6 more to go!  Hope u guys are having a great day!"  Yes, 2 more weekly treatments, then 4 of what the nurses call the nasty chemo.......

Tomorrow and Wednesday, Les will have to rest and try to build her strength back up......she is doing great even though each week it gets harder for her to bounce back.  I can only imagine what the last 4 rounds will be like for my sweet daughter........but I'm thankful for all the love, the support and the prayers........circulating daily......hourly......by so many.

In spite of everything, Les has a special way of making us smile.  A few weeks ago as she weighed in before her treatment, the nurse said, "Well, you lost 2 pounds since last week."  Les smiled and said, "Well, yes......I cut off all my hair!"  Hummmm......and we wonder where Riley gets it.....?