Thursday, December 28, 2006

Secret Santas

Well hello and good evening...

When we got back from Houston, we walked in the house to see that there were a ton of presents under our Christmas tree. Turns out that Santa (aka Jennifer Hecht and Tracy Haggerty) took care of presents for all three of us while we were away. I was flabbergasted. The giving never ends. Tonight, Jennifer, Dan, their kids, Evan and Erin, and Frances (the perfect Gramma) came over, hauling gifts from all of them, and more!

Thank you so much! Sahara absolutely loves everything!

We had a lovely Christmas. Went to my sister's house for lunch with them, my nephew and his wife and five kids, and my brother-in-law's 91 year old father. The man is an angel - and still sharp as a tack, though he can barely see, has trouble hearing and major trouble getting around. He and Shannon talk endlessly about sports, and S is amazed that Mr. B knows team standings, statistics, scores, upcoming games, etc. It's really unbelievable.

My nephew's kids were a riot as always, and it was a lot of fun. We stayed about an hour and a half, and by the time lunch had been eaten and gifts had been opened, it was almost time for me to change her IV bags. We made an apologetic early exit and went home. Spent the rest of the day watching tv and enjoying being at home. It was especially sweet this year and we truly appreciated spending time with each other.

Shannon gave me two gift certificates for massage, and Sahara (little stinker) bought me, with her own money, a gift certificate to Victoria's Secret. I was very grateful for such thoughtfulness on both their parts.

I have been wiped out this week - functioning on a have-to basis and getting things done as needed. This nursing gig is quite the challenge. Sahara's the best patient ever, but is very dependent right now. Her balance is still wobbly, so Shannon and I are running up and down fetching eats and drinks. I am not complaining, though, because she is feeling SO great these days. She looks so much better than she did at the concert - her smile has improved greatly, her eyebrows are filling back in, and her cheeks are pink and chubby.

I'm trying so hard to get my house back in some sort of order. I've never seen such a's as if we just moved in, there is so much stuff piled up in every room. I made a major dent in it today, managing to get my living room cleaned up so I wouldn't be mortified when Gramma Dooley walked in. LOL.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

All snug in their beds

Everyone is home, safe and sound. Sahara and her entourage were headed to Amy's sister's house for Christmas day, and the rest of us, whereever we were, were either holding our bellies and moaning "That was SO good, but why did I eat SO MUCH?"

Amy will have an update once things are settled; I'll pop in when there's something to say. Right now, my husband and I are getting ready to have our own Christmas. If we'd brought the gifts on the road with us, we would have been in deep trouble. And if we had taken his Beetle (he has the convertible, I have the hardtop) we would have been in crisis mode.

I did have one cool Sahara moment during the trip: at Christmas dinner, my brother Davy tossed in a comment about Gramma Dooley. I whipped around so fast I think my eyeballs got bruised. (I didn't know my family was following the site.) "I want a bracelet from Gramma Dooley," he said. Proper big sister and Sahara supporter that I am, I pulled one right out and handed it over. So now she's got fans in central Ohio, too.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

And to all a good night

Merry Christmas--and if Christmas isn't your holiday, then I'll simply send wonderful wishes for a happy and healthy day. I'm safe and sound in Ohio (eleven hours in a Beetle should win me a medal) and I'm sure Amy, Sahara and Shannon figured out a way to stuff everything into their car and head north. We did hear something about a bald guy strapped to the top of a car in North Texas, yelling something that sounded like "Go Titans" but I figure it's Christmas. They probably let him ride in the car.

As soon as I pull my husband from the pool, we're off to my parents' house. Let the fun begin.

Warmest wishes,

Thursday, December 21, 2006

And the glory of the lord

Leave it to Amy. The other day, she fretted that this was the first year she didn't send Christmas cards. Woman, we all understand.

But in the spirit of the season, we've found a way. While Blogger may attempt to shrink this down a bit, if you click on the card to your left, it should open in a readable format.

Christmas is about miracles, joy, family, and love. I have no doubt that on Monday morning, when they tumble from their beds to see what Santa has left under the tree, Sahara, Amy, and Shannon will feel very blessed indeed.

A week ago I wouldn't have known the difference between a hemostat and hemoglobin. But I do now. I have to use two hemostats when preparing Sahara's IV bags, clamping and unclamping the ports as I do the work. As I suspected, I have absolutely NO strength in my hands, particularly the left. Each bag has to have all of the air bubbles removed before attaching them to the pump. It's a three-step process and takes about 45 minutes (I'm told that I will get faster as I get used to dealing with this). I know that I'm improving my time each day, but WOW, are my hands sore!!! All this and a workout, too. LOL.

I've been in class nonstop since Monday, and I think my mind is officially full. When I first opened the binder of training information last week, I thought there would be no way I'd be able to do this. I think it's one of those situations in which if they told you beforehand all you will be required to do on this treatment, you'd be too scared to commit yourself to it. Especially the chapter about drawing blood...shudder. I do not "do" blood. Ever. Yuck.

I found out today, much to my amazement, that drawing blood out of her catheter is the EASIEST thing I have to do! I was fine with it, and Sahara said I did a good job (her opinion really matters the most). I probably won't have to do this all the time, but they require you to know how to do it.

This medicine gets increased each day, according to the tolerance of the patient. The doc told us yesterday that Sahara is taking higher doses (without any side effects) and at a more rapid rate than any child they have ever treated at the clinic. (She always has to be the one to stand out in a crowd. LOL.) This, plus the fact that I'm apparently a good student and have caught on quickly adds up to something really great:

We will be home before Christmas!!!!!!!!

We are cutting off a full week of training and adjustment time. I can't believe it!!! We had totally prepared ourselves for three weeks, including stocking the pantry and fridge and putting up a Christmas tree! (Special thanks to those of you who have sent presents! Now HOW am I going to get all of this stuff in my car??? LOL!) We will have to pack it all up and somehow stuff it in the car, along with two weeks' worth of supplies, which includes FIFTY IV bags, thirty of which are 1000 ml, twenty which are 250 ml, and all the fun stuff that goes along with doing the treatment. I told Sahara she'll probably be sleeping on top of suitcases on the way home. LOL.

The days have been long, and sometimes very tiring, and it's been intense at times. But Sahara's doing SO well, and I feel great about what we are doing. We've met some amazing people at the clinic, from the wonderful staff to the brave patients. Today we met a couple from LA who have gone to four different countries in search of help for the man's tumor, to no avail. They recently arrived at Dr. B's, and are, like myself, very pleased and upbeat about the treatment. The waiting room always has people from all walks of life, each of whom are fighting their own personal battle with cancer. Here's a definition of the cruelty of a brain tumor: a man from California has the same type of tumor as Sahara, but his is growing forward, toward his optic nerves (this is the typical pattern; Sahara's, however, has grown backward). He is/was a photographer...but now he has double vision so bad that he can no longer do the work he loves, and he is fighting for his life. It seems especially wrong.

This treatment is not easy. It requires a lot more time and care than I anticipated, and it's going to take a lot of getting used to. It is inconvenient, cumbersome and a general pain, but, on the other hand, it is non-toxic, has only minimal side effects, and works really well on brain tumors. It's a pretty sweet deal, if you ask me.

Two more days to go! Shannon's coming down Friday and we will make the trip home over the weekend. Being at home for Christmas, and having Sahara with us - that's the best present of all. :)


Monday, December 18, 2006

Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea

Rhonda Hunt's wonderful photos are up on Rick Springfield's website. She captures the joy in her subjects. Case in point--check out this shot of Rick and Gramma Dooley. Could they be cuter?

The holidays are officially underway. Today, I listened to friends and colleagues trade tales of latkes; the concensus is that they're often left to the men. I love to eat them, but the thought of grating potatoes and onions for hours, by hand, does not thrill me.

I still remember my first latkes: I was in high school, and my friend Linda, who was Jewish, invited me to her synagogue for Shabbat services; the cantor was mesmerizing, but then after the service, we went to the dining room and I had my first warm potato pancake, with sour cream and applesauce. I couldn't wait to tell my mother. I also had my first eggplant that night. Let's just say it didn't make quite the same impression.

This year I am not baking Christmas cookies; last year I attempted spritz cookies with Splenda. I'm sure Santa heard the cursing at the North Pole. I put the remnants out for the birds and they flew far, far away.

If they're allowed on Sahara's eating plan, Whole Foods has marvelous little cookies and cakes. Of course, that's IF she and Amy are allowed back on the premises. They may need to send Shannon to pick up a carload of vittles.

What are you doing to celebrate the holidays? Last night, my husband and I went to a concert in a very old church and listened to a quartet sing carols. The tenor sang with such joy--absolute jubilation. This weekend, we'll head to Ohio to play with my brothers' kids. I can hardly wait.

The marvel of $2.49 carrots

Hello, everyone!

Even though the prices are outrageous, I've fallen in love with Whole Foods. Everything from the organic veggies to the shrimp we bought has been fantastic. Since we have our own kitchen and our own car, life isn't bad at all here. I'm cooking at least twice a day, and so far the low-and no-salt food has all been very tasty. Sahara's being so good about eating fruit instead of crappy snacks. She doesn't mind the absence of salt at all, and I can't tell that much of a difference when I use the Nu-Salt salt substitute. She adores Silk brand chocolate soy milk, and has drank nearly two gallons since Thursday! It's loaded with potassium, so it's helping meet her 2400mg a day requirement for that. I swear, with traffic and crowds being what they are down here, it's easier and also so much healthier to just cook our meals here.

Funny thing happened yesterday - I had to run in to Whole Foods to grab another carton of soy milk, so I parked at the front of the store. Sahara wanted to stay in the car and listen to her Ipod. As I'm rounding an aisle, I hear honking. Incessant honking. I had this feeling that it was my car alarm (of COURSE it was MY car alarm). I looked at the front door, and outside on the sidewalk, casually looking at the display of tangerines like nothing at all was wrong, was Sahara. She'd opened the car door for some reason, which set off the alarm. She couldn't get it turned off, so she got out and walked away. She said the security guard kept driving by and staring at the car, but she acted like she knew nothing. LOLOL. We were in this highbrow swanky neighborhood, but apparently the guard really didn't care that our lowly car could've been broken into. This is the land of giant (and I mean the biggest ones made) SUV's. I think regular cars are considered inferior here. LOL. We did have a good laugh over it all.

This marks the first year in my entire adult life that I've not been able to send Christmas cards. Every year, I've had Sahara's picture taken, painstakingly cut them out, wrote her name, age and year on each one, and tucked one into each card. Last year, I made cards using a great photo of all three of us, happy and having fun at a Cardinals game. We had so many nice comments about that card.

This morning I did my first full disconnect and flush of Sahara's IV system. They asked me to do it before I took her in for her blood work and reset of the pump (which raises her dosage of medicine each day). I think I am actually going to be able to handle this. Who knew?

Tomorrow we begin at 10 am, with a complete IV change, and classes for me. Each day these procedures become a little less intimidating. I'm really pleased with how things are going; now we just have to pray and pray that this treatment starts attacking the tumor soon.

Have a great week everyone!


Saturday, December 16, 2006

What Susan Shot

Susan Fortune got these wonderful shots of Sahara last weekend... and despite the horrible weather in her neck of the woods and no electricity, managed to get them to me and graciously gave me permission to share them with all of you.

If you've just joined us, Miss Pinkhat is Sahara. The hat says CLOUT. The man in the middle, well duh, that's Rick. Springfield. And the lovely lady on the right? Gramma Dooley, live and kicking. Wouldn't you like to know what Rick said to get this look?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Don't talk to strangers

If you have been living under a rock, or were just released from the pokey, or ran away from the convent on Thursday, then perhaps you haven't seen this little performance:

As the sweaty but still delicous Rick said, it's all about her college education. You do realize, with the right combination of miracles, that's entirely possible. Sahara's fighting like a tiger. What are you doing to help?

Water, water everywhere

Another quickie from me... big thanks to those who've sent links to photos and video from the concert. I'll be sharing those this weekend, I promise. Amy, if you read this before you shop, Whole Foods has the BEST apples and carrots. I love their produce! But it's time to get to work.

Good grief, what a busy day! Got to the clinic for our appt. at 9 am, and met for a long time with the nutritionist. I wasn't surprised to find out that we have to do some serious cleanup work on our diet. Sahara has to have a low-sodium diet while on the treatment, and must make sure to get more potassium. She gave us several lists of do's and don'ts. It's kind of intimidating, and it's not going to be possible to change everything overnight, but we are getting started. (Who knew that tap water is full of sodium...I sure didn't.) No more of Sahara's beloved mozzarella cheese sticks. She has to trade them in for carrot sticks. LOL. Tomorrow we're going to go to the Whole Foods Market if we have time, and start picking up the new things we will need.

The MRI's of her spine that were taken yesterday came back clear. They just wanted to be sure there was nothing else to deal with before we began the treatment. I appreciate their thoroughness.

So, at 12:05 today, she was hooked up to her new best friend, the pump that will infuse the medicines into her body 24 hours a day. The pump is much smaller than I anticipated, but you must also carry an entire set of supplies with you at all times. The case she was given looks exactly like a black soft-sided lunchbox. I even had my first experience with caring for the iv, and I was shown how to flush the lines with saline. (Sahara says that I did a good job. WHEW!) I don't have to deal with the needle, thank God, so I think I will be okay. Beginning tomorrow, I will take classes for roughly the next two weeks, learning everything there is to know about administering this treatment, programming the pump, calculating and adjusting medication dosages, maintaining the lines, etc. Funny, I've been considering going back to school over the last year, but I never expected it to be THIS kind of an education. LOL.

We didn't get out of the clinic until about 2:30. We were starving, so we had a late lunch at Chili's, which we love. :) They have some healthy choices on their menu, and the food is always good. After that, we went to Target (oh, no, not again...LOL). Had to get her some stylish new backpacks, because the shoulder bag just doesn't work well because of her balance issues.

We go back in at 9:30 in the morning, and she'll get the first bag change on the iv. I'm trying to pay close attention to everything, because I want to be a good student. :) I've been given a binder full of information that is so far up to 2 inches thick. Yikes.

Extra special thanks to KM - you've already made this trip a lot easier. :)

We're on our way...just have to pray even harder that this new treatment will attack and destroy that tumor.

With love,

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

O Tannenbaum

A quickie from Amy or I'll be late to work:

Well, nothing was accomplished today. She couldn't get an appointment for the MRI until Wednesday afternoon. We took Shannon to the airport this morning, then spent the rest of the day running a few errands, and doing some shopping for groceries. Got our little kitchen stocked up, so now I can make some meals instead of going out so much. We're actually getting pretty tired of that.

Unless something changes, she will begin treatment at 10 am on Thursday. I hope and pray there aren't any more delays...we are racing against the clock.

Sahara picked out a little fiber-optic-lit Christmas tree today, which we set up tonight. It brightens up our dull studio. It really doesn't seem like December, or Christmastime, for that matter. Today was really warm and we even had to run the AC in the car! A far cry from the cold we left behind in Cape. We will celebrate no matter where we are, but will definitely have a big celebration once we get back home. Right now, I'm not exactly sure when that will be, since we've not been able to get started on time.

More later when there's news to tell!


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Do the right thing

I went on a date with Gramma Dooley Saturday night, and for those of you just imagining all the players in this world that revolves around Sahara, she is one of the most warm and adorable people you will ever meet. Even if she did try to touch Rick's butt when he brought her up on stage. (Who wouldn't?)

She brought along two of the quiet heroes in Sahara's army, her daughter Jennifer Hecht, and Tracy Haggerty. Jennifer and Tracy were Sahara's teachers, and both were the dynamos behind the hometown benefits in Cape Girardeau. They are wise and funny, with kids of their own, and they shared great tales of Sahara from her healthy days.

We were also joined by Nancy from Boston, who left her three kids and husband to make the trip to Missouri. Nancy posts here now and then, and she was as lovely in person as she is in the blogworld.

It was an absolute treat to spend the evening with them. Naturally, our conversation turned to "what's next" and more ways to help. Let's just say the ideas are already bubbling.

There are still bracelets and cookbooks available (details on the Help for Hoops page at right). And there is still an enormous need for help. But while we work on the next big events, I'm going to make a suggestion. Way back in the beginning, when Sahara first learned she had a brain tumor on her 12th birthday, she sent Shannon (her dad) to Staples with $20 of her birthday money to buy crayons for kids in the hospital. One of the things that really strikes people about Sahara is her generous spirit.

For the next couple of weeks, take her lead. Find a small need in your own community, and fill it on Sahara's behalf. Whether it's a holiday gift for a struggling family, or an hour visiting a lonely resident at a nursing home, or an outing with friends to pick up trash at the park, do something to show Sahara how much you care, too.

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who attended the Rick show Friday night! It was so wonderful to meet so many of you. We had folks from literally coast to coast! It was such an honor to have you all there with us. Thanks for the gifts to Sahara and LuLu (who is already one spoiled puppy!). It was truly a love fest for our special girl. She had so much fun and held up far longer than I thought she would. She hates to miss anything, but she knows her limits.

I was very grateful that the stage didn't get rushed - and I know how hard it was to stay in one place! We appreciated that everyone gave Sahara her space and didn't crowd her. Rick's fans are the BEST!!!

We drove to Texarkana on Saturday, then finished the trip yesterday afternoon. Got to the RMH, only to be turned away. They wouldn't give us a room because we aren't going to MDA or Texas Children's. No dice if you are a Burzynski patient. I was pretty upset, and I plan on writing a letter to the top dogs, wherever they may be. A sick kid is a sick kid - they shouldn't dictate where you go for treatment. Anyway, we are staying at a Studio Plus. Not fancy, by any means, but it serves the purpose. It's a little closer to the clinic, which helps, because traffic is horrible. I'd rather drive in LA any day.

It has been a long day, but a productive one. We are very pleased so far with Dr. B and his staff. The clinic is awesome and the atmosphere is very upbeat and positive. Did a battery of tests today, but couldn't start treatment yet. Have to get another MRI first. Hopefully we can start treatment tomorrow, or Wednesday morning at the latest.

We love you guys and can't wait to get home!!!


Sunday, December 10, 2006


Home safe and sound, with so much to say and nowhere to begin. I was profoundly moved by the grace I observed again and again this weekend. I can't even talk about it without welling up, so rather than be a big ol' bowl of mushy peas, I'm just going to say thank you. To the usual suspects, and to the heroes working tirelessly at the sidelines.

You all amaze me. For every fool who demands the spotlight, there are a thousand angels with shimmering wings who give their hearts without any expectations. Sahara and her family are so blessed. The saints may be well represented by Rick and Gramma Dooley, but they are flanked by so many others. It's stunning.

And I am blessed, too. I don't know what affected me more: seeing Amy across the arena and then smacking into her like a couple of magnets, or the endless line of people who said thank you for this site. I vowed not to cry this weekend and I didn't. But all of you crawled right into my heart Friday night.

A million thanks. I'll write more tomorrow night.

Oh, one more thing before I go. You'll see a new voice now and then on the site. Shannon writes in Navy. (All you had to do was ask!)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Chapter Two

This is the last you'll hear from me or Amy until after the weekend--I have an early flight tomorrow morning. For those of you hitting the roads or skies to be there tomorrow, safe travels. For those of you who will be there in spirit, send good vibes and give someone you love a big smooch.

Sunday's early post was indeed a rough one, and many of you wrote to me privately to share your reactions. Thank you for that--it touched me and Amy, too. Sahara and her family spent the week considering their options, and in a moment, you'll see what they decided.

Just a couple more things before I shut up: remember, Sahara is a young girl, and while her spirit is enormous, her health is a little fragile. Please respect her boundaries.

Tomorrow night is a celebration--of life, of hope, of faith, of music, of joy, of all that is good.

See you then!

Hello everyone,

It's been a long week, and we are all SO ready to have some fun on Friday night! Safe travels to everyone who is coming to Cape Girardeau. We are so happy that you are attending the show and hope you have a great time.

We have, so to speak, "backed up and punted." During the time that we were at MD Anderson, I continued to do research on treatments for brain tumors. I knew we had to have a Plan B ready in case things did not succeed at MDA. There are so many promising treatments out there; not all of them are in the realm of traditional medicine, not all of them are in the United States, and not all of them are accepted by mainstream society.

Time after time, as I studied as much information as I could, the name of the Burzynski Institute in Houston kept popping up. We've even had a couple of encounters with people whose lives Dr. B has touched. He has made remarkable progress in treating a variety of cancers with what are called "antineoplastons." He has had some amazing results in treating patients with brain tumors. They are conducting a number of FDA clinical trials with these ANP's...and Sahara qualifies for one that targets tumors like hers.

Plan B is now in full swing, and once again we are Houston-bound. Paperwork has been submitted, medical records have been transferred, and on Monday at 8:30 am, Sahara will become a new patient at the Burzynski Institute. By the grace of God, Monday marks the exact day that enough time will have passed, post-chemo and post-radiation, in order for her to begin the new treatment. We'll be in Houston until her ANP dosage is established (they are going to try very hard to have us home by Christmas). We will be trained on every aspect of the treatment, including administering them to her ourselves. After that, we will be doing her treatments at home. ANP's are non-toxic...they are not chemotherapy. They work to reprogram cells, getting rid of cancer, and bringing back healthy cells. They are administered through an IV with a small, portable pump (via the portacath that she already has implanted in her chest), 24 hours a day. She will be free to do as she pleases, because the pump will be contained in a small backpack. It might be a bit inconvenient, but we hope to someday look back and know that it was totally worth it!

As a family, we decided that Sahara has had enough chemo, and we don't want to put her through it again. The side effects of the options we were given at MDA (for new clinical trials using stronger chemo combinations) were horrendous, and of course there are no guarantees that they will do any good. We are going to take a new direction, and I'm sure there are those who will disagree with our choice, but the research shows that this treatment is saving the lives of patients who might not otherwise survive.

We have nothing but good things to say about the wonderful doctors and staff at MD Anderson. Throughout it all, they were the most supportive, helpful, caring people...and they have told us that they will be there for us if we need them in the future. I have the utmost respect for that institution, and especially for Dr. Wolff. We just didn't get the results we needed to achieve.

Sahara is ready to get started, although she's not looking forward to being away from home again. At least it's only for a couple of weeks instead of months. She continues to be a fighter, and believes with all her heart that God is working to cure her of this disease. This is just the next chapter in the book. We thank you all for your continued prayers and positive thoughts as we begin the new treatment.

Can't wait to see everyone at the show Friday night!

With love,

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Something EXTRA

A big thanks to Rosie (I will send her all my snow when it arrives) for forwarding links to Rick's TV appearance this weekend. It's easiest to view on Youtube, so long as you promise not to look up naughty video of Britney Spears.

Finding the right words

By now I think most of Sahara's regular readers know I'm a writer in real life. In real life, it is fairly easy to come up with the right words to share something with feeling, to give it life and breath and color. It comes naturally to me, just as Sahara's ability to dribble a ball or gravitate towards the strongest athlete in the room. I don't even try to explain it, I just accept that it's my gift from God and that I have an obligation to do something more with it than write trivial crap.

But that's not always so easy. I'm sitting in my home office watching the sun come up, drinking warm, flat, watered down Diet Coke, and my fingers don't want to move on the keys. I got up to visit the bathroom around 4 this morning (thank you, four iced teas I had at dinner, for that) and stumbled in here to check my messages. And I've been fighting this blogbit ever since.

Amy asked me to dress this up, but I just can't.

Our nightmarish journey to Houston is over. The ice and snow storm in St. Louis were only the beginning of a trip none of us wanted to make. I will say this, however...the people at Southwest Airlines are absolutely wonderful, and I can't say enough about how much they all went out of their way to help us.

They told us at the beginning, when Sahara first got sick, that this was going to be hard. A truer statement was never spoken. Our greatest fears became reality yesterday, when we got Sahara's MRI results. The tumor has not shrunk any more, and has in fact grown since her last MRI on October 30. We knew by the way she's been acting and feeling for the last week that something was not right, and now we know why. We have been given some new options, which we are going to be considering this week. Our prayer is that we will choose the right one, and that God will send us in the direction that we are supposed to follow.

Sahara is feeling a bit better, remarkably, even though she has been through hell these last couple of days. Her steroid dosage has been increased, which helps a lot with everything. She's just glad to be back home, as we all are. And she's looking SO forward to Rick coming in on Friday - it is going to be a such a wonderful time in the middle of the storm we are facing.

We ask for your continued prayers, because we know the power that they hold. As we mull over our options this week, please keep us in your thoughts. As we told Sahara last night, we will never, EVER give up.

With love,

Friday, December 01, 2006

Oh the weather outside is frightful

But takeout is so delightful...

Apparently those of you in the midwest have decided to play winter. Fools! It was 68 in New York today. My roses are still in bloom. Why, oh why would I want to deal with ice and snow? Y'all can keep it.

Unfortunately the storm's wrath slammed the little Aldridge clan hard. They are holed up in a nice little hotel just outside the St. Louis airport. Their flights were cancelled. They're working on getting re-booked for this morning, but with all that snow on the way, it doesn't look good.

Amy managed to find the one restaurant in town that would deliver, thank goodness, and despite her fear that their car is back at the airport in a 14-foot block of ice, they're still hoping to get going sometime today.

Would it be so terrible to pray for a quick thaw?

The best-laid plans

Hello everyone,

Well, we're off to Houston again today, with hope in our hearts. Sahara is feeling better; not great, but well enough to travel. We have a full day of appointments on Friday. The MRI is the scariest thing, as usual.

I'm looking forward to visiting our friends at the Ronald McDonald house - I really miss the folks that we became close to while we were staying there! We plan to drop in when we have time.

LuLu the Wonderpuppy has found her place in the Aldridge clan. She is sooooo cute, and smart, too! She's quickly learning that the backyard is her bathroom - NOT the basement floor! I appreciate the housetraining tips we've received, and once we get back from Houston we will begin training her in earnest. This week has been touch and go, but she's done exceptionally well. She is a brand new bright spark in Sahara's life, and rarely leaves her side. Animals are such great therapy! I'd really love it if someday we can get her certified as a therapy dog...I've seen what wonderful effects they can have on sick children. I'd like to be able to give back, as so many have given so generously to our family. Aunt Sissy is puppysitting this week, and LuLu has promised to be a very, very good girl (as long as she can sleep in Aunt Sissy's lap.) LOL.

A few extra prayers couldn't hurt, and we certainly appreciate them if you have the time...we'll be in touch when we get back. Keep thinking those positive thoughts. :)

With love,