Monday, August 27, 2007

Army Aldridge

In case you haven't heard, Sahara made the front page of the Southeast Missorian this morning, complete with several photos from her party last month, and a living room shot showing just who rules the recliner in that household. HA! One of the photos credits "Army Aldridge" and while the editor in me wants to scribble in red pen on the computer screen, it's actually right.

We're all members of Army Aldridge, aren't we? This is a battle, and all of us are marching, fighting, and blasting at that tumor with the power of our love. One of these days, we're going to crack it.

If you'd like to read the articles, jump over to

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Mr. Springfield takes the cake

Hello, everyone,

What a month this has been.

It's a good thing we had our Tunica trip to temper all of the other crap. Sahara's really been put through the wringer these last few days/weeks.

We had to have a CT scan to make sure her shunt was working properly (it is). Her blood pressure has been raging, and after trying three different medications, we are finally seeing some improvement.

But then came the MRI. The tumor has grown a bit, and it completely bowled us over. I'd had my suspicions about it, and had noticed subtle changes in her, especially in recent weeks.

To actually hear something other than "stable" was such a shock. We told Sahara, and she was so calm...I don't know how she does it. She thanked us for telling her. Can you believe that???

Anyway, her medicine dosage has been raised, and hopefully we'll fight off any further progression. It stopped it once before, and with luck it'll stop it again.

We had to lower her dosage when she was sick in April, and we had not gotten it back up to the max since then. When she first started treatment, she was so tolerant of it that she reached the max very quickly...and it apparently stopped the tumor in its tracks, making it stable ever since January.

We need your prayers that her body will be able to tolerate the high dosage once more.

So, for the last few days, I've been in a real funk. An angry, frustrated, debilitating funk that left me not wanting to talk to anyone or deal with anything in cancerland. But I'm coming out of it. Shannon and I are more determined than ever... and we've got some things on the back burner. Just in case.

Thanks to everyone for your continued love and prayers. We couldn't get through this without you. Just keep on praying... maybe a little harder this week if you can.

On a brighter note, today is Rick's birthday, so everybody needs to watch GH in his honor. On Friday, he sings on the show for the first time ever. How cool is that???

With love,

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Hey, Sahara fans...we're all still here. Thank you to everyone who sent good thoughts and prayers for Greg. He was very touched. He's doing better, and went home from the hospital late last week. I don't know what made him more excited--taking a long hot bath, or having locally grown corn and tomatoes for lunch that afternoon. Either way, he enjoyed the blessings.

He's got a long road ahead of him, but he's surrounded with love, and I'm not about to let him check out early. So keep the vibes flowing.

Sahara's days ebb and flow. As much as we can rejoice in the miracles she's had over the past 13 months, we have to remember that she, and her parents, are engaged in a tougher battle than anyone can imagine. It's hard, hard work. It's exhausting, and sometimes they just need some quiet time to regroup. So we're giving them that. Just keep your prayers strong and steady...and keep believing that more miracles are just around the corner. No one deserves them more.

Monday, August 13, 2007

What a girl wants, what a girl needs

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work I...oops, you caught me. My vacation is officially over and I'm heading back to the office in just a few hours. It's been a very full week. Highs, lows, three novels, a giant lobster, and catching up on sleep. And, since Thursday, a double dose of prayers--A, for Sahara, who set a goal, and as you'll see below, achieved it...and B, for my best friend of more than 20 years, who found out this week that he's very sick. We're all reeling...but after the initial shock, I'm shifting into the "Follow Sahara's lead" mode. If she can kick it, so can he.

At any rate, if all of you would trust me on this and add Greg to your prayer/karma/wish list, who knows what might happen. This year, I've learned to believe in miracles, so why not again?

And speaking of miracles...

Hello, everyone!

Saturday morning, Sahara woke up at 6:30 am, and said, "Mom, I feel good today. Let's go to Tunica. I want to see Rick." I was floored...she had felt like crap all week and I truly didn't expect her to be able to go to a concert. I had to do a load of clothes and a million other things before we could leave! I hadn't packed to go anywhere other than the hospital since last year.

It was 12:30 before we finally hit the road. We had a perfectly wonderful trip, and for a moment it was just like old times.

We got to Sam's Town just as Rick was getting ready to go to soundcheck. I thought Sahara might want to rest for a while, but nooooo...she was ready for some fun. We went with Rick to the showroom, and all of the guys in the band were so glad to see her. We chatted for a while, then they had to get down to business. After they were finished, we went to dinner at Twain's, the steakhouse at Sam's Town. It was very nice, and we discovered that Sahara likes asparagus. Loves it, actually. I couldn't believe that she was eating it, but today she had me put it on the grocery list. She told me she thinks she's turning into a vegetarian. HA!

After we ate, we ran to our room to change. Sahara was so excited to dress up in one of the cool new tops that Pamela brought her from New York for her birthday. She looked great...and so happy. :)

We went back to the showroom and got our seats, which were to the far left, about the 6th row. I'd asked for a place that would be easy to get out of should she decide that she was ready to leave early. But in true Sahara fashion, she stayed for the entire show and loved every minute of it. Rick was fabulous as usual and really had the place rockin'.

Afterward, we said
our almost-tearful goodbyes backstage. It was so good to see Rick and the band...what a terrific group of guys. It was so much fun. Sahara really needed this little trip.

After a decent night's sleep, we grabbed some breakfast before getting back on the road. Several folks came up to us this morning, all sporting Sahara bracelets, telling us that they are still praying and hoping for our miracle. It was really nice...there are so many sweet people out there rooting for Sahara, and we are grateful to all of them!

Our trip home was smooth as could be. I think we were both surprised that we were able to travel and take care of everything pretty much as we always do. It's amazing how we can adapt, isn't it?

Rhonda Hunt took these photos - doesn't she do great work? Thanks, Rhonda!!!

And after more requests than I can count, photos of the new bathroom are included for your viewing pleasure. LOL. A HUGE THANKS to everyone who attended the Milwaukee fundraiser! Love built this bathroom for Sahara!

Have a great week!


Friday, August 10, 2007

Mr. Ellis busts a move: the evidence in photographs

Special thanks to Mrs. Hecht for these photos from Sahara's birthday party. And yes, we'll get to the bathroom photos eventually. We promise!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I felt the big beat

Oh, Sahara! I have something for you. A certain rocking gentleman sent me home with a hug for you. If we could just bottle his energy and essence, you'd be cured in a heartbeat. I am convinced.

Rick put on a great show in Westbury, Long Island last night--as did his band--bringing the audience to its feet before he even walked into the room. We enjoyed every note--but especially when he sang the blues. Someone give that man a hound dog. Please. And yes, I can report that his Sahara wristband was viewable from all parts of the theatre.

As it should be. I had my eyes peeled for Rosie and Nancy. There was a Nancy doppelganger with Nancy hair but a different face. Alas, the Saharagirls stayed hidden all night. But I know they all had fun--and I know they all imagined Sahara and Gramma Dooley up on that stage, blaring it out. Don't talk to strangers!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Lazy, Hazy Summer

I'm on vacation this week; the kind where one lolls around, reads silly novels, eats lots of gourmet popcorn (thank you!) and makes difficult decisions like, oh, asparagus or peas for dinner? Shall I have black beans or pinto beans in my salad? Hmmmm.

Tomorrow evening, I may just go to a concert, given that some tasty morsel with a string of hits happens to be performing a mere 5 minutes from my house. I'll keep my eyes open for you ladies from Saharaland. Please be kind and try not to laugh at my skunk-striped hair. Why waste a good swimming day in the salon?

Sahara, Amy, and Shannon are all doing well. Sahara had some things checked out last week and the docs said they're fine. She's hitting a bump with one of her meds at the moment, but it will get sorted out.

One more thing--that bathroom of hers? Gorgeous! Bright, cheery, filled with color and life. When this ordeal is over, the kid really ought to consider a career as a decorator. Kudos to her, to Grandpa Dooley, and to everyone who helped make it happen. Even the guy with the jackhammer. Y'all did good.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

When you care enough to blog the very best

Hello, everyone!

This is going to sound like a giant Hallmark card. First, an enormous thank you to EVERYBODY who attended Sahara's birthday party! We all had so much fun, and Sahara was so happy to see you all. I haven't had time to look over my photos yet, but Jen Hecht sent me some
really great shots that I plan on posting sometime this week. Sahara thanks you all for the cards, gift cards and money she received that night - she finally got that snowcone/slushie machine she's been eyeing all summer at Target. LOL. ( it makes great dacquiris...but I digress...)

It was so great to have Pamela join us for the party! We were so honored to have her here, and I appreciate everyone making her feel welcome. I keep telling her that she and John need to just move here and get it over with. LOL. We had a super time visiting, sightseeing and shopping. Time just went by too quickly!

The decorations at the party were out of this world. Sheryl Henley and her mom, Linda Stroder, were the ones who transformed the Elks room into an underwater wonderland. I have had so many comments, calls and emails from people who were just amazed by how beautiful the place looked Friday night. Thank you, Sheryl and meant the world to us. Thanks also to Donnie and Larry, their husbands, who had the strong backs and helped put everything in place. :)

Thanks to the Elks Club for your incredibly generous donation of the room...we never expected that! Thanks to Diamond Sound for the entertainment, it was a blast! Thanks to Jill B for the cookies and treats, and to Mike & Daryl and Johnny & Sandy for the chips and drinks!!!

Interesting observation...apparently the latest trend is for kids to rush to the dance floor when one of their favorite songs starts...and then they gather in a big circle pile and stand there chatting while the music plays. We kept thinking that they would burst into action. LOL. Gosh, if only that had been the fad back in the 80's, it would have saved me a lot of dance humiliation. Ha!

Sahara loved leading the "soul train" around the was so much fun to see her out there with her friends. As Pamela mentioned, hopefully she'll be dancing next year. I don't even care if it IS in a big circle pile. LOL.

I think that Sahara has the best friends in the world. So many of them came out Friday night, and we know a lot of them were there in spirit as well. I love and respect all of you so much, and you know who you are. :)

We had more nurses and teachers in one place than probably anywhere else on planet earth. That was the smartest and safest room in the tri-state region Friday night! It's a testimony to Sahara that so many of them were there - they all love her so much, and they have been right by our side since this journey began. We are so blessed!

Finally, today is Shannon's birthday. It's a far cry from how we spent last year's; we were boarding a plane, taking Sahara to Houston to begin the fight for her life. Happy Birthday,'re the best dad a kid could ever ask for, and you're my rock. We love you!

Have a great week, and I'll post photos soon.

With love,