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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Monday, March 28th 2011

What is it about a sleeping child that just warms your heart?  I came upstairs tonight exhausted and found my Ella sleeping in our bed. All I could do is just stare at her and be in love with this little girl. I am so grateful for her. She is stronger than she will ever know. I wish I was better at putting into words the depth of my love for my children, but if you are a parent or love a child, you already feel what I am struggling to say. 

Ella had a good week. She read books with daddy and got to play with Rachel- who made her laugh with silly faces!  She talked about her gymnastics class all week and counted down the days till she gets to go again.  Josh got his gold belt for karate and we are thrilled that he is on Spring Break this week.  I love having him home so he and Ella can play together and just have fun.

I am hoping that you can see her hair growing back in this last picture. She has all this fuzz right on the top. She checks out the growth every day. She can not wait till it grows back. I can't imagine the kind of battle I will have on my hands when I try to take her in for her 1st trim.  Here she is eating grapes and trying to say 2 at the same time. It turned out looking like she was saying peace.

If you are praying for Ella, thank you so very much. Can you please add Noah Rios to your prayers? He just found out that he has more tumors and has to begin his journey all over again. His site is if you would like to read about his journey or donate to his family.

Blessings to you all~Katie

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Just a plain old boring week at the Van Gheem household.  A few seconds ago Ella informed me that we HAD to paint her nails because her toes were starting to chip!  In the picture above she is wearing her new leotard for gymnastics class. Today Ella took her 1st class, and she really loved it. She has been asking me for the past hour when her next class is and she just asked me how to write "Ella is so pretty in her new leotard". She has been in a good mood and I think her week of steroids if finally wearing thin.  No medical issues for Ella this week, so we are very grateful for every boring/healthy day. It was so cool to see her smiling and playing with other girls today. I think she only looked up once to smile at me.

This week we booked a ticket for Ella to fly to Florida to see Grandma and Grandpa. Since she couldn't go last time, now she gets her own special time with them. Not too shabby that I get to go back to Florida too.  She has plans to collect no less than 6 buckets of shells, and decorate them all with glitter glue. She also wants Rainbow Sherbet. I have a feeling she will be able to do whatever she wants for the 5 days we are there.  Next week Josh will be on Spring Break, and it is starting to look like spring around here.  Ella and I planted a bunch of seeds 2 weeks ago and they are growing fast! We also had our first flower come up, and Ella was so happy that it was purple.
Looking forward to many more boring days.

Blessings and Much Love~Katie

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ella had a good week.  She had clinic on Tuesday and her ANC was JUST high enough for her to begin her final phase! YEA!!!  She had a spinal and 2 chemo treatments. Then we went over to the zoo and I pushed her around in the stroller to look at the animals and get some fresh air!  They take her off restriction during this phase, which means she can go to school, church and eat certain foods again. We went to the store that night for grapes, strawberries and blueberries. It was so cool to see how happy she was just to eat a blueberry.

Ella also got to go back to church this week, and go to Sunday School. I was really nervous that someone would ask her about her hair, and she would get upset. But, she did great and when I saw her, one of her older friends, Kate, had her arm around her in a very protective manner and was sitting by her. It was very sweet.

Today she decided to clean her room as a "surprise" and she made her bed all by herself, so I snagged this quick picture of her on her bed.  Ella doesn't have to go back to clinic now until April, but we now give her chemo at home on a daily basis until October 2012.

We are doing the local Relay for Life and walking for both Ella and her Auntie Carrie who has colon cancer.  If you are interested in walking, or just donating, please sign up.  I will attach the link below. Our Team name is Cancer Butt Kickers!

Have a great week!

Relay for Life

Monday, March 7, 2011

March 7th, 2011

Hair is growing!
If Ella had hair, There is no way you would guess she has cancer right now. And, her hair is starting to grow back.
She had a good week, nothing unusual, lots of playing and lots of dancing. We stayed in this week since her counts were low at clinic. She sis get to play with her friends and she spent a lot of time with Pickles (Sara) this week. Sara is my sanity saver. Thank you Sara!

We signed Ella up for Cheerleading this Saturday. Her BFF Morgan is in it, so she wanted to do it too. It doesn't start until the fall, but I am still nervous about her doing it. When Steve asked her what she liked about Cheer, Ella responded "The Outfit!". Ahh, that's my girl. I still don't know how that happened when I don't wear make-up and most days you can find me and variety of colored GAP sweatshirts.

Last night we had a picnic dinner in the living room. Ella packed everything in her lunch box and took it over to the blanket. She told everyone where she wanted them to sit and we ate on the floor. Then the kids spent most of the night playing with a train set. So, overall- Good weekend.

We got a call from Lifesource Blood Bank this week. They asked us if they could use the commercial we made for church to inspire blood donations, as a commercial. We signed the release forms and they will be playing it in Palatine, IL soon. We are glad that some good can come from all of this. Remember....donate!!!

Tomorrow we have clinic again. If her counts are good this time, she will officially be on Maintenance! She will also have a spinal to make sure the cancer has not gotten into her spinal and cerebral fluids, and of course chemo. I was talking to someone this weekend and they said I was strong. Ella was listening and I heard her say "And I am Brave!". Yes you are baby, yes you are!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March 1st, 2011

Here is the link to the video with Ella's picture. It totally made me well up because the little animated girl has red hair like Ella did.

We had clinic today, but Ella's counts were not high enough to start Long Term Maintenance today. It's so hard because on one hand I am glad she didn't have to have a spinal, on the other I also want her to get the medicine she needs to NEVER have to go through this again.

Bear Necessities is a wonderful organization. The money donated goes directly to families and research. Please consider them the next time you make a donation!!!