I’ve been remiss in not updating everyone since Tarah and Shylah came home on Thursday night. Honestly, it was a pleasant surprise and totally unexpected. These hospital stay infusions have usually required extra time for Shylah’s body to recover and hit the numbers she needs to be released.
She is doing great and in great spirits. It is almost like she knows that this last stay in the hospital will be her last for these intensive infusions. The team at UC Davis Children’s Hospital was great. The staff gave her a warm birthday greeting when she arrived on Sunday, with fun gifts and then celebrated her release on Thursday. There are no more planned overnights for chemo treatments! The only foreseeable reason she would need to be admitted again will be if she fevers. Of course we’re still going to be looking at a long road of outpatient treatments, but this was a milestone moment on her journey.
We all said goodbye to Grammy on Friday and said good morning to Uncle Guy and Aunt Robin this morning. They arrived late last night and the kids were so excited to see them this morning. The extra help is such a blessing.
So, after almost a week in the hospital, Shylah seemed to be able to “Shake It Off” while she made cornbread for dinner and rocked out to Taylor Swift (I like how she stirs to the beat).
Thank you all for all of the birthday wishes. She had such a wonderful birthday, not one we expect her to forget. And thank you all for your continued prayers. We are blessed by so many of you who continue this journey with us through childhood cancer. Thank you.
Shylah turns 4 today!
She is so excited.
And so are we!
In fact, we all stayed up late last night preparing the house and few gifts for her Birthday morning. Kaden was so excited to be celebrating Shylah’s birthday that he insisted on staying up late last night to help us decorate. He was a big help.
The theme…Frozen, of course!
So, we’ve started celebrating this morning, but Shylah has another hospital stay that begins today. Once again, she and Tarah will spend the next three to four nights in the hospital for this scheduled treatment that requires 24hr care and attention to the infusion process. Not the best timing, but that means we’ll just have to make this “birthday week,” culminating with a birthday party on Sunday after she returns home (hopefully by Saturday).
Between Easter Sunday and her birthday today, we are filled with hope and gratitude. We are so grateful for these four years with Shylah. We are so grateful for God’s promise. This battle can be dark, scary and overwhelming, but to watch her sing, raise her hands and worship with us on Easter Sunday provides perspective on what is really going on here and who is in charge.
Today, we celebrate and thank God for Shylah. She is a blessing to us.
Happy Birthday Shylah!
“Give yourself to the Lord; trust in him, and he will help you.” ~ Psalm 37:5
“Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever.” ~ Psalm 146:5-6
Shylah was admitted back into the hospital for another planned chemotherapy treatment for this round. This is the third of four planned hospital stays that require this infusion process that requires the overnight stays and monitoring.
Shylah is doing great. In fact, she even said that she was excited to play in the playroom on the 7th floor and go to music time. What a change that is! In October, we couldn’t get her to go out of the room. I’ve learned a lot from the staff at UC Davis, including Child Life staff who were extremely patient with Shylah’s attitude and frustrations in those early days, knowing full well that she was likely to come around when the time was right and she was feeling better.
Shylah continues to gain weight and grow stronger despite the chemo, which is very encouraging to us. She is super excited about her birthday too. Yesterday afternoon she burst into my office with her brother and a couple of their friends to tell me all about it. It was so fun, I had her repeat it so I could capture it on video.
Dropping Tarah and Shylah off is always hard though. I’ve noticed a pattern with Shylah too. While she is excited about the playroom and music time, the closer to the hospital we get the quieter she gets and then when we’re unloading to go in, she no longer seems to happy about going in. Of course, this makes sense. I can only imagine what she must be thinking as we park the car at the hospital again. It doesn’t matter how many times you go, the hospital will never be home. I know I’ll never get used to dropping of my girls for extended stays there.
However, we are extremely grateful for the care and the treatment that Shylah is getting and the hope we have in her continued recovery and we appreciate all of your continued prayers for Shylah, Tarah and our family over these next four days and throughout this journey. It means a lot.
I also want to ask for prayers for three other people that are also walking through their own battles with cancer. It is not a club you want to be a part of, but you certainly find yourself akin to those families facing similar afflictions. The Kalin’s, Cushatt’s and the Throop’s could all use your prayers right now.
Magnus Kalins is battling leukemia at Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. His mother Anna works with me at the Cut Flower Commission and I still can’t wrap my mind around the odds that both of our children would be diagnosed with cancer in the same year. Magnus is a tough kid and has been in the hospital for over 3 months. Recently he suffered a bit of a set back, but he is back on the road to winning this battle. Please pray for Magnus and his family.
I met Michele Cushatt at a work conference I attended. It turned out that we have mutual friends and a love for the Lord. An author and a speaker, Michele’s battle against cancer has been a very transparent journey that has provided me with hope and determination during our journey with Shylah. She is a strong and faith filled person that could use your prayers as well. Please pray for Michele and her family.
Adam Throop is a friend from college (Westmont) who also married another friend from college, Mindy (McKinley). That tended to happen at Westmont. They have two beautiful children and recently moved their family to SoCal so Adam can continue to get the best care possible during his battle with cancer. My heart aches for their family each day. I’m confident in God’s healing mercy and that Adam will get through this, but I know this period of time is extremely hard on all of them. I’ve also been inspired by their faith and encouraged by their strength. Please pray for Adam and his family.
We hope to have Shylah and Tarah home on Saturday. We’ve got a birthday to plan!
Thank you for all of your prayers and those for Magnus, Michele and Adam.
It has been 151 days since our lives were changed forever by this battle against Shylah’s cancer. The good news is that she is at her strongest point that she’s been at since this began back in October. Shylah is gaining weight, she’s increasingly mobile and she’s in great spirits. Of course there are weekly “pokes” by Shylah’s home nurse and regular visits to the Cancer Center at UC Davis, but this is her new normal. In fact, it has been amazing to see how Shylah just adapts to the schedule of chemo treatment, pokes and hospital stays. She calls the UC Davis’ Cancer Center, “the little hospital,” and the 7th floor at the Children’s Hospital, “the big hospital.”
We are in the middle of the 4th round. This round includes planned hospital stays where they will administer chemo that then has to be Continue reading
We were in the hospital a week ago for Shylah’s CT Scan. Her last scan was in November of last year, so we were a bit anxious to learn the results of this latest scan. We weren’t told exactly when we might hear from the doctors on her results, but from previous experience, we knew it would take a couple of days.
We tried not to think about it.
When Friday came and went, I told Tarah that Continue reading
It has been since November since Shylah’s last CT scan. It is hard to describe the feelings of anticipation involved with today. Of course, we believe that the results will be nothing but positive, the affirmation we need to show that all of this treatment is working and that the mass has finally been eliminated.
We still pray for a miracle, though. That moment when the doctors turn to us with that look of disbelief and Continue reading
Apologies for the lack of updates lately. In someways its a reflection of how well Shylah is doing right now and our efforts to keep up with her and enjoy her. Shylah is getting stronger and gaining weight and I was sharing with Tarah how over the last week we’ve seen little glimmers of the Shylah before all of this. She’s a little over a week into her third round of chemo treatment and we’re praying that we continue down this path of returning health and complete healing. As her numbers drop, due to the latest chemo treatment, we have to be more and more careful with where Shylah goes and who she is with. In fact, the nurse at the cancer center told Tarah this week, “you know, I wouldn’t take her anywhere.”
That’s tough, especially as Shylah grows stronger. Over these last two weeks she has Continue reading
Now we know.
The boys woke up Christmas morning to find a note from Santa in Kaden’s stocking that said their presents had been delivered to the hospital; Shylah’s room to be precise.
We learned about this “Santa policy” when Shylah’s lab results came back on Wednesday telling us that she wouldn’t be home for Christmas. If a brother or sister is in the hospital over Christmas, Santa delivers all of the family’s gifts to the hospital room. So, we quickly Continue reading
Thank you everyone for your prayers for Shylah to make it home for Christmas. However, we’ll be celebrating Christmas on the 7th floor at UC Davis. Her numbers are just too low for Continue reading