Friday, December 28, 2012

More than survived

The fourth Christmas since Keith's death is a few days behind us now. This one has been the best one for me emotionally. I was able to enjoy the day without being overcome with grief.

The kids seemed to do well with the day too. They enjoyed their presents and the time we spent with family.

We did change up a few things again this year. We are still trying to find the traditions that we can all live with and enjoy. Most of our family traditions, that have been in place since the kids were little bitty, have faded away. I realized this year that some of these traditions simply faded because the kids are basically both teenagers. There are still those family activities that are just too painful for me to even try to reintroduce. So, I tried to find something new to do. I don't know that I really succeeded this year. Kacie requested that we attend the Christmas Eve service at our church. That is one family tradition that we have done for years. It is one we will keep too.

We were really low key this year. Kacie and I were really tired. Nick had chemo a week before Christmas, which made him more tired than usual. Low key and quiet were definitely what we needed.

I didn't do much holiday cooking. I took requests from the kids and went with that. We still used the "little" tree and "new" ornaments for the fourth time. I like the little tree. Much to the kid's dismay, I will probably keep it. They want the big tree to come back. Nah...don't think so.

There wasn't really any other decorating and I'm good with that. I decided to keep it all very simple and stress free this year. I was able to achieve that goal on most levels. I actually had all the presents wrapped and stockings filled before 10:30. I went to bed before 11:00. This was the first Christmas in 18 years that I've gone to bed before midnight on Christmas Eve.

I do not like wrapping presents. Keith was the present wrapper in the family. Since his death, I have spent more time crying about wrapping the presents than it probably would have taken to wrap them. Not this year!! I got it all done fairly quickly. The kids helped some. They enjoy the wrapping...or rather playing tricks on whoever will receive the gift. The kids have Keith's sense of humor there. Nothing is off limits. Packing tape, duct tape, staplers, sharpies, scotch tape, lots of tape...did I mention tape?...Their goal is to make the present as tricky to open as humanly possible. I'm their favorite mark too. So, I let them have their fun. I pretend to get frustrated and I make funny faces while trying to get to the goody that's wrapped in 6 yards of paper and 35 yards of tape. We all laugh. The laughter chases away the tears that are hiding just out of sight, as they feel the absence of their dad more acutely at that moment.

We had Christmas with Keith's parents the next day. It was a wonderful time there as well. The kids spent the night. I went to dinner with a friend.

Today, the kids and I made the journey to Children's Hospital for Nick's PET scans. Nick did very well. The new machine is impressive to see. The procedure for radiation exposure is a lot different at Children's than what we have been used to in Huntsville. Kacie and I were able to stay with Nick the entire time. They were very much concerned with the comfort of the patient AND his sibling. Many times, I have to leave one of the kids in order to be with the other one. I end up going between the kids. Then I get stressed and upset about not being able to be in two places at the same time. I did not have to do that today AND IT WAS GREAT!!

I don't know when we will have results. The oncologist is out of town right now I imagine we will hear something next week.

Thank you for the continued thoughts and prayers. Please continue to cover us. There are some big decisions that are riding on the findings in these scans.

I wish you all a very blessed new year!!

In HIS Grip,


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Update on Nick 12/20/12

Merry Christmas to you all!

Nick and I were in Birmingham for another clinic visit, chemo, and IVIG on Tuesday of this week.

The visit itself was uneventful. Nick’s blood work looked good. The doctor mentioned that he was still waiting to see what Nick’s iron and iron binding capacity levels were. Since the doctor never mentioned it again, I am going to assume the levels either stabilized or were even back into the normal range. No news is good news!

Nick seems to be feeling okay post chemo. He has been a little more tired this time, but that is to be expected.

The next step for Nick comes on Friday, December 28. Nick will be having extensive PET scans done at Children’s Hospital. The scans were approved by insurance. Go figure... Anyway, the kids and I will make a quick trip down and back just for the scans. We don’t have to go into clinic that day or anything.

At this time, I do not know when I will have the results of the scans. It will likely be some time the following week. Nick’s next chemo treatment is scheduled for Jan 23.

Keep the surgeons in prayer as they are literally combing through these scans. They will be making the decision about surgery to remove the mass from Nick’s lower abdomen/pelvic area.

Also pray for the oncologist to have discernment and wisdom as he looks at the scans. He told us, not too long ago, that we are in uncharted territory and there really isn’t a treatment protocol for Nick’s illness. 
These scans will help to determine how we need to proceed.

We have been doing okay. I had the flu last week. The kids have both had the sniffles at various times. So far, neither of them have come down with the flu. My prayer is that we can avoid that and the other yuckiness that is going around.

The kids will be out of school for Christmas break tomorrow. Nick will be one semester away from graduation. WOW!!! So hard to believe that it is getting so close.

Kacie will be turning 13 on Jan 3. That’s another big milestone that is difficult to believe is already here.
I hope and pray that each of you have a very blessed Christmas.

As always, we remain...

In HIS Grip,

Kristy Baxley

Friday, December 14, 2012

Laying here...

Today has been a day that will be forever remembered for the tragic loss of life in a small New England school.

I lay here in my bed trying to sleep. It's late. I've been down sick with the flu for a couple of days. I can hear Nick's tv in his room. I can hear Kacie getting settled in her bed.

I'm restless. My heart is so heavy tonight. The scenes on tv have been horrific. The "normalcy" of the bedtime sounds in my house seem out of place tonight...yet I still have my children to hug a little tighter. So the sounds I'm hearing are very normal indeed.

I guess it's the realization that in several homes tonight, the sounds aren't normal and routine. The normalcy is gone forever. These families have to begin a grief journey that is truly unimaginable.

Christmas stockings are hung and presents wrapped for eager hands and smiling faces that won't ever...

It's a restless kind of night. My mother's heart is hurting. Yes. It's a restless kind of night.

I'm restless