What kind of mother jail do they put you in if you let you 11 year-old daughter listen to Warren Zevon cd's? That's where I'm headed. Erin kiped Davis's Zevon collection from his room before we left for Houston last Wednesday, and I okayed it for the trip down: no doubt remembering "Werewolves of London" and forgetting his darker songs like "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner," "Lawyers, Guns, and Money," and "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" (among those I feel comfortable referencing on a family-oriented website). You have to admit the mixed feeling a cancer parent feels about this last song. The lyrics are questionable at best, and include the non-awarding winning line: I'm drinking heartbreak motor oil and Bombay gin, which I'm pretty sure I don't want Erin to learn and mimic. Yet here I am, allowing her to be-bop along with Z's songs.
Not that the concept of "I'll sleep when I'm dead" is that foreign to Erin. I thought she'd need extra rest when she got home from camp, but we had the Tjoelkers over the next day for a lake party. On Monday, she took a credit by exam test for 6th grade math in the morning, went to Creative Arts Camp in the afternoon, and had Aaron Wunneburger over afterwards for swimming and play.
On Tuesday, she re-played Monday: taking the 7th grade credit by exam test in the morning, whooping it up at CAC, and swimming with Aaron at some of his friends' house in the evening. She dragged in after 9:00.
Wednesday we hopped over to Houston to prep for her MiBG scan and by 3:00 were back in the car headed down I-45 to the Kemah Boardwalk. Twenty bucks bought a wristband and access to all the rides including Chaos, which spins riders in an almost vertical circle while allowing each pod to do full head-over-toes flips while spinning, and the Bullet (shown below). With practically no lines, you would think we would have exhausted the fun before the boardwalk closed at 10:00, but we didn't.
Thursday, of course, was Scanboree (actual results below). Friday, Erin had physical therapy in the morning and returned to camp. The grand end-of-camp finale took place Friday evening, with Erin providing some of the pre-performance entertainment with a recitation of a Dylan Thomas poem (not, as you might expect "Do Not Go Gently into That Good Night," but instead, a tribute to Willie, "Song of the Mischievous Dog") and a lot of singing and hand motions as a member of the chorus in the World-Premier Performance of Postman Paul. (See Erin on the first row, second from the left. Also imagine the horde of volunteers it took to get this group ready to perform a musical with just five days of practice, three hours per day.)
The birthday extravaganza exceeded expectations, and what can you say about a girl who makes her own birthday cakes (two mandarin orange cheese cakes and a double batch of dark chocolate brownies with pecans) AND makes sure she invites friends whose parents we like, so that we can have fun, too?
We surely can not thank all of our friends (met and unmet) enough who added to the celebration of Erin's first eleven years. This includes
- our special friend who placed a prayer in the wailing wall when he visited Israel,
- unknown friends who sent a clock and a puzzle made with photos downloaded from this page,
- friends who sent cards and electronic messages until we ran out of room to display them,
- a special friend who burned a CD with cutes photos of Erin that I had never seen before (talk about a windfall!),
- a special friend who went hunting for Venus fly-traps when it looked like Erin's ordered carnivorous plant wouldn't arrive in time,
- Erin's buddies who always know just what she likes,
- new friends from Houston who kept us supplied with DVD's during scans and who gave Erin the cutest Bambi nightshirt,
- a special friend who had dinner waiting for us on the last day of the Houston chemo marathon,
- all the special friends and relatives (who I count as friends whether they like it or not) who were so thoughtful about choosing just the right gifts,
- and all our friends who willingly forgive me if I have left them out of this list because the last two months have left me brain dead and struggling to remember the details that I'm usually so good at remembering.
Have you made it this far for scan results? The blob of tumor that grew into space (its largest dimension 11.5 cm vertically, and filling up the nooks and crannies in front and to the side of Erin's spine, displacing her aorta and renal vessels) has been reduced to two measurable masses (one the size of a peanut M&M, the other the size of a raspberry) and some thickening in various soft tissue that's too thin to measure. No wonder Dr. Russell was smiling. Are you smiling?