Giving Thanks — and catching up —

The wonder of a little girl with "tattoos" and ladybugs --

The wonder of a little girl with “tattoos” and ladybugs —

This blog post is long overdue – it’s been over a month since one was written – and people have been asking how Emily has been doing – and this blog was originally started to keep all of Emily’s family and supporters up-to-date on her leukemia treatment progress but, to be honest, these blogs are hard to write. You want to be informative, but not dry – you want to show the emotional side of this journey, but not get sappy – you think about it frequently but then life gets busy or you get a cold or go on vacation or just plain put off writing a post because it’s hard and “you’ll do it tomorrow.” So, our apologies and we’ll try to be better in the future! P.S. You also want to try to not have a post be too long but this is your warning that this post will probably be just that, too long – sorry —!

So, I/Grammie will start with the “catching up” – Emily has been busy, which means she’s been overall feeling well enough to be busy. Thank you, God! In October we went to a local pumpkin patch where she thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in the corn maze then picking out about a hundred “perfect” pumpkins.

At the pumpkin patch to pick out their pumpkins.

At the pumpkin patch to pick out their pumpkins.

October 26th was the First Annual Emily Love Softball Invitational, held to raise funds for Children’s Miracle Network (we’ll have a separate post on that soon). Please, if you ever think about supporting an organization, support Children’s Miracle Network. Prior to Emily being diagnosed with leukemia, I/Grammie just thought of CMN as another of those charity organizations that raised money and probably used most of it for promotion and very little for the actual kids who needed the help. I was so so wrong. Emily’s leukemia treatment at U.C. Davis is supported by CMN. They provide Christmas parties – special days held at U.C. Davis, like the day when NASCAR came with their race cars, just for the sick kids – Halloween parties, like Boo at the Zoo – all kinds of stuffed animals and fun times on the actual Pediatrics and ICU units – funding for research that the hospital can’t provide -they pay for the vital Child Life program -and the list goes on and on. CNM is made up of people with big hearts and untiring dedication to these kids and their families – for the reality is that the whole family, in a way, has cancer. There are days with Mommies and Daddies not home and/or not emotionally available because they are dealing with their sick son or daughter – days, and nights, being traded from house to house so that their parents can be at the hospital – days of tension in their homes – always worrying about who might have a cold coming on and trying to keep Emily away from that person – the whole family loses and has to find a new normal. Chrildren’s Miracle Network helps to fill in some of those gaps and they are – and have been – indispensable to these families.

Emily, watching Daddy play one of his softball games.

Emily, watching Daddy play one of his softball games.

Daddy's softball team, including Childrens Miracle Network volunteers.

Daddy’s softball team, and some of the Childrens Miracle Network volunteers.

Also in October, Emily and her family attended Boo at the Zoo, and helped man a booth sponsored by the Children’s Miracle Network at the Sacramento Zoo.

Emily and Momma at Book at the Zoo

Emily and Momma at Book at the Zoo

The whole family helped out

The whole family helped out

Emily continues in the Maintenance Phase of her treatment. She has now “graduated” down to one spinal tap every three months – she still receives monthly chemo and immunoglobulin antibody infusions – and she still gets daily chemo pills, which Chrissie grinds up in a spoon, mixes with a little water, and Emily then slurps it out of the spoon. She is on steroids for a five-day stretch each month – we just call her “steroid Emily” and wait out the hunger and the silent tantrums – and the not-feeling-so-good for the week. So far, her spinal tap results have all been clear of leukemia cells, and that is good!

On Thanksgiving Day, our home (Grammie and Bapa’s) was filled with family – grandparents, parents, brothers and sister, aunties and uncles, and cousins. It was wonderful and busy and LOUD and awesome!

Emily and Sophie sharing Ruffles potato chips - because Emily loves her Ruffles and "Dr. Ducore said she should be allowed to eat anything!"

Emily and Sophie sharing Ruffles potato chips – because Emily loves her Ruffles and “Dr. Ducore said she should be allowed to eat anything!”

This is the week after Emily's steroid week and so she was tired - and just came in from outside and laid herself down on the couch and covered herself up ---

This is the week of IV chemo and steroids and so she was tired – and just came in from outside and laid herself down on the couch and covered herself up —

The day after Thanksgiving, Chrissie and Jason and the kids – along with Auntie Gaby – went to The Galleria Mall to do gift wrapping in order to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network. For those of you in the Sacramento area, this “service” will be available through most of December. Many of the stores in The Galleria were raising money for St. Jude’s Hospital for Kids – by asking shoppers if they’d want to round their purchase price up to the next dollar to give to St. Jude’s. At one store, Build-A-Bear, a very wonderful shopper decided to donate money for a kid with cancer/or other illness to be able to make their own bear. The shopper behind her also volunteered to do it – as did many many more shoppers in that line. Over $500 was given to the store on a gift card! Somehow or other, the store found out that Emily was there, “helping to wrap gifts,” and a bit of the money was given to Emily and her brothers and sister so that they could each build a friend at Build-A-Bear. As I said earlier, a lot of attention, as it should be, centers around the kids who have cancer but the rest of their families are also dramatically affected – so Childrens Miracle Network was awesome to include all of Emily’s siblings in the donation.

Build-A-Bear!

Build-A-Bear!

Friday night found the Love’s with Jason’s side of the family, where they all enjoyed a post-Thanksgiving game night. Jason and Chrissie are so thankful to have both their families in town.

On Saturday, today, Chrissie and her sister, Jennifer, were both here (at Grammie’s house), prior to Jennifer and her family driving back to Tulare (south of Fresno and way too far from home – just sayin’) later in the day. As they were visiting, I was listening to my daughters discussing cancer and the other families and kids whom Chrissie has come to know through this journey and the sadness as a few of the children have died – and the hope as others have successfully completed their treatments. I overheard them discussing the dedication of the nurses at U.C. Davis. (As an aside, I ask you to pray for the nurses and staff at this hospital – because they are intelligent, capable, loving people who have dedicated their lives to taking care of these kids – yet they are constantly having to deal with the stress of seeing new, sick kids and their shell-shocked families whose lives have just been turned upside-down – and of having to say good-bye, either at funerals of kids who have passed on or happy good-byes to the kids who have successfully completed their treatments. These nurses pour their hearts and souls into caring for these kids – and their families – and they could use all of the prayers that you could send their way.) Chrissie and Jennifer didn’t “solve” anything, but it always helps to talk through the stress and strain.

Sisters talking - with Emily, who wasn't feeling very well, at the time.

Sisters talking – with Emily, who wasn’t feeling very well, at the time.

Eight of the grandkids watching Grammie's favorite Christmas movie, "The Night They Saved Christmas!"  Finally, someone new to coerce to watch it!

Eight of the grandkids watching Grammie’s favorite Christmas movie, “The Night They Saved Christmas!” Finally, someone new to coerce to watch it!

So, for this Thanksgiving, we thank all of you for continuing to support and to pray for Emily – and just know that we also pray for you —–

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12 responses to “Giving Thanks — and catching up —

  1. Thank you so much for posting. The Loves live in my heart and I’m grateful for the update, pictures and the comfort of having friends on a similar journey through childhood leukemia.

  2. Thanks for the great update. And it wasn’t at all too long!

  3. And I’m so glad that Chrissie has you to lean on, too. I know that it eases her heart to have others who are walking in her/their shoes, even though we would wish that no one had to walk in those shoes. We do all pray for all of you. —- Chrissie’s Mom

  4. Jennifer Alspektor

    I read this post through tears. Thank you for putting the journey to words so well. Even though my son drew is (Hallelujah) one year off treatment, all of the emotions still live on the surface. Our prayers and love are with Emily, the entire family, and all the doctors and nurses who serve and care for our kids. What a blessing to have a happy, healthy holiday together. Praise God!

    • Jennifer, I know that Chrissie prays for all of the families that she meets through Emily’s treatment – and we all pray for all of you, too, even though we may not know the names. It’s a rough road. I am so glad that you get to enjoy this Christmas without the added worry.

  5. I loved reading this and all the joy/cuteness of each picture! It was beautiful seeing into the Loves life and seeing Emily’s pony-tails! Thank you for taking the time to post this. Chrissie is an amazing momma! The tenacity, determination, courage and daily focus she has is phenomenal. Jason is an amazing daddy as he pours his life into his children and support programs so fully, while still providing diligently for his family. The children are precious as they live out each day fully with Emily, loving on her wherever she’s at. What a precious family! We pray for Emily EVERY DAY.

  6. Thank you for the wonderful pictures and update. It tears at my heart and brings me to tears. You all are so beautiful and remarkable. I know that it is God who gives you all the strength and wisdom to carry on day by day. I am always humbled by your story. You are in my prayers and I am almost without words to express what I feel as I read your lifes story. “Thank you, Lord for this awe inspiring family. Thank you Lord for always living to intercede for them. We Love You Lord” amen, Rheta

  7. That wasn’t to long at all! I could have read your postings for another hour! I am so overjoyed to hear that Emily’s fluids have been clear of the cancer! May the Lord bless you and all the family as you continue this journey of trust and faith in the midst of great difficulty.

  8. Thank you all for your comments and your prayers – and your tears. That means so much to Chrissie – to all of us – to know that others are following and taking time to read about Emily’s journey. And, again, we love and pray for you all. Grammie/Genie —

  9. Pingback: Can you help a Pediatric Patient? | emilyannelove

  10. Pingback: Costco and the Children’s Miracle Network | emilyannelove

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