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October 01, 2006


5:10 PM: We've had a quite a whirlwind week. My mom came into town on Wednesday to help us get ready for the churchwide yard sale (more on that below), and we really enjoyed having her. She not only helped with pricing (all of it!), she was a great help with the girls, and Randall and I got to go to a party with some of the folks from the South Africa trip on Friday night. It was great to get to know them better, and we had a wonderful time.

The yard sale went quite well. We got rid of a bunch of stuff (but not enough--there was quite a lot that came back home with us) and contributed $138 to the building fund. The church has made over $3000 so far on this sale, between the yard sale, the bake sale, and all the mums, pumpkins, and pine straw we're selling. We're that much closer to our goal.

We had church this morning, and then immediately after the service (instead of staying for Sunday school), the girls and I drove Randall to the airport. He'll be in New Mexico for the week for a retreat and will get a chance to meet with people from the conference about our plans for next year. Elisabeth cried and cried when he said goodbye. Sophie was pretty sad too. But eventually, we got distracted by figuring out where we wanted to eat lunch and felt better. We've had a relaxed afternoon, and I'm going to pull dinner together soon while the girls are playing outside. The weather has been beautiful this weekend.

While Randall is gone (until 10/9), I'll just work at home. Worrying abut how bad traffic might be and whether I might be late picking up the girls isn't worth it. I've decided to head up to my mom's Friday afternoon and stay until Sunday morning (since I don't have to be back for church--a rare opportunity), and we'll get to spend some more time with her.

October 02, 2006


10:00 PM: Today we changed the name of this weblog from "Sophie's Health Updates" (fairly boring!) to "Sophie's World." We did this partly because, fortunately, things have become so stable, we tend to report on our daily life more than Sophie's health. But we also love that title because it reflects part of the reason Sophie has her name in the first place. Both of our girls are named after characters in books by Jostein Gaarder. Elisabeth's name (especially the spelling) was inspired by a character named Elisabet Hansen in The Christmas Mystery, and Sophie was named after a character named Sophie Amundsen in Sophie's World. These are both fascinating books (as are all of Jostein Gaarder's books). (I've added this information to the sidebar on the main index page too).

We're doing fine today. We miss Randall, and I was a bit stressed tonight trying to get both girls bathed after dance class (Elisabeth didn't get into bed until 9:30!) and then trying to take care of the little things we do before we go to bed. But we're ready for tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to talking with Randall tonight.

October 06, 2006


10:30 AM: All is well here. Randall's been having a great time in New Mexico, and he's now on a retreat with no phone access, so I won't hear from him again until Saturday. I decided I would take this opportunity to head up to Virginia with the girls to see my mom. It's hard for us to travel on weekends during the school year, because we don't want Elisabeth to miss school, so we can't leave until Friday afternoon, but Randall has to be ready on Sunday morning to preach. With Randall out of town, we have a little more flexibility on Sunday morning. I'm taking most of the day off today to relax and get ready, and we'll head up as soon as school is out. It's about a 4 hour drive. I'm really looking forward to it!

October 10, 2006


9:59 PM In keeping with the new title for this website, I guess there's not much to post on Sophie's health, but I'll check in anyway. I had a very, very good visit with the folks (friends and such) in New Mexico. The back-to-back "retreats" (one with the clergy of the New Mexico Annual Conference and one on my own) were very refreshing, if in different ways. It was nice spending a lot of time with other clergy from the New Mexico conference, particularly if I will be returning there some day. I also very much appreciated the time away by myself at Christ in the Desert (a Benedictine monastery in the Chama valley in northern NM). Maybe it's all that we've been through with Sophie, or maybe it's being out of school, but I'm in a fairly reflective mood lately (not that I've come to any startling revelations or anything--yet). I guess that I'm finally learning to "fit" all of our experiences in the last year and a half into some kind of coherent whole.

I am so, so, so very thankful that Sophie is doing well, barring any future complications or whatnot. I am also so very thankful that Elisabeth seems no worse for the wear, and I am absolutely positive that this whole experience has worn on her, perhaps in ways that we may never know. Sophie's illness has also tested the relationship betewen Susan and me. We've learned a lot about ourselves and each other (I hope) and also learned (I hope) how fragile life and relationships can be. Susan and I usually communicate very well, but the simple fact of the matter is that when you are going through a life-threatening illness, you probably are not going to be at your best, and neither of us has been at our best 100% of the time in the past 21 months. But, somehow, we have all managed to hang in there with each other and (I hope) our family is stronger as a result. We've certainly tried, and what we could not do on our own, we have asked for help, which is not an easy thing for anyone. Maybe in the end, that has been the biggest lesson for us--to ask for help.

So, for those of you who have helped (and you may not even know how helpful you have been), thank you!

October 17, 2006


8:00 PM: We had a bit of excitement today. Sophie was due to go to clinic tomorrow for treatment, but we ended up taking her a day early because she woke up with a fever (and felt pretty crummy). For once, it happened during working hours, so we didn't have to go to the emergency room or anything. We got Elisabeth dropped off at school, got ourselves organized, and took off for Chapel Hill. Randall and I both took her (and made arrangements for Elisabeth in the afternoon, just in case we got delayed). Unfortunately, Sophie overheard me tell someone on the phone that she was going to clinic today before I had a chance to tell her, and she was pretty upset about it. Eventually, she calmed down when we talked about practicing the IV with the sock Monkey. Letting her play a computer game while we got ready also helped!

When we got there, she practiced with the Monkey right away, and also on her stuffed kitty (Honeycatt), who was scared and cried but held still. We put numbing cream on before we left home, and it was a long time before they were ready to give the IV a try, so the cream had been on for 3 hours by that time. She cried loudly, shook like a leaf, and sweated like you wouldn't believe, but she didn't kick, and she eventually held her hands (and kicking feet) still. One nurse tried to insert an IV on her left hand and couldn't get it to work. Then a second nurse tried her right and couldn't get that hand to work either. Both veins were blown by that time.

Those were the only two places we had used cream, so we kind of had to start over. They were testing out some new patches that have numbing cream and some kind of reaction that warms the area while it numbs. That's supposed to help "plump up" the veins. We did one patch on the inside of her left forearm and another just above her left wrist on the outside of her hand. After we waited for it to work, back in we went to try again. After some fiddling (and lots of crying by Sophie), the one on her left wrist worked. Although she was upset, it was really amazing how still she was. They injected the vincristine with no problems, and then administered an IV antibiotic (because of the fever) over 30 minutes. They took blood and urine cultures, so we'll just have to wait to hear back on those. Given that Elisabeth has been suffering from some sort of upper respiratory thing lately, it's probably just a virus.

We were headed out by 3:00 (with plenty of time to pick up Elisabeth) and then ran into really bad traffic. There was an overhead sign that said the left three lanes of traffic needed to merge into the right lane because of an accident 4 miles ahead. Well, 30 minutes later (or more!), we got to that mile marker, and there wasn't an accident in sight, no lanes were closed, and everything totally cleared up. Go figure! We were still home in plenty of time to pick up Elisabeth.

Life at home this evening has been wonderfully normal. Randall had a meeting, so the girls and I had dinner on our own. The girls had much-needed bang trims after their baths tonight, and they both let me blow-dry their hair. I just may have a second career!

Twenty-seven days to go until our Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World!!!