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December 11, 2007


7:38 PM (CST) Not much new to post--Sophie finished her last round of antibiotics last week. She is now prescription-free for the first time since January of 2005! That means that we no longer have to keep track of what day it is and make sure she gets her medicine. It was a major milestone for us--we even had a ceremonial flushing of the last of the medicines that we all participated in. Sophie also went in for her monthly check-up this week and came back with a great report. Six months post-treatment and all seems to be well for Sophie (and the rest of us).

December 18, 2007


9:00 AM (Central time): It's been a crazy week! A week ago today, I flew to NC for some work meetings. It was good to see the people I work with in person, and I met up with some friends from Dunn as well. Mom drove down on Friday and spent the night with me in the hotel. She even went to our Christmas party and met some of the people I work with.

I had pretty good travel, with a few hurdles. On Tuesday, the weather was pretty bad in Dallas, and although my connecting flight boarded on time, we sat in the plane for three and half hours, waiting for (1) the weather to clear, (2) a new pilot who wasn't over his allowable flying time, (3) lightning to clear so the bridge crew could move the skybridge, and (4) a ground crew to help the plane navigate away from the gate. Then we had a two and half hour flight. On the way back, when I was at the Raleigh airport, I did the self check-in at the little machine and got my boarding passes. As I was waiting for them to call my name so I could check my luggage, I got out my driver's license and had it together with the boarding passes in my purse. When they called my name and I went up to the counter, I pulled out my boarding passes but could NOT find my license. I looked through my purse three times and went back over to where I was standing--no license. So, I had to go through a full security check (where I cheerily served as a guinea pig for a TSA trainee). Once on the other side of security, I found a quiet place to sit down and go through my purse again. I immediately found it in the first place I looked. Go figure!

On Sunday--the day after I got home--we had our annual open house (not the best timing for my travel). After church was over, I spent most of the afternoon getting everything ready, and a several people helped out by bringing me some last-minute ingredients I had forgotten and coming early to help me set up. We had about 30 visitors, and everyone seemed to have a nice time. I had a lot of help with cleanup (thanks, Freda!), so it was relatively stress-free!

Yesterday, I took Sophie to Lubbock for some cognitive testing. Randall may have mentioned in a previous posting that some of the chemotherapy (especially the methotrexate that was administered monthly in her spinal fluid), can cause cognitive delays in some children. Our friend Allison Smith had taken her daughter Madison (http://www.madisonsmith.org/) for testing several times during and after her leukemia treatment and had been encouraging us to get a baseline test for Sophie for quite some time. After two and a half hours of testing, Sophie seemed happy (though she did sleep all the way home--nearly two hours). The doctor gave me his initial informal impressions and said he would like to meet with me and Randall next week.

He said Sophie definitely has some delays that are typically associated with methotrexate, but that he has assessed children with much worse problems. He said she would benefit from increased time for timed school assignments (and that her difficulty completing assignments within a specified time is "diagnosable"--we can talk about whether formalizing that in her school record would be wise). He also said she tends to use "confabulation"--a fancy word meaning that she makes things up when she doesn't know the answer. To me, that seems pretty typical (and I do believe she learned it from her sister), but I guess he saw more of it than would be observed with a child her age. I will say that, lately, she has had a tendency to say outlandish things or answer questions with totally wild answers, and when we point it out, she will quickly say, "I'm just kidding!" and laugh.

I am eager to read the report from the doctor and talk with him about where we head from here. I guess I'm a little sad that Sophie has been permanently affected by medication that she took, but that medication is part of the plan that saved her life and allowed her to be here with us. She's a happy, lovable child, and if she has delays, we will find ways to help her compensate. No child is perfect, and we will hope that Sophie will always have teachers who are willing to help each child succeed--ours included.

December 31, 2007


10:00 AM (central time): Happy New Year (almost)! We have had a good holiday. Randall's mom Karin was here visiting us and stayed for a week. She really seemed to like our new home, town, and friends. She got to hear her son preach--twice! It was a pretty low-key day on Christmas. We had to wake Sophie up, but Elisabeth was definitely up early. We took our time opening gifts, and ate quite well. Breakfast casserole in the morning (a long-standing family tradition), tamales in the afternoon (a New Mexico tradition we are happy to be observing again), and ham and vegetables for dinner (no tradition--it just sounded good).

When I asked Sophie what her favorite gift was, she said it was the jelly beans from her stocking. When I exclaimed, "What??" She said, "I'm just kidding!" and then said it was the magic wand my mom gave her (it's a very fancy bubble wand that has metal shaped into a star with curlicues, and colored marbles). She's pretty happy with the fancy baby doll Santa gave her, but she's having a hard time interacting with it.

Elisabeth got lots of books, which made her happy, and she has spent a lot of time since then reading. Randall and I got a lot of books too, and I can't wait to read them! Having some time off from work has given me some time to read and relax. It's been hard to get back to work today (which would be why I'm avoiding working and writing this blog post instead!). Thankfully, I'll have tomorrow off, so I can't be too depressed about going back to work. At least I'm not facing a whole week.

Sophie will have her monthly check-up in Lubbock a week from today. We haven't heard anything from the doctor who did the cognitive testing. I gues we'll call him this week if we don't hear anything.