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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.


Let Sophie-cat know that she is in our thoughts and prayers...as is the whole family. Sophie has proved time and time again that she is a strong little girl, this is just one more hurdle for her to jump..she can and will with love and support!
Happy "early" birthday Randall! Give Elisabeth and Sophie a squeeze from all of us!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to the Partons. We're sending strong cognition vibes to Sophie. She's at an age where she will be able to make such great strides. It's terrific you are looking into areas where compensation may be needed. You are strong and loving parents.
Our best blessings of the season to all of you. Love the Colorado Bowens.

I know you had to have the testing done and I agree with Allison (I'd have wanted to know also--this way you can look at things clearer like your "confabulations".) Boy that is a good word for alot of things that a lot of people say. And Sophie saying, "I'm just kiddin" is really part of her. (She does know the difference). She's smart because she has smart role models! Tell Elisabeth to keep it up! We had a wonderful Christmas and Chris brought his girlfriend along with us to go to Gatlinburg. (He plans to ask her to marry him this weekend). The reason I stuck this in is to tell you he also forgets to finish "things" but he has learned to put important things together and make his own calendar/or checking system and he has done very well in med school. Most everyone does this and like I said you have a handle on it early, you're all smart, and you have logic on your side. Take one small step at a time--you'll see glowing results. Hugs and kisses for the girls and hugs and pats for everything mom and dad go through. Prayers always. Happy New Year