Back in Cinci

Lily helping Poppa make blueberry jam

I loved the beach, even without my swimsuit

This was about the midpoint of our exhausting 10-mile hike around Craig Lake. My legs were tired from my chemo, so Mommy and Daddy carried me in a backpack the whole way.

How cool! We saw a couple of bald eagles on the Peshekee River and Lake Michigamme.

The "little housey" we stayed in during our vacation to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan - this is the Kniskern family cabin, built in the 1930s, on Lake Michigamme.

I loved the playground at the Lower Harbor in Marquette!

On "the rock" at sunset on Lake Michigamme...
Avery, me, and Lily on the newly re-anchored dock

Anja, Lily, and me on the famous Michigamme rock

One of the many beautiful sunsets we experienced

After eight fun-filled days in the UP, we're back! With temps in the mid-seventies and low humidity, it was perfect weather. We wore bug spray the entire time, and I escaped without any bug bites. Mommy has a theory that the bugs don't bite me because they don't like the taste of my chemo, but I'm not sure. Maybe it's just that I'm not that sweet! :o)

It was awesome to spend time with all of the Kniskerns. I was able to see my Great Nanna, Nanna B, Poppa, Great Uncle Jon, Great Aunt Laurel, (Uncle) Matt, (Aunt) Emily, and Anja. We had some great family dinners with traditional UP foods like pasties and cudigies and Uncle Jon's soups (not that I tried anything new), but everyone else seemed to enjoy them.

We took daily walks to the playground, picked berries (raspberries and Mommy's favorite, blueberries), swam at the beach and in the lake, fished, and played a ton. We were able to visit Great Uncle Jon and Great Aunt Laurel's new house (beautiful!), and we were even able to see Mason, Avery, Uncle Jon, and Aunt Renee the night before we left since they were staying in the cabin the next week.

The Tuesday after we returned from our trip, I had to go to clinic (in Clifton) for chemo. My ANC, platelets, hemoglobin, and white blood cell counts were all good, so they were able to go ahead with my Vincristine. Dr. Pope was a little concerned about my liver enzymes, though, as she said they were elevated again. The levels could be up as a result of chemo, as well as the Fluconazole that I'm on for my weird foot rash issues. She decided to pull that medicine from my nightly repertoire and test my blood again in two weeks. If my liver levels are still up, they might need to pull some of my chemo. You know, I wouldn't mind giving up a couple of my medicines... some nights I have to take seven syringes full of medication!

While in clinic, Mommy asked where I was on the growth charts because she was concerned that Anja (my 2 1/2-year-old third cousin in one of the pics above) was about the same height as me. I am four now, you know. Dr. Pope printed out the charts, and though I'm only in the 25th percentile for height, it's where I've been since starting treatment. For weight, I'm in the 75th percentile, and that's been steady, too. Dr. Pope said that there's no way of knowing how tall I would have been without treatment, but once I stop taking chemo, I might have a growth spurt in the first six months. The bodies of most kids my age are focused on growing, but mine is working to build new blood and marrow. Another stinky side-effect...

I had a really bad reaction to my chemo on Tuesday and terrible week on steroids. I so want to be done with all of this! I told Mommy I didn't want to do this anymore last week, but she said I have to have a "tubey" five more times. That doesn't sound like many more times, but you don't understand how painful it is to have a needle shoved in your chest and then a big sticker ripped from the sensitive skin there. Let me tell you, it sucks! This "nice" medicine, as Mommy calls it, is for the birds, too. I can't make up my mind about anything, I am mean (without even trying), and I'm hungry all the time, although I can't decide want I want to eat. It's quite frustrating! I also don't have much energy and I get hot very easily, so I don't want to swim or play outside.
December 17th, please come quickly!

This week, I'm gradually getting back into routines, but I'm testing everyone. It's not the chemo... it's just me being a toddler. We went to Kings Island on Monday, and I even rode my first roller coaster. That evening, we went to the Clermont County Fair, where we saw lots of animals, played games, and watched some of the tractor/truck pull. It was so cool! That was my favorite part of the evening. I jumped up and down, squealing with delight each time one of the trucks or tractors pulled that heavy sled. If I had taken a nap during the day, we would have stayed longer to see some of the really tripped-out vehicles race.

Well, I've gotta go... we're headed to the library for a puppet show!

Love and hugs to you all...

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