Tag Archives: Cancer

Homeschool Journal Year 2 Week 16

In my life this week…

We are back from Vancouver. While we don’t get the official results for another week or so there was nothing concerning brought up. If there was something concerning they would order more scans to try to figure it out. There were no extra scans and no concerns from his primary oncologist.

Philip Being silly and almost getting stuck
Philip Being silly in a waiting room and almost getting stuck.

Our trip down was longer than expected. We started off with normal winter conditions for going over the mountain passes. We crossed the first one with no problem. As we were about to get on the second one there was a sign saying the highway was closed. We stopped for lunch and checked the road report. All it was saying was ‘Vehicle Incident’ with no estimated time of opening. By the time we had finished lunch it was updated with an estimated time of opening in about 5 hours. We took the long way around that added about 2 hours to our journey. The good thing about that was it took us past and area called Hell’s Gate. Philip read a book about the Chinese immigrants who built the railway through that canyon. It was interesting to see just how steep and narrow it really was. The book is call “The Lambs of Hell’s Gate” It took just over three hour to reopen the road. We can make guesses at the cause but it never made the news so we really don’t know.

We had time in Vancouver to do a number of touristy things that were also educational. First up was the Vancouver Art Gallery. It had a number of interesting exhibits. My favorite was a native artist by the name of Charles Edenshaw. He did a lot of intricate carved gold and silver jewelry. There was also a display by Emily Carr that was also excellent. I really wanted to show Margaret one of her watercolors but all the work was oil.

MOA Totem Pole
MOA Totem Pole

The second place was the Museum of Anthropology. This was my favorite part of the trip. For learning about the native people of British Columbia there is no better place. The tour that we went on was very informative. It showed the difference between the poles and some of their meaning. We also linked back to the Art Gallery and the Charles Edenshaw. Bill Reid, a very well known native artist has his own rotunda. We learned from the tour that his great great uncle was Charles Edenshaw. If you are ever in Vancouver it is well worth the time.

MOA Totem Pole
MOA Totem Pole

In our homeschool this week…

Other that a lot of what I am calling field trips which really they are we didn’t do anything.

I’m working on…

Last Saturday we finished organizing the craft room. That was the final step in my master plan of reorganizing the house. On to new projects. I need to eliminate a whole bunch of stuff.

Craft Room Organization
Craft Room Organization

I’m cooking…

Is it a bad sign that two of the numbers in your phone are for a Chinese take out place and a pizza place down the street from Children’s Hospital which is a five plus hour drive from our house?

We ate out a lot last week. Where we stay has a shared kitchen and the basic ability to warm stuff in the room. Think college dorm room. It would be possible but it is much simpler and less stressful to eat out.

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September Is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I was reminded of this by a blog post on An Ordinary Mom. I liked her approach of telling the story through previous posts so I am going to do the same. First I will start with a picture of Philip at age three and a half receiving treatment.

Philip Age 3 and a half
Philip age 3 1/2 receiving treatment

Although she ended with the video I am going to start with. It is hard hitting at the start as is a cancer diagnoses but it ends with hope.

As some of you know my oldest son Philip is a two time cancer survivor. The first part of his story is under I too know too many names.  As the video says it is very hard to explain the whirlwind of emotions getting that diagnosis

Philip Transplant

The second post I wrote was to get people to vote on contest where Pepsi was donating money to a cause based on votes. They ended up winning. Anyways I wrote a post called Scariest Day.  It was probably the closest he came to dying. Too many of the families that were there during our treatment lost kids to cancer.


We are now four and a half year off treatment and five and a half years cancer free. So we now only get the scans once a year. When I wrote the next post we were getting them every six months. Before that we were getting them every three months. Scans, Kids Cancer and Stress

Philip’s Audiogram

The video talks about some of the side effects of treatment. Hearing loss is the price we paid for our son’s health. Some of the chemo and more powerful anti-biotics damaged his high frequency hearing. I did talk about it a bit last year when we got him a hearing aid. Homeschooling Journal Week 24. Some of the kids ended up with much worse permanent disabilities. The one that got me the worst was walking into play area to see a teenager missing most of his leg with his foot attached on backwards where his knee should be. Later I found out that they could use his ankle, reversed, as a replacement knee.

One thing they didn’t mention is the mental burden these kids deal with. Last year we came to the realization that Philip was fighting some internal battles in regards to the death of kids he had played with in the hospital and considered friends. One in particular he remembered was Connor. They played video games frequently while they were in-patients at the hospital. Connor passed away just short of his 18th birthday. We always felt that Philip deserved the truth and never hid anything from him. I still believe that was the right decision but it did put some very heavy loads on his shoulders. I discussed this in two blog posts last year: Homeschool Journal Week 3 and Homeschool Journal Week 4.

I am listing the two charities listed by An Ordinary Mom. They are St. Baldrick’s and CureSearch. I am familiar with both and both do excellent work. Both are US based. For those like me and are in Canada, Childhood Cancer Canada Foundation is also good one. Thank you.

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Homeschooling Journal Week 36

In my life this week…

It is a bad sign when you have to read your last post to remember what happen last week as apposed to the week before. I was all ready to tell you all about Oliver again. It has been one of those weeks.

Our week started of with Relay for Life, which raises money for the cancer society. We were all to tired and stressed from the week before. That led to a cranky family. Add to that pouring rain for the night and we ended up sleeping in our tent most of the night instead of walking. If it had been any other event I think we would have gone home but it is important so we stayed. For me the highlight of the night is always the lighting of the luminaries. Throughout the night you can buy paper bags and decorate them in memory of those that didn’t make it. Philip as he has always done did one for his friend Connor. As night falls they line the track with them, weighed down and light candles in them.

Relay For Life Luminaries

We then do an almost silent walk around the track. The silence isn’t required but all the talking is in whispers as people stop at certain luminaries to pray and remember. My walk was weighted by thought of a little girl that I follow on CaringBridge that passed away days before the Relay. She was about Philip’s age and had been battling cancer for years. I know she is in heaven and there is no cancer there.

The rest of the week has been appointments. Nothing earth shattering just your normal everyday sort of appointments but they all hit this week and my schedule is a mess. So is the house. Next week should be much more sane.

Reading BabyCenter this week there was talk about kids being punished, expelled, and even arrested for bring anything shaped like a gun to school. When I was picking my daughter up from school there was a boy showing his friend the gun that he had made out of scrap wood and metal. He had obviously taken some time to get it right. It was clearly not real but it was obviously a gun. Listening in he had made it as a prop for a play. He wasn’t allowed to use it in the play. That was to be expected, we do have rules about not having toy guns on school property. The thing that struck me was that was as far as it went. He was not suspended or even had it taken away from him. Somebody made the judgement call that extreme measures were not needed. Hats off to them.

My Weekly Clean up task…

I call it my spice shelf but it has a lot more on it than that. Mostly it just needs to be organized but I am sure there are a few things that are not in their proper home or should be garbaged.

Messy Spice Rack

In our homeschool this week…

At the beginning of the week Philip was given the goal of moving his percent finished in Rosetta Stone from 75% to 85%. He managed to get to 83%. Given that we had some technical problems I chose to accept that. His reward was a field trip with Grandma that he really enjoyed.

The technical problem was that he is having trouble getting the speech recognition portion to work. We still have not solved that completely. It appears that part of the problem was with the newest version of flash, 11.7.700 seems to have problems with Rosetta Stone. Downgrading the flash made it work sort of again. I am left with a couple of possibilities.

  1. The rather old laptop is doing something funny.
  2. The headphones are faulty. We have gone through a number of them this year already.
  3. Rosetta Stone is having problems. It is an online service so who know what goes on in the background.
  4. That it is the last unit and it has just gotten harder.

I am going to set up an old computer with a clean install of windows and see if it works better there. If not I am not sure what we are going to do other than contact his teacher with our problems. The good news is that he is passed the ‘Minimum’ 80% and thus has passed the course. However if I do not resolve this problem I am reluctant to pay to continue the course next year.

I’m cooking…

This week cooking has been survival mode cooking. I did a big beef roast up on Sunday and that lasted for three meals. Beans and Wieners were in there somewhere. Ham steaks in brown sugar sauce was another. I will have to measure the ingredients for that one next time I make it and post the recipe. It is quite definitely not healthy but it is yummy.

I have been having fun joining recipe blog hops and viewing some of the recipes. One of those I am planning on making this week and have bought the ingredients for. It is a salad that comes with a history lesson. The recipe is Coronation Chicken and I will send you to the blog for the recipe and the history lesson.

My week’s recipe is a revisit on baking bread. I have long made my own bread for cost reason and that I know what goes in it. Over the years things have changed a little so I decided to redo the post with those changes.

I’m Praying for…

My kid’s Grandma worked in our church for many many years. One of the women that she worked with all those years just had her granddaughter diagnosed with AML, another childhood cancer. He granddaughter is a year older than Philip. So please pray for Savannah and her family. They are less than week in from diagnoses. This first bit is a whirlwind. It is tough to put into words the emotions and disbelief that occurs. It is the worst time from here you settle in to a new normal which again is tough to explain unless you have been through it.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

Ian (4y old) trying to confirm that the person we were talking about was our priest.

“That man that stands up in church and reads God’s papers”

The Homily is written out that our priest carries to the pulpit.

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