Thursday May 31st, A Great Day!!

Despite our whole family being super tired, our day was great!  Today was the first day that Ingram didn't cry AT ALL during the sedation, radiation, or waking up!  He helped out with every aspect of his day morning from taking his tape off Spiderman, cleaning the cap, flushing his line, and hooking up his line to the tube.  He even made sure that his fluids were hooked up and then covered the line up with his blanket.  He was so busy watching Superman that he didn't realize everything else that was happening and went down with just a tiny whimper.  21 down, 12 to go.

While we were playing and watching tv, Ingram told me that he wanted bacon and gatorade for his breakfast.  At first it was chocolate donuts, then it was pancakes, then rice krispie treats, but now it's bacon for the second day in a row.  Can you imagine waking up from being sedated and asking for bacon?  Whatever works though I guess!  Oh HUGE news...Ingram gained 6 ounces from our last weigh in on last Thursday and it was definitely a cause for celebration!!!

Next up was labs getting drawn where once again he helped do everything.  The nurses are so great and let him (and the other kids) help even when it takes twice as long because it keeps them happy.  We also watched The Lion King for a bit between appointments and had lunch.  Every time we passed a phone, Ingram wants to make phone calls; today, he wanted to call Daddy at each phone and then when we were eating lunch, he sent him a text message.  It was a message of random letters and numbers which promptly got the response "Hey Ingram!" since it was obvious it was him.  I guess he learned that one from his sisters. 

We also had our regular clinic visit and speech therapy today which was on our original schedule that started at 7:45am and ended at 2:00pm which made for a pretty long day.  An hour long trip to the medicine room was added to our schedule since Ingram was having a reaction to the "lung medicine" and needed to switch medicines. What we thought was radiation rash they believed more to be a reaction to his antibiotic.  The new medicine is a monthly iv infusion that took an hour to run as he slept on a bed snuggled up with me. It was great to be snuggly with him for that hour but it would have been even better if I had slept too.  Oh well, maybe next month I'll come in extra tired on infusion day and get all cozy again and take a nap.  

Ingram's New Favorite Snack...Marshmallows!

Tuesday May 30th, Marshmallows!

Sooooooo our day turned out to be super long because of a silly little marshmallow!!!  Ingram decided to eat a marshmallow on the way out of the house this morning even though he knows that he's not supposed to eat before we leave.  I told him twice that he could eat after he wakes up at the hospital but that he could have some apple juice.  We were about to head out the door and I went back into the bedroom to put something up and then came out and saw it...the pantry door was halfway open, the marshmallow bag was fully open, and Ingram's mouth was full.  "Spit it out!!!" but it was too late.

Needless to say, our sedation/radiation was moved from 9am all the way till 2pm for a silly little marshmallow.  I promise you at first it was funny and we just were laughing about it, but by noon, when we're both super hungry and know that we still have 2 hours left, it was not funny at all.  We sat in the car and I made phone calls while he watched a movie and calmed down.  I think he would have gone to sleep if I'd been driving around town.  We were going to run an errand, but I decided that I just didn't want to get out so we stayed in the car and he was happy and I got stuff done.

His rash was better by the time we went into radiation but when he came out it was worse than ever.  We're treating it with a cream, but it just looks so bad; the good thing is that it doesn't seem to bother him at all.  He was a little more shy today than he's been before, but then again today didn't go as it had before either.

Once we got home, the girls were already off to their friends houses for the night so we just went on a walk with Beau.  Ingram is pretty good at riding his bike now and rode all the way down the street to visit friends and actually peddled the whole way and back which is a pretty good distance.

We have 13 more radiation days and we're hoping that they all happen first thing in the morning like they're planned.  Having gotten through 20 sedation days without a snag is pretty amazing, so I'm not complaining one bit.  As Craig's mom said today, we don't do things normal; we like to add a little spice to our lives!

Since Ingram Had To Wait Till 3pm For Food,
I Got His Favorite Snack That He Eats With Daddy!

Tuesday May 29, Spiderman Has Entered The Building!

Well it sure was hard to get back in gear this morning!  I had to wake Ingram up at 7:40 so we could be out the door 5 minutes later, but we made it to St. Jude on time.  Ingram did a great job getting accessed this morning and barely cried at all.  He decided to make his butterfly Spiderman this week and has also decided the next two names for his last two butterflies of radiation, but you'll have to wait on those...they're top secret!  The count...14 Radiation Days and 2 Pokey Mondays left!!!

After he woke up from sedation/radiation, we started to notice a rash on both his cheeks.  We rolled on over to our clinic and they're thinking his "radiation rash" is starting to appear so we're treating it so that it doesn't bother him.  Then Ingram decided that he was hungry and wanted some "big chicken" as opposed to "little chicken" and he told me he didn't need me to cut it with a knife since he was a big boy.  Do you see a pattern here?  First he doesn't need his mommy to ride with him on the tube and now he doesn't need me to cut his chicken either.  He's 3 and a half...he still needs me right?

Anyway, we had a great rest of the day and he skipped his nap accidentally!  The people at Target heard him all over the store by the time his lack of sleep kicked in and all I could do was laugh.  Oh well, bedtime for his was 8pm tonight and he went down without a fight!

Saturday, Sunday, and Monday Memorial Weekend!!

We had a great weekend!!  We left town for a the long weekend and headed to the lake with our family.  Ingram felt great all weekend long and everyone had a fantastic time at the lake.

Ingram (and everyone else) had plenty to eat and we're hoping that he gained weight over the long weekend since it seemed as though he had his regular appetite back.  While he was still extrememly fond of Cheetohs, he ate more chicken this weekend than he has in quite a long time!  Of course while we're excited with everything Ingram ate, I think the rest of us are dreading adding up all the snacks we ate on the boat in addition to the regular meals we had!

Ingram took a long nap one day at the hotel and the next day took a short nap on the boat like he did all last summer.  I have to admit, I love it when he falls asleep on the boat because it's usually my lap he's sleeping in!  He rode his bike, swam in the water, shot his water guns at everyone, rode the tube (which is a first), and took his favorite position in Craig's lap driving the boat.

I think this weekend he was the only kid out of all 5 that drove the boat so he thought he was pretty special.  By the end of the second day, Ingram decided that he wanted to ride the tube just like his girls.  But in true Dismuke style, he didn't want Mommy or his Aunt Amye to ride with him.  I finally talked him into letting Aunt Amye ride with him but then he told her once they were going that "Big boys don't need Mommy's with them" and as you can see in the picutres, he ended up on the tube with just his cousin Brett (who turned 7 Saturday while we were there) and then with his girls and both cousins.

Saturday Afternoon's Water Gun War Is About To Be Waged!
The Bad Part Is That We Were Down To One Working Water Gun And Ingram Had It!
We Left The Rest Of The Water Guns In The Boat Box.
Daddy And Ingram Hanging Out In Their Floats!
Ingram's Favorite Spot!  Notice His Hand On The Throttle About To Go Faster!!!
We Are So Proud Of Our Little Man!
This Is His First Time Riding On The Tube. 
"Big Boys Don't Need Mommy's!"
All Five Cousins Tubing For The First Time Together!
Check Out Ingram Peeking Around Brett On The Right Side.
Finishing The Second Day With Smiles All Around!

Friday May 25th, Surprise!

This morning Ingram went down in Sedation putting up a fight and I was thinking that he wasn't going to have a good day.  Well, I was wrong!  He woke up happy as he could be and was chatting up his nurses and telling them all the different things he wanted to eat and drink, what he was going to do this weekend, and telling them his butterfly wasn't coming back for a long time.  He's a regular little man of mystery and I never know what he's going to say next.  So we headed on out and went to go get a bite to eat, but his shoes were missing.  First Lamby goes in the laundry and now his shoes walked away;  we headed back downstairs to start the hunt and after all the rooms we were in and out of, his crocs were under his bed in one of the back rooms after they had cleaned it. 

With mismatched crocs on his feet (check them out in the picture below), we ran to the cafeteria because he was actually hungry and I wanted to feed that belly of his.  He ate cheetohs, cheetohs, and more cheetohs; what can I say?  I would eat cheetohs all day if my mom would let me too!  We stopped by Craig's office because I needed to run by the store, but had left my purse at home.  You're all laughing now because I forgot my purse today, but guess what?  Today wasn't the first time that I forgot my purse at home on the way to St. Jude.  I think I get focused on getting Ingram to the hospital and the girls to where they're supposed to go, that some days I'm lucky if I make it out with half of the things I need for the day. 

We finally managed to make it home and then he even took a nap.  Craig brought home a surprise for Ingram and he was so excited about it.  Last night was the first time he really rode a bike other than in physical therapy and he didn't do it that well back then.  He sure flew down our street today on his new set of wheels and had no problem going fast.  It was instead the two of us that had problems keeping up with him since we were walking...well really, Craig went running after him while I walked!

Close Your Eyes!  No Peeking!!

Are You Kidding Me?  I Got A Bike!!

Thursday May 24th, Community...and A Little Chaos!

This morning was not great.  Ingram cried for some reason the better part of being in the back and I finally looked at the doctors and nurses and asked "Are y'all ready yet?"  They smiled and then 15 seconds later Ingram was asleep in my arms.  I booked it to the cafeteria only to find they were out of pancakes AND rice krispie treats and I thought I wanted to go back to bed and restart our day.  The gals were setting out the lunch stuff and I asked if they had any leftover pancakes and she said no; then two seconds later she asked if it was for a patient and I explained about Ingram being sedated in radiation and that he loves waking up to a pancake, even if it's cold.  She told me to hold on and 5 minutes later gave me two fresh hot pancakes on a plate.  Next thing I know, they're handing me two rice krispie treats as well.  The great thing is that I see this kind of stuff every day to kids of all ages and stages of treatment.  The staff in every part of the hopsital goes out of their way to make sure that each and every child is taken care of in every regard. 

So the rest of the story from this morning is crazy!  First off, when we got to the hospital, I realized we didn't have Lamby...bad news.  We've had Lamby since Ingram was born and yesterday she went out with the dirty blankets from our wagon at the hospital.  Once we realized it, our registration gal made about 4 phone calls and now there is an APB out for Lamby with a picture included.  We're not exactly sure if she'll come back to us, but we sure are hoping for the best!  Then when Ingram was waking up from sedation, he decided today that he didn't like apple juice any more and he didn't want to eat the special order pancakes.  Next I was giving him some fruit punch and the top of the cup came off and I soaked him with red fruit punch.  By this time, he was crying just as loud as he was earlier and I just put him in the wagon and rolled away with him.  This was definitely a day when I could've cried instead of laughing at the situation, because Ingram was a wet, sticky, half-naked boy and it was all my fault. 

Thankfully our day ended on a great note!!  All five of us went down to the Ronald McDonald House and played for hours with our new friends.  My girls told us on the way home that they wanted to go back because they had so much fun; they didn't expect it to be fun since the kids were "sick" like Ingram.  These boys aren't going to let a little cancer slow them down at all.  They were chasing Madison and Lindsey all around the inside and outisde of the house.  They were hitting, kicking, jumping, falling, racing on bikes, shooting with some sort of flying ball gun, putting each other in jail, and and even fitting inside of a toy fridge!  It was great and it let all of us talk and tell each other our stories too.  Two of the families are finished with treatment and leaving tomorrow so it just leaves us two "newbys" left, us and an out of town family, to welcome the new faces that come into the Radiation Clinic.  It's exciting to have friends finish and get to go home, but at the same time, part of our family is leaving and it's sad.  We've only known them for about a month now, but when we are all in the situation we're in, you quickly get beyond the "fluff" that comes with meeting new people and go straight to the heart. 

Watch Out World, Here We Come!

Wednesday May 23rd, We Need Help for Team Ingram!!!!

We had a great day today, especially since Madison, Lindsey, and Craig came to St. Jude!!!!  Ingram had so much fun showing his girls around and showing off his dancing moves too.  You see, once he was awake enough after radiation, he didn't want to ride around in the wagon.  Instead he wanted to run through the halls of the hospital with his girls showing them this and that and eating ice cream.

As far as the official meeting, the girls did great and the guys at St. Jude and we were so proud of them.   We also set the team up on the St. Jude Marathon website.  We really want to do Team Ingram in conjunction with Craig's company's team, Team Vining.  We raised money for the hospital with them last year and it was so rewarding.  His company loves St. Jude and has really embraced the opportunity they have to support it financially.  They have raised more for St. Jude than any other team each of the last two years.  And the Team Captain, Mark Allen, is great at organizing people so we can rely on him to help with the logistics of all of these things.

So Team Ingram is officially going to be a part of Team Vining.  When you register for the race, SIGN UP FOR TEAM INGRAM.  All Team Ingram participants will get a Team Ingram/Team Vining t-shirt and a wristband inspired by Ingram's love of wristbands!  We want to raise as much support for the work going on at St. Jude in honor of our little man!  If you have half a desire to try out the 5k, PLEASE join us.  We need all the help we can get.

The bottom line though is to register NOW as an individual and hopefully as a hero too, and sign up for Team Ingram.  

So once again, "Get your move on" and email us once you register so we can keep you all posted!

The Dismuke Crew Never Turns Down Chocolate Ice Cream!!

Tuesday May 22nd, The Good And The Not-So-Good

Unlike yesterday, sedation/radiation went fairly well with only a small amount of fussing on part of Ingram because in his words "I still don't like that sleepy medicine!"  He helped his nurse do everything just like normal and then we hid the tubing behind the blanket so that he didn't see it.  For some reason, when he can see the line hanging it just upsets him, so we hide it and move along.  So that's the first part of the "good" of our day.

Things were running a little slower in the back because a new computer system was being introduced today and it was slowing down our doctor; in the back of my mind I was worried that Ingram wasn't going to be asleep before all the pancakes were gone and to him that would have been bad.  So once he was asleep that was my to get his pancake in the cafeteria and get back before he woke up.  While we were waiting for our turn and the boys were playing in the playroom, I was catching up with another mom about their weekend and we were joking about all the things our boys "need" to have to be comfortable.   Pancakes and apple juice are Ingram's comfort (at least this week) but her son doesn't really start eating till later in the day when he's sedated.  She was so worried that I wouldn't get out in time that she got Ingram's pancake and had it waiting for us just in case it took a long time.  Sweet huh?  That was the second "good" of our day.

This family is going through a tough spot right now and they just received news that there were 4 new spots on their sons MRI that they're not happy about.  They're switching to a different type of radiation and are somewhat uneasy about it.  I told them that our family would be praying specifically for him and would share it with our friends as well.  He's 3 and a half, is the first case of this particular tumor St. Jude has seen, and are from out of town.  Another family is also having some new "irritations" from the radiation and would appreciate the prayers also.  He's 4, is a little fireball just like Ingram, and is from out of town too.  Our third little guy is all set to be finishing radiation this week and he's 3 and a half too, has our type of tumor, and is from out of town.  They all are at the same house while they're in town and I'm planning to take the whole crew down and let them all meet each other and play soon and everyone is super excited about it.  If all four of these boys are having a good day at the same time, you better watch out because they get wild and crazy;  and if they're all having a bad day at the same time, you do not want to be around!

So that was our friends 'Not-so-good' news and now it's time for our not so good news.  It's not bad, it's just earlier than we expected for changes to be happening.  Ingram has labs drawn every Thursday just to keep a check of everything and today we had labs drawn again and had an appointment scheduled after that to go over everything.  None of the other gals knew what it was about so I was a little more than curious about the whole deal.  Once we got to our second appointment, we got filled in on everything and there's a remedy for it too.  A specific count is down lower than the doctors want for Ingram and puts him at risk for a certain types of infections, specifically for pneumonia that has to do with the particular cell family that is down.  Overall, his counts are okay and he's healthy (other than the fact that he has cancer) so we are not on any precautions as of now.  He will have to take medicine for three days twice a day every week until they tell us to stop and that's it.  On the upside, Ingram has now started giving himself his stomach medicine by himself each time (3x a day) so I'm hoping he will do this medicine in the same little man style.  The only possible down-side of this new medicine is that it is in the sulfur family so it's going to have a horrible after-taste I presume and I don't want it to be a major setback in our whole medicine routine.

So if you don't mind, please pray for our friends and please pray for Ingram, his counts, his new medicine that starts tomorrow (every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday).

Nothing Tastes Better Than "Ingram The Conqueror" In A Cookie Cake!

Monday May 20th, We Hate Mondays!!

The dreaded Monday morning was finally here and on top of having a butterfly land (which is not fun) all of our nurses changed for these two weeks.  Normally nursing changes are fun because we get to meet new people, but with this rotation neither one of us knew any of the nurses...not good!!!  The only face we knew in the sedation area was our Anesthesiologist so Ingram was NOT a happy camper.

Once "Tow Mater" was in, he stayed upset until he was asleep, but thankfully he woke up happy and we went about our day.  And by the rest of our day I mean, we left the hospital to have some fun because other than seeing our clinic appointment, we were finished!  We headed out for Chic Fil A and ended up running into not one, not two, not three, but FIVE families that we knew.  It was so much fun and made our bad morning turn into a great day.  Another good thing from today is that we have 19 more radiation days left and only 3 more Monday pokes that go along with those.  We definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel and it's exciting!!!!

Shark Face With Friends!

Loving Fruit By The Foot...Even Before We Eat Our Chicken!

Saturday and Sunday May19th and 20th, Taking a Break!

What a fun weekend we had!  It started out on a fabulous note with us sleeping till after 8am and that hasn't happened since March I think.  Well, the girls were awake in the den watching cartoons, but at least the three of us were still asleep because they were being extra quiet and our door was closed.  But, I've got to say the best thing was after Ingram went to the restroom for the first time Saturday morning then climbed up onto our bed and laid on top of Craig for about 10 minutes just hugging his neck.  Craig could barely breathe because he was all the way up to his neck, but he didn't care because it was just snuggle time for the boys and they rarely get that!  It made my heart happy and I know his heart happy too!

We stayed home from the lake this weekend and did a lot of random things at home and Ingram helped with everything.  He picked out a doggie door for Beau, chased Beau with a bat, hit Beau with a bat, helped paint a door, helped cut the hedges, then helped raked the clippings, told everyone else what to do, watched some "Scooby Dooby Doo Where Are You" and even took a nap.  We went swimming where he proceeded to shoot everyone with a water gun; I'm not sure if the Stanley Steemer guy thought it was funny or not though since he was in regular clothes, but he smiled nonetheless.  He had a busy Saturday for sure and enjoyed all of it!  The girls had a fun Saturday too and went to "My Big Backyard" and of course had Chic Fil A for lunch.  They also had fun swimming and going down the slide at our friends pool.  They had Ingram at the top of the slide at one point, but when it came time to let go, he promptly decided he'd rather go down the steps than down into the water.  Oh well, at least he got to swim in the water and have fun just like a normal kid!

Sunday he played in his classroom at church and was so glad to see all his friends!  His girls stayed in the room with him and "helped" while we went into the service; I guess it makes me a little more at ease knowing that they're back there with him since his moods can change rather quickly and they can help comfort him when he's upset.  One of his favorite gals brought him a box of Cars stickers and he had a whole sheet on his shirt by the time we left for lunch.

Danger Zone!!

Friday May 18th, We LOVE Fridays!

It was extra exciting in the Radiation Clinic today as one of our new friends had his last radiation session! They've been anticipating this day for so long and it was finally here; but the funny thing was once it was over, they lingered around for at least an hour telling everyone goodbye because they were leaving for two weeks before starting antibody treatments.  We have 20 sessions left and I can only imagine how we're going to feel when it's our turn.

Today went well at the hospital for Ingram but when he got home, he just didn't feel real good; luckily a little nap takes care of a lot of problems at our house...even for Mommy!  We woke up right as the girls were getting home from school and had another surprise at the house, Mr. David.  Well, he's only "Mr." to the kids and they were so excited to see him.  He's just like another kid around the house and the kids just love him.  He lived with us a few summers back when I was pregnant with Ingram and did a summer internship and has been a part of the family ever since.

Of course he came bearing a "beat me up ball" for Ingram.  Technically it's called a "Hopper" ball and has Lightning McQueen on it, but Ingram quickly turned it into a weapon and spent the rest of the afternoon/evening beating everyone with it.  When it got taken away by one of the girls or by Mr. David, he just went and got his nerf gun full of bullets and went crazy with it.  It was great!

Ingram and Mr. David

2012 St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend- Part 1

As some of you may know, Craig and I ran the Half Marathon last year together and raised money for St. Jude by signing up to be a St. Jude Hero. Our girls wanted to run the 5k last year but we didn't have enough time to get them ready and signed up before it started. I think they told us the week before the race and we said we would run it with them next year. Well next year is here and it's a totally different ball game our family!

Several of you have asked if we're going to have a team to honor Ingram for the race weekend and the answer is absolutely yes!!! We have a meeting next week with the folks at St. Jude about fundraising and our team with Madison and Lindsey (since they're heading it up) and will be able to pass along more details then. In the meantime, because the race is filling up quickly go ahead and sign up for the race. Do not sign up for a team yet. We will get you on Ingram's team after our meeting next Wednesday. Our family will be running the 5k together and we would love for everyone to join us as a family, couples, individuals, or whatever in either the 5k, the half marathon, or the full marathon. The girls are already in the process of recruiting kids for the team and they're really excited to start raising money for St. Jude; and, I heard that Madison has a pretty hefty dollar amount she's planning to raise that about made my jaw hit the floor!

With that in mind, go ahead and sign up for the race. Send us an email to let us know you want to be on the team and we will get you on it next week. So... as we say in the Dismuke house, "Get A Move On!"

Thursday May 17th, Long Day

Well it's almost 11:30pm right now and all is not quiet yet at the Dismuke house!  We had a long day at the hospital followed by a fun time at the soccer field.  Ingram played with a friend the whole time running around with an airplane or a soccer ball.  When they weren't running around, they were on the blanket playing on iPhones, trading back and forth for different games.  Everyone there couldn't believe how well he was doing and how much energy he still had.  I think that sometimes myself because he's like the Energizer bunny and keeps going and going and going till he finally just crashes...which tonight was about 10:30pm!  I have a feeling we're going to be running late tomorrow to both school and the hospital.

I guess a really simple thing to pray for about Ingram is that he will start to gain weight instead of losing it.  He has 21 more radiation treatments and it's likely that his appetite will be affected more so we're really wanting to get on top of this weight thing before he starts chemo in the middle of July.  He's eating more than he was last week, but he is just not gaining weight.  He's lost 2 total pounds since all this started Tuesday April 3rd and just since last Thursday he's down 2 ounces.  Craig and I have been noticing his bones more lately, but now the girls are starting to mention it too.  Poor little guy is trying but it seems as though once we're on a roll, he throws up a few times and then it like we're taking a few steps backwards and trying to make up for it is difficult.  So that's my prayer request for now...that my little man would beef up a little.

You Have Got To Love The Great Outdoors On A Pretty Day Like Today!

Wednesday May 16th, Party Time Again!

Radiation was once again first thing and Ingram did well again.  I think we're really onto something with him sitting in my lap while everything is being done.  He really likes the sticker book we work on each time; and of course what kid doesn't like playing on their parents phone??  He has decided though for the third day in a row that he doesn't need to sleep off the "sleepy medicine" and I'm back in recovery with him quicker each day and that's fine with me too!

Target put on a "Mad Hatter Tea Party" for all the patients at St. Jude today and we went over there once Ingram was steady enough after the sedation wore off.  Once we were there, he had a blast and the Target employees were wonderful!  Ingram (and all the other patients) got a t-shirt, a book, a gift bag, and a gift card; plus they had food, games, and crafts for everyone to do.  I started crying the minute we walked in as the Target employees started handing us stuff.  I'm still getting used to the generosity of complete strangers (and friends alike) that I get overcome with gratitude quite often now.

On our way home, Ingram wanted to stop by Daddy's office to show him his face (he got it painted with spiderman and a baseball) and also wanted to take Daddy a cookie.  He got a bag of three cookies from the cafeteria before we left; one for his Daddy and the other two for his girls.  He's just the most thoughtful little man always wanting to get something for others!  So we took Daddy a little lunch too...I think it was almost 2pm when we finally got to his parking lot.

Needless to say, Ingram had a blast today at St. Jude and then we came home had a package waiting from a friend with marshmallow guns.  You'll have to check out the pictures below to see what I'm talking about!  As if that wasn't enough, two more families stopped by today and we had so much fun visiting with them too.  I feel like we truly are the luckiest family in the world to be surrounded by so many friends during this time.  I just wish I could reach out and hug all of you to thank you so much for loving us during this time!

I Wish Y'all Were Here To Get You're Own Spiderman Paint!


And She's Down!

Tuesday May 15th, Short and Sweet!

Sedation/Radiation started at 8:45am and I was planning to wake little man up by 7:45am to head out the door if he wasn't up by then.  He woke up at 7:35 and peeked out of the room with the cutest little smile on his face to start our day.  You see it doesn't take long to get ready when you can't eat or drink before you leave; since he was going to the hospital just to sleep, he said he wanted to stay in his pajamas.  We love pajama days here at the Dismuke house, even if we go out in public in them!

He did not want me to undo his tape on McQueen this morning but he finally let me and then he let our nurse clean it, get his red water out, and then hook up his line.  Granted he was crying a little during it, but at least he wasn't yelling, screaming, and kicking!  After that was done (it literally took maybe 1 minute once I had him untaped), we added to today's sticker page and started making shark faces at everyone sending them away in terror.  We played for a few minutes then everyone came in to start but instead of crying, he kept making shark faces at them all then went back to playing on my phone.  The whole time he was in my lap again and I've decided that's the way we're going to do the last of our 23 radiation treatments.  That's right...we have an end in sight and we'll start counting down once we flip the calendar to June.  

The good thing is that I knew the boy who woke up this morning in the recovery room!  LIKE yesterday, he woke up when they were taking off the EKG stickers so that is most likely why he was upset.  UNLIKE yesterday, I calmed him down and he drank his normal 2 cups of apples juice then we left and went upstairs happily but still oh so groggy.  He rested in my lap in a warm blanket, ate a huge pancake, and finished his 3rd cup of juice while he watched a whole Power Rangers episode on my phone.

We headed home and he was acting normal by then and ate a whole plate of chicken fries then we took Beau for a walk before his nap.  I figured I'd try to get him down since his sedation was so early and short and it worked!  We also went to the park for about 3 hours and played with friends at a birthday party and had so much fun.  I love days like these and at 10pm, all the kids were finally in bed.  Our teachers are not going to give us the "most helpful parent" award since bedtimes seem to be getting later and later and school is still going on!  We were just all having too much fun and it took longer to get everything else done at home, but then again these days are not the same as they used to be for any of us.  Tomorrow will hopefully be an earlier bedtime for the whole house...I'm hoping!

Beau Is Such A Lazy Puppy That He Was Ready For A Break...
Before We Got To The End Of The Driveway!

Monday May 14th, Butterfly Invasion!

Today was the dreaded "access" day with a new butterfly getting poked into his port (also known as his lion).  Since the days of sedation haven't been getting any easier, I decided to have everything done today with him sitting in my lap instead of laying in the bed.  It did go much better than the first time he was accessed and he only cried for a short time rather than the whole time.  However, I have no idea who the kid is that woke up in Ingram's body today because I've never seen him act like he did today.  He was acting so awful that I just started laughing because I couldn't believe it and I couldn't do anything about it.  It took about 2 hours for him to turn back to normal but ohhhh those may have been the longest two hours of my life!!!  You will all be pleased to know that this week Ingram's butterfly is a good guy instead of a bad guy; he named him Lightning McQueen and says that he's super fast now.

Once we were headed home he was so excited to get Beau back from the kennel; and likewise Beau was so excited to see us.  Lindsey was super excited too when she got off the bus and Beau met her in the yard; he jumped all over her, knocked her down, and gave her non-stop kisses outside and in the house.  Even Madison was happy to see him and that's saying something since she normally runs from him!

Ingram wanted to go to the girls' soccer game tonight and had a fun time playing with his friend too.  Then once we were back home, it was the normal routine of dinner, showers, homework, and Beau putting Ingram to bed.  Well I guess it's not really normal since the kids didn't make it to bed till almost 10 and Ingram's not sleeping upstairs still; but they're all asleep nonetheless!

Saturday and Sunday May 12th and 13th, Cold and Rainy

We headed to the lake again this weekend and were able to spend two nights at a friends lake house and it was amazing!  It was cold when we got there and cold when we left AND rained more on than off during the 48 hours.  But we were at the lake to play in the water and we weren't about to let a little storm get in our way.  Our girls each had a friend with us for part of the time and then our family stopped by for part of the second day to celebrate Mother's Day too.  So like last weekend, I think the pictures are better than my words so here goes...

Friday Night Dinner at Craig's Favorite Road Trip Place...Dairy Queen!


The Dynamic Duo!!

"NOOOOO!  Not Head First!!!"

Watch Out Daddy!!

The Whole Crew Minus Craig

Yep...Tubing In The Rain!

Mothers Day Breakfast Was The Best!!

Friday May 11th, It's Friday!!!

We walked into the Radiation waiting room with such a big relief that it was Friday.  All the families, our new friends at St. Jude, were happy that we had all made it through another week.  Most of the families were heading home for the weekend to be back first thing Monday morning for treatment.  We are very lucky in that we just drive 35 minutes home instead of having a 3, 5, or 7 hour drive like some of the others.

Sedation didn't go any better today so we're just going to keep rolling with it and do our best each day.  We have a plan in place and I have a feeling that it's going to get better.  We talk about it all the time at home and are still trying to figure out why he gets so upset; he tells he doesn't like the it when they give him the sleepy medicine.  I'm kinda glad he doesn't like the sleepy medicine because some of the other kids say the room starts spinning and the doctors and nurses equate it to being intoxicated.  I just wish he wouldn't like it a little less and not get so upset each day.

We ended our day playing "Wii Car" which is actually Mario Kart, but Ingram insists that it's WiiCar so we just call it that.  It's nice to have a couple days off to hang out as a family and being able to eat as soon as we wake up each day!

"Wee!  I'm Playing Wii Car!"

Thursday May 10th, A Long Day

We left the house at 8am this morning and left Craig to get the girls off to school; I'm happy to report they were there on time and things (I think) went well.  By the time they were in school, Ingram had already had "The Professor" messed with and had his labs drawn for the day.  We did find out his pre-surgery weight and current weight it is something that they're watching.  He's very excited too because the Professor rides off to jail tomorrow!  After that, it was time for the fun!  We headed to the gym and played with his gal for the last time; Ingram had made a picture that for her and gave her hugs too.  They had fun and played, but Ingram told her that he was done playing 15 minutes into his 30 minutes.

Sedation and Radiation didn't go well again and we're changing things up for tomorrow.  This I think is the hardest thing to deal with right now and we're hoping to get it resolved very soon since we have 5ish weeks left of radiation.  We did some interesting things today that involved mustaches so you'll have to check out Lamby below and see how she looks.  We finished the day out well despite the sedation/radiation drama and not getting home from the hospital till around 5pm.   Leaving at 8am and getting home after 5pm made for a long day, but he was happy when he was home playing with Beau and squirting me with his new set of water guns.

We Love Lamby, But Her Mustasche Has Got To Go!

Wednesday May 8th, Not The Best Day

It seems as though Ingram is already tired of going to the hospital and getting the "sleepy medicine" and I don't blame him.  Today was not the best of days for him and he was hungry all morning.  He decided to try and fight the meds today and yelled louder than he did the day he got his first butterfly.  He was so upset that our doctors went ahead and pushed his medicine to knock him out instead of letting his "chilling out" meds kick in.  I think I was just as shocked as he was when they pushed the meds because I like playing with him and singing with him and I wasn't even ready for him to go to sleep yet.

Needless to say with that start, he didn't want to go to the cafeteria and eat ice cream for lunch today.  I even asked him a few times to see if I could change his mind.  They were making superhero capes and his friends were going down there, but my little man wanted to "just go home now."  Poor guy had enough and wanted to leave the hospital.

Thankfully as we drove home, he decided he was hungry and wanted chicken nuggets from McDonald's so of course I stopped there for him.  He had two nuggets, no fries, some apple juice, and a couple of apple slices.  A little later at home, he decided he was hungry again and wanted to eat some of his "baby cereal" which is literally baby cereal that infants; for some reason, he loves the Gerber baby oatmeal cereal and still eats it every now and again.  Today, he had two bowls of it.  Crazy I know!!  I guess if he wants to eat it, I'm going to keep giving it to him since it is good for him and we need all the good stuff we can get down him these days.

We Ended Our Day With Ice Cream After The Girls Had Haircuts.

Tuesday May 8th, It's a Race

Sedation and radiation started out our day as usual and the whole process went much smoother today.  Instead of crying off and on in our little prep room while we're waiting for our turn in the back, Ingram did much better!  He actually was "at the party" and playing with his trains until it was time to get sedated.  Our doctor gave his a little cocktail to help with the 30 minute wait and his anxiety about the sleepy medicine.  Once his medicine was being pushed, I was holding him close and singing "Jesus Loves Me" as he drifted off in a much more laid back mode.  It looks as if we've found a better way to start out his sedation sessions in a calmer manner; an unexpected bonus was that he woke up easy just like before the addition of the medicine which made me feel better about the whole thing.  

The highlight of his day as usual was Physical Therapy!  This is his gal's last week there and he told her "I'll miss you cause I like you.  I like to play baseball and basketball and golfballs with you."  Then in his next breathe, he asked who was going to play with him next;  it was cute because we were both like "Aww, he 's so sweet" then started laughing as he asked about her replacement.  Guess it's all about who he's going to play with next!  He actually rode a bike today which is a first; I'm thinking he might be wanting a Spiderman or McQueen bike pretty soon; but he really liked these little scooters that are in the video below where he's racing his PT gal down a super long hallway...and back.

Monday May 7th, Ugh...Monday

Oh, why do we have to have Mondays??  The whole Dismuke house overslept this morning!!  I think we had so much fun this weekend that it was just impossible to get up and out the door on time.  I'm just thankful that we didn't have to wake our kids up at 6am today unlike our friends who we saw at the lake! Ingram was the only one that got a nap of sorts during the day, and even that got interrupted by the nurses in the recovery room saying "Ingram, you ready for your apple juice?" After he was able to drink some juice, we rolled out in the wagon and he just watched the ceiling while he almost fell asleep on the way to the cafeteria.  Apparently a warm blanket and pillow was a little more exciting than food; well, at least for a few minutes!

His tastes have changed a little bit since the start of all this and he didn't even want ice cream today.  The first thing he said was that he wanted macaroni and the crazy thing is that he's not even a fan of macaroni. I went ahead and got it and got myself a grilled chicken sandwich and of course tator tots for Ingram.  We started to eat and saw a couple friends as they were coming through the cafeteria which is always fun.  It's nice to hang out with Ingram and hear some of the silly things he says coming out of sedation; but it's also nice to have friends that work for St. Jude stop and sit and talk for a few minutes.  They see what we're going through and they get to talk to other patients, so it's as if they understand what we're feeling. I know it's weird, but them being in the environment everyday and really understanding the whole process and knowing the language is comforting.  Talking with other parents whose children are going through the treatment is definitely good.  It amazes me every time I meet another family that no matter how different we are, we're really so much the same.  As I sat today while Ingram was back in radiation, I just got overwhelmed at how my family had grown from the five of us to a number I can't even count.  I guess it's a good thing that God is in control and He is big enough to keep up with all of His children.

Yummy Yummy Apple Juice!

Sunday May 6th, Lake Day!!

Hello everyone!  This weekend has been the best and I can't wait for you all to see what we did today.  Craig loaded up the back of the car before we left for church in hopes of Ingram feeling good so that he could do one of his favorite things...driving the boat!  Ever since we had our last day at the lake in September, he's been steadily asking us when we're going back to the lake.  Our answer is always "when it gets warmer" and now it's not just warm, but it's HOT!  So instead of writing about our day, I figured it would be more fun to show you...

Better Watch Out!  I'm Going To Get You!!!!

Madison Wants to Enter a Kneeboard Competition!

Lindsey's Following Her Sister's Footsteps and Rocking the Kneeboard Too!

Ingram is the Designated Dismuke Boat Driver for the Summer.

I Love My Mommy!!

Saturday May 5th, Roarrrrrrrrr!

We had a super fun Saturday as a family!  Poor little Ingram has been wanting hashbrowns all week long but hasn't been able to eat in the mornings because of the sedation and radiation.  So we got tons of hashbrowns, eggs, biscuits, pancakes, and of course butter, ketchup, and napkins to start our big breakfast feast on the way to the Memphis Zoo.  About 5 minutes later, it happened...Ingram started throwing up (we've learned to keep bags around thankfully) and suddenly our breakfast didn't look so appetizing.  You can use your imagination as to what the girls were doing in the back row while this is going on too!  After that was all over, I stayed in the seat next to Ingram in case it happened again, but apparently he thought I was there to hand him another hashbrown.  That little stinker didn't let it phase him and ate another whole hashbrown in record time.

We made it to the Zoo and had a blast!  We saw the new dinosaur exhibit and it was so much fun.  The dinosaurs were huge and moved and made these loud noises too.  Ingram doesn't like loud noises anymore so he covered his ears a lot but was still running around looking at all the dinosaurs, watching the girls get spit on by one of the dinosaurs, and digging for bones in the sand.  Apparently one of the dinosaurs was misbehaving because for some reason both Ingram and Craig are spanking it!  The Zoo had two more new things so of course when we heard about them, the begging began!  We all fed giraffes and the kids rode camels!  They had so much fun and now I'm the only one that hasn't ridden a camel since Craig rode them in Egypt and Jordan last year.  After the zoo, we went out to lunch at Chic Fil A because we were all starving and then headed to the ice cream store for some yummy self serve ice cream!   I love these kind of days!!

Gitty Up Dinosaur!!!

Friday May 4th, Visiting Daddy's Office

We had a great day at St. Jude; I guess you could say a great half-day!  We were out by lunchtime because we only had radiation today.  We got in and got out so quickly that Ingram's butterfly flew away too!  In case you're wondering, the butterfly is what our Child Life Specialist calls the needle and tubing they use to access his port.  Ever since they put it in on Wednesday, he's been asking when it comes out.  It doesn't hurt him being in, but he does remember the poke he got when they put it in.  So thankfully when he woke up from his sedation and treatment, Finn McMissile had already flown away.  Oh, so in case you don't know that name, he's one of the secret agents in Cars 2 and also is the name of Ingram's butterfly.  Ingram is already in the process of naming his next butterfly.  I think he's going to be a bad guy next time, maybe even the Professor who is from Cars 2.

Since we got out early and knew we wouldn't make it to the girls' school in time for lunch, we decided to take lunch to Daddy at work.  We had so much fun seeing all the Vining folks and even though Ingram got shy towards the end of our visit, he was talking about it the whole way home.  He got a sucker not only for himself, but also got a sucker for each of his girls, a toy of some sort that can fly once he lets it go (which still hasn't happened, he held it the whole way home), and a Thomas the Train pillow.  He is definitely feeling the love!!

I can't say "Thank You" enough to all the folks praying for Ingram and for our family.  We have been completely surrounded by prayers and would not be able to do this without our faith in God and all of you praying and supporting the five of us.  Our girls are starting to show a little "wear and tear" and they just don't want their little brother to be sick.  Would all of you mind saying a special prayer for Madison and Lindsey to have a level of understanding and comfort that can only come from our Heavenly Father?  As their Mom, I want to fix it all and make all three of them better right now!  But I can't do that; this is the journey we have and we know that God will give us enough grace to handle each day.  And we pray that He would use our journey for His glory.

Chilling Out Blowing Bubbles with Beau!

Thursday May 3rd, Ice Cream!

Our day started out early with us having to leave the house by 7:15am for an 8:15 radiation appointment.  I definitely am not complaining since yesterday was a 2pm sedation.  Ingram did well again with the radiation itself, but the sleepy drugs weren't the best.  The Anesthesiologist is going to try a different "sleepy cocktail" in the morning and see if he has an easier time getting sedated.  The whole process is still a little scary for him so they're going to work on making him less scared when everything starts to happen.  

One of the more exciting things that has been happening with Ingram is that he is willingly taking his medicine.  He's actually swallowing his medicine when I give it to him at home and at the hospital.  He always says it's yucky so we break it up with a sip of juice or gatorade and thankfully he keeps it down.  He even is doing a better job at St. Jude when nurses or doctors come near his port and tubing.  He actually helped draw his labs today and was very excited when he broke one of the needles and his blood squirted out.  It was great; maybe now his future career is between a doctor (from putting a port in his lion) and now a special effects guru.

He also had fun at Physical Therapy but decided when he had enough and wanted to stop.  It's pretty funny though how he can figure out when we're trying to trick him into doing his actual therapy.  For instance, we were bowling on the floor but the pins were up on the set of stairs.  He has to go up the steps (does fine here) to pick up the pins and then goes back down the steps (struggles here) to set them up.  After the second day we did this, he did a double take and looked at us like we were crazy for putting the pins on the steps when we were clearly bowling on the ground.  I guess it wasn't too bad because he begs and begs from the minute we get out of the car to the minute that we leave to go to the gym and play.

Speaking of fun, we were on the way into the cafeteria for lunch and he looked at me and looked to the side then yelled ICE CREAM!!!  I told him that after lunch we'll get some ice cream but we need real food first. He asked again in a much sweeter voice if we could have ice cream for lunch so I started thinking.  So here's my logic, he's lost weight already and he's not always hungry.  He's really hungry and he already had some breakfast and chex mix after his sedation.  Then I looked at the ice cream and it looked really good and I love ice cream WE HAD ICE CREAM FOR LUNCH!!!  It was so yummy and he told everyone that we were having lunch.  One set of folks tried to correct him and tell him it was ice cream and he looked at them like they were nuts and said "No, it's my lunch!"  Who could argue with him??

So you know how we had our family pictures taken Tuesday night before his first treatment Wednesday morning?  We got a peak at some of the pictures and wanted to share them with you.  I hope you enjoy pictures and the words of encouragement that Julie has left.

Ingram Is Still A Little Tired After Radiation Sedation and Treatment!
So What Better Way To Recover Than Chilling Out In The Wagon Watching Cars 2?

Wednesday May 2nd, Firsts and Crazies

Today we did many things for the first time, including Radiation, which was the last thing of the day. We started out our day in the Dental Clinic with none other than Dr. Chris Rowland, whom you might recognize form the beginning of our journey.  Except this time, Ingram wasn't as excited to see him for some reason.  He must have his Daddy's dislike for having his "pockets checked" in his dental visit because he sure didn't want to climb up in the chair even with a TV playing above his head.  Finally he got his teeth "counted" and checked and we were happy to know that they were all there.

After dental, we had to track down a line nurse to double check on Ingram's surgery site.  He decided he didn't want his steri-tape on anymore so he took them off.  Since we were getting his "lion" site checked, we went ahead and put on his Magic sauce that numbs his site for when they were going to access his port. Since it was the first time they were going to be putting a needle in it,  we wanted to make sure that it was nice and numb!  Next up, part two of our speech evaluation and he did well, at least up until he told our speech gal that he was done for the day.  So then we headed to Triage to get the port accessed and have labs drawn, but they didn't need to do labs and didn't access his port.  We're just getting used to playing with his port and I guess it's good because it doesn't hurt him and he gets used to it being messed with.

When it was the real deal, he did great.  By the time they called us back, it was 1:15 and he hadn't had anything to eat since 8:30 the night before.  He had apple juice up until 9am and then we had to take that away.  Poor guy was starving and so tired (normal nap time is 1:30) that all of our efforts were really not working to have the port access go smoothly.  Even though the needle was done, the crying lasted for a long time after that and finally I was actually a little happy when they pushed his meds in and he fell asleep at 2pm.  He did great during his first treatment and then woke up hungry as a bear!  He was ready to eat, but had to wake up enough to eat and that took a little bit of extra time for some reason today.  Guess my little man was just tuckered out from such a late start to sedation, and it was happening during his normal naptime, that he just thought he needed more sleep.

Ingram and His Lion Duke Are Resting After the Butterflies Are Put In.

(The following is from Madison)
Now on to the fun stuff! Today my dad came to field day to see me. Our class had breakfast together before school and that got us pretty fired up to win field day.  We dedicated our class effort to Ingram, so everyone had written KID (Keith Ingram Dismuke) on their arms in red, blue, and green markers.  I went crazy and wrote it 11 times!!!!  When my dad saw me he said, "What did you do to yourself girl?"  Our room mom also brought "I" stickers for all of us to wear in honor of Ingram.  We tried our hardest to win, but we lost a few of the events.  In the end, we actually won first place but the coolest thing was that we did it all for Ingram.  It was such a fun and crazy day!


Tuesday May 1st, Getting Ready!

We had another super fun day today.  It started out with Physical Therapy then a visit with our Child Life Specialist to get Ingram (and me) ready to have his port accessed tomorrow for the first time.  I have got to tell you, I'm a little nervous about it.  Ingram does a really good job of helping us clean it at home by getting his supplies out and opening them and today, he was the lead doctor in the surgical implant of a port in Duke the Lion (our original animal from LeBonheur that received the IV before Ingram did).

We were finished at St. Jude before lunch so we headed off to visit his preschool class and take them pencils from St. Jude.  They were so excited that we were coming that his teachers postponed nap time till after we were there.  There were a couple in his class that just couldn't hang on and were begging to go to sleep.  Ingram had been drawing pictures for all of them and they had made a quilt with dinosaurs and photos of each of them that made me cry when he got it out of the bag.  We took a ton of pictures while we were there and the class picture (with the exception of the two sleepy heads) is below.

We also had a few visitors to the house and it's always fun when that happens!  I haven't even mentioned all the food that people have been bringing over for our meals; I can focus on Ingram and the girls rather than having to whip up a gourmet meal after getting home from the hospital.  It has truly been a life saver for us, especially since some days we don't even get out of St. Jude till 4 or 5 in the afternoon.  We feel so lucky to have such generosity thrown our way at such a crazy time.

Something else that was special today was having family pictures taken.  You have to understand, we're not the kind of people that did the newborn picture package where you take them every 3 months.  My parents have begged me before to get a real picture taken and even offered to pay for it, but did we do it?  Of course not!  We've taken real pictures only once as a family and they were called the "just in case pictures" 2 weeks before Craig had open heart surgery.  A lot has happened since then including the birth of little man himself and our good friend Julie took some great pictures this evening of all five of us.  She's going to post some on her blog and we'll put in her link when they're ready or you can check out her website at whenever you like.  She's great and we love her; I've known her forever because she was my next door neighbor growing up and my sister's best friend.

So tomorrow is the official start to radiation.  I'm a little nervous about that too and we've been doing a lot to get ready for it.  Ingram already has started medicine to hopefully keep nausea at bay.  He'll actually take it 3 times a day for the rest of his 6 and a half weeks because once he starts getting nauseous, it's a lot harder to control.  We also have our supply of numbing cream and stickers to go on top of his port before they access it so that it hurts less.  We've been talking a lot about how his body needs medicine to help it and it seems to be working to make his less afraid but I guess we'll just see how tomorrow goes before we get too excited.  Of course, this doesn't mean that we want anyone to stop praying for him in this regard; he gets very anxious when the nurses come towards him with anything, especially something that looks shiny and sharp.

I guess, specific prayer requests as far as the radiation goes is that he tolerates the actual radiation, that he becomes less scared of his port being accessed and "messed with" on a daily basis, that we have a somewhat consistent time schedule, that he doesn't miss too many meals in a given day, and that we all, including the girls, handle his treatments well.  We know that he's not going to feel at his best, but we're hoping that he does okay with it and doesn't get too many bad side effects.  As far as meals go, he's sedated every day for radiation which means he can't eat until after he wakes up in recovery.  Poor little man had already lost weight from his original surgery and we want to feed him all the meals we can to help fatten him back up before he gets too scrawny or too sick to eat.  The girls are doing well and we continue to talk with them regularly; they really don't like to see their little man not feeling well.  The good part is that these past few days Ingram has been feeling good and we've had a ton of fun; tonight we even had ice cream at Baskin Robbins before we had our spaghetti dinner.  You got to love that!!

Oh My Have We Missed Our Friends in 2B!