Tuesday July 31st, Ugh...Transfusion

Today Mommy and Ingram had to go to St. Jude super early so me and Lindsey stayed home until our babysitter got to the house.  Our babysitter took us to school registration and we saw a ton of our friends.  We had a blast running around the school seeing everyone and are so excited about our teachers for this year.  I'll be in 5th Grade and have Mr. Bozeman  for my homeroom teacher and Lindsey will be in 3rd and has Mrs. Berry.  It's going to be a great year!!

Meanwhile Mommy and Ingy were at St. Jude having appointments and checking labs and found out Ingram would need a transfusion and it took forever.  He only had to have a platelet transfusion and not a blood transfusion knocking it to only a 3 hour transfusion instead of a 6 hour one.

We went swimming with our babysitter since it was taking a long time and had so much fun.  When Ingram and Mommy got done, they came to pick us up.  Ingy got to swim in his underwear for a few minutes in the steps then we headed home to be as crazy as ever! 


Ingram chilling out in his bed after a game of M & M's racecars on the Wii with his platelets hanging.
We decided that since we couldn't figure out how to play it, we'd just watch a movie instead.
Luckily that turned into naptime!!

There's nothing like swimming with sisters!
Sure can't wait for our pool to get done...HINT HINT!!

Monday July 30th, Homegrown Craziness!

All three of the kids made a hideout to hide themselves from Beau this morning.  It seemed he woke up with a hankering for feet and arms and was climbing all over the girls to try and grab hold of their extremities.  We couldn't put him outside because it was raining and I felt bad putting him back in his crate after a long nights rest, so we just played defense till his energy ran out. 

Beau wasn't the only crazy Dismuke today!  The kids were running in overdrive and could find enough stuff to get out and make messes with all over the house. Upstairs and downstairs, they were pulling stuff out of everywhere and of course weren't sticking around to clean any of it up. Luckily part of it is behind closed doors in their "attic" and won't be seen by anyone; but they will be spending a considerable amount of time up there tomorrow cleaning it all up! Anyone else have this problem?  They also set up the den like stadium seating for watching the Olympics; I think they did it so they have more room to do their own Olympics, especially some gymnastics!!

Tomorrow we head back to St. Jude bright and early to get accessed and have labs drawn to check all his counts.  We're still praying for his platelets and hemoglobin to be going up to avoid any kind of transfusion.  Hopefully, his ANC and his hematocrit are still doing okay too.  One side effect from Chemotherapy that we've noticed and that's expected is that his hair is starting to fall out.  A few pieces here and there are all we're finding for now;  even though we know it's going to happen, it just makes me kind of sad. 

This is part of the storm;
You can bet Mommy IS NOT cleaning this mess up!

This is part of the calm;
They're playing a game with Beau sleeping at their feet.

Sunday July 29th, Another Party!!

Oh we love any reason to get crazy around here and have a party...so we're having one today...all day!  Today is Craig's 38th birthday and while he was out of town with the girls, Ingram helped wrap his present, made a "Top Ten Things I Like About Daddy!" birthday card, and helped make some cupcakes.  The girls helped with the icing once they got back in town and they were yummy!!  If you work with Craig, stop by early to help eat them before they run out; there are so many I'm sending them to the office tomorrow.  And I promise no one licked the spatula and then used it again...at least I don't think they did!

Since Ingram's ANC was up, we went to church this morning and he was being so funny.  He still gets a little shy when everyone comes up to him and asks him how he's doing but then eventually starts acting like his old self.  When we got to the door to his classroom, he decided he wanted me to go in his room with him!  His girls go to class with him a lot and "help" so he wanted me to stay and help.  That silly boy was running around in circles with his friends when I came back to pick him up and was full of energy and didn't stop till naptime.  It was soo good to see him running around like a nut with all his friends; it was one of those moments when I realize that he's a completely normal 3 year old...we just have a different daily routine than most.

The kids had an unexpected water war this afternoon.
Can you figure out the ending?

We came home to a table set up in the den for birthday dinner while we watched the Olympics;
The food in the picture IS NOT what I planned for dinner!

Happy 38th Birthday Daddy!!

Saturday July 28th, Good and Bad

We love Saturdays mornings!  When we're all home, we normally have big breakfast with bacon, eggs, and waffles.  Unfortunately the only lab spot open for today was at 7am so we headed out the door with absolutely no traffic.  Ingram didn't mind because we had talked about his butterfly maybe coming out today.  And it did!  Captain Barnacles flew away and Ingram got to take a bath for the first time since last Monday.  He was so excited about it that he got right in when we got home. 

Number wise, Ingram's ANC (basically everything about the immune system) was up to 2200 from 200 and he was able to lose the mask!  Yahooey!!  His platelets and hemoglobin are still dropping and are very close to the transfusion level.  The magic numbers are 8 for the hemoglobin and 30,000 for the platelets; we've got to stay above those to avoid a transfusion.  Thankfully though, they are not to that point yet.  We are praying that by Tuesday they'll both be on the rise and he won't need any kind of transfusion.  We know that at some point transfusions are inevitable, but we'd like to not have to do them on the first round of chemotherapy.  We're still having to watch out for certain things, but we're anticipating better numbers with the next lab check.

Craig and the girls headed to celebrate the graduation of Mr. Aaron (quasi-adopted big brother) from The University of Alabama Law School.  Yeah Mr. Aaron!  We're so proud of him; since we couldn't go to the party, we celebrated by watching Scooby Doo, playing baseball out front, and eating more chicken in one meal than he has in about 2 weeks.  I think he was pretending to eat like Mr. Aaron!!! 

So just to recap...
Good- Butterflies leaving, ANC rising, finishing the Law School, playing baseball, and eating chicken!
Bad- 7am lab appointments on Saturday mornings, platelets still dropping, hemoglobin still dropping, and missing Mr. Aaron and Mrs. Erin!

Craig, Madison, Mr. Aaron, Lindsey, and Mrs. Erin at Aaron's Graduation Party!
Woohoo!  Roll Tide!!

Friday July 27th, Building Bears!

We finally made it to Build-A-Bear to use the gift cards that the girls got at Super Sibling Day at St. Jude.  Build -A-Bear is a corporate sponser of St. Jude and they do a fantastic job of raising money for St. Jude all year long.  We were the only ones in the store and felt like we were getting such special treatment; they helped us pick out clothes and accessories and everything.  Ingram got a dog that he named Beau Lightyear and he was decked out in a Buzz Lightyear outfit.  Lindsey got a bear that's blue with fish and sea stuff on it named Sunshine and she's wearing a sequin top and a bright pink tutu.  Madison got a Koala bear (to remind her of her time at Kanakuk where she won the Koala Award) named Sadie Shaw wearing pajamas. 

We had soooo much fun there and immediately went to show Daddy the newest additions.  Of course on the way we passed Chick Fil A so what'd we do?  You guessed it; we pulled in the drive thru and grabbed some lunch.  The people inside the resturant kept smiling and waving at us, but then again I'd wave also if there were two girls climbing out of the roof of a Suburban.  We also ran into a family from school and so now we're getting even more excited about getting back to school; we only have one more whole week of summer left before school starts back. 

Tonight's plan...Watching the Olympics and making some homemade chocolate chip cookies.  Feel free to stop by and watch with us and we might just share a cookie or two with you!  Maybe!!  We'll head back to St. Jude in the morning to check labs and hopefully the ANC will be closer to 500 and we'll be mask free; we're also hoping for a higher platelets and hemoglobin too!

The Bear Ceremony...
Making A Wish Before They Put Their Hearts Inside The Animals.
They Won't Even Tell Me Their Wishes!

Finished Products
Sadie Shaw Dismuke, Beau Lightyear Dismuke, and Sunshine Dismuke!

This Little Stinker Thought He Could Hide From Me At Naptime;
All The Giggles Clued Me In To Where He Was Hiding!

Thursday July 26th, Going Up!!!

Well at least Ingram's ANC is going up; it seems some other important numbers are going down still which isn't particularly good.  Since his ANC is still down, he has to wear the mask anytime we're outside the house and we take certain precautions.  Luckily, he hasn't wanted to go anywhere so that's good in itself because I can sort of control his environment. 

Today though he was forced to put on the mask and head to SJ for labs and a clinic visit.  By his side were his girls and they were all three in great moods, despite getting less sleep than normal.  In the lab, Ingram actually let his girls help with everything.  They were taking turns cleaning stuff, flushing lines, drawing blood, checking blood pressure and temperature and more.  As I expected from all Ingram's milk that he's been drinking, he has gained some weight, 0.88 ounces to be exact and we're very proud of this weight!  Granted he may lose it again, but for now he weighs 32.1 pounds!!

So the counts that are down are his Hemoglobin and Platelets; we go back in Saturday for more labs to check these.  If they're lower, they may have to do transfusions of blood and/or platelets and we really don't want to have to do that.  His Creatinine wasn't an issue today and for that we're happy too because that would have meant coming home on fluids again.  Who knows, Saturday's labs may show an increase in his ANC also and we might be able to come off precautions but I guess we'll just have to wait and see!

The girls stayed with the "VOLUNTEENS" while we went to the clinic to go over his lab work and they had so much fun.  They made Olympic torches out of paper, different shapes out of "sticky sticks" and pipe cleaners, and played Apples To Apples and Jenga.  On the way home, Madison out of the blue said "I want to be a Volunteen when I grow up!" and Lindsey agreed.  I love the compassion they have for others and the fact that they just want to help other kids at St. Jude have fun while they have to be there. 

Ingram Drawing His Blood!
He Told Me Today He Was Going To Be A Doctor When He Gets Bigger!

Lindsey Flushing His Line!
You Can't See, But She's Got Her Tongue Out To Help;
It's One Of Those "Lindsey Things!"

Madison Pushing His Heparin!
Notice Her Facial Expression; She's Really Concentrating!

Wednesday July 25th, Milk, Milk, and More Milkl!!

When our kids were little, they loved milk! Once Madison went to Kindergarten and realized everyone didn't drink milk during meals, she refused to drink it for the most part. We'd have to sneak calcium in all over the place in her meals with cheese, yogurt, and of course ice cream. Lindsey on the other hand has never lost her love for milk and she has passed down her love of milk to Ingram Thanks to having lunch with a friend at Panera Bread Monday, Lindsey remembered how much she loved milk and now Ingram is drinking it a lot too.

Soooo much that he's had six cups of milk with his meals today alone and I guarantee he'll want some at bedtime too. I'm loving it though because it's whole milk and it should help pack on the weight!!! He hasn't eaten much today or really the past couple days; when he was weighed Tuesday, he had dropped a little bit of weight. With all the milk he's been drinking, I'm hopeful that his weight will have at least stayed the same or maybe even come up a tad.

All day long, we've been playing at home since he doesn't like to wear his mask. We painted with watercolors, colored with markers, played with Lego's and played with Play Doh. I even managed to get Ingram, the girls and myself down for a nap! Impressive I know. We had a lot of fun today but that wasn't the best part of my day...

The best part of my day though was seeing Craig when he got home from work and giving him a great big hug and kiss. Today is our 14th Anniversary and I'm so glad he's my husband. Life, especially Ingram's battle, would not be the same without him and I wouldn't be the same without him either. He is the best father, the best husband, and the best friend I could ever have. He makes me a better mother, a better wife, and a better friend. I could go on and on about him, but he'd probably get embarrassed so I'll save all the mushy stuff for another day. So honey, when you read this, after you're done getting embarassed, know how much I love you, how much I respect you, and how much I admire you for the husband and father you are!

I plan on holding tight for the next 14 years!
The BEST three parts of our 14 years!!
The BEST Father of the Year!

Craig's Hand Holding Us All Together!

Tuesday July 24th, Going Down...

Ingram is such a funny guy.  Anytime he's awake, he wants to play which is great except for when it's just me because he has so much energy.  He's such a people person like his girls and loves to be around people all the time.  He doesn't even want to leave St. Jude half the time because he has so much fun playing with everyone. 

Today's big thing has been hide and seek...all day!  He played with me this morning because I couldn't find him when it was time to go get his new butterfly; big shocker there because I'd probably hide if someone was coming after me with a needle!  Which by the way he didn't even cry getting Captain Barnacles (another Octonauts character) put in this morning; it's a first time for no crying with the same nurse Virginia who had the other first of sitting by himself in the chair a couple weeks ago.  Then he played hide and seek with Daddy in the clinic before, during, and after his appointment; at one point, I'm pretty sure Daddy was going to get in trouble if he didn't bring Ingram back in to see our doctor.  Then he played it once we were home when I was trying to put him down for his nap; only he didn't tell me we started playing a game and it took me forever to find him and get him to the bed.

We were surprised to find out that his ANC was already down to 100, especially since it was 2100 last week when we started chemo! It's expected for it to start going down between 7-10 days after finishing chemo, but we're not even at the seventh day yet and it's almost to zero.  We Dismuke's have a particular way of doing things and apparently Ingram is the same!  He didn't want to wait till closer to the weekend to sport a new look...the mask; anytime below 500 for the ANC is mask time, fever precautions, and pretty much isolation.  He's going to be bummed out about not getting to be go to the store or out to eat at restaurants or to play with his friends at church; I'm thinking there's going to be a lot of painting and Play-Doh action going on around here till they're back up so that should keep him happy.  Who knows, maybe I'll get a cartoon marathon out of the whole thing and we'll stay in pjs all day if we don't have any appointments at St. Jude. 

The girls are pretty excited about the mask though and asked if they could wear one, but it only lasted about 5 seconds then they were over it.  They're busy with soccer camp this week but will get to go back to SJ with us Thursday for appointments and to see what kind of trouble they can cause.  I think Thursday is Movie Day so who know's what they'll get to watch and do a craft project too with the Volunteens.  Fun times await!!

Good thing no one sat on this super comfy bean bag!
Ingram was hiding from Daddy!

No it's not what you're thinking; Ingram is not in trouble in the corner;
He's hiding behind the door from his nurse Lizzie in another game of Hide and Seek!

Yes, this is what you're thinking...
Ingram's new mask that he's got to wear till his counts come back up (except in our house).
The funny thing is that the pretzels were his lunch and the truck was his prize for getting poked!

Monday July 23rd, A Day Off!

Ingram had today off and he actually slept in till almost 8:30 this morning.  Around here that's kinda like sleeping till noon since we're normally out of the house by 7 or so to get to the hospital on time.  The girls were off to soccer before Ingram got up and he decided he wanted to watch cartoons while he ate his breakfast but apparently his breakfast didn't like him and it came out to find a new home...on the couch!  I guess those cushions needed to be washed again anyway. 

Apparently it didn't phase him because he kept eating and then when I came back in the room, he told me he threw up and asked for more food.  Around lunchtime, the girls had a fundraising meeting and were so excited about it!  They went in by themselves and when all was said and done, they received another "matching" donation up to $2000 if they raise $2000 in the next month.  Madison's so funny though because she told me with a big smile that "It shouldn't be a problem!"  I love their enthusiasm for raising money to help all the kids at St. Jude!!!

Ingram reached a milestone today and I guess it's a milestone for me too!  Be prepared, it's a little on the icky side...we were eating lunch at McAlister's while the girls did their presentation.  Ingram said "Mommy, my tummy feels weird" and I asked "what kind of weird?" as I was getting our little blue bag out of my purse.  I hid it in my lap with a napkin on top just in case we needed it and about 30 seconds later, you guessed it, Ingram projectiled and I caught it.  The best thing was that it was all so quick that none of the tables around us noticed at all.  Then , he started eating his lunch again just like he coughed or sneezed.  He's a rockstar in my book!!

The crazy thing in all this is that he doesn't act sick at all.  We're not sure when the bad side effects of chemo are supposed to kick in, but he's surprising us all with his enegery level and everything.  I think he looks a little tired all the time in his face, but he's not acting like it at all and for that we are so thankful!  He hasn't eaten as much as he would have in the past, but he's still eating and drinking so that makes us feel good nonetheless. 

We go back to St. Jude in the morning to get a new butterfly (BOO!!) and check out his kidneys and counts in the lab.  We'll also see our main doctor in the clinic and see how they think Ingram is doing from their point of view.  Keep all the kids at St. Jude, especially our friend Jayden and his parents Bethany and Scott, in your prayers.  Everyone has good days and bad days at different times and it's always just one test or one lab away for all of us. 

Ingram wanted to go for a bike ride tonight. 
He made it down one house before he decided it was time to turn back and go home.
Nice bald spot huh??  That's from 34 rounds of radiation.   
The Best Seller on the menu...an Ingy Sandwich!!

Saturday and Sunday July 21st and 22nd, Fast-paced Fun!!!!

So this weekend was face-paced to say the least!  We're still waiting for Ingram to feel bad from the chemo, but it's just not happening yet.  His appetite is a little less than normal, he's sleeping pretty good, and ready to play when he's awake.  Saturday morning started with washing all of Ingram's bedding!  The thing with going home on fluids from the hospital is that there's not a nurse to come in every two hours to change his pull up and it can only hold so much.  Poor guy, he wakes up to wet pants and all but is the happiest guy around! 

Saturday around lunchtime, we went to St. Jude to switch out Ingram's empty bag of fluids for a new one.  Lindsey went with us and Madison stayed home to supervise Daddy's work in the yard.  Once we were done, we came home and Ingram took a three hour nap.  He would have kept sleeping, but I woke him up so that he'd go back to sleep easily for the night a couple hours later.  We actually had time to cook spaghett and the kids set the table and made us stay out of the kitchen while they were doing it.   It was complete with a ticket station (no ticket, no food), a hand cleaning station and they even had the table set up by candlelight.  I think they're the sweetest kids in the world!

Sunday morning was a little more crazy...we had to be at the hospital early and Craig and the girls headed out to church after we left.  We started out in the lab where Ingram helped them do everything.  He has maintained his weight since Thursday which is good, but we really want him to gain weight instead of just holding steady.  After labs, we went to clinic to get the results to find out that his creatinine was looking good!  It was looking so good that they let us come off fluids and in turn could take out his butterfly.  Oh happy day!!!! 

The rest of Sunday was spent having fun playing and having fun in the tub!  He had so much fun that he fell asleep while we were waiting for the girls to get back from a fundraising meeting in Jackson TN.  He's so proud of his girls and we are too.  Keep checking the Team Ingram link and watch the amount of donations increasing; it's very exciting!! 

Here's the big Father-Son conversation...
"But Ingram, just think of how fun it'll be to mow the yard with this!"
"I don't know Daddy; our yard's kinda small."
"I know it's small, but you can help drive it!  Oh I know...tell Mommy you want to get it for my birthday!"
Ingram is continuing his quest for all things manly!
Thankfully, George taught him how to run around without a shirt...just becuase he could!!

I know that he's too old for a bath tub picture;
But he hasn't had a bath in a week and he was soooo excited!!

Friday July 20th, Friends and Family

We went in today to have a post chemo shot (that really hurt Ingram) in the leg instead of in his port, labs done to check his kidneys again, and a Clinic visit.  Our clinic visit was supposed to be quick. but they came in with kidney function that wasn't the best.  Little man is still on fluids and will be through the weekend, but he's very much used to it and carries his bag around with him wherever he goes.  We'll go in again tomorrow and Sunday to change out the fluids and get labs to see the progession of his counts. 

I'm sitting here trying to write about today and I just can't seem to think.  I think my mind is starting to shut down for some reason.  I'm a little tired, a little on the emotional side, and still a little overwhelmed by everything.  I have run into our friends Bethany and Scott a few times and talking with them sends me back to the beginning of our time at St. Jude because they still don't have a plan yet to fight for their son's life for the third time.  They are firm believers that God is the Author of Jayden's story just as we are that He's writing Ingram's story; but there's just something that a mother and a father want to do for their children but all we can do is pray for our kids and trust the people taking care them. 

We've met so many patients and families in our short time at St. Jude that I it's hard to keep up with them all.  We don't get in and out of the hospital fast because we're always running into someone else and see how they're doing in their treatment.  Being a patient at St. Jude really is like being part of our family that's hard to explain.  So as I think about today, I'm thinking about our battle but I'm also thinking about all of our friends battles as well.  At some point, we're all down in the dumps and we depend on others to bring us out.  Our kids have good days and bad days, but the thing about St. Jude is that they're always fighting for us, for our kids, and for the kids that will be there in the future. 

Sleepover Part 1
Lindsey and Ingram started out in the back having a "sleepover,"
but decided to move their sleepover to...
Sleepover Part 2
Ingram decided he wanted to sleep in his bed,
but I'm thinking it was Lindsey that wanted to come downstairs!
Sleepover Part 3
Ingram wanted us all together since Madison was at a friends house.
And yes, that's a closet Lindsey is sleeping in.

Thursday July 19th, We're Home!!

Man, today was crazy; we've gone non-stop since we got up!!  Lindsey spent the night at the hospital and we all actually got a fairly decent nights sleep for being in the hospital.  Lindsey was a little too excited about breakfast in bed and headed down to the cafeteria to get her breakfast and they both went nutty with the bacon.  After breakfast, it was off to the playroom till it was time for the Sibling Day events.

Sibling Day was soooo much fun!  The girls felt so special and had so much fun.  Of course, Ingram wanted to go with them but he got side tracked with a little painting project from the Child Life gals so all was good.  The girls got to walk the red carpet across to the Danny Thomas Pavilion and had their pictures taken and were recorded also.  The guys from Dean Film and Studio that put together the girls amazing video was there too as part of the camera crew for the day; if you haven't checked out the video, google "Team Ingram" video on You Tube and Vimeo!  You'll be amazed!!!

Our nurse kept trying to discharge us but we were no where to be found for a couple hours.  Painting a Build-A-Bear canvas, playing games, and talking with friends took a little longer than we thought but once we got back upstairs to our room, it was time to go home.  Discharge instructions, Ingram's little black bag of fluids, and two wagon loads later we were in the car headed to the house.  It's going to be soooo good to sleep in our beds tonight!!

Ingram's Star Siblings Were Shining Bright!  

"Help!  Get Beau!!!"
Beau Loves Trying To Get Ingram's Black Bag
 As Much As He likes Getting His Marshmallows!!

Wednesday July 18th, Round Two

I don't know what I expected with us going inpatient, but we've really had a good time.  Don't get me wrong, having drugs put into Ingram from nurses who are dressed in blue gowns and wearing gloves makes me a little more than nervous, but we've colored, danced to the jukebox, gone on walks around the hospital and played with a few friends along the way.  I think that Ingram's favorite thing to do other than go to the playroom is to hang on the infusion machine pole and ride around everywhere.

Since Madison spent the night with us, the first thing we did was order breakfast and they had breakfast in bed while I showered and everything.  The first thing Ingram said when he woke up was not "Hey Mommy!" but it was "I'm ready to go to the playroom!"  But I'm such a mean mommy that I made them eat their breakfast first; then it was off to see what all they could get into in the playroom.  Ingram was so happy to have her here and I think she too was on excitement overload.    

Craig and I also had overload today but it was information overload!  We were told about all the things that could go wrong with chemo and  more than we ever wanted to know about counts, germs, and infection .  Craig and I were told so much in such a little amount of time that I think I'm still trying to figure it all out.  It's all a little scary about what these drugs do to their systems, but our doctors recommended this course of treatment so we're hitting it with all we can. 

Ingram is actually doing really well right now and they're moving up our discharge to tomorrow instead of Friday as long as his labs, especially his kidney functions, come back looking good.  He'll stay on fluids again tonight in the hospital to help get the rest of the medicine out of his system.  If his kidneys coooperate, then we should go home on fluids and return Friday for more labs and unfortunately a shot of something with a weird name.   Hopefully, we will all get a better night's sleep since we have a big day tomorrow at St. Jude...It's Sibling Day!!!!

I definitely AM crazy letting the girls take turns spending the night;
but then again, I never said I was sane!
Ingram's been asking me ever since Madison left when "His Lindsey" was coming.
Pretty cute huh??


Tuesday July 17th, Round One

After going to bed after midnight, I woke Ingram up at 6:15am to head to St. Jude with hopes of things going "according to plan" today. He didn't seem to mind the early wake up though and after I told him we needed to go check his kidneys, he was off to the car faster than me. First up were labs then we headed to grab some bacon (normally called breakfast but he's on a bacon kick, even calling people bacon head) while we waited for them to run all the tests.

We came back to the clinic for our results and found out they were good and we were indeed starting chemotherapy today. A mix of emotions were starting to come over me and I didnt know what to to with them. I wanted to see Craig right then so he could just hold me and tell me everything was going to be okay. I wanted to see the girls but they were with my sister having fun. I wanted all this to be over and for Ingram to be okay. I'm scared about how he's going to react to the drugs. I'm scared about how the girls are going to react to Ingram. I'm scared about how I'm going to react to everything! 

All these things were going through my head as we were actually going to start what we've been talking and preparing to do since Tuesday April 12th when Lebonheur discharged us to the care of St. Jude. This was our day so far and it was only mid-morning, maybe 10am at the latest. Finally at 4pm the first chemotherapy drug was pushed and all those feelings from the morning came rushing back. We've been praying that with the surgery, radiation, and chemo that his tumor would be gone and never come back; and today at 4pm marked beginning the last stage in our fight for Ingram.

There are so many unknowns that could have us in the bottom of the barrel but we're still believing that God loves Ingram more than we do and that he's going to not only conquer the battle, but also glorify God in the process. We would ask for continued prayers for Ingram during this time, that all of these medicines work, and also that his body is able to recover from the harshness of the drugs. We would also like to ask for prayers for our friend Jayden and his family tonight. They are heartbroken this evening as they received their test results. Jayden is only 4 and has been battling cancer since he was 15 months old.

Big sister Madison got to be the first to spend the night!
I must be CRAZY to do this!!!

Monday July 16th, A Complicated Day

Today did not go according to our plan...meaning we didn't get admitted to start chemotherapy today.  Things were going well and Ingram even let them "poke" him for his butterfly landing; he wasn't happy about it because he remembered last week's poke without numbing cream.  He named his butterfly "Percy" from The Octonauts (a new cartoon that he loves) and it's funny listening to him tell everyone else the name because they look at me like "What??" 

So next they drew tons of labs and then we went on our merry way to the clinic for all our instructions and room number.  Around lunch is when we found out that our plan might be getting derailed, but we had a few things to do before and to double check so back to the lab again for a redraw and other stuff.  Then off to the Diagnostic Imaging room for a set of ultrasounds on his kidneys to figure out why his Creatinine had doubled since Thursday. 

In between it all, we were just sitting around the hospital and waiting to find out if it was a fluke, if something was wrong with his kidneys, and I didn't like not knowing.  We even almost fell asleep on the couch watching a movie waiting for results and a new plan because it seemed our inpatient plan wasn't going to work.  

And it didn't...we finally left the hospital at 6pm tonight for home with a bag of fluids that are running till tomorrow.  Poor little guy was so tired, he was asleep before I even pulled out of the parking lot.  We'll head back in first thing in the morning to see if the his kidney function is back to normal and if it is, we'll be admitted tomorrow to start our first round.

While we were waiting, one of our friends sent a message that they were on their way back in to St. Jude for an unexpected set of tests.  They left St. Jude while we were still undergoing radiation with the hope of being finished with the Jayden's battle with cancer.  This evening as we were driving home, she sent the message that his cancer was back and my heart is aching for them.  They have been through this battle two times already and he's only 4 years old.  Please remember Jayden and his family in your prayers as I know right now; they will have another battle on their hands.  

Ingram's checking out his kidneys on the big screen.

2012's new look for men...The Man Purse!
It's coming back baby!!
Ingram has a little black bag that we brought home overnight with fluids;
his Aunt Amye has been toting it around behind him since we got home.

Sunday July 15th, The Video Premier!!!

Wow!  As a mother, I'm soooooo proud of my girls.  Ingram is my hero for battling cancer, but my girls are an inspiration to me in how much they love their little brother.  As you may remember, they have been filming a video about St. Jude and their brother.  I was not able to go to any of the taping sessions because I was always at the hospital with Ingram, but had been told about them by the girls, Craig, and Craig's mom.  I was prepared for it to be emotional, but my girls have me speechless. 

Tonight Dean Film and Video premiered the Team Ingram video and my heart has gone into overdrive.  The video is amazing.  We invited a few of our friends and some family to come with us to see the video for the first time.  The girls were super hyper because they were the stars of the night.  They definitely felt special! 

This officially begins what we think could be a big part of their fundraising for St. Jude.  We think this is partly how they are dealing with the situation - trying to help by raising money for the hospital that is treating their brother.  If you watch the video, you can probably see that. 

We are praying that God would use Madison and Lindsey's efforts for His glory.  We hope that their video will be sent all over the world so people can hear their story.  Please forward the link to all of your friends or put it on your Facebook pages! 

Video: http://vimeo.com/45553164

Once Again, Celebrating with Ice Cream!

Friday and Saturday July 13th and 14th, And They're Back!!!

Over the past two days, well really since 10am Friday until about 8pm Saturday, we've been in the car driving for about 12 hours and it was non-stop talking...from Ingram!  On the way to pick up the girls from Kanakuk, he talked our ears off;  we had about a 30 minute break when he fell asleep and that was it.  I honestly have no recollection of what he said other than "Momma this and Momma that, Daddy this and Daddy that" the whole time.  The same thing happened on the way home except he started throwing in the girls names too.  Finally, I decided to change my name but it didn't work too well so I finally gave up on thinking there would be any quiet time at all. 

Craig thought it was funny until he was on the phone with work and out of the clear blue Ingram shouts "BOAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" at the top of his lungs.  We were going down a two lane highway up and down the mountains and there happened to be a boat shop on the side of the road and of course he needed to notify the world that there was a boat.  It's great, really; Craig decided on this trip that Ingram was our boat alarm, but the thing is that we never really know when he's going to sound off!

We were so excited to see the girls and I think they were just as excited to see us too.  We didn't know that we would all be making the trip until 10pm the night before and I'm so glad we all got to make it, despite not having any quiet time in the car.  It was 100% worth it to get to see their faces when they saw us and Ingram.

The downside of getting home from Kamp today is that we've got to get 4 weeks worth of laundry washed, dried, folded, and put away all before tomorrow night since we'll be going into the hospital first thing Monday morning for Ingram's first chemotherapy treatment.  The upside is that for the first time since April 3rd, Ingram is not sleeping on his little mattress in our bedroom; he's sleeping with his girls in their room.  It's the cutest thing!

4pm Friday afternoon...The First Sighting!!!
9am Saturday morning...Back For More!!!

12pm Saturday Afternoon...Leaving New And Old Friends From Kamp :(

10pm Saturday Night...Total Exhaustion!!!

Thursday July 12th, A Special Accomplishment!

Where to even begin is so hard sometimes!  There are so many things rolling through my head right now it's starting to make me spin.  I'm not sure if everything has sunk in yet either, but we are praising God for such good test results and for using everyone involved as His handiwork to comfort and care for us. 

Ingram did such a great job today getting all his labs drawn.  He even did something that he's never done before and I had to see a picture of it before I believed  it.  His nurse, Virginia, was so proud of him that she gave him a special bead that celebrates "A Special Accomplishment" like today.  For Ingram's second round of labs, Craig was at the hospital with us and Ingram wanted Daddy to take him to the lab.  Ingram did not want to sit in Craig's lap, but instead wanted Daddy to watch him do everything.  He took off his tape, undid his butterfly cord, took off the bandaid, cleaned the clave, flushed the line, attached the syringe, drew his blood, then flushed it again, pushed the heparin, and sealed it again all with the assistance of the nurse.  He has never, ever done this before and got the biggest kick out of being a super big boy!  This was a huge accomplishment for him!!!! 

While we were in the lab the third time he wanted me with him to show me how he does things so we left Daddy in the clinic to wait for the doctor.  Into our clinic walks Tim Howard from the United States Soccer team, only the best US goalie ever!  He plays for Everton in the English Premier Soccer League and is one of the best goalies in the world; and he recognized Craig (they know each other) in a waiting room at St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis, TN.  How crazy is that??  Of course Craig came and got us and we went walking around until we found Tim and let Ingram meet him; our girls (fantastic soccer players themselves) are going to be sooooo jealous!  When we were talking with Tim, Ingram stood behind me, peeked his head out, and said "I can beat you at soccer!" and everyone around us just started cracking up.  They were also comparing bald spots!  I love seeing both of my guys with big grins on their faces!!

Ok, back to business.  We talked in depth about Ingram's cancer today and are very pleased with everything so far.  No signs of tumor on the MRI and the spinal fluid was good too; they always look at these results more than once and we anticipate the next look being good as well.  Ingram will start Chemotherapy Monday and the doctors are scheduling 6 rounds instead of 4 as we initially thought.  On the good news side, we only have to be inpatient for three nights at a time and that will make managing a home, a husband, and two active daughters much easier than we were coming into this thinking.  Each round is about a month (give or take) with the worst being the first two weeks of each round.  We're gearing up for the long haul and are really excited about spending another good weekend together as the girls come home from camp before we get rolling. 

More big news...Pretty soon, we will have a link available for the video that the girls made about Ingram and St. Jude; all I can say is that the video is remarkable and you won't want to miss it!  It even has information about St. Jude, Team Ingram, and of course Ingram the Conqueror on it.  Speaking of Team Ingram, there's a link at the top of the page that takes you directly to the website! 

Notice all the stuff out; and that's only half of what's done each time! 
He did this four times today; he's MY hero!

Ingram and US Goalie Tim Howard;
He's only 3 and a half and already talking about taking on the big boys!

I love it when brand new friends make you feel as though you've known each other forever.
It's even better when your kids act the same way!!

Wednesday July 11th, Preliminary Test Results

Ingram had a really big day today, well all of us really.  Today was Ingram's second MRI since his treatment began.  He had one after his surgery and one right before radiation began.  If you read Ashley's blog last night, you know that we were a bit nervous about the results.  Ependymoma is an aggressive cancer and, while it would be unusual for it to recur within the first three months, we were still concerned nonetheless. 

We are excited that the MRI showed that there were no signs of a tumor in his brain.  We are still waiting for the results of the spinal tap.  It is hard to imagine that this was just the second of these MRIs.  We will have to get them for a long time to come and the waiting is unbearable.  It feels as if Ingram's fate is almost hanging in the balance as we wait. 

Tomorrow we meet with our main doctor about the complete test results in detail and also will talk about his course of chemotherapy that is set to start Monday.  They're also going to be performing a set of tests for Ingram's kidney function that will last all day, drawing labs every two hours.  This may not be as pleasant as in the past because his butterfly (named Thomas the Train) is bugging him every now and then; plus he's been out of routine of having anything done since we've been on vacation from the hospital for almost a month.  Since radiation ended a month ago, we've been at the hospital twice! 

Ingram Is Developing Quite The Collection Of Bands!
This Is At 7am.

We Dismukes Celebrate Everything With Ice Cream!
This At 4pm This Afternoon.

Tuesday July 10th, Getting A Little Antsy!

I've finished all the laundry, done all the housework, and even put Ingram to bed early tonight.  We had a full day of fun including lunch at Chic Fil A, a long visit at Daddy's office, getting caught out in a huge thunderstorm, and bathing Beau after he too was caught outside in a thunderstorm.  Now that all is quiet in the house, I'm starting to get a little antsy about tomorrow. 

We go back to St. Jude for the first set of tests since before Ingram started radiation.  From his previous round of testing in April, Ingram's tumor was removed completely and his spinal fluid from his first spinal tap was clear which is the best situation possible.  Ingram spent May and June undergoing radiation and is getting ready to start the second part of his treatment which is several rounds of chemotherapy. 

And we have a very full day tomorrow...starting in the lab to get a new butterfly at 7am; I can tell you now that Ingram does not want to start his day with a "poke!"  After his labs, we have a clinic visit to make sure everything is still a go for being sedated.  Next up Ingram will get sedated and then go through a couple hours in the MRI having scans of his brain and spine followed by a Spinal Tap.   The doctors will compare the results they get tomorrow with the previous results to see if there are any signs of tumor regrowth or cancer cells in his spinal fluid.

Since Anaplastic Ependymona is a very aggressive form of cancer and all of the people we've met at St. Jude have had recurrences, I'm a little nervous about tomorrow. I know that God has a plan for taking Ingram and our family down this path. I know that God is totally in charge of the situation. I know that God loves Ingram more than we do, more than we can even imagine. I know that God loves us more than we can imagine. I know that God provides everything we need at every given moment. I know all these things and more in my heart and in my head, but right now I'm just a little nervous and ready to get through tomorrow.

Mommy's Little Man!
(Craig made me put this one in tonight. This is from our family pictures
 taken the night before Ingram started radiation.)

Monday July 9th, A Noisy Start!

We woke up this morning to the noise of cement trucks and it was great!  Ingram was glued to the windows and was fascinitated by the trucks.  He loved watching them empty out, then the next one would pull in, then he'd empty his load and the other guy would be back fully loaded again.  I'm not sure our neighborhood drivers were happy about the road being a little congested in front; but if they had boy in the car, I'm sure they were loving it. 

We pretty much did nothing today, other than watching the cement trucks and the workers.  We played hide and seek and Play-Doh off and on all day.  We also went upstairs and tried to play Super Mario Brothers on the Wii but I couldn't figure it out.  I guess when the girls get home from Kanakuk, they'll have to teach me how to play so I can help Ingram. 

We also played a game that I have no idea what it's called (Craig said it's called Jai Alai, but I've never heard of that).  It's kind of like mini lacrosse but it's a full plastic scooper handle thingie with a little handle; Ingram calls it "Toss" because you toss the ball with the scooper thing to the other person and they catch it with their scooper thingie.  Beau also likes to try and get the ball and runs like crazy when he gets it.  I think Beau laughs at me as I'm chasing him around the house or the yard; I know if anyone else saw this going on they, they'd laugh at me too!

On a positive note, Ingram is doing great!  He's been eating I think all day long and I'm sure he's gained some weight which is a good thing.  We go back to St. Jude Wednesday and I'll be excited to see what the scales say; I'll go on record with my guess around 35 pounds!

What begins at 8am...

...is finished by 4pm!

Saturday and Sunday July 7th and 8th, Decisions, Decisions!!

We love weekends at the Dismuke house!  The crazy thing is that we normally don't make plans till the last minute and so it happened that way again this weekend.  Mr. David and Miss Laurie were still here with us and the girls were still at Kamp so it was just Ingram to make the decisions for us for the weekend!

First decision...breakfast!  Ingram wanted bacon, eggs, and waffles so off to the kitchen I went.  Breakfast went well with all the Play-Doh that Ingram and Miss Laurie were making.  Craig and Mr. David were working in the yard (of course) and came up with some pretty fun options for the rest of today and Ingram gave his approval too. 

Second decision...swimming!  We left the big boys home to work in the yard more and we went swimming at the pool.  Ingram is a huge fan of the diving board and the slide and likes to go over and over still.  I think he's starting to have "scales and fins" come out of his skin; he loves the water!!!

Third decision...driving!  Even though he's not old enough to drive a car, he's old enough to drive the boat so off to the Lake we go.  Ingram decided he'd rather swim in the Lake than drive the boat so we swam and swam and swam.  The poor little guy's white swim shirt is no longer white; guess I'll be finding a new one since he likes swimming in it even at nighttime. 

Fourth decision...jumping!  Ingram loves to jump into the pool now either off the board or off the side of the pool.  He's come a long way from wanting us to be right there to catch him when we were at the beach to now doing cannonballs, attempting dives, and impersonating animals when he goes off the board.  For the first time ever, he jumped off the side of the boat!!!  He did it a couple times and his girls are going to be so proud of him when they find out. 

Fifth decision...sleepover!  Some friends offered their lakehouse to us again so we wouldn't have to drive back home late but we hadn't really thought we would stay the night.  Well, Ingram decided he wanted to swim again the next day and so since he's in charge this weekend, we said sure.  But we hadn't really thought about Beau, our dog that we left at home.  He stays outside a lot (with an invisible fence) and loves to run alongside people and their dogs alike but stays in our yard.  So we finally get settled and showered and get dinner and realized we still hadn't figured out what we're going to do about Beau.  The Murphy family once again came to our rescue and put Beau inside at night and let him out again in the morning.  Beau must have played hard with them because he's been sleeping off and on ever since we got home around 6pm Sunday night. 

I would add another decision that he made, but it wasn't his decision really.   He had so much fun these past couple days and was so tired that on the way home he fell asleep in the car...with his dinner in his hands!  He's taking after Daddy here (some of you know how he fell alseep eating in the hospital about 5 years ago with his heart surgery) and had just worn himself out and couldn't stay awake anymore.  He also fell asleep on the boat for about 30 minutes which is no new thing; the funny part of that is that we had pretty much just gotten out on the water and were driving around and it wasn't even close to his naptime.  Hopefully, though, he'll get a good nights sleep tonight and take it easy for the next couple days at home too. 

Smashing Bushes With Mr. Jay's Bobcat!

The Boys Chilling Together In The Lake!

Mommy May Be The One Doing The Steering,
But Ingram Is The One Doing the Speeding!