Friday August 31st, Still Celebrating!

The girls begged me to bring Ingram to lunch at school today so that their friends could see Ingram since his scans were clear.  Honestly, I just think they like how much of a rock start he is at the school with everyone wanting to give him dukes and say hi!  It's great though and they talked me into enduring the noise that comes along with lunch in the cafeteria.  At first Ingram was overwhelmed with all the noise and attention but about 10 minutes into it, he was better but still didn't eat anything while we were there and sat in my lap the whole time.  He did eat part of a fruit roll up, icing from a piece of cookie cake, and drank almost all his fruit punch so I guess that was good.

Ingram got a package delivered to Craig's office from someone from Wisconsin that we'd never even met!  It was a huge box filled with paraphenalia from all the different sports teams in the state.  There was a Green Bay Packers football jersey; Milwaukee Brewers t-shirt, hat, and tervis cup; a Cheese Head; a 4x Super Bowl Champions hand; a Watertown Jacket, and last but certainly not least a Bucky Badger Bobble Head.  A funny thing about the bobble head is that Ingram makes a face all the time and calls it a bobble head and he moves his head just like a bobble head; he and BB were doing it together tonight.  So Adams family, you made our day!

The girls both had things to do tonight and Ingram was happy to have Daddy all to himself in the pool!  Ingram at first was going to get in then changed his mind because it was cold; but, apparently Daddy got a hold of him and decided they were going to play in the pool anyway!!  He ended up playing in the pool with Daddy and then helping me inside the house too.  He even helped give Beau a bath today after he had his own bath.  Thankfully,  at 10pm tonight, he finally crashed for the night even though he said he wasn't tired yet!

Lunch With Lindsey, Also Known As Peanut!

Lunch With Madison, Also Known As Monkey!





"No daddy, it's cold!!!"

"Wheeeeeee!"

So This Is A Little Unfair! 
Craig Just Hit The Cheese Head With The "Bop It's" And Went In For The Gut Shot!
 

Part Of The Wisconsin Treats!!

Thursday August 30th, WooHoo!!

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

 
This is the song that was playing as we left the driveway this morning for St. Jude.  Normally, Ingram wants to watch a movie on the way, but today he didn't ask at all.  We listened to music the whole way to and from and he was even singing along with me.  At our house music is always going and one of my favorite things is hearing our girls singing along with our "church music" as it's called on our ipod. 
 
Ingram had his MRI and Spinal Tap this morning and then woke up in recovery with both of us right by his side...and his donut holes!  He was so hungry since he'd been up since 7 and it was now 12:15 and he still hadn't had anthing to eat.  Our nurses that took care of us during our six and a half weeks were sooo excited to see him today and it was so sweet of them all to come in and check on him and talk with us too.  The relationships that the children make with the doctors and nurses is just one more thing that makes being at St. Jude a little easier!
 
So...the scans are clear and the spinal fluid is clear and we are "singing when the evening comes!"  For the two months that we've been doing chemo, there have been times when, after seeing Ingram throwing up or too tired to play with his sisters, we've questioned how we are going to keep doing this for six months.  But as each day passes, whether it's a good day or a bad day, God is still with us and He carries us through each day.  We are worshipping His Holy Name for taking care of Ingram and taking his cancer away. 
 
After we got our results and were talking about our next round of chemo, we along with our doctor decided to wait until Tuesday to start Ingram's third round of chemo.  So we're hoping to fatten him up some more over the weekend and let him have a fun time playing in the pool now that his butterfly/needle is out.  So I guess that was an open invitation for swimming = rain or shine, we'll be in the backyard; feel free to stop by!
 
The girls were so exicted about our news that Ingram's scans were clear that they decided to throw a party instead of just having dinner.  Our party consisted of goldfish, pretzels, crunchies, chocolate chip muffins, pizza, lemonade, and even treat bags.  Of course, we also couldn't have a celebration without ice cream so we headed to TCBY at 8pm and had the kids in bed by 9pm.
 
The interview from WBBJ in Jackson aired last night and we were soooo excited.  Keli McAlister did a great job and we've watched it over and over already.  Below is the link where you can see it and see just why we're so proud of them! 
 
 
Daddy Snuggling In The Recovery Room!

Mommy Snuggling In The Cafeteria!

"When I Say Scans, You Say Clear...
Scans...Clear...Scans...Clear!"



 

Wednesday August 29th, Rough Day

The beginning of today was great for me personally.  After my girls went to school, I went for a run while my Mom was at home with Ingram.  It had been a while since my last run and all I could think about was jumping in the pool when I was finished to cool off, even at 9am; the pool water was great!  Then since we had the day off from SJ and Mom was here, I met up with several girls for lunch just to catch up.  We all agreed that it was good for all of us to get together and realize that we all need time to get away even if it's just lunch and talk for a bit.  Ingram even got a short nap before he went back up to Craig's office, Vining Sparks, to shave another huge head of hair!  Britton wasn't there when Ingram shaved the others and so today was his day; I think it was extra special because we've known Britton and Teresa for about 14 years now and for him to cut his hair is a big deal1

Then, while we were still at Craig's office, our day took an ugly turn as we got the message that Landan, Ingram's first friend at St. Jude, "went to be with his Heavenly Father today."  This is very hard for us to handle.  God gives us grace for the current moment but it's only what is needed for that situation.  Looking at Carrie and Ed right now, it's obvious that God is pouring His Grace on them to get through this time and we just don't see how they're doing it.


 
Can We Say Appetite Stimulant??

Ingram Has Some Style

Ingram and Britton

 

Tuesday August 28th, GRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!

As expected, Ingram's weight today was higher than 14.2;  it was 14.6 which seems to be our new magic number that always pops up on the scale.  I guess it doesn't matter how much he eats, it's usually 14.6 or 14.2   Oh well, I guess I can look forward to the false high reading that he gets on fluids next time.  

I know I said I wasn't going to be upset about his weight, but I think I'm just a little down in general right now.  Our friend Landan isn't doing well at all and it's just not fair.  Another of our friends, Cole, had his scans today and found out that his tumor had returned.  He went through radiation for Anaplastic Ependymoma the same time we were and it was his second round fighting this nasty cancer; he's also Ingram's age and they'll start they're third fight against this monster.  This is not fair either.  Brent, another friend from radiation who's Lindsey's age, is getting quite sick off his IL-2 treatment for Neuroblastoma and it's just not very fun for him right now.  And this is not fair.

Mae, our two-time inpatient buddy so it's not boring while getting chemo, is still in the hospital going on over a week with ZERO for her ANC which means she has no immune system; that just stinks because she has plenty of energy and wants to be out running around but can't.  Jackie is a sweet little two year old who started chemo the week before we did for Ependymoma in July and got a good report from her scans last week; she started her third round of chemo today.  None of this is fair!!

Then there's us...we're about to have another MRI and Spinal Tap Thursday before we start our third round of chemo supposedly on Friday.  For as much fun as we have at St. Jude with our new friends and our doctors and nurses, there's always this ugly Cancer in the background that messes up our plans and none of us like him at all!!  GO AWAY CANCER!!! WE DON'T LIKE YOU!!!!!!

We Started Out With All Smiles Coloring "Create-A-Pepper" for Chili's Restaurants and Racing Cars!

Ending Our Day With Smiles Too!!!

Stay Tuned To Find Out How You Can Get Your Own Team Ingram T-Shirt Too!!
And Yes, They Were All Smiling And Saying "Cheese" In This Picture!

Monday August 27th, Feed Me!!!

Today has been pretty uneventful for Ingram.  He was in his pajamas until the girls got home from school; the only reason we changed them was because I saw tacos on them from last night.  He would have been plenty happy to just keep them on! 

Ingram has been on an appetite stimulant and I've got to say it's working!  He's eaten so much over the last few days that his stomach is actually sticking out.  Now I always get disappointed when he gets weighed even after I think he's eaten a lot because I'm looking for 15.0kg (pre-surgery weight in April) and have only gotten it on fluids (false hope I call it).  Tomorrow's going to be different and I'm sure he's at least more than the 14.2kg that he normally is so anything other than that and I'm a happy mommy.

Here's just an idea of what all he's had at different times today.  Yellow gatorade with his medicine in it (I know, I'm sooo bad!) and chocolate chip mini muffins for breakfast, chex mix for a snack, huge bowl of green peas and rice and a piece of "cow" cheese and more gatorade for lunch, more muffins and mild for a snack, more chex mix and gatorade with medicine in it for an afternoon snack, more chex mix before we picked up Madison from soccer and a juice box for another snack.  Dinner is the craziest part; eggs, toast, peas and rice, another juice box, and a green popsicle.  I'm sure I've missed something that he's eaten, but you get the jist.  Now granted he didn't eat every bite of everything offered (except for the cheese and chex mix), but he ate soooo much today and has been eating like this for days!!

Oh, so keep your eyes peeled for a super fun gift coming soon for the girls in your life!!  One of our college friends is designing some super fun hair bows, clips, headbands, and broaches in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month which is September.  She's been talking to the girls and Ingram about their favorite colors and will have them ready to sell soon!  I'm not sure how it will work yet, but the proceeds will go to St. Jude and we're soooo excited!! As soon as they're ready, we'll post pictures and put a link to her store so you can order them for your daughters, mothers, sisters, nieces, neighbors, friends, teachers, and anyone else you want to!


This Is How Our Day Starts Just About Every Day!
The Funny Thing About Today Is That He's Using Beau's Leash As A Seatbelt
To Make Sure He Doesn't Fall Out Of The Swing.

The Famous Mixture Of Peas And Rice!!!

A Friend Sent This Today And Made Me Smile!!
This Is Ingram As A Monster At Halloween After He Had Turned One.
He's Wore Footie Fleece Pajamas And Ran All Around The Cove Where We Were Eating Dinner With Neighbors.
Check Out Those Cheeks!!!


Saturday and Sunday August 25th and 26th, Water and More Water!

Wow!  I think I'm just not sitting down for the first time this weekend and it makes me so happy; happy because we've been having soooooo much fun and now I'm feeling the exhaustion starting to kick in!  We were basically in the water all weekend long, but not all of it was pool water...

We were sleeping so well Saturday morning then I think my alarm clock (I've affectionately named him Ingram) woke up and once again I realized it was time to get rolling to get the girls to soccer on time.  We loaded the car and realized it's sprinkling; no biggie, a little sprinkles will be nice for the yard.  A few minutes later, it started really raining and it continued to pour for their entire hour and a half practice!!  When we got to practice to pick the girls up, they were flat on their backs with about 50 other kids doing sit-ups in the rain; I love it!!!  They apparently started out practice diving on their bellies to "get over" the fact that it was raining.  For as much as they complained, I know they loved it because of the smiles on their faces when I picked them up. 

Since we were already drenched, we decided to have a pool party with fellow soccer pals to celebrate playing in the rain.  Even Ingram jumped in with them and was going to swim until he realized how freezing cold the water was...and still is today!  They literally spent all day in the water (rain and pool) even with it only in the 70's for much of the time.  Once we got them dry though, I think they were pretty happy...till they got in the water again with our neighbors.  In between all the pool time for Saturday, Craig and Mr. David were working on the yard again and I trying to get the sprinklers to work right again.  Unfortunately Mr. David and Miss Laurie had to leave at the end of the night and didn't get to see the sprinkler system mystery solved. 

Saturday night was super special!  Our dear friends, Shad and Veronica Berry, invited us to a show their family (there are 8 adult siblings involved in this with all their kids) put together as a benefit to St. Jude.  One of their brothers is battling cancer and this benefit is a way that they can all do something for him and others with cancer.  They also showed the "Team Ingram" video and Shad told a little of our story and it was a very sweet evening.  Afterwards, Ingram and the girls were stars again and were able to talk to people about Ingram and St. Jude. 

Sunday morning, we headed to St. Jude to get poked and Ingram did a little renaming on the side.  He decided that he was changing his port (surgically implanted thingie that all his meds run through when it's accessed) from a lion to a dinosaur.  He said he wanted to stick with another animal that roars so I went with it; he even went as far to say that it was Little Foot from The Land Before Time.  Now as far as his butterfly (the needle that he gets poked with to access his port) goes, he named it Beau after Beau our dog.  For as mischievous as Beau is, he holds a special spot in our hearts and will probably always have a home because of how much Ingram loves him no matter what kind of trouble he causes.  Ingram's counts were okay, some were just hovering around, but we're good till Tuesday.  We kept him accessed today so he'd have one less poke this week and he liked the sound of that too.  He's great though when he gets poked and didn't even cry today; for being 3 (and a half he always adds) he acts better than me when I have to get a poke!

We came home and brought chaos with us;  sometimes all we can do it go nutty to relieve stress so off to the pool I go to throw Madison in.  She tried to go to Grumpypalosiaville and I had to get her back on track.  Next up, Lindsey needed to be taught the same lesson on what could happen if they decided to be grouchy with each other.  It wasn't all that successful because while I was throwing her in, Craig came in behind me and sent me sailing as well.  Oh well, at least there were no grouchies anymore!  When Craig was taking a picture of the three of us drenched in our clothes, Lindsey decided to start leaning and so did Madison and we all wound up in the water again.  Those two girls definitely take after their mischievous Daddy!!

Marlon and Jackie came over after all the chaos ended only to stir up more; they were in the pool with the girls and had so much fun!  After swimming, we had dinner and then attempted to read the Tickle Monster.  I say attempt because we didn't get to far into the book because there was just too much tickling to be had.  The other reason we had to end early was that it was a school night and already 9pm.  Beau also decided that with all the attention that the girls and Ingram were getting that he wanted some too...from Marlon...and it wasn't the kind of attention that anyone would want!!  Needless Beau got sent outside after we quit laughing while Beau was trying to befriend Marlon's leg!!  Oh my, do you see why I'm just now sitting down???

Swimming In The Rain With Emily, Collin, Anna, CeCe, Madison, Lindsey, Ingram, and Beau!

Trust Me!
Those Little Stinkers Get 100% Of Their Mischievousness From Their Daddy!!

Swimming With Marlon and Jackie!

Please continue to pray for our sweet friend Landan and his family.
Today, they realized he was in pain and have increased his medicines to keep him comfortable.
 I'm also putting a picture of Landan taken while he was still living at the Ronald McDonald House
so that you can see who you're praying for.

Friday August 24th, Road Trip!

We took a road trip to Jackson Tennessee today and it was soooo much fun!  We checked the girls out of school early and while we were waiting, Ingram was talking to all the gals in the office and handing out his "Ingram the Conqueror" green bands.  We kept him inside the office to minimize the possible germs he might get; later in the day though, I realized the maximum germs would be in the office since the clinic is in there too.  I'm putting up my "No Germs Allowed" sign in hopes of deterring any unwanted guests to the Dismuke house.

So off to Jackson we go to meet Keli McAlister from WBBJ News; she wanted to meet at my sisters house so that Ingram and the girls would feel more comfortable and that was the perfect location to hang out for the day.  Craig and I went to Union University with Keli and I roomed with her a few years and it was fun to catch up too.  Keli talked with each of the kids in their own interviews; yes, even Ingram answered questions and even added his own stuff to her list.  By the end of his time with Keli, he was starting to really get a little funny and decided to tell her that sometimes he has "to go pee pee in a cup" and Keli was trying hard to hold back the laughter!  Wasn't there a show way back maybe with Bill Cosby where he interviewed the kids and all the parents were embarrassed?  Ingram could be a great candidate for something like that!

After all the filming was completed, we stayed around for several more hours and played with our family.  Carley and Brett almost  had me talked into spending the night had it not been for a little sisterly love that included a hard tumble down a whole set of stairs which ended with a head in the door casing.  I won't mention which brown haired daughter needed an ice pack or which blond headed daughter got a stern talking to because they might get embarrassed.

Please pray for our friend Landan and his family.  We've written about him several times in the past few months and he's Ingram's first friend; now his condition has worsened in the past 24 hours and the family is asking for prayers for comfort and peace.  His parents are still praying for a miracle, but their goal right now is to keep him comfortable and pain free.  This is a situation that is excruciatingly hard on the family and is also difficult for those of us in the midst of our battles against cancer. 



Ingram Is Trying Out A New Look!
Not Really, It's Uncle Len's Wig!!

 Ingram Talking With Keli McAlister About "Being Hooked Up"
Which Means Having Fluids Running.


Madison Sitting All Prim And Proper While She Discusses Why
St. Jude Is So Important To Her. 

Thursday August 23rd, Record Breaking Visitors!!

Oh it was sooooo early this morning when I had to wake up Ingram to head to St. Jude to start our day out in Nuclear Medicine.  The bad thing about being late to the first appointment of the day is that it would mean that our other 4 visits to the lab would be rearranged as well...But we weren't late!  We were there on time and even were able to go to the cafeteria between the first two appointments.  However, racing back and forth to the lab all day made for a long day of checking the time especially since there was so much fun stuff to do in between our appointments!

The first extra of the day was that Cinderella and Prince Charming came to visit St. Jude today and brought along crafts for the kids to do.  Unfortunately, Prince Charming forgot to bring along some boy crafts so Ingram and his other guy friends made pink and purple princess crowns for their "sisters."  I say sisters loosely because Ingram ended up putting his name on his crown (but at least he didn't wear it!). 

The second extra was seeing Rockey the Rockin Redbird and several of the Memphis Redbirds Baseball team!  It was so much fun and the guys were so great talking to the kids, signing autographs, and taking pictures too.  They were even laughing at Ingram as he was telling them how he plays baseball in the front yard and that he got new shoes that make him go fast and that he could beat them in a race.  For some reason, it's always about competition!

The third extra was that Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner of the Chicago White Sox, was at St. Jude today and Ingram got to meet him.  Frank Thomas, also from the Chicago White Sox, was there.  Ingram got stood next to him for a picture and was talking to him and looked soooo tiny; his biceps were bigger than Ingram's head!  Jeff Nelson from the New York Yankees was there and he was huge too.  At one point, Ingram was standing in between the two of them and he looked extra small!  Between the three of these guys, they have 11 World Championships, 6 All-Star Appearances, 2 AL MVP's, and a Homerun Derby Championship, but the best thing in my opinion is that they came to St. Jude to see the kids.  These guys were great though and were cracking up at all the things Ingram was telling them.  They even said "Cheese" with Ingram during their picture, but of course, Ingram held it out the longest!

Ingram's counts were looking okay today and the knot/cut on the top of his head was better.  He was able to get his butterfly out and he was so excited about that; it had been in since Friday and that also meant no "bathtubs" since last Thursday night.  The first thing he did after the girls got home was to jump in the pool; of course, it was freezing cold so he swam as fast as he could to the steps to get out.  He did play in the water again, but I think he's going to need a little coaxing to get him to swim around until it warms up at some point.  After that, we headed to soccer practice for Madison then a soccer game for Lindsey to end out our night.  He's sleeping sound right now after another fun filled day at St. Jude!

Ingram And Rockey The Rockin Redbird

Ingram and Jerry Reinsdorf

Ingram with Frank Thomas and Jeff Nelson

Oh Wee It's Cold In Here!

 

Wednesday August 22nd, A Great Day...Interrupted!

Oh how fun it is to have energy even though Ingram's appetite decided to go AWOL again!  Ingram woke up happy and played while the girls were getting ready for school and then we went out back to look at the pool that was filled to the rim with water.  We were making plans of what all we were going to do and who we were going to make "walk the plank" first.  We decided we didn't need a diving board so we got a pirate ship plank instead.

Mr. Jay (the builder of the most fun pool ever) told us that we could swim this afternoon; well at least the girls could swim since Ingram has his butterfly/needle for one more day.  We were pretty excited and decided that we'd throw stuff in the pool for them to fetch for us, and we'd do it over and over again!  After all that pool talk, we headed out to run a few errands before meeting some friends at...drum roll please...Chic Fil A.  We were having playground withdrawals since Ingram hasn't been inside a restaurant in a few weeks and he loves their playground!

I also had another surprise for him; I took him to Barnes and Noble and we played at the train table for about 30 minutes.  No one else was in the children's section and we were reading books, playing with the toys, and of course seeing how many trains we could connect together and actually make it up the hill. 

We were at lunch with Veronica, Jack, and Ann Claire for about 2 hours and you know kids don't eat that long.  Ingram probably only spent 10 total minutes eating and the rest of the time playing and telling me that his stomach didn't need any more food.  That little stinker is going to get me in trouble with our Nutrition gal at St. Jude tomorrow; I'm sure he's lost even more weight since Tuesday.  We finally left to get home before the girls did and play with Beau, but we had another little accident with the garage; this time it wasn't me or my car.

The girls and Ingram like to get out of the car at the front of the driveway and run down the driveway with Beau alongside them.  Once I get the car close to the garage, I use my clicker and it starts to open.  Well, this afternoon it didn't open fast enough and full speed running Ingram didn't duck enough and hit the bottom piece.  I watched the whole thing happen and couldn't believe he got a cut and a knot on his head.  Normally these sort of things are not a big deal cause we get bumps and bruises all the time; we're all tough and he likes to keep up with his girls (who were still at school).  St. Jude has a different philosophy on those sort of things and they made us come in to get checked out and it was 3:00pm when this happened and Ingram skipped his nap today. 

I say "made" specifically because I didn't want to go!!  We were having the best day and it was going to get even better once the girls got home.  Swimming in the pool for the first time, another soccer game, and of course homework to get ready for tests tomorrow and Friday.  But we did the right thing and spent the next FIVE AND A HALF HOURS at St. Jude getting checked out, getting labs drawn, waiting on the results, getting the results, waiting to be called into the medicine room, waiting on the platelets to come down, and of course waiting on the platelet transfusion itself...oh the drama for a little bump on the head. 

I guess I should explain why the drama since it's just a bump on the head as it was explained to me by several people.  First, he's a new brain tumor patient. Second, he's counts were already hovering on the low side of things despite a blood transfusion on Friday and platelet transfusion on Sunday.  Third, he's a new brain tumor patient. Fourth, low platelets mean no clotting and low blood means there's not enough blood.  Fifth, he's a new brain tumor patient. Sixth, he could have internal bleeding on his brain from the bump and that would definitely be no good.  Seventh, he's a new brain tumor patient.  Do I really have to keep going with this list??

All in all, our day was great; we played and played and even when he got hurt, he was playing.  I'll take an interruption any day over him not feeling well enough to run around and laugh and play...even if it means that we spend the better part of our afternoon and evening at the hospital.  He's good now and sound asleep resting up for another super long day at St. Jude tomorrow with labwork that will consist of about 5 different stops in the lab drawing blood to make sure the chemotherapy isn't messing with his kidney function.  It's a normal set of tests that everyone does; it's just very time consuming and makes for a long day. Other than that, we're good!

Choo Choo!!
Lunchtime With Jack, Ingram, and Ann Claire
Check Out The Dirty Feet!!  He Was So Proud Of These For Some Reason!




The Knot That Started It All!

Tuesday August 21st, More Energy...Seriously?!?!

So when I said yesterday that Ingram was back to full blown energy, I might have been wrong.  I think he increased it today to an even more full blown energy level if that's possible.  He was running around the hospital talking to everyone and having fun.  Of course, when I told him "NO" to one of his requests, he promptly threw a fit just like a two year old; once he was done, he wiped his tears, looked around to see if the fit worked, then continued to run around the hospital having fun.  

Our day started out in the lab; I heard him talking to the girls in the lab talking about how he had grown since Tuesday.  Granted he didn't grow on the scale at all, but when it came time to draw his labs, he told me he didn't need my help because he was such a big boy.  The girls just started laughing and I just left the room and let him do his thing.  We went to see the dogs next and ended up seeing our friend Mae and her sister Winn.  The dogs apparently made Ingram a little hungry so we camped out in the cafeteria and ate chex mix until it was time for our clinic appointment. 

In the Clinic, we were able to find out that he was doing okay labwise; he's still hanging around the low side of things but definitely bouncing back from chemo and so we discussed the next stage in treatment.  We're still checking labs every few days and will also have another MRI and spinal tap next Thursday the 30th.  Depending on those results and Ingram's counts, we might possibly start his third round of chemo that Friday and just run it over Labor Day Weekend.  Until we see the labs, MRI, and tap results, it's all just a tentative plan for when the round will start. 

We also got to meet NASCAR driver Jeremy Clements!  He was such a nice man and truly seemed interested in Ingram's battle; Ingram gave him one of his green wristbands and he put it on immediately.  I love it when Ingram gives people bands and they put them on before they even know what it is; it's also super cute to hear Ingram explaining what it is...he always tells them to pray for him!  Jeremy is racing for the first time this coming Friday with the St. Jude logo on his car and it looks like Daddy might be investing in some heavy duty earplugs for our little man to make a roadtrip!!

By the time we got home, he was even more excited; Mr. David was back at the house for the afternoon and was going to stay with him while I went to the grocery.  Ingram said that Mr. David needed a babysitter and he would make sure Mr. David behaved while I was gone.  Ingram didn't take a nap today and instead played with Mr. David and Beau all afternoon.  Apparently we need to put Mr. David on the payroll and let Ingram babysit him more often! 

Needless to say, Ingram had no problem going to bed tonight and was asleep before Madison and Craig got home from Madison's soccer game...of which her team won!  Oh..almost forgot...Madison got recognized on "One Girl One Voice" for her work this summer telling folks about Ingram and the work at St. Jude and raising money for Cancer Research at St. Jude.  The link is below and it celebrates how one girl can make a difference!  Way to Go, Madison!

http://bit.ly/PcN9mG

"But Mommy, I Don't Need You To Sit With Me.
I'm A Big Boy!  Remember?"

Ingram And NASCAR's Jeremy Clements
Guess We'll Be Making A Trip To The Tracks Soon!
VROOM VROOM!!
So Immediately After Mr. David Took This Picture And Sent It to Craig,
I Got The News That No One Was Supposed To Be In The Pool Yet. 
The Funny Thing About That Was That When Jay Talked To Craig He Said...
"...I Can See Ingram And Beau Swimming Around In The Water When I Come Over..."
Wrong!  It's Mommy and Ingram!!



Monday August 20th, He's Back!

Soooo today was the first full day that Ingram really had his appetite AND his full blown energy back since the start of his second round of chemo started two weeks ago.  Granted, he's still being a picky eater and also changes what he wants to eat every few minutes.  Ingram does have two things that he still wants to eat/drink all day long...Rasinets and Gatorade.  I guess between the two of those, we're not going to be needing any Miralx to counteract some of the effects of chemotherapy! 

The girls are super busy with soccer six days a week between the two of them.  They're really good at it and are already talking about College scholarships...well at least Craig is!  Lindsey is great at offense and Madison is a rockstar at Goalie and Defender.  Even when Lindsey switches to defense and Madison to offense, they still make a difference in their games.  They are both as tough as nails on the field, but Momma Bear get a little nervous when they go in for a shoulder charge (thanks to Daddy and Mr. Aaron) or have a collision at full speed.  Luckily, we haven't had any major injuries on the field since Lindsey broke her nose in church league when she was 4. 

We head back to St. Jude in the morning to have labs drawn and also to have our weekly clinic appointment.  I'm thinking they're going to be talking about Ingram's reaction to his platelet transfusion and also discuss his progress.   I know we're supposed to do another round of testing between the second and third round of chemo but we that's about all we know.  Hopefully after tomorrow, we'll know when/what/why and can attempt to plan our schedule at least a week at a time. Of course the funny thing about attempting to make plans is that our schedule can change at any given moment, but at least we're pretty much used to flying by the seat of our pants!

Oh, we've got exciting news about Craig!  He's going to be on CNBC at 4:45am; it's makes an early start for the day, but it's great to have him and Vining Sparks on national tv!  The station will also put in online afterwards and it usually winds up on You Tube too so everyone can see it.  We (well really me and the kids) get super excited and right when the girls get in from school, they run to the tv to see the recording.   I guess we'll have to see how his bald head looks on tv;  maybe the hosts' will remember Craig's full head of hair and ask him about the change.  Then he could talk about Ingram the Conqueror on national TV...I know, I know, silly right?  But at least I can think about the possibilities!



I Know, We're Always Getting Ice Cream!
Today's Cause..Haircuts For The Girls.
Funny Question From Ingram When We Were Checking In At The Hair Place:
 "Mommy, Can I Get A Haircut Too?"
An Answer Wasn't Needed As Everyone In the Store Started Laughing!

Friday August 17th to Sunday August 19th, A Much Needed Weekend

from Dad...

So things have been pretty hard for the past two weeks - with momentary bright spots. When Ingram's first friend lost his battle with cancer two weeks ago, it was hard for us emotionally (not that we needed to be concerned with how we felt in a moment like that - but it was, nonetheless). I had enough going on that I could get by without dwelling on it too much. Ashley, on the other hand, was definitely affected by it. When we found out last weekend that another of our friends, one of the closest friends we have made at St. Jude, was not doing well, it got to both of us. There is a commonality you have with people you go through crises alongside. Our hearts broke for the families, people we've sat with and shared our fears and hopes. And in this situation, you start to look at them as evidence that things will go well. Their little guys are full of energy and have been through so much; therefore, Ingram can do it too. But when they don't do well, it forces you to accept that this is a possible outcome for Ingram as well as every other child we see at St. Jude. It is a harsh reminder that you're not guaranteed to be in the percentage of those who beat childhood cancer (not that you ever really forget).

Making things more difficult, Ingram finally looks like he is battling cancer. With his hair gone, him losing weight, and chemo catching him a little bit more this time; he no longer looks like a normal little three-year-old. Incidentally, it does make it a little bit easier having 17 coworkers and a good friend shave their heads in solidarity with Ingram. That was unexpected and meant more to our family than people can imagine. I've always thought is was a little bit dramatic to do things like that. But going through the fire with your son has a way of changing perspectives. Now, I think it is incredibly selfless and equally encouraging. But the bottom line is that Ingram definitely looks like he is sick now. And subconsciously that can get to you. Our closest friends moved to the Dominican Republic for a year on Thursday. We are having some academic struggles with school this year - already. Our dog ate part of the fabric off the only nice set of chairs we have ever bought. Our invisible fence was cut and the chair-eating dog escaped mid-week (I was tempted to let him keep running). We couldn't let him be outside or he would run off, nor inside lest he eat more fabric. Our Fall schedule is proving to be nutty with soccer six days a week, travel, etc... All-in-all, there is a lot going on right now, cumulatively making life a bit more challenging and testing our emotional limits. Of course, God is always there as He proved to be this past week. That's another of those quaint little sayings we put on refrigerator magnets but that I've never been forced to fully comprehend. It's nice to say when everything is going great. It's a completely different thing when you're in the middle of the valley.

To the point... Friday was a fun day. I ended up going with Ashley and Ingram to St. Jude for our meeting with George Ross, Executive Vice President of Trump Organizations. Mr. Ross has been a donor to St. Jude and was visiting the hospital for the first time with his sweet wife, daughter, and son-in-law. St. Jude is hoping to get Mr. Ross involved in a project that is close to our heart. We told the Rosses about our experience at St. Jude and Ingram passed out "Mingram the Conrer" wristbands. For some reason, after having them for several weeks, Ingram is now intent on giving his wristbands to everyone (including the four people working at Moe's tonight). The Rosses seemed to be overwhelmed by their visit to St. Jude. We hope they choose to continue helping St. Jude in the future and we hope Mr. Ross can get "The Donald" involved (he could start by shaving his head with Ingram which would surely look better than the coif he's been sporting for the last decade). We know Donald Trump owns the best buildings in the world, the best golf courses, the best hotels, and that he is the best businessman in the world. We know because he's told us! It only makes sense for him to get involved with one of the best children's hospitals in the world!

We also had to do labs on Friday and Ingram had to have another blood transfusion. His hemoglobin was too low again. They are supposed to be lethargic when their red cells are low. Of course, "lethargic" isn't in Ingram's dictionary yet. He wanted me to chase him all morning it seemed. He would run and run and run and giggle and giggle. It was cute, and definitely did not look like his red cells were low. But, they were. That means a 2 hour visit turns into an all-day jamboree. We had labs on Sunday also and took the whole family. Unfortunately, he had to have a platelet transfusion because they were low also. He had a reaction to the proteins and had trouble breathing, but they got it fixed fairly quickly. His white cell count is back out of the emergency zone so he can finally take off his mask in public. We still have to be careful, but he is relieved to not have to wear the mask anymore (I think he would rather be stuck with a needle than wearing that mask around).

The weekend wasn't all spent at St. Jude. We also had friends over Friday and Saturday. On Friday, Mr. David let Ingram shave his head despite his pending marriage to Miss Laurie next Spring. Miss Laurie was a good sport even though her fiance went from having Prince Harry hair to Shane Battier hair - most of us would say that wasn't a good trade! Then again, very few people shave their heads with Ingram in hopes of looking better! The Whelan's came over Saturday and we fired up the fireplace and made Lindsey's favorite - smores.

Craig and Ingy "Cheesing" It Up!

The Bald Trio...Mr. David, Ingram, and Craig!
Lindsey's Favorite Snack...S'mores!

Notice Ingram's Plate..."I'll Take The Chocolate Only If You Don't Mind!"
Ending The Night With The Tickle Monster Led To A 30 Minute
Race Around The House...Running From Craig, The Tickle Monster!

Sunday At St. Jude Doesn't Get Any Better Than This!!

Thursday August 16th, Warning: Do Not Read If You Have A Weak Stomach!!

Today's post is all about throw up, so be warned, it's kinda gross but mainly funny!  It definitely would not be part of a book about manners and etiquette.  But, it's our reality...

Ingram is a professional when it comes to the art of throwing up!  We carry Tupperware buckets in the car and keep them around the house; yes, we dump them out then wash them out regularly!  I keep our blue hospital "barf bags" in my purse and backpacks so that whenever we need them, we have them. Please keep in mind that this happens all the time now and we make the best of it. 

So here come the Dismuke funnies about throw-up!

Typically Ingram throws up if his stomach isn't coated with his nausea medicine which he gets three times a day like clockwork.  His chemotherapy makes his throw up off and on for about two weeks right after he gets it.  His gag reflex is crazy now and makes him throw up about half the time when he eats and then sometimes he just throws up because he thinks he's going to.  I guess he's just silly like his Daddy with the self-fulfilling kind of thought process.

This morning was definitely a crazy kind of start to the day.  Craig headed off to work as normal with the rest of us still snoozing in bed; then I got up and showered then the girls got up.  Ingram slept till after 8 which was great since he was the one still calling my name at 10pm last night!  Madison headed to school and I took Lindsey to the doctor and Ingram tagged along with us.  Lindsey had been coughing and complaining for a while now and I figured the only way to finally get rid of the complaining was to take her to the doctor.  The car ride there was "fun" because Ingram started throwing up;  Lindsey was in the back seat with her ears plugged and her eyes squeezed shut as much as she could.  It was great though because when Ingram was done he shouted (he had on earphones watching a movie) ..."Look!!! Lemonade!!"... because he had been drinking lemonade in his sippy cup.  Then he shouted ..."Crunchies!!"...because he was eating veggie sticks which he calls crunchies.  Lindsey was getting all grossed out in the back so we were making fun of her and saying lemonade and crunchies over and over again.  It was great!!

Ingram thought it was fun to take pictures of Lindsey while she was getting everything checked, especially her ears.  At SJ, we're always finding dinosaurs or Thomas the Train or the Octonauts inhis ears.  Luckily Lindsey's ears were free from everything.  He jumped up on the scale before Lindsey could get there and weighed 14 kg which means he's lost more weight putting him at 30.8 pounds which I'm not too excited about.  Turns out I'm a horrible mom...Peanut has bronchitis and we've been ignoring her cough for days thinking she just wanted some attention.  Hey, it's happened before in the craziness of our house and I wasn't convinced she was sick, at least not till Dr. Ellis said she was.  Guess I'm glad he's the one with the medical degree!!

We took Daddy lunch since we were out of the house anyway and ran into the Orthodontist too since we'd already been out.  Ingram wore his mask the whole time and was so sweet to give everyone he saw an "Ingram the Conqueror" green band.  Then we talk as he gives them away and he gets excited that someone else can wear his name.  Then we headed home and of course the kids painted the windows again and we're almost out of available windows they can use.  Oh and Ingram decided that he didn't like his lunch after all and he threw-up everything he ate for lunch so now he weighs even less.  Oh well, I guess this is not our week to gain weight.  Tomorrow will be a better day weight-wise..it has to be! 


Dr. Ellis Checking Out Peanut's Ears!
She Always Smiles...Even When She Feels Miserable!!

Ingram and Dr. Ellis!
One Phone Call From Dr. Ellis On Tuesday April 3rd Changed Our Lives Forever!

These Painted Windows Match Our Curtains In The Kitchen...Sorta!

These Are The Doors That Go From The Den To The Living Room!
There's No Way These Match...But My Crew Did It And I Love It!!

Wednesday August 14th, From Mundane to Awesome!

Today started out to be one of those days that's just kind of boring.  We got the girls off to school and went for a scooter ride three houses down to the swings with Beau on his leash and Ingram in his mask.  We enjoyed the nice cool air for about 30 minutes while we waved to everyone else heading out to school and work.  We probably did that at least 4 other times today, except it just wasn't as cool as that first walk.  Sometimes that's the only way we get outdoors and I have to convince him to go even though he has to put on his mask which he despises!

We were just piddling around the house playing, watching cartoons, and working on the laptop when a surprise phone call came from the folks at ALSAC.  It turns out that a special guest is coming to St. Jude for a tour on Friday and they asked us to meet them and talk a bit.  We're so excited to be able to do this because we get to share Ingram's story with someone that has the financial capabilities to really help St. Jude.  I'm already nervous, but I know it's just silly; plus, who couldn't love Ingram?

Before dinner, Craig called from the airport in New Mexico and was about to head back towards Memphis.  He was calling with news that he had gotten donations for St. Jude while he was on his business trip out of the blue!  I could tell how excited he was and also how shocked he was at the same time.  Raising money for St. Jude is so exciting; no matter what the size of the donation, each one makes a difference in the life of a patient and family with cancer! 

Just when we thought our day was over, a surprise package came in the mail addressed to the kids without a senders name on it, just a store name.   We were so excited and opened it to find a whole set of window paints!  Look, I know someone who reads this blog sent them because we wrote about them from our inpatient stay last week.  So to whoever you are we just want to say "THANK YOU!!!!" You made our afternoon perk up a ton as we decorated the kitchen windows! 

My Windows Will Never Need Curtains Again!
Thanks Again To Our Anonymous Gift Giver!!

Tuesday August 14th, Barely Keeping Our Heads Above Water

We had to wake all three kids up this morning; I barely dragged myself out of bed too for some reason.  Once the girls were all ready for school we got Ingram up and dressed to go to the hospital for his labs.  Thankfully Craig was still here and it was like we were both doing double duty trying to get everyone out the door with everything done...teeth brushed, hair brushed (well for the girls), breakfast, more studying for Madison, and on and on and on.  We can multi-task pretty well, but I really think we need some more arms, legs, ears, and mouths here to help get it all done.  We can't forget Beau or else he'll eat another part of our nice living room chair or the couch in the den or the outdoor furniture while we're not looking!  I feel certain that if he didn't play such a big role in Ingram and the girls life, he wouldn't be part of the family anymore.

Ingram had a great time at St. Jude today; it was one of our shorter days so that meant nap time happened too!  First up, he got accessed and didn't even cry.  He weighed 14.2kg/31.24lbs. which is on the low side, but then again he doesn't want to eat since he gags a lot nowadays and nothing sounds good too.  Angela, his speech gal, came to get him to take him back and he took off running with her while I was still sitting in my chair getting our stuff together.  Since he didn't look back, I stayed in the chair and got some things done while he played Penguins and Connect 4 which is how he works on his letters. 

His counts are nice and low but that's exactly where they're supposed to be right now.  It means the chemo is working to destroy stuff inside his body and that's good, even though his immune system at is zero right now.  He will continue to wear a mask till we go back Friday...yes Friday!  Woohoo!! We're home bound till then unless he has a fever of some sort then we load up in the car and head to St. Jude. 

Tonight we also said goodbye to the Rowlands.  What was just supposed to be about an hour turned into a 5 hour celebration...on a school night .  I know, what was I thinking???    But I guess when you've known folk for all your life, it's a little hard to say leave.  Stephan beat us to the hospital when we were headed in with Ingram and Chris came to our house to pray with the girls as they were scared out of their minds before anyone else knew what was going on.  The girls are already planning a trip to the Dominican Republic to visit them with Craig to make some new memories too!
 
Please continue to keep everyone that has cancer and other catastrophic diseases in your prayers whether they're children or adult patients.  It affects kids, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, and even friends too.  We're only five months into our lifelong fight against cancer and it's a hard battle that reaches into every aspect of our lives.  We can't imagine how we would be getting through life right now without our Hope in God, prayers for Ingram and our family, and help from family, friends, and even strangers. 


 
"Be quiet Mommy!  They don't know where I am!"


video

Super Ingram...Flying to the Rescue!!



Monday August 13th, A Rainy Day


We woke up to rain this morning and it was so peaceful and quiet.  The rain was so pretty too with just the perfect amount to water the trees, the grass, and the flowers (but not floooding the yard at the same time).  Madison was ready and made the bus, but Lindsey wanted me to braid her hair and rode with the Wests about 15 minutes later.  It's great to have 3 sets of neighbors who all pass in front of our house on their way to school for mornings like these!

Since we didn't have to go to St. Jude this morning and it was raining, we declared it a pajama day and started painting right after Ingram attempted to eat breakfast.  We painted the front door which is really windows with a doorknob then moved to the counter to paint some more.  He went through two shirts in just a couple hours; but hey, what's two shirts when you add them into the other three loads of laundry to do today?

We also played outside, played inside, and played some more.  We did so much playing that when it was time for bed, he was ready to drift off...after he played some more.  We go to St. Jude first thing in the morning to get accessed and do labs.  It's been fun without a butterfly for 4 days, but I'm thinking that tomorrow night we won't be taking a bath because they're going to want to check labs again on Thursday.   Guess we'll just have to avoid the tub again...pretty sure we can handle that!

We do have a prayer request to start off the week...Landan, Ingram's friend that's his age and that we play with quite a bit, is back home in Missouri.  His trial of chemotherapy didn't work on his tumor and it's actually progressing fairly rapidly.  We (along with his family) are asking for prayers for healing, peace, and comfort for Landan and his family as they (in his mother's words) "spend every second we have together just enjoying each other and having as much fun as possible.  We are not giving up and are praying for a miracle and would greatly appreciate the same from all of you!" 

Cancer is an ugly beast, but we are reminded every day of God's greatness and His love for us.  Just yesterday in church we sang our family's favorite song (with tears streaming down my cheeks) and it reminded me that God's got this...no matter what happens.  He will get us through every step of our journey and for that I'm grateful.  This is the same song that got our family through so much 5 years ago with Craig's heart; we were never without God during all of the uncertainty back then and He has not left us during our current storm either.  He never lets go!  Some of the song goes...

Even though I walk
Through the valley
Of the shadow of death,
Your perfect love is casting out fear.

And even when I'm caught
In the middle
Of the storms of this life,
I won't turn back, I know You are near.

For I will fear no evil,
For my God is with me.
And if my God is with me,
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

Oh, no.
You never let go.
Through the calm, and through the storm

Oh, no.
You never let go.
In every high and every low.

Oh, no.
You never let go,
Lord, You never let go of me.

And I can see a light
That is coming
For the heart that holds on,
A glorious light beyond all compare.

And there will be an end
To these troubles
But until that day comes,
Still I will praise You.
Still I will praise You.



Starting out our rainy day painting the windows...in our pajamas!
So the sun came out and we went swinging...in our pajamas!

Bathtime was the only reason he took off his pajamas!
Notice the red paint on his shirt...hope it comes out!