Sunday, August 30, 2009

Weekend Fun!

After starting the week with Elena's back-to-back clinic visits, not much fun, we ended the week with some great fun. The time in between was rather uneventful. We love those kinds of days!
Friday began with a meeting at school to put a clear health management/ school plan in place for Elena. There were nine of us at the meeting to determine what Elena would need to make this a successful year at school. We talked about everything from fire drills to homework. Together, we set up a clear plan to keep Elena successful in school, safe and healthy.
Elena and the school counselor came in at the end of the meeting, so that we could share the plan with her. She smiled and pleasantly responded while hearing the plan. Later, she told me she was fine with all of it and glad we had meet. I am so very blessed to work with an amazing group of people who love me and my family so much!!
Friday night, we enjoyed pizza and a movie (the new Wizards of Waverly movie on Disney) with Mark's mom. She was in town from La. and we were happy to be able to enjoy the weekend with her.
Saturday, we had great fun playing putt-putt golf. It was a beautiful day here in Ga. A great day to be outside! Check out the picture of the golf girls.

We never had a chance to play putt-putt this summer, so it was great to do it on Saturday.

At church on Sunday, Elena received her cross for a year of service acolyting. We are very proud of her! She enjoys it and understands it is an act of service to your church. She has even served twice recently. She didn't serve for several months after being diagnosed, but is back now. She was actually one service shy of receiving her cross, but due to the generosity of other 10 year olds, who wanted to donate one of their days to her, she was able to participate in the recognition service today. We were so touched that other parents and children thought of helping Elena in this way. While we have already said we were proud of her, she is also proud of herself.
Here she is after receiving her cross. Not sure what happened to everyone's eyes!! Every picture was like that. Sorry!

We are thankful for a great weekend and are praying for a great week ahead!

Tuesday, we are kicking of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month with another evening at the Norcross Farmers Market. We will be setting up the lemonade stand from 4-8 pm that day with all proceeds going to the AFLAC Cancer Center at CHOA. Tomorrow we will give you more details about what else we are doing in support of this month.

Thanks for spending time with us!
With love,
The Tates

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or Him be the glory..." Ephesians 3:20-21

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A PEG for Each Leg

We are home from another clinic visit and another thrilling ride in Atlanta rush hour traffic. But who better to spend the time with than a wonderful daughter!! She makes the whole experience so much better for us and I hope we do a little of the same for her! It is nice to see her recognize and wave to "new" friends that she has met through all of this while spending our time at these clinic visits. It makes the whole experience seem more real and down to earth for her.

Today's visit was a relatively quick one. Elena really didn't want to leave school again today, and who could blame her, because she said "we were getting ready to play a cool math game". She started to get a little worked up and then calmed herself down before the ride to the hospital. We arrived at 3:00 and Elena received her PEG shots by 3:30. The only bad part was that we then had to wait 1 1/2 hours to check for any allergic reaction to the medicine. Elena was GREAT! She finished all of her homework for tomorrow and even did some that was not due until Thursday!

Please continue to pray for Elena's adjustment to her new medicine and for continued good health! A big praise in all of this is that Elena's counts are fantastic right now which allows her to continue receiving treatment and going to school!

Thank you for spending time with us!

In Him,
The Tates

Tonight's scripture chosen by Elena:
"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:17

Monday, August 24, 2009

Clinic Update

Here's a quick update from today's clinic visit:
Elena received two kinds of chemo in her port. She did not get the PEG shots. She has to go back tomorrow for those. They didn't explain why she didn't get them today. The nurse practitioner said Elena's protocol is written for her to receive them the day after. We didn't see a doctor today either, that was a little aggravating. I guess we have questions that aren't easily answered in this uncertain world of cancer and chemo.

Please pray for Elena to have a peaceful reassurance about getting the shots tomorrow and about missing school. She went to the clinic today, kicking and screaming, because she didn't want to leave school and miss classes. She gets very stressed out about the work she misses and not understanding what is going on in class the next day. Pray she will slow down and listen as we try to reassure her that it will all be ok.

Thank you for checking on us and for your prayers!

In Him,
The Tates

"My soul finds rest in God alone." Psalm 62:1

Clinic Day

Good Morning!

We have started another week of school and both girls are settling in to a routine. That doesn't mean they jump out of bed and are waiting in the car to be driven to school, but at least they are not saying that they don't want to go. They both love their teachers and classmates, and enjoy talking about their days at dinnertime.

We are off to the clinic this afternoon for Elena's treatment. She is scheduled for the PEG shots and chemo through her port, although we are not certain which ones she will get. The Drs. were deciding which meds to give Elena and in which form, so we will really have to wait until 2:00 to get all of our questions answered. Please pray for wisdom for the doctors and for patience and guidance for us to make wise decisions along the way. Please also pray that we will at least get some of our questions answered today so that we are better prepared to continue this journey.

Thank you for supporting us with your love and your prayers!

In Him,
The Tates

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Pizza Night

For as long as we can remember Friday night has been "Pizza and a Movie Night" at the Tate house. Sometimes we order a pizza, sometimes it's a frozen one, and sometimes we make it ourselves. Last night was a "make it ourselves" night. It's fun because everyone can have their pizza just the way they like it.

We are happy to say that our week ended much better than it started. It seems that Elena has adjusted to the new medicine. There are still trying moments, but they do not last as long. Elena says she doesn't like how the medicine makes her feel. Thank you for your prayers this week about that.
The girls enjoyed a great day playing with friends at the pool and in the backyard. We've had a quiet afternoon and evening and are looking forward to Homecoming Sunday at church tomorrow. It will be wonderful to see old friends and former pastors.

We know some of you are looking at the picture saying, "Olivia got her haircut!" Yes, Liv is sporting a new shorter do these days. She got it cut last Saturday and has been loving it ever since. She had been asking to get it cut short for a while now and we finally did it.

Enjoy your Sunday!
With love,
The Tates

"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Psalm 118:24

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Good and the Bad

Thought we'd give you a school/home update tonight.
We want to share the joy and the pain with you.

Elena's return to school on Monday was very good. There weren't any problems with friends or other students at school. Elena says she has no recollection of the seizure or being taken out of the school to the ambulance. Everyone was concerned about Elena and they were happy she was back. Kids, I do not know, stop me in the hall to ask, "How's Elena?". Others say they are praying for her. To them, Elena is a normal fifth grader.
I love to catch glimpses of her being pushed in her wheelchair by a giggling group of girls. I've even had reports of "speeding tickets" being issued to her. Of course, those are the times a boy is pushing her! : )
At times, she is having trouble handling homework. After being at school all day, she is really tired when she gets home. Also, after being absent a day and a half, she was feeling behind in her schoolwork. We hope that we have calmed her fears and reassured her that she is not responsible for every bit of information missed and that she will be more than prepared when it comes to tests, etc.

Right now, our biggest challenge is in the evenings. Every evening Elena struggles with bouts of anger and frustration. It is very difficult to deal with long periods of yelling, screaming, and uncontrollable anger. We have been told that this may be a side effect of the anti-seizure medication. A praise is that these moments happen at home and not a school.

Please pray that we will be able to figure out what is causing the trouble. Pray for us to have the patience and wisdom to be able to handle these times and for Olivia to not be troubled by them or neglected through them.

Thank you for being there for us, for your prayers and for your physical, spiritually and emotional support!
With love,
The Tates

"We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you." Psalm 33:20-22

Friends and Lemonade

Good Afternoon!

What a wonderful day it is! We rejoice in the Lord for He is good!! We are so blessed with wonderful friends, old and new! We have been blessed most recently by friends we have yet to even meet. Some wonderful citizens from the city of Norcross set-up and manned the girl's lemonade stand at the farmers' market yesterday to help continue their quest to squeeze out cancer. They raised another $245.00 !! This amount, along with other donations that have been sent to us from across the country, has helped the girls surpass their original goal of $1,500.00. They are somewhere around $1,750.00 and climbing! We give praise to the God who knows no limits!!

Thanks again to all who are on this journey with us and for all of the support we have received along the way! It is amazing what we can accomplish when we all work together for a common goal!

Thank you for spending time with us!

With Love,
The Tates

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Catching Up

Now that we have begun our blog it is time to catch you up on life at the Tate house. On Monday, August 10th, we had hopes of posting our first entry with great news about the first day of school. Well, we quickly remembered that the return to school is a crazy time of year. You go from the carefree days of summer to making lunches, packing backpacks, doing homework and early bedtimes. The girls love their teachers and their classmates. Of course I love being at the same school as the girls and seeing their smiling faces any chance I get. Even when I don't see them, I know they are close. Most of you know that the first week back to school ended with Elena spending Thursday night in the hospital.

We are happy to be home together and things are back to normal around here. Elena enjoyed a visit from two of her teachers this morning. They brought a yummy cookie cake and cards from her classmates. We enjoyed the cookie cake before having lunch! The girls spent the rest of the day playing with friends. We are thankful that Elena is feeling good. It has been a very good day!

Starting a Blog

Well, we have officially started blogging. A strange word it is, blogging, but we think it will be a better way to keep everyone updated about what is happening in our lives. The information would be available to everyone at the same time and it will be fun posting entries. We want to share prayer requests as well as great things happening at the Tate house. There is a spot at the bottom of each post where you can leave messages. We will all love reading your posts. You can keep sending emails to our gmail account as well. We are blessed to have you in our lives and on this journey with us. Thank you for sticking with us!