Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Prayers for Liv

Not really what we want to do during our first week of summer, but it's that time of year...Liv's MRI is tomorrow. We have to be there at 8 am for her IV to be put in. She is always anxious with this procedure. Please pray for her to not be scared. She also has a really difficult time coming out of sedation. She gets really agitated and angry. It's not easy to watch. It can't be easy to go through. Please pray that as the anesthesia wears off Liv will not feel upset or get mad. Also, it's been a year since Liv's last scan. Please pray for a clear scan and no recurrent tumor.

We should hear a preliminary report by the evening. We will let you know any results as soon as we hear something. Liv will not go to the Aflac Cancer Center until Tuesday, June 21st for her Brain Tumor Clinic visit. There we will see the results from the scan and Liv will be seen by her team of doctors.

Thank you for your prayers!
In Him,
The Tates

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Monday, May 30, 2011

Summer's Here!

We can't believe that the school year has finally come to an end and that summer is officially here! We are all ready for the fun and joy summertime brings! The girls have already started making 'Summer To Do Lists'.

Thanks to two special families, the Carrs and the Bairds, the Tates enjoyed a super start to summer! We left Saturday to spend the weekend at their home in the north Georgia mountains. The weekend was filled with great fun, fellowship, and food! We hiked, went to the pool, ate, watched movies, played games, ate, read, did a 1000 piece puzzle, and ate some more.

Here's a little peek:

Maggie and Liv at York Falls.

The beautiful falls at the end of our hike.

Mark and Elena

Smile! The three girls posing for pics.


Liv snoozing away

It was a special weekend at a special place with special people! We are truly blessed!

In Him,
The Tates

" The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:18

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

BTFC Family Picnic Pics

On Saturday at the Brain Tumor Foundation for Children Family Picnic, there was a butterfly release to remember those children who have lost their battle against cancer.

One butterfly decided to rest on Liv for a while before finally taking off : )

Cooling off with a snow cone!

Liv found some shade while watching the action at the dunk tank.

What a throw!
There was a dunk tank to raise money for the BTFC. Nurses and doctors from the Aflac Cancer Centers from both Scottish Rite and Egleston were there to be dunked. Elena dunked one of her nurses, Olivia.

Having fun fishing!

Waiting for a bite...

No, they didn't get any, but they had fun trying!

The girls with Sherry, the BTFC's fabulous patient and family services coordinator.

We have known Sherry since we began going to Aflac for Liv's appointments in 2004. Every Tuesday morning (brain tumor clinic days) you can find Sherry at the Aflac Cancer Center with yummy breakfast treats for the families. Sherry's smile fills the room and her joy is contagious.

Liv's next brain tumor clinic is around the corner. June 21st -This will be her 15th visit there. Her MRI is scheduled for June 1st. We are thankful the BTFC works tirelessly to raise awareness and find a cure, all while supporting families.

In Him,

The Tates

Monday, May 23, 2011

MAY - National Brain Tumor Awareness Month

Did you know....
* an estimated 4,030 children were expected to be diagnosed with a brain/spinal cord tumor in 2010?
* in 2009, 25.2% of children diagnosed at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Aflac Cancer Center had a brain tumor, second to leukemia?
* because chemo can have long-term side effects, survivors need close medical attention for the rest of their lives?
* survivors can have "late effects" - problems that develop post treatment or surgery, including secondary cancers, cognitive delays, seizures, growth abnormalities, visual/auditory problems, etc.?
* the overall cure rate has not had significant increases because it is difficult to obtain brain tissue for study?
* pediatric brain tumors have increased in occurrence more than other childhood cancers?
* brain tumors are the leading cause of solid tumor death in children?

You might be wondering...what can I do?
There are two wonderful organizations here in Atlanta working hard to find a cure for childhood cancer.
One is CURE Childhood Cancer - http://www.curechildhoodcancer.org/
The other is the Brain Tumor Foundation for Children - http://www.braintumorkids.org/
We have been blessed by both of these organizatons in so many ways.

In honor of National Brain Tumor Awareness Month, here's a little more info about the BTFC. Their mission is...
"To provide financial assistance, social support and information for families of children with brain and spinal cord tumors; fund research projects that improve treatment options and search for a cure; and raise public awareness of the disease and advocate on behalf of children who are affected."

Check out their website to see how you can help.

On Saturday, we went to the BTFC Family Picnic. It was great to see the friends, nurses and doctors there. Some friends are doing great, others are still struggling, some friends couldn't be there because right now their battles are too great. The staff and volunteers work tirelessly to raise funds, help families and raise awareness. A great time was had by all!
We will post pictures tomorrow.

Thank you for your continued prayers for us.
This week, Elena has four finals, two Wednesday and two Thursday and an OT appointment Thursday. We have seen Elena's stress and frustration increase the past couple of weeks. Please pray for her to not be anxious about day-to-day events and for her to tolerate any changes or frustration that comes her way.

Please pray that the craziness of this final week of school doesn't overwhelm us and that each day can be enjoyed for the gift it is.

In Him,
The Tates

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:28-31

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Update

I can look at today and feel the frustration of being at the clinic for over three hours when it should have been only one, one and half. I can feel the stress it caused Elena. I can feel the pressure to get her back to school for her last class because she had part of a group project that was due today.

OR I can choose to look at today and remember the joy in hearing that not only did Elena pass the CRCT (big state promotion requirement test), she excelled in all five subject areas. I can remember the gratitude and thankfulness we have for Elena's teachers and administrators for their commitment to Elena this year and for their plans for her for next year. I can feel their warmth and compassion.
I am happy Elena's counts are good regardless of the fact we had to wait until 4 pm to hear what they were since a machine at the clinic wasn't working properly. Her counts are good. Praise God! I am proud of Elena's drive to be at school, do well and not want to let others down. I can choose to appreciate our extra time together today. Everything else can wait.

So....."It's been a good day, Lord. Yes, a very good day."

This is a line from one of my most favorite devotions.
The devotion goes on to say. "I look back on this day with its usual ups and downs. Its frustrations and its moments of gratefulness and joy. And now that it's ending, an aching awareness fills me. I realize that's been a good day. Lord. For it's been filled with life. The life you have given me to cope with and to contribute to. And I wouldn't want to have missed it, not a single minute of it. Thank you, God, for this good day."

As always thanks for caring and for your prayers!
In Him,
The Tates

"A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit." Proverbs 15:13

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Clinic Visit Tomorrow

The end of the year May craziness has definitely hit our house!
How can we forget how busy this month is?!
It is already time for Elena's monthly chemo treatment!

Her appointment is tomorrow at 11 am.

Some of you may have the routine memorized by now....
Elena does not have to be sedated for a lumbar puncture this time. She will receive one drug via her port. Each monthly appointment also brings with it a round of steroids and Elena will continue to take her chemo pills at night as usual.

Please pray for
* Elena's counts to be good
* no negative side effects from treatment
* the effects of steroids to not have an impact on Elena's performance on her finals next week studying, sleeping, and taking the tests could all possibly be negatively impacted

After tomorrow's appointment, only TWO to go!!

Before Elena's appointment tomorrow, we have a meeting at her school. We will review her current IEP, discuss her accommodations and how they are working, and decide what would be the best type of classroom placement for Elena for next year.

Elena's middle school teachers have been a huge blessing in our lives throughout this second year of treatment! Her teachers, assistant principal and other staff members have been exceptional in handling our situation. We can't imagine going through what we have anywhere else. We will be forever grateful for their help and dedication.

Thank you for continuing to pray for us!

In Him,
The Tates

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak."
Isaiah 40:29

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Time to Update

We sit down to update and have nothing to say.
We sit down to update and have too much to say.
We sit down to update and don't know where to begin, so we say nothing.

Instead of updating, we are doing homework, working on a long overdue project for school, outside enjoying a moment of the spectacular weather or sleeping.

Since Easter we have had a mixture of highs and lows. Another dad of a child with cancer once said, after cancer becomes a part of your life, the highs are higher and the lows are lower. He's right.

I'll skip the lows and give you a list of the highs:

*Before Easter we had the opportunity to volunteer with The Taylor Brooks Foundation. We helped stuff Easter baskets that would be delivered to the children spending Easter at Scottish Rite and Egelston. Elena received an Easter basket from this wonderful foundation in both 2009 and 2010.
*Elena went on her first overnight youth retreat with our church. She loved it!
*We celebrated Elena's 12th Birthday! WOW!
*We enjoyed Elena's spring chorus performance at school.
*We enjoyed Liv's spring choir musical at church.
*Liv had a fabulous field day - - she came home proud of her 1st place and 7th place ribbons.
*We spent a wonderful afternoon on the Greenway - - riding bikes and scooters, smelling the sweet fragance of honeysuckles in the air and loving the carefree time together. A trip to Rita's for Raspberry Lemonade Italian ices and running into an old friend was a perfect ending to a spectaular day!

Thank you for still checking on us, even when we aren't here!
Your concern, emails, calls and cards let us know that even two years later...you still care!

In Him,
The Tates

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9