Thursday, December 30, 2010

On the Mend

Mommy and Colin made the trip down to clinic this morning for his next dose of antibiotics. Although he still had a low grade fever throughout most of the day, by early evening, he was starting to feel better. The first clue was saying he was hungry and started off by eating four pancakes. After that, he was ready to play with his new toys and was in no mood for nighty night! We are glad he is feeling better and look forward to bringing in the new year together at home.....Thank you for continued thoughts and prayers!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Merry Christmas & Fever/ER

We hope everyone enjoyed Christmas. We certainly did. It was amazing to watch it through a 3 year old and 1 1/2 year olds eyes. The celebration started here at our house on Christmas eve with our siblings (Auntie Courtney, Uncle Mike, Uncle Jack, Auntie Liesl, Uncle Joe and cousin Frankie). We enjoyed surf and turf, drinks and lots of laughs.

You could tell Colin was a little anxious when he went to bed. He did however fall asleep quickly which is not the norm. The next morning he woke up bright and early and wanted to see what Santa brought. We woke Miss Maddie and headed down to see what Santa left. Colin tore through the presents in minutes and ended with a huge smile when he noticed the train table off in the corner. He played with it for hours and taught his sister how to make the trains go! A quick stop at Gigi and Papa's for a glimpse of what Santa left there was magical as we watched Colin teach Maddie how to open presents. Christmas day ended at Auntie Liesl and Uncle Joe's house where we had another wonderful meal. Colin was able to show some restraint in not tearing into the presents early in the day, but after a couple of hours, we thought he would burst if he had to wait any longer, and gave the green light. Oh, to be a kid again on Christmas day. On Sunday during our first nor'easter of the year, we celebrated Christmas at Gigi and Papa's with Nanny, Poppy, Auntie Courtney, Uncle Mike and Uncle Jack. The presents just kept coming and the smiles on the kids faces grew bigger and bigger each time. We'll post some pictures later this week!

During all the celebrating the four of us have been fighting off colds and last night Colin spiked a fever (101.7) so around 10:00pm Daddy and Colin headed to the ER. Anything above 100.4 is an ER visit for Colin. Once there he had a chest xray, blood draw, Tylenol and antibiotics. Since Colin's counts were good he was able to come home (they got home around 4:00am) so we've had a lazy day while Colin and Daddy slept the day away. The fever broke around 12:00 today and around 3:00 he changed locations from our bed to the couch. He is now enjoying some movies. Back to clinic tomorrow morning to receive his second dose of antibiotics.

Thanks for thinking of us and sending your love!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chemo Day

Quick update...
Today Colin received his monthly IV chemo (vincristine) and started the week of steroid. After his treatment, he ran around, handing out home made carmel popcorn to all the doctors and nurses. He even gave a few lucky ones a hug! We actually have to go back because we ran out .. guess we underestimated how many wonderful people take care of our brave boy. Colin's counts are good! ANC is 2,000 which is higher than the range they like him to be (ANC 500-1500) but nothing to be concerned about. The Doctor's will monitor and adjust meds in a few weeks if his counts remain high. It is normal to increase dose periodically during this stage.

Just like clock work Colin took a super long nap today and developed dark circles under his eyes but Daddy ended the day with a special treat. He packed us all up for a nice cozy ride through the fantasy of lights in New Haven.

Colin, Maddie and Mommy continue to fight off a cold while we prepare for Santa. So another lazy day tomorrow to help kick it.

Thanks for checking in on us!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

3 year check up

On Monday, Colin had his three year check up with his pediatrician. The visit was a little overwhelming for us since it was his first visit back since his two year check up when he was first diagnosed. The visit went well and we were glad to here that his physical development continues to be well within the average range. Here are the numbers:

Weight: 33lbs 8 oz (75%)
Height: 37 5/8 inches (50%)

On Friday evening, we dressed Colin and Maddie in their pj's and drove down to Hubbard Park and drove through the festival of lights. From there, as Colin really wanted to see a Snowman and Rudolph, we drove around town, each picking our favorite decorated houses. By the time we came home, it was way past bedtime and both Colin and Maddie were soon asleep.

On Saturday, we continued to get in the Christmas spirit. We put up the Christmas tree, Colin and Mommy made crafty garland with construction paper and glue and Maddie and Daddy sorted all the non breakable ornaments! The night ended with a household tradition, a glass of wine, wrapping presents, and watching "It's a Wonderful Life" in front of a cozy fire.

The weekend ended with a family dinner at Gigi and Papa's house where we had a great meal and played all night with Nanny, Poppy, Gigi, Papa, Auntie Courtney, Uncle Mike and Uncle Jack.

This week will be full of Christmas preparation, a visit to clinic for monthly IV chemo and hopes for a white Christmas!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Counts are Good, Colin's Cookies for Cancer & New Haven Register Article

Colin went for his routine check up on Wednesday and his counts continue to be in the target range (ANC 800) so all meds and schedules remain the same. He continues to charm everyone at clinic with his crazy hair do while running up and down the hallways giggling.

Last weekend was action packed. On Saturday we ventured out to the Lego convention in Hartford and once Colin got over the initial shock of the place he had a blast racing lego cars, building towers and visiting all the full scale displays as Maddie looked on from the comfort of her princess seat. On Sunday we made a quick appearance at the Tommy Fund party and enjoyed a great meal, music, caught up with our Yale family friends, saw Santa and even received a gift for both Colin and Maddie. Colin was still cautious of Santa this year but enjoyed receiving a toy from him. Maddison on the other hand was in awe.
Colin's Crew - Colin's Cookies for Childhood Cancer
On Sunday, Colin's Crew hosted a bake sale fundraiser to benefit the Tommy Fund. The bakers went all out with carmel apples, gingerbread men, cupcakes, carmel popcorn and every kind of cookie you could imagine and thought of every detail! The Crew split into two groups and the 'grandmother's' primarily planned this event while the 'kids' focused on the February event, Colin's Polar Plunge. Stay tuned for details. 'Grandmother's' you all out did yourself this time!
We're so blessed to have the Crew behind us in our new mission and are truly thankful for the supporters that made the event successful.

New Haven Register Article
Also on Sunday .. Colin, our family and Colin's Crew were featured in the New Haven Register. We are honored to share our story about our brave boy and the success Colin's Crew has had. Below is a link to the article.

As for this weekend it's all about Christmas prep :) Thank you for checking in on us, enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

This holiday season we have so much to be thankful for... our two beautiful children, our love for each other and our family, our supportive friends and family but most of all for the continued progress towards a cure from leukemia for our son Colin.

As we look at where we were last year in comparison to this year we can only pray we never return. It reminds us that life is precious and it's taught us to slow down and enjoy the "little" things in life which may otherwise go unnoticed.

While hospital visits, needle pokes and lots of medicine have been part of our life for a year now our knowledge of the 'c' word has expanded and we can actually say it without crying. With each day that passes we're closer to a cure and while we cannot predict the future we have hope and hope is what we are thankful for.

This Thanksgiving we enjoyed time with both the Greening and Westbrook sides of the family. Our day started by watching the parade .. Colin and Maddie were in awe by the balloons and marching bands. Next, we hopped into the car and made our way to our first stop, to Nanny's where we enjoyed some appetizers. During nap time, we loaded everyone back into the car in hopes the kids would nap while driving to Grandma and Grandpa (Ma and Pa's). The kids did fall asleep .. that we're thankful for! We enjoyed a wonderful Turkey dinner with Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie Liesl, Uncle Joe and Frankie.

That evening the kids (dog included) were up five times! .. at the 3:00 awakening we looked at each other and said now is our time to get up and hit the stores for Black Friday! We thought about it for a second, chuckled, rolled over and went right back to sleep. We joke about how we had five opportunities to head out for some early shopping.

On Saturday we enjoyed a second thanksgiving dinner at Gigi and Papa house with Nanny, Poppy, Auntie Courtney, Uncle Mike, Uncle Jack, Uncle Ron, Auntie Kerrie, Morgan, Rachel and the newest party of our family Navin (Jack's bud from school).

Oh so thankful to surround ourselves around our loving, supportive family during the holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chemo Day

On the way to clinic today Colin said "Mommy booboo port, no big whoop". This three year old is amazing, he doesn't appear to let anything bother him... well except getting accessed today but that was only for a split second until one of Colin's favorite nurses distracted him by giving Teddy medicine. After Colin gave Teddy his medicine he received his monthly IV chemo of vincristine. His counts continue to be in the target range with an ANC of 1,000 so we're gearing up for a fun filled Thanksgiving weekend!

Here are some photos from our visit with Auntie to Gozzi's Turkey Farm where they dye a few turkeys and let them play outside until Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Colin's Blood Check & Maddie's 15 Month Checkup

Last week Colin had his routine blood check and his counts continue to be in the target range so we proceed with all meds and will return to clinic next week for his monthly IV chemo. We also received the results from the last spinal tap and we're happy to report there were NO leukemia cells found. We couldn't be more proud of the way Colin is fighting this awful disease.

On the Maddie front, she's growing up way to fast as we just had her 15 month check. The Dr is very happy with the way she's progressing especially how she managed to finally sleep through the night around the one year mark. She has a few favorite words . . doggie, aww done, nigh nigh (night night), ock (sock), all (ball) and memo (Elmo).

Here's how Maddie and Colin stack up at the 15 month mark ..

Length: 31.5" - 75%
Weight: 25lb 8oz - 85%
Head:47.5cm - 85%

Length: 30 3/4" - 25%
Weight: 24lb 10.5oz - 50%
Head: 48.1cm - 75%

Thank you for checking in on us and hope everyone is enjoying the fall :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Gigi

On Sunday we celebrated Gigi's 60th birthday with a small family & friend dinner party. Many smiles and lots of laughs filled the room as we celebrated. The party was complete with the famous ice cream cake and the off key birthday song .. Greening style!

Gigi raised three wonderful kids (if I can say so myself) and is always there for our family. She has taught us to be strong, that it's okay to cry but most importantly she taught us how to love. As Mike and I raise our two children we practice these learnings every day and hope our children will value them as much as we do. We hope you enjoyed your birthday Gigi and we wish you a year of happiness ahead and of course another 60 years .. we love you!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Happy Halloween

This year Halloween was a lot of fun. The festivities began on Friday night when we packed the kids into the car and headed to cousin Frankie's football game. Both Coginchaug and Old Lyme were undefeated . The game was voted as the game of the week so the stands were packed. The game was action packed. However, as Colin was becoming uncomfortable with the steroid we made our way home during the first half.

On Saturday evening the kids had their first sleep over at GiGi and Papa's house since Colin was diagnosed. Colin and Maddie gave Gigi and Papa a run for their money with their TV, food, and activity requests while Mommy and Daddy enjoyed an over due night out shared with Auntie Courtney and Uncle Mike. The night was full of much needed laughs and love. Thank you Gigi and Papa for giving us the night off and to Court and Mike for giving us a reason to get out and have a good time. Love you all.

Mike starting preparing a large pot of stew early Sunday morning while the kids caught up on some sleep. Gigi, Papa, Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie Liesl, Cousin Frankie, Nanny, Poppy, Uncle Jack and Neven started gathering around 4:00. The kids entertained everyone with their costumes .. Colin was a train conductor and Maddie was a pumpkin. Colin had a great time playing with all the extras of the costume (a flash light, whistle and a wrench). Maddie was the cutest pumpkin and had all eyes on her when she tried to walk. She would take a couple of steps and plop down on the floor because the costume would get in her way. Too darn cute.

Rewind .. On Thursday Colin's playgroup had a little Halloween party where the kids dressed up. When I tried to get Colin to wear the train conductor costume he wanted nothing to do with it so he was the famous 'Dr. Colin' and Maddie sported her pink poodle outfit. This was a spur of the moment purchase when I ventured to BJ's with the two of them one day and Maddie went crazy over the costume. Now how do you say no to that??

We enjoyed visiting a few houses on the street, um probably a total of 5 until the cold started to get the better of us. So we quickly returned home to a house full of family and warmed up with Mike's famous beef stew.

Oh how one year can make a difference in the world of cancer when we reflect on how much we've learned and how much Colin has accomplished over this year. Thank you for continuing to follow our story and for the positive thoughts and prayers. It is all of you who give our family the strength needed as we continue on our journey

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Spinal Tap

Wednesday was a long morning .. it started at 6:00a.m. with Colin asking for milk and as you all know on procedure days he can only have clear liquids the morning of a procedure day. After distracting him for a while, we made our way out of the house, but due to an accident on the merritt, we sat in traffic for 45 minutes which made us VERY late for our appointment. Colin was a trooper and only asked to eat 100 times. Once his IV was hooked up we quickly changed gears and played, made crafts and read at the activity table. His spinal tap took place at 11:00 and was the first time Dr. Joe performed the procedure. Colin was content playing with his trains leading up to and during the procedure. As soon as it was over he demanded food .. he ate a banana, a cheese stick, 2 sippy cups of milk, 2 bags of teddy grams, 1 bag of animal crackers and continued with apples and a grilled cheese when we got home. It didn't stop there because at dinner he chowed on two grilled cheese and a few crackers. Hum, would you say the steroid kicked in already? We made an emergency run to hostess to pick up some more bread in case grilled cheese is the food of choice this week!

Colin's counts continue to be in the target range so he was told to have a great Halloween and we plan to do just that.

Note to self, 1.5 pain meds seem to work perfect

Monday, October 25, 2010

First, First, First

With two young children we encounter 'firsts' nearly every day but this past week we have a couple that are worth writing about ..

On Wednesday afternoon, I packed the kids up and strapped Nanny in for a 20 minute ride to get the kids hair cut. Since it was Maddie's first hair cut and Colin's first since his hair grew back I decided we should go all out and went to a children's salon. Upon arrival, Colin clung to my leg because another boy was screaming in the chair. Colin wouldn't walk in without me pulling him. I quickly thought to myself how on earth am I going to get him in the chair after witnessing that. Thankfully, Maddie came to the rescue and went into the chair willingly. While she got her bangs trimmed Colin looked on with amazement. Maddie loved every second of it, in fact she was upset when she was all done and let out a huge scream when I placed her back in her stroller. Colin quickly put on his serious face and held on tight as I put him in the chair. However, once the hairdresser started the movie for Colin he started to relax. Colin looks like a young boy with his new hair and fresh hair cut and Maddie can now see without her hair in her eyes not to mention the little diva in her!

The kids first birthday party and trolley ride was a two for one deal as we celebrated Colin's friend Joshua's third birthday at the trolley museum in East Haven. The kids enjoyed the ride and once again Maddie just goes with the flow .. she even found another family to snuggle with while Colin held on tight. Half way through the ride the trolley stopped in the yard where we were able to visit antique cars, color pumpkins, drink cider and sang happy birthday to Joshua while enjoying birthday cake.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Colin's Walk for Childhood Cancer

Last Saturday Colin's Crew organized a second very successful event. Approximately 50 families braved the cold & wind to support Colin's Crew & Kacey Rose Foundation and walked the Linear Trail here in Wallingford.

Donations are still coming in so we don't have an official total, but thus far the event raised over $2,000 for the Kacey Rose Foundation. Photos will be uploaded shortly! In the mean time we wanted to share a few words from a close family's blog:

"Saturday morning was bitter cold and windy - but there was nothing but warmth felt in Wallingford as many came out to support a wonderful cause. There was coffee and munchkins to scoff, face painting to stir smiles, fire trucks for excitement, clowns to spring laughter... and LOVE EVERYWHERE!!! Nobody cried about the weather, instead they huddled together in a common bond, and the friction created could have melted any ice cap for sure.

The attendance was matched by the spirit of those determined to make a difference... and the event moved me; it reminds me that life is too fragile to harp on the details, to be grateful for what I got, and to treasure each and every day regardless."

We couldn't have said it better!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

ANC 800

Since our last post:

We've passed a seasonal sinus cold to each other and luckily Colin never came down with a fever so we were able to avoid an emergency clinic/ER visit.

Maddie is officially walking and is into everything (literally) including the one kitchen cabinet that is not locked.
Today Colin had his routine appointment and his counts remain good with an ANC level of 800. Despite a later than normal appointment, Colin carried on his regular clinic routine by taking the long way to the exam room so he could stock up on books to read while waiting. Judy the volunteer saved the day again by taking Maddie for a much needed walk so Mommy could talk to the nurse and doctor without interruption. Once done, Colin insisted he play at the activity table with the other kids.

Colin will receive a spinal tap at his next appointment in two weeks. In the mean time, we'll enjoy the weather and continue to have fun!

As Colin continues to do well Colin's Crew is planning a series of fundraisers to benefit foundations that have assisted our family. The first is Colin's Walk for Childhood Cancer this Saturday the 16th. Come walk with us any time between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. at the Linear Trail in Wallingford (Rte 150). Scavenger hunt, face painting and touch a truck for the kids. Rain or shine. All proceeds will benefit the Kacey Rose Foundation.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Happy Birthday

This weekend we packed Colin and Maddie up and headed to the Durham fair on Friday afternoon to celebrate Colin's third birthday. Once there Colin insisted we had to head straight to the animals, specifically the cows. He lead us through each of the animal buildings informing us of his favorites and not so favorites. I took him on a carousel ride that he didn't like at all .. started screaming as soon is it started. But I don't blame him .. it was a VERY fast carousel (the picture below was taken before the ride started). Luckily the controller stopped and we were able to ride in a seated area. Next Colin and Daddy tried the giant slide per Colin's request. This didn't go over very well either .. he screamed and had a look of terror on his face as they came down the slide. We quickly removed ourselves from that area and grabbed some fair food and found a nice spot in front of the main stage where we were able to enjoy a country band for a while. The kids had a great time running, crawling and dancing around .. they wore Mommy and Daddy out!

I also celebrated my birthday this weekend with a nice lazy day on Sunday. The gift I asked for, seeing Colin and Maddie have fun on Friday, was the best birthday present a mother could ask for. I look forward to sharing many more birthday weekends with my son!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Enjoying Life

Our upfront apologizes for not updating the blog in weeks but we've been busy having fun! Please rest assured we will post immediately if we come across any speed bumps because it is all of you who give us strength :)

Last week Colin went in for his routine blood check and his counts are still in the good range so we've been taking advantage of this time and living life to it's fullest (well the fullest we can) by going to several parks, a couple outdoor parties and even a store (which was a little overwhelming with two kids and only one Mommy but we'll get the hang of it as we do it more often :) Here is what we've been up too over the past few weeks ...

We were fortunate to be a guest on the Quinnipiac Scooner with some other cancer patients and family's. The sail was hosted by an organization called R.A.C.E. Great time was had by all and we met some more brave kids and amazing families. Thanks for the photos Jen!

Annual Clam Steam:
The Westbrook annual clam steam was another success and as our family's grow it becomes more interesting each year with the kids running around! Here is Colin cleaning the clams with Daddy.
Store Trip with Two:
Maddie is wondering why she has to share the cart now when this was a Mommy & Maddie chore in the past. Mr Colin on the other hand had a blast. As for Mommy .. let's such say I was pooped after!
Potty Training:
Colin has been busy using the bathroom and finding trees outside. We're very proud of him because within a few days of introducing undies he got the hang of it. But I have to say he's most proud when he finds a tree outside because he has to see how far it will go .. so darn cute (lol). Take note to the ad Colin's reading in the pic below ...

We've had a lot of time to make up for so another weekly activity seems to be the park. Colin now has two favorite parks 1)Animal Park (Brooksvale) and 2)Slide Park (a big jungle gym here in town). Maddie loves the slide park too .. Colin taught her how to climb up the slide in no time (did I mention she's not walking yet but climbing up a slide - she's going to be our climber ... look out)!

Our First Football Game:
One Friday evening we packed the kids up and headed off to Cousin Frankie's high school football game. The kids had a blast .. Colin was in aww by the game and almost ran onto the field a couple of times. Miss Maddie cruised up and down the fence and kept us on our toes!

Annual Greening Get Together:
Last Saturday we packed the car and headed to up state NY for the annual Greening get together. The day was full of activities... corn maze, raspberry picking, polish horse shoes, great food, beer, awesome company and lots of laughs. The only thing that was missing was Nanny but we know you were looking down on us with a beer in hand! Wishes on Wheels Truck Convoy:
The wishes on wheels (Make a Wish) truck convoy was another huge success this year. Over 450 trucks convoying down Rte 84 with wish children and their families as passengers. Colin choose an Air Force Rescue truck that was pulling a mini airplane. We were the third truck in the convoy and lead the firetruck section. Colin sat in the front seat with Daddy and quickly mastered the sirens and lights. At the tail end of the ride Colin started exploring the CB's and found the loud speaker where he said hi to Nanny and Poppy as we passed. Our driver was great and gave us the low down on everything as it was happening. The ride was truly amazing and brought tears to my eyes a couple of times as I watched Colin wave to the people pulled over on the side of Rte 84 or standing on the bridges waving.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Counts Are Up!

Today Colin had his weekly visit and he quickly put on his game face when I told him we were going to put cream on his port. You see this means it's not just a blood draw from his arm but instead he gets accessed, blood is drawn from the port and they also administer the chemo. It amazes me how much he remembers and how he knows the difference at just three years old. Colin showed some anxiety after I put the cream on and was very clingy. Upon arrival, our volunteer friend quickly came to the rescue and swooped Maddie up so I could focus on Colin. Once again Maddie amazes me because she is happy bouncing from person to person and had a great time playing with the volunteer.

Even though Colin was experiencing some anxiety today he didn't flinch when he was accessed and didn't complain one bit during the chemo process. He was also distracted by his new friend the psychologist while they played a sponge bob matching game and built a tower.

The results are in and Colin's ANC is 1,000 which means he started all at home drugs again today including the ugly steroid. Grandma and Grandpa will be happy to hear the news because this means Colin will be able to go to the annual Westbrook clam steam this weekend!

We began potty training however because of the anxiety today we put on a diaper to go to clinic and I underestimated the diaper and we had an accident. So, Colin got a special pair of Dr pants today from one of the nurses!

This is a photo from last week ... Colin and Maddie having a tea party with the volunteer!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Nanny!

On August 28th we sent kisses and hugs up high while thinking about Nanny who would have celebrated her 89th birthday. We miss you but believe it was you who sent a female and male swan to the lake house to start their family as a sign you are with us. We know you are looking over our family and keeping a loving watch over Colin.

Love and miss you .. Happy Birthday

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Neutropenic Week 2

We were hopeful that Colin's blood counts would have rebounded from last week. His appetite and energy levels have been great! Unfortunately, although they did improve, his counts remain below the threshold necessary to safely administer his daily medicines. So, another week off and back next week to try again.....

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rewind - Maddie

With all the craziness over the past couple of weeks we're just getting around to the below update.

Maddie turned one on July 27th!! In between two colds, Maddie had her one year check up on 8/5 and is progressing on schedule. The Doctor was very pleased with her growth and development. She's started to stand on her own and will now take a few steps if you hold her hands. Here's how Maddie and Colin stack up at age one.....

Height - Maddie 29 7/8 inches 75% - Colin 29 inches 25%
Weight - Maddie 22 lbs 13.5 oz 75% - Colin 22 lbs 8 oz 50%
Head - Maddie 46.5 80% - Colin 47.6 90%

As you can see they are following the same pattern so we're very pleased. I tease Dadddy all the time by saying he can't deny Colin as his own and as Maddie's looks transition to toddler I can officially say the same thing about Maddie except for the red hair .. I'll take the credit for that!

Since Maddie's birthday fell on a weekday we decided to hold off and celebrate on a weekend. On Saturday August 14th we baptized Maddie and had a 2 for 1 party back at the house. Bill gave a personal and touching ceremony and once again we couldn't be more thankful. The party was wonderful and watching Maddie eat her first cupcake was hysterical ... at first she wanted nothing to do with it but once she got her first taste it was all over (literally).

Enjoy the photos!!