Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tahoe? Check.

Sandwiched in between the scan results and the start date of another round of radiation, our family high-tailed it up to Tahoe for a 2-day family fun adventure and another bucket list item. I'd like to call it a little R&R, but it was everything but! We put the trip on the calendar in early February, carefully counting chemo cycles, contemplating all possible deterrents, and praying for snow. It makes me VERY anxious and nervous to plan something this far in advance because we are so used to last minute surprises. But so far, our efforts to complete William's bucket list have been blessed with remarkable weather and conditions to allow our family to make some wonderful memories. I can't help but credit this as one of God's tender mercies, assuring us that he is aware of our every need. This trip was no exception. We delayed chemo for a week (also so he'd feel good for the Donut Dash that Saturday) and left on a Monday afternoon. We had apprehensions about this because the rate of tumor growth seemed to be increasing, but some things are higher priorities for us right now. On Saturday and Sunday before our departure, a huge snow storm dumped 4 feet of new snow in Tahoe---the first major dumping of the year! It was perfect powder for making snowballs and snowmen, the sledding runs were fresh, and the crowds were small since it was the school week.

As soon as we arrived, it became obvious that all the boys wanted to do was roll in the snow. (Think stressed out mom who just wants to unpack and get settled, while 5 boys ignore her pleas to stop breaking icicles and stomping through the snow without boots or coats.) On Tuesday we headed to Echo Summit and the boys surprised us by lasting 5 hours in the snow! They were in their element. We paused once to have hot chocolate and snacks and then it was back to the runs.The weather was great. It was a little overcast, but the sun came out in the late afternoon. Even William begged to stay longer. Ryan and I were exhausted due to carrying William up the hill so many times, but it was so worth it!

On Day 2, we offered more low-key options: movie (at the theater!), scenic drive, lunch at a restaurant.... Nope! They all insisted on another day of sledding. Even William had uncharacteristic energy and enthusiasm. The only difference with this day the complete lack of clouds in the sky. It was beautiful and the boys came home sporting sunburned faces--some a little more unfortunate than others, but they had a blast. It was so warm, we were peeling off layers. After 4 hours of sledding, we were trying to keep them awake during the drive home so we could just put them straight to bed.

Remember to click on the photos to enlarge.

We did insist on the scenic drive to Emerald Bay, but all they wanted to do was climb!
Emerald Bay

Our balcony view was fantastic. Hot tubing every night was a welcome treat!

Thank you to dear friends who helped make this trip possible and our burdens a little lighter. We had a wonderful time!

The next morning William had to be up at 6:30 AM for the first of 12 days of radiation. Lovely. This week he also began his new outpatient chemotherapy regimen: Irinotecan and Velcade. The most brutal part is the schedule: 7 AM radiation appointment at Sutter General in downtown Sacramento and then chemotherapy at Sutter Memorial in midtown. He is receiving radiation to his liver, left inguinal (groin), and entire shin and ankle. He seems to be tolerating it all fairly well with mild, but controlled nausea. However, he has lost most of his appetite. He eats very little during the day, but continues to receive TPN and lipids at night via his broviac. The best part about it is all the reading time. William has finally found a series he LOVES and is finally feeling well enough to read...all the time! He reads during chemo and then comes home and reads for hours on the couch or in his bed (besides the occasional nap). He started the Fablehaven series while we were in Tahoe (1 1/2 weeks ago) and he's already half way through Book 4 of 5 and each book is 300-500 pages long. It makes my heart so happy to see him reading again. That makes things feel normal.


  1. Brandon Mull has started a new series - the Beyonders. The 2nd book is coming out this month. So good to see such big smiles and hear that he has enough energy to have some fun!

  2. I have been touched for months as I have read your beautifully penned journal entries. Thank you so much for sharing William's journey with us. I feel honored to know such a valiant and courageous little boy supported by devoted and loving parents. You are a great example to me.

  3. what amazing scenery and so glad you had fantastic weather. Judy told us of the tender mercy (she called it that) of the 92 degrees in Austin on a february day. The Lord is truly aware of your needs- even the tiniest. What fun memories you're making.

  4. We loved seeing the photos and reading about your wonderful Tahoe trip. Thank you so much for sharing your updates and adventures with us through this blog. We love each of you and pray for you daily. Lizzie keeps asking to see the video of William on TV again from the Donut Dash so I'm going to find it on your FB page and let her see it again. Hugs to you all!

  5. I've enjoyed the photos from Tahoe several times. Memorable family times, and thanks for including ones of Julie and Ryan besides the boys. You make a wonderful combination -- looks, energy and heart.

  6. What a great trip! I loved reading about it and seeing the pictures.

    Has William read the Percy Jackson books? I've been listening to them lately in the car and they are hilarious and charming. Katie (my niece) has been reading them lately and I think she and William are close to the same age.

  7. It's wonderful that you are taking time for fun. I don't think any of us remember to create happy memories often enough. It's so easy to get caught up in the routines of work, duty, obligation, study, and chores. While those are obviously important, laughter is too. Your photos are fantastic. Thanks for sharing them.