About Me

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Bakersfield, CA, United States
Hans was a busy, happy, sweet and fearless three year old when he was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. He fought his disease like a "gladiator" for nearly 6 years. Hans was an animal lover to his core. He was 'guarded' at home by his three cats, Black, Orange and Cotton. He also had his Golden Retriever, Honey, to keep him company. Hans enjoyed swimming, biking, gardening, grilling (he had his very own grill!), horseback riding, playing video games, building Legos, and flipping between Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Animal Planet. Hans loved all members of his family and he was a loyal friend. He had to go through a lot of treatment in his life. But Hans powered through it. His attitude was let's get this done! His motivation was always to get back home, to his family, pets, favorite foods and pool.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


We went to the clinic and Hans' HGB is coming down a bit - something like 15.3, down from his slightly scary 16.3 last week. They were able to rule out a kidney problem by the Epogen test, which is very good. Still, they can't quite figure out our Hans. So, we might tweak his Hydrocortisone just a bit and see what happens. We'll wait until we talk to Endocrine. For now, Dr. Russell seems to be Happy that Hans looks great, even though he's still pretty congested. He has had lots of energy and has really been doing pretty darn welll! The clinic was quiet today and we were in and out of there quickly - and for a little christmas present, the parking machine was broken - Free parking!

Christmas was pretty fun around here. We are starting to come out from under all the packaging! Thanks everyone for the gifts for the kids. Wow - it was a pretty techno Christmas. I'm really glad I got Kevin a battery charger. It's pretty cool - it charges all sizes. Now we can keep tekno dog, wowwee roboreptile, two helicopters and two crazy RC cars all revved up. I wonder if I'll ever figure out where to put all this stuff! It's pretty fun though, and really cool. We decorated gingerbread houses last night and tonight we had some really tasty turkey tetrazinni made by my mom and Elle while we were down at TCH! Yum! I'll post more pictures next week.

We will just do counts locally next Thursday and have another office visit in two weeks. They're wanting to keep fairly close tabs on Hans with the Hemoglobin condition.

Okay - bye for now!


Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Hi all,
I hope all of your Christmas eves are just as bustling and as exciting as ours! The kids are SO excited that Santa is coming tomorrow. Thanks to our families who have spoiled us with packages. Our tree is busting out with gifts.
We just got back from a quick fun trip to Dallas. We went up to the American Girl store and Elle got an outfit for her doll, Marisol, and some underthings too! We also saw the grassy knoll and the window of the 6th floor book depository. It was sooo cold up there that we didn't take the tour of Southfork Ranch as planned. We'll save that for a warmer visit.
I asked my mom to snap this photo of Papa, my grandpa. He has been busy baking and baking cookies for everyone. It's just one of the many many things we are still homesick about at this time of year. Merry Christmas to all! We miss our family and friends up in WA more than ever this time of year!!!
I went a little photo crazy - see below...
Love, Lara and all...
PS the ornaments just keep popping up. I looked again this morning and we're up to 2394 this monring! Wow - check it out at http://www.lunchforlife.org/

My mom and Hans at the Grassy Knoll.
Hans and I under the window - second from top on the right.

Elle and Hans watching some teens play hockey - check out the curls~!
Okay - Vickie - here is what the wreath cookies are "supposed" to look like. It's a very loose art form!
Elle proudly displaying her Christmas cookie production, and for Aunt Holly her VERY green tongue!
Hans happily caring for our newly Freed Orange! Orange is once again holding vigil by Hans' side for most of the day. He loves that kid!
My mom and Marisol at Dinner!
Waiting for dinner up in Dallas... Elle holding her American Girl!
Hans writing his name with his wild wispy curls starting to pop out on top, too!
My Grandpa, Papa, displaying the tins he has filled with home made Christmas cookies. Yum!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wow - you guys are AWESOME!!!

Okay - take a look at Hans' Giving Tree now - 2234 Ornaments! We're blown away and humbled. My mom says she knows we're going to make a big difference! This year, Hans and Carlie's campaigns will be combined to fund an important research project right at TCH with Dr. Russell. We're so proud of everyone's generous giving. It's amazing.

On another note - Hans remains the cutest little puzzle ever. Yesterday I thought we'd just breeze through a quick "pointment" but everyone was thrown off when Hans' Hemoglobin came back through the roof at 16.3! We actually spent the whole afternoon ruling out a heart condition. Fortunately, I somehow maintain my innocent optimism or naivete - I "knew" all day long that his heart was fine. So, thankfully the chest x-ray, oxygen saturation and EKG they ordered yesterday backed me up. Now - they're thinking his kidneys are wiggin' out a little, either that or that the steroids dose needs to be tweaked. They're running one blood test that will help determine which is the case. We'll get that back in a couple days. Hans was such a good sport throughout our day long surprise adventure yesterday. It didn't hurt that there were all kinds of people up there handing out gifts. Our little sweet friend Chloe had her whole brownie troop up there handing out 7 carloads of Christmas gifts for the patients. So, Hans scored some cool gifts to keep him occupied. We even got a gift card out to Pappasito's that the troop had donated. It was extremely generous and wonderful! Apparently, I passed right by Craig Biggio yesterday! Whoops - Chloe had this Baseball hero there to help her hand out all those gifts. I know it was a great day for her whole family:) Kevin was horrified that I was oblivious to "Big" - whoops - and I even have a Biggio T-shirt!

Kev was happy to find out that he has several vacation days remaining at work that he didn't even really know about. He'll get to spend some relaxing days off with Hans! And - yes, Kathy - Hans is starting to sport some gorgeous curls once again. He has lot of curls in the back. It's so soft and fine that I tell everyone to feel it! Before, his wild curls were actually pretty course. I wonder if it'll change as it grows - probably!
Okay - we'll keep you posted. Elle's last day of school is today and I think everyone is ready for the break...
PS - we got some good news. Orange the cat had xrays today and he checked out okay. It's amazing that he's actually healing up! Now the challenge will be trying to keep him inside for a couple of weeks.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

We just made total elves of ourselves...

Oh cool, Carmen just sent us this photo from her new camera - thanks Carm! Here's me and Kev at Saturday night's party. You notice Kev's hair. He has actually decided to grow it out for Locks of Love. Some kid is going to get a pretty cool wig one day!

This is fun - I've gotten a couple emails now of Office Max's Elf Yourself - thanks, Sonya, and Sasha! We uploaded our pictures this morning - check it out, and then follow the links to make one of yourself. It's pretty fun!!! The kids were both squealing as we watched it!
We're just fine here. We had a fun and successful night out last night. The party was festive and the kids had fun with Courtney! Hans still has a runny nose - but he seems to be doing okay!
Orange has only three more days of isolation. I take him back in for an x-ray on Wednesday. Hans has his appointment on Tuesday. Then my mom gets in Friday.

Elle and her friend Shane - they've been buds since kindergarten!

Lara, Carmen, Angela, Molly, Dana and Vickie at last night's Holiday Party for our Playgroup.

Hans taking care of his kitty, Orange. Orange has now lived in this crate in the dining room for 5 1/2 weeks.

I failed to get a pic of me and Kev last night - but I think Carmen may have gotten one!

Elle got to go out skating again yesterday - our friends Anne and Eric and Kira came and picked her up and then they went back to Kira's to make styrofoam snowmen with accessories. She had a great time.
I'll take a picture of the green wreath cookies when we make the next batch!


Thursday, December 13, 2007


Hi there -
Well, we finally have some seasonal weather here! Yay! It's chilly in Texas - much better than record breaking heat of the past week. "Quick" post:

-Hans' counts are all in the normal range. His Potassium and Sodium are both on the low end of normal. (I'm a little puzzled by why that would be since he is still taking his Potassium tablet once a day and his potassium has been fine for months and months, but???)

- Hans still has some congestion and now we're bumping him back down to daily dose of steroids. We'll see how that goes and hope his nose clears up some how. He has really had no other symptoms...

- The parent meeting was kind of informative on insurance issues. I am still having recurring problems processing 8 - 10 of our claims from United Health Care. If I could tell you how many hours I spend on the phone. For some reason I don't handle this well and I get very upset. I think it's because I have so little control over the situation. I can't process the claims, I can't see the person face-to-face. But, "hopefully" my last two hour session on the phone last week did the trick and everything is being taken care of - that's all I want for Christmas!

- My mom is flying back down for Christmas and we have plans to do a little sightseeing trip to Dallas. We'll see how Hans is doing before we decide if we're going to go through with it or not!
We also have a wonderful babysitter (future oncologist Courtney Sweebe) lined up for Saturday night for a Holiday Party. This will be our first adventure together out with a sitter!

-Kevin's well has finally calmed down, thank Goodness!

That's all that's going on here. Oh, other than the fact that Hans picked out a "real" outfit today! No Jammies! He wore Jean shorts, no socks, a long-sleeved orange T shirt under a bright blue and yellow Floral shirt. I should have gotten a picture! It was quite a sight. Elle is bringing Green Wreath Cookies to class tomorrow, sharing one of her family traditions. I better go make them, YUM!


Friday, December 07, 2007

Seeing Santa

So - last night we took the kids to see Santa! I think this is kind of cheating for me to post this, I just ordered photo Christmas cards with this picture, so now everyone can see it a week or so early. The cool thing was that Hans was totally into it. He was the nicest Santa! We didn't get to go do the Santa thing last year - so it was extra special this year. Hans told Santa he wanted a Hot Wheels Track and Elle said she wanted a new fashion design game for her Nintendo DS and a bathrobe. I think he can handle that! We also had a festive night going out for a bite to eat on Market Street. Poor Kev has still been working so hard he wasn't there to join us. But, I think he's finally got his wells figured out so he shouldn't have to work too hard this weekend!

Hans has still had a cold all week - which concerns us - because he has been on stress dose steroids all week, and every single time he's had a Hypoglycemic incident he has had a clear runny nose. But, hopefully it'll just clear up and move on. Hans' counts this week came back okay, but a little funny - Potassium lower than it has been even though he has been taking a Potassium Supplement??? So, they're going to have him come back for more counts next Thursday. Then, our next Office Visit is the following Tuesday. I'll keep you posted.

Please keep Carlie in your prayers this week. Her family has found out this week that her tumor has spread to her hips and possibly ribs and neck. Dr. Russell is helping her family to tweek her treatment plan to get the tumors under control. They could use your prayers now. Little Ryan a.k.a Batman is also getting scan results back this week, and Chloe Castillo has started a new treatment regimen. Thanks for keeping them all in your prayers, along with the other children...


Sunday, December 02, 2007

Busy Weekend

Well, things are going well so far. I am really hesitant to post something like that, because it seems like every time I do, my next post is from TCH - but - so far so good. Hans does have a little cold/runny nose, so we are stress dosing him, but other than that, he's good. Here are some pictures - play date with Ryan and Adrian on Friday, getting our Christmas Tree, showing off new Cars Shoes while sporting Dino-Camo PJs, and then soccer with Hans and Courtney, and Elle and Isa on the field.
We were out at the are U9 Soccer tournament ALL DAY yesterday - with a break to go find a tree. So, that worked out! Elle's team didn't win yesterday but they played really hard and Elle played REALLY REALLY hard. That's what meant the most to me. She was in it to win it! It's just cool that she's on a team with another great group of girls, who'll stick together in the Spring. We've got her signed up for Basketball again, so we'll have winter action! Hans did his best job out of this whole season cheering his sister and her team on. He hung in there for half of the games and was saying things like "Go Ellie! Get the ball!"
I was so pleased to learn yesterday that our family friend Courtney Sweebe (who has known Hans since about age 6 months) has decided that she's going to work toward becoming a Pediatric Oncologist. Courtney is in tenth grade at College Park High school and she is a dedicated student and athlete and a wonderful kid! I am deeply touched by her choice and I am confident that she can achieve this colossal goal! Go Courtney! I'm so proud of you, we need smart people like you dedicated to figuring out how to wipe Pediatric Cancers off the face of the planet!
Kevin has been working around the clock as TWO of his wells have reached "total depth" this weekend. So he's been on the phone and at the computer since the wee hours...
We just go in for counts at a lab here in The Woodlands on Monday - we'll take a look at Hans' Sodium and Potassium levels and go from there!
On another note: Ryan and Carlie will be receiving scan results this week. Please keep these two beautiful little troopers in your prayers. Good news: Colby's scans last week showed SHRINKAGE!