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.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Amazing

Hi
We have been on cloud nine. Hans finished his MIBG scan today and then we met with Dr. Maris. He told us "all of his scans came back negative". That means his scans are clean, the MIBG worked for Hans and we are once again "No Evidence of Disease" or that Hans is currently cancer-free! As you can imagine, we were crying tears of joy, mercy and gratitude as soon as these words fell out of Maris' mouth and our brains had a moment to comprehend.

I'll write more later - I'm trying to get us a flight out of here tonight!!!

With love, Lara

Monday, January 26, 2009

Brrrrr

Hi guys -
First off, we must say thank you to those of you who have supported Elle's cookie drive. She herself has received orders for more than 100 boxes of cookies for the Houston Ronald McDonald House. It'll be fun to see what the whole troop comes up with.

We are up here in Philadelphia. Let me say it's cold!!! Brrrr.... It must be in the 20's, but I didn't check that today. We got up here on Saturday (by having a Sat nite stay over we use A LOT less miles) and stayed at the Sheraton one night and then yesterday moved into the RMH. The trip up went fine. We just think we didn't quite manage to get quite enough calories in Hans on Saturday - so he was a little wiped out on Sunday. So we haven't been too adventurous here in the cold, on foot, but the RMH does have nice meals to offer, and I found their treadmill and even brought my new sheet music for one of their pianos. It's kind of fun, I ordered "easy Beatles" for piano. I'm trying to retrain my brain! (I took lessons in I think 4th, 5th and 6th grades???) I have been learning "Let It Be". I'm the opposite of Kev - he can just pick up a guitar and figure it out. I have to systematically plug away in black and white.

We are exploring the local eateries - keeping Hans in calories with a nearby McDonald's and Papa John's - while Kevin and I are enjoying Thai Food and looking forward to an Indian Buffet! (Kevin also really digs the cheesesteaks.) We also found a great 'old school' video store/comic book shop. We checked out the entire Indiana Jones series. Hans has never seen them, so it's keeping us entertained. We also got Hans a new Transformers Comic Book, since Uncle Tom had turned him onto them. The store was definitely a good find.

We just had to quickly pop into CHOP today - the CT is tomorrow as well as the MIBG Injection, and then the MIBG is Wednesday morning followed by 'the news' and a meeting with Dr. Maris. So far I have been calm. But, we shall see what the future holds. Meanwhile, I'm praying big prayers, not only for Hans, but for Erin and Patrick and Michael at TCH. As well as all of the other children still fighting, and I'll never forget those that we have lost. Thanks to all of you who include Hans and these kids in your thoughts and prayers.

Will post with more news as I am able...

Love, Lara

Monday, January 19, 2009

Troop 11251 Cookie Drive for Houston RMH!


Hans climbing our little rock wall at our park
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Elle's cookie appeal

I like that MLK day is now being framed as a national day of service - maybe we can appeal to you in that spirit for our little service project! What a great week it has been;) If you can click on the 30 second video, Elle will tell you about our project. Our new thing is - Elle's Girl Scout Troop 11251 is doing a Cookie Drive for the Houston Ronald McDonald House. We are taking gs cookie orders now for the RMH here, and they will be delivered at the end of cookie season (by March). We know that the RMH will diligently dole these cookies out to its guests throughout the year. When you are away from home staying at a place like this - something as simple as a cookie can brighten your day! We'll see how her troop does - but one thing we realized last year, is that it's easy for anyone to help out - just make a comment on the comment page with your email, or email us at kevinandlara@hotmail.com Cookies are still 3.50per box. Thanks! We appreciate your support!

We are doing fine otherwise. Elle enjoyed a Four Day MLK day weekend, and so did the rest of us. Hans is looking well, and his activity level has been increasing. Over the past several days he has been running more, dancing more (he has got really good rock moves), doing a little rock wall climbing, more swimming, more biking, tried a little scootering - but didn't take to it, he is coloring, (of course playing video games, watching his shows and eating a lot), he got a little more trampoline in, and even a little tennis. But - he was challenged - saying "I'm not so good at tennis."

Grandma Kathy flies in today and we will be on our way to Philly saturday. We'll miss the first basketball game but at least she'll have a grandma there to cheer her on.

The kids I'm thinking about: Erin, Patrick and Sam are having treatment changes. Hans, Michael, John, Will and Layla have scans coming up. And, Colby got stable scans. Way to go little bro!

Thanks for checking up on us - Have a good week.
Lara
ps I almost forgot to even mention it, but counts Tuesday were just fine.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

This one goes out to you, Aunt Holly

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Here is Elle doing a bit of guitar hero, as per Aunt Holly's request.

Things are looking up around here - when our biggest concerns of the day are - fights over time on the Wii, Elle having to throw the 'race' to the mailbox for Hans, Elle having to throw the 'race' to the park for Hans, and finally, Elle having to throw the 'race' home from the park for Hans. She is mostly a good sport about it.
Before we get to Elle's request, I have another one for you! We are doing a bake sale in February at TCH, but another one here in The Woodlands at the Earth Day Festival in April. The Earth Day Festival is supposed to be a 'zero waste' event. This is making us think! If anyone out there has used bakeware they were going to give away anyway, we'll take it - bake in it - and sell it at The Woodlands Earth Day Bake Sale - April 18th! Please email me at kevinandlara@hotmail.com to set up pick up. Thank you!!!

okay - so, now, I think the next post will really be from elle. We were granted a week off from clinic, so it's fun to remember all of the other things we can be doing with ourselves!
Lara
ps - our next scans will be in philly!
pps - just for fun, have you heard about free cosmetics on Tuesday the 20th? Check out this website - http://www.cosmeticssettlement.com/ due to a class action lawsuit, you can drop by your favorite cosmetics counter on Tuesday and pick up one free item!
ppps - thanks to Nurse Natalie for donating so many continental one pass miles! sweet!

Monday, January 12, 2009

All Smiles on the Trampoline

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Hans got a little jump time in with his buds, over on The Smiley's new trampoline from Santa. The bigger kids were all very sweet about taking turns and not trampling Hans.

Things still seem to be going fine here. Hans's counts were still good on Friday - and the only thing I did wrong was forget to pick up the new scrip of potassium while in the med center, so he has been getting a slightly higher dose using what we have at home. Hopefully his counts will be just fine tomorrow. Kevin and I were okay with this - since his Potass dropped just a bit on the lower dose, and the pharm. wasn't even open Sunday. What are ya gonna do?

A lot of our friends and cyber friends and getting scans and results now. Erin, Patrick, Colby, Sydney, Sam, and probably a lot more. I am just hoping all the pieces fall into place for their next round of treatments! Speaking of scans - I think my 'scanxiety' (as Vickie calls it) is starting to set in a little early. Two weeks to go - and I'm starting to get a bit nervous. Nothin' to do about that but wait until 1/29.

Thank you very much to Mark Nolen and Grandma Kathy who together donated more miles than we needed to make our next trip to Philly. I am proud that Continental, an airline I've long preferred for some reason, has such a wonderful program as Careforce!

We had some good weather yesterday for our first day of Elle's Girl Scout cookie sales. The next post will be from Elle, who has taken on a special service project along with her troop.

Hans is pretty much a daddy's boy (or daddy's kid as he says). He is always sad to see Monday roll around and lose daddy to work. He is on the countdown now - just three more nights and then daddy gets 3 days off (thanks to his 9/80 schedule). Hans wasn't ready to send Kev back to work after 2 weeks at home over Christmas. He told him to ask his boss for 14 more days off. I'm not sure how that conversation went!
Catch ya later.
Lara

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Not too much to say!

I guess I may as well post - but there is not much going on here. We took Hans in for an appointment with Endocrinology. It was okay. I can't seem to turn off the part of my brain that has normal mommy concerns for Hans - 'why does he not seem to be growing or gaining weight?' despite the fact that we feed him like a lion cub. Well, the vibe I get off of all the doctors is that we'll deal with that down the road. I guess it makes sense, but it can be a bit of a bummer. They think perhaps he isn't absorbing his food well, so the treatment is to feed him more. I think we have certainly been doing that!

Hans' blood counts are looking better and better. His potassium was actually starting to go up, so we get to back off on one of the doses of potassium each day.

Hans LOVES to be back at home with some down time to practice playing with all of his toys, seeing some friends, running errands with me, hanging out, and just doing all of that normal stuff.

Elle started basketball, so that will keep me running around.

We are getting all of our arrangements worked out for our return to Phila. Grandma Kathy will be coming down here to care for Elle in our absence:)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

More Love!



Hey Everyone.
I wanted to share these sweet pictures - our little friend Emily in Memphis chopped off her gorgeous locks for Locks of Love. This charitable act is truly a beautiful thing to me! Thank you Emily!

So - we are cruising along. We have three weeks to enjoy 'normal life' before heading back up to Philly for scans and a new plan. Hans went in for counts yesterday. Platelets up to 81! ANC through the roof at 5000! Whoa! Hans and I carpooled with our friend Alex and his mom Athena yesterday into TCH. It was very sweet to see the boys supporting each other thru their appts. (Alex just needed an echo - he is about to get his last appt with Dr. Russell - almost achieving 'long term survivor' status!)

Hans is doing pretty well. He really enjoyed bowling the other day. We also rejoined the local YMCA so that we have a place to take him swimming in the winter. He has always been a water dog. I'm sure the water exercise is good for him. Things are looking up! He even attended about 1 hour of a neighborhood New Years Eve Party (he is usually not much of a party animal.) Happy New Year everyone!

Lara

PS - I looked back at that last post, and I thought I should add that I'm sure that email went out to all of the families doing lunch for life - it wasn't just meant for our family - but for everyone... I wasn't sure if it came across that way -