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.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Just for fun!

Just because he's sooo cute - here's another pic of my grandpa.
I think this must have been last christmas, I just raided this pic
from my cousin Brandi's Facebook page. My grandpa is sort of surprising people by holding his own if not getting better!
Hans has made a pretty great recovery. He is eating and drinking all day! We are very pleased.
We'll still go in on Thursday for an office visit and labwork.
Peace, Love and Cure,

Triage Cancelled:)

Hans looked good enough this morning for us to cancel out our second day of fluids and labs at triage. Hans is already on his second bowl of chicken noodle soup this morning, and he's got a plate of chicken, a gogurt, some fresh raspberries, a soda and an ice water. He's taking his pain meds, and he has negotiated with his nurses that he can just swish around diluted kids' listerine, instead of that numbing pink mouthwash. We're keeping an eye on him. He'll go back in for a recheck on Thursday with Dr. Russell, unless he needs to be seen sooner.

Thanks for checking up on us!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Long Day!

Form long weekend to Long Day. I was doing my thing around the house this morning, after getting Elle onto the bus, and I thought - I better get up there and wake up Hans! I just didn't have a 'good' feeling. Well, he woke up for me, but instantly said 'I don't feel that good, I better go to the ER.' Oh, my baby! Kevin and I had been watching him - he has been struggling to eat and swallow with those new mouth sores. Ouchie! We start to worry about electrolytes.... and hypoglycemia...when Hans doesn't eat well.

Soooo.... we really lucked out by getting a bed in 'triage' at the clinic. This is really an ideal health care setting. It's one bay of about 8 private rooms. The Onc and nurse to patient ratio are great, everyone knows you, and everyone is dedicated to taking care of you carefully and quickly! So at least we had a good customer-service day. They peeked in his little mouth, and shook their heads. Yiikes. Mouth sores, bad, outta nowhere! I don't understand how Hans can be on this med for an entire year, and suddenly acquire mouthsores???? Anyway, his sodium was a little low, so he got fluids all day, and some special mouthwash with lydocaine. He is to take Tylenol with Coedine around the clock for now. They said it should take just a couple of days to heal. They also said our biggest concern is avoiding dehydration...so he has to chug drinks. Hans has lost a whole kilo (2.2 lbs) since he last got weighed! And... his ANC is at rock bottom, 60.

We got sent home this evening to drink lots of fluids, but we actually have a 'reservation' to come back and do the same thing all over again tomorrow. We can cancel it if Hans looks great in the AM, but it's nice to have that cozy spot booked just for us if we need it! I'm exhausted! Poor Hans is somehow managing to eat chicken tenders from his new favorite place...Popeye's. That's the scoop. In the here and now we just need to get his mouth healed, keep dosing him with mouthwash, tylenol and all his other meds. In the big picture... I start to get a little freaked...what does this mean? Will Hans get mouthsores on this med each round? Will his mouth recover quickly on its own? Will his ANC recover? Will we be able to stay on this med at full dose? Will we have to start dosing him with GSCF shots to boost his white blood count?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Long Weekend

We've sure enjoyed our long weekend/week off school! Yesterday we went and cut down our Christmas tree at the Red Caboose Tree Farm. It's a neat place that actually has all kinds of live farm animals and exotic birds you can check out when you are done cutting down your tree! We went there last year and loved it so we went back.

Hans' ANC was low going in to this weekend. I forgot to mention that it was at 400 when we went and got it checked here at our locals ped's office on Tuesday. He's starting to get a not-fun pattern of getting a cold with every single dip in his ANC. And, for some reason, I'm starting to follow suit! You always forget about how not fun a cold is until you get one. We had to miss a little play date with our old pals today because of our colds:( Ah well, maybe next time! Oh, and Hans is also having more mouth sores than usual on this round. Poor guy! It's like he's really doing relatively well on this med. But, dang, he is still on chemotherapy!

Elle got to go the Texans football game with her pal Kelly and her family today. She was really excited!

Starting tomorrow, I guess we have three more weeks of school and then Christmas break, yay! We'll go in for counts (somewhere) once or twice this coming week, and then we'll have an office visit next week to start Round 17 of this med next Wednesday. That will bring us to a full year on MLN8237!

Extra thoughts, prayers, and love are being sent to our little pal Patrick at this time.

Peace, Love and Cure,


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, part deux

These pics are especially for our family! We love everyone and still sure miss you all, especially during the holidays. Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Of course, we are thankful that Hans is holding his own and doing so well on this MLN8237.

I am also thankful for thoughtful kids like Kayce. Kayce took a sewing class over the summer. She got really into and started getting good at making numerous pillow cases. Her sweet mama, Laura, who has been baking for us for a while now, wanted to find some special homes for her project. So, Kayce set out to make 36 adorable pillowcases for each child on the 9th floor! Anyway, Laura got them to us, and since we don't have to go down to TCH for a little while, we sent them down with our buddy, Mickey, who is bringing a turkey day dinner. They will find new homes tomorrow. I love little stories like that. Hans got his own designer pillow case - Transformers in red and blue. He jumped up and down when he got it, saying "it's awesome!" Thanks, Kayce and Laura:)

Just a little pic or two to say Happy Thanksgiving.

Peace, Love and Cure,

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Elle and I are back from camping. We had a fun girls weekend sleeping in these way-cool treehouse cabins, hiking, horseback riding and doing archery. The girls also worked in a lot of cooking and cleaning, eating, playing, a service project, and one craft. Wow. It was a whirlwind for us getting ready for that trip. Mon - Weds we were en route to and from Philly, Thurs a surprise ER trip, and Fri - Sun a girl scout campout. I can't say that I was mentally prepared for it on Friday - if I had had on "out" I may just have taken it! But once you're all packed and in the car to go, it's all good. I always feel better once I've got all the laundry sorted and started, and the fridge cleared out and restocked back home. Check. Yay.

After Thursday's incident, Kevin and Hans took it pretty easy around here. Video gaming and home decorating! With Christmas lights, that is. We are the first on our block this year to deck the halls, with rainbow icicle lights, no less. Hans and Kevin are the Christmas light designers. I always think their design flair is a little honky-tonk/cantina. Elle and I think it's festive, so we'd never object.
Hans is great on Day Five of Round 16. We are just very much focused on getting him to eat and eat and eat. Our Endocrinologist suggested last year that Hans may have a problem absorbing all the food he takes in. So the treatment for that has always been to feed him more. That's our job.

We had a very special visit on Friday from our pal MICKEY! Thanks for coming by, Mickey. We met Mickey in the Fall of 2006 as Mickey was beginning his treatment for ALL. Mickey is now done with treatment, NED, and doing well as a college student on the road to becoming a Pharmacist. He dropped by, bearing the most perfect gifts for Hans it was unbelievable! He brought Hans a Pillow Pet and the one Mario Galaxy video game he didn't have. He could almost drop the Pharmacy career for a job as a mind reader:) Thanks for dropping by, Mickey! Your friendship is very special to us.

Peace, Love and Cure, Lara

Friday, November 19, 2010

Santa Letter Mailed

While we were in Philly we rode the Subway into Center City to catch a bit of the Holiday Lights and find the Magic Mailbox at Macy's that goes 'straight to Santa'. Hans was all over it. We also hit the Gallery Mall to pick up another Kung Zhu Hampster for Hans...
Hans seems to have recovered quite well from yesterday's incident. It sure shakes the rest of us up for a day or two. Check out Will's Site for a little write up on Hans' hero sis as the 'artist of the week'.
I'll check back in with you on Monday, after our campout.
Peace, Love and Cure,

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hypoglycemia No.5???

Gosh, there we went again. We are just fine and dandy right now, but we are recovering from Hans' fifth (I think) low blood sugar episode. I guess Hans was soo busy playing games on the plane that he didn't eat as much as he should have. Hans actually ratted me out to the ER doc this morning. The doc asked "Why do you suppose this happened?" I started to go into the entire history of recurrent NB, adrenalectomy, stress dose steroids while sick, etc, And Hans interrupted us, "Tell him the truth! You guys didn't feed me enough on the plane!" I think the biggest deal was that he went for the big water instead of the big soda...so, no sugars in water???

He didn't wake up for poor Elle this AM. Kevin had to pick his car up at the dealer (a whole other story!!! We think it's a pre-recall problem on the new 2011 VW TDIs) and I had dropped him off at the dealer, I walked in to hear Elle on the phone to 911. I found a non-responsive Hansie on the couch. I was able to get him injected with his solu cortef and Glucagon while Elle wrapped up the phone call to 911. What a gal! That's at least the third time she's saved her bro.
How's that for a babysitting credential??? When the EMT's got to our place his blood glucose was 33.

OMG. Our poor guy! Kevin didn't even make it all the way to work, he rerouted and followed us in the Ambulance to St. Lukes in the Woodlands. But now Hans is fully recovered. He's planning out his guys' weekend with Kevin while Elle and I are on our Girl Scout Campout.

Thanks to Michelle and Alana, who came running over to check on us when hearing the sirens. I haven't even had a chance to tell them thanks for caring for Elle and Honey while we were on our trip.

We are on Round 16 of Millennium...started yesterday. 6 days to go. I had promised Mrs. Parker I was going to bring Hans into class for the Thanksgiving Day feast today. But, alas, it is not to be. Hans now gets to start his Thanksgiving Day break 1 day early...school's out for 11 days.

Peace, Love and Cure,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stable Scans

I'm just updating super quick from clinic. We got the news that Hans' scans look great, as in there is just that one little spot. Nothing new. So - it was all that dancing causing his back and shoulders to be sore. Thank goodness! It is always sweet relief to get another round of scans under our betls. We are sort of loving life on this med these days - it's predictable and not too tough on Hansie.

NOW we scramble. We have to wait in the lobby til the med shows up. Get a cab to the hotel to pick up our stashed bags, and try to catch our flight!!! Wish us luck. This med can take a little while...

We were fortunate to get to visit with Lily's and Elijah's families while up here. Two more NB families to love! Lily has been in surgery all day!

Peace, Love and Cure,

Monday, November 15, 2010

We're Off

Were off to Philadelphia this evening. We'll get the MIBG Injection tomorrow and the scan on Wednesday and we'll be back on a plane to Houston Wednesday night. One of my friends pointed out that I've never explained what this injection is all about, so here ya go:
(adapted from this site)
An MIBG scan is an imaging test that uses a substance (called a tracer) and a special scanner to find or confirm the presence of Neuroblastoma, a tumor of specific type of nervous tissue. A radioisotope (MIBG iodine-131 meta-iodobenzyguanidine) is injected into Hans' port. The compound attaches to Neuroblastoma cells. The next day, Hans lies under the arm of a scanner. The whole body is scanned in a test that takes about an hour. Hans is literally taped down to the table so that he doesn't move and the image is clear. The scan is later read by Radiologists to determine Hans' disease status. Hans is given SSKI drops for five days, starting the day before the injection, to minimize the effect of the radioisotope on Hans' thyroid. I haven't officially been keeping track, but at a bare minimum this will be Hans' 21st MIBG scan of his young life. There is a DVD player in the Scan room, kids can watch and listen to a movie while they scan. For the past two years straight Hans has chosen to watch the movie The Incredible Hulk as he scans. Nothing else.

Six weeks ago we scanned and learned that Hans' tumor is getting smaller. We are hoping to get similar or better news. It seems like every NB kid I know of starts complaining of pain the week before scans. This week, Hans is pointing at his back and shoulders saying we better get them checked out because they are sore. Kevin and I attribute this soreness to Wii's JUST DANCE, which we just purchased over the weekend and it has turned our place into a dance-a-thon! But, only the MIBG will tell us for sure that there isn't new disease cropping up.

Ah, we had such a very busy weekend around here that in some ways Philly will be a place to catch our breath. Crazy, huh? Elle really had back to back activities including a party, Honor Band Try-Outs, a soccer game, a sleepover, a girl scout meeting where we planned next weekend's campout, and a babysitting gig. Kevin had a golf tournament with some of our buds and we managed to do one 'training' bike ride (21 miles). Taxiing and cheerleading fell to me and Hans.

I'm really thinking about and praying for some of our NB cohorts right now, especially Patrick, Lily and Elijah. And of course, I cant stop thinking about my grandpa - who is holding his own, and my uncle - who is recovering quite nicely.

Peace, Love and Cure,

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Make A Wish

I found this link today. If you Write a Letter to Santa and drop it off at Macy's, they'll donate $1 to the Make A Wish Foundation, up to 1 million dollars. Clearly, this is right up Hans' alley, so he has already typed up his letter and we've printed it out. Its cool though, there's an online form to Santa, and your child can practice his/her computer literacy, decorate the letter, print it, then cut it out, and take it to Macy's. We'll have to hit the Macy's in Center City Philadelphia next week to get our selves into the holiday spirit.

Hans is Mr. Holiday Spirit. He has already had us doing a little holiday baking (gingerbread turkeys), and he has taken me to the store for a few more Thanksgiving decorations. He's got a little Martha Stewart in him, I guess. It's pretty cute!

I restored my little list of kids "Also in the Fight Against Relapse". These are just a few of the stories that have stolen my heart. I had accidentally deleted the whole column, but it's back.

Peace, Love & Cure,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

ANC Back Up

Thanks to Carla at Kiss the Moon for another cute pic. Yes, we even brought Honey on our photo shoot. She's even less photogenic than I am! She can't sit still or keep her huge tongue in her mouth. She's crazy but sweet.

We went down to TCH yesterday for labs and an impromptu office visit. Hans still has this cold and I wanted to get him all checked out. Dr. Russell said his lungs were good, and didn't find an underlying issue. The good news is that his labs look fine. HGB 9.9 Plts 3-something, and an ANC of 1600. He said, good, I can have my friends over! Yay.

I got some NEWS about our next Bake Sale. The 3rd Floor Foot Bridge at TCH is going to be under construction next month, so our Bake Sale is not going to happen 12/3/10. Thanks to everyone for their ongoing support of these bake sales! We'll be back at it in February for the Valentine's Day Sale. The bridge is already booked for Friday 2/11/11.

Also, my uncle made it out of surgery, and last I heard, he was supposed to be going home yesterday. He was up and eating and all is well.

We return to CHOP for routine scans next week. We will be up there at the same time as two of our little NB pals Lily and Elijah. Hoping and praying for good news all around.

Peace, Love and Cure,

Sunday, November 07, 2010

I've Never Been This Organized!

another cute pic from Carla at Kiss the Moon Photography, thanks Carla!

With ordering my Christmas Card, that is. Usually I'm the last one. Sometimes I'm actually sending a Happy New Year card! But, this year I guess I was motivated since Pat and Rebecca initiated the Cure to the Kids Photo Holiday Card Campaign, Elle submitted a design, it was selected, and sweet Carla took our pictures, everything came together for me to order our Holiday card before Thanksgiving - that's a first. Too bad I couldn't manage to get my frizzy hair cut before the pictures were taken, but ah well! We're not perfect huh? Check out the site and order your cards too, if you want to check one of your things off of your To Do list:) All proceeds go to Cure Kids Cancer!

Meanwhile, while I'm marking things off my to do list, my family back home just got more bad news. My uncle Dean, who has Down's Syndrome, just got some bad health news too! My poor mom and aunties and cousins now have two patients to dote over and I'm just feeling useless so far away. My uncle is going in for a hernia surgery asap this morning and he will most likely have to have some of the intestine removed. Oh, my goodness! My Grandpa has actually been doing okay at home. He is there on hospice, but he is eating, eliminating, and having regular sleep and wake cycles. His issue was also with the bowel. Some dead tissue in the small intestine and for many underlying reasons he is not a candidate for surgery. When it rains it pours.

Peace, Love and Cure,


Friday, November 05, 2010

Round 15 Done

Hans finished Round 15 of Millennium yesterday. It went okay. Hans does have occasional aches and pains on this medication and yesterday it was a little scary when he had a pain in the same spot as all that crazy arm pain last year and at initial relapse! Argh! Kevin and I plan not to bring it up and he hasn't mentioned it again, so that's a good thing. He had labs yesterday and his HGB and Plts are great, but that ANC is still pretty low at 600. He still has this cold! Uck. Going on Day 8 now.

Hans is cruising along in school - he brought home his first real report card and he got got all A's and one B:) He actually helped me finish painting my bathroom yesterday, too. My plan was to paint when Hans' counts were low but somehow I've only done three rooms! But, I am re-staining all of our cabinets so that is a pretty big job. I have been trying to tackle a 'project' each day when Hans works with his teacher. Makes me feel sort of productive. It doesn't happen each day - but it's good to have a game plan.

We just have a very normal busy weekend ahead of us. It's cold here now which is just great. Gonna go take Hans for a bike ride.

I messed up a couple of weeks ago and accidentally erased my whole column of kids "Also in the fight against relapse", we've recently lost many of those kiddos including Samuel, Elizabeth and Evan. I don't have the words at this point. Their families are in my heart, along with the great hope I have for all these kids still in the fight.

Peace, Love, and Cure,

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Insane Christmas Wish List!

This is just too funny Hans has been working on his Christmas list since mid-September. We went online today and found all the Bionicles he has been wishing for and he made up a wild Amazon.com Christmas Wish List. Hans is crazy! We told him Santa's sleigh can't hold that many items for each kid. hee hee... Hans suggested Santa recruit some llamas to help out the reindeer. I guess Llama's can bear a bigger load???

We got our medication in the mail! Just two days off course. I actually think he did great with his two days off! His Platelets and HGB look great today at 272 and 10.7, however, his ANC is really dropping here at 381. Yikes - we are no where near the lowpoint on this cycle, so we'll go back in for a labs recheck on Friday. No Fever! But, ugh, that's not good, I fear. Our NP did think his cold is contributing to such a low ANC...

Monday, November 01, 2010


Wow, we were able to fully enjoy Halloween. It seems like in the past few years Hans has had something crazy going on in the Fall, so we have really been enjoying being able to do it up. We have been able to decorate a little, bake a lot (Hans loves to help me out): brownies, sugar cookies, popcorn balls and caramel apples! We hit a few parties - missed a few. Kevin and I really sort of stink at going out and leaving the kids or getting a sitter. I guess we're sort of nervous nellies. Elle left us for a party at her friend Kelly's - that was weird to trick or treat without her for the first time ever! Hans had really pretty great stamina and was able to trick or treat to a lot of houses. He was the scariest "Fade In/Fade Out Unknown Phantom" and Elle was a little over the top as a glitter glam lion!
That's the scoop. We are waiting on meds. They are supposed to get here today now. I think Hans actually benefited energy-wise from his 2 day Halloween vacation from Round 15 of Millennium, especially with this cold that we all now have!