Tuesday  -- February 19th

Cool thing happened to me last week. I was at Target with Thomas and he ran into the back of a man. The man turned, looked down at him and smiled, "Hey Buddy." Then he looked up at me...it was Teddy Bruschi from the Patriots! I was pretty star struck. I wish it had been me that ran into the back of him! He winked and asked me for my phone number...ok, then I snapped out of it! I took Thomas' hand and we left, but of course, I was kicking myself - should've gotten his autograph for Michael. Darn! I hear he's seen regularly in the store, so maybe next time.

We took the kids to play Laser Tag this weekend. It was so much fun. It was Ernie, myself, and all the kids, in the glow in the dark room filled with walls and hiding spots. We broke into two teams: Ernie, Maddie, and William vs. Me, Michael, and Thomas. Somehow, the teams weren't quite evenly matched...

My back up, Michael, stayed behind firing directly into our Team Target board, trying to score points that way, instead of hitting the battle field with me. Yep, I was out in the trenches by myself, aside from Thomas following me, shooting me, then whining and asking why I wasn't shooting him?! Made it a little difficult to hide.

I was going to ask for my money back because every time I killed Ernie, he kept coming back to life, after a quick 5 second delay. What's up with that? He was like the Terminator with glowing green teeth!

So, in the end, Ernie's team won. I can't imagine how, but they did.

After laser tag, we played in the arcade for a while. Best thing happened. Thomas and I played a game and the prize tickets began to pour out and they kept coming and coming and coming...It was great! I truly did tell two of the employees but, they said it was my lucky day. I don't think they realized that I had been sitting on the floor for 15-20 minutes, gathering stacks of tickets, ripping them off, handing them to my kids, who kept running over to me, grabbing handfuls of tickets, running to the cash out machine, coming back to me, cashing out the tickets...we had quite a racket going! Of course, the whole time I was committing my crime, Ernie pretended not to know me.

I finally got tired and walked away, only to see the next Mom sit on the floor with her kid in pure delight! So, all our hard work paid off and the kids added all of their ticket points and got a Lava Lamp for their playroom!

School vacation week. Wow, I'm so excited I can hardly stand it...

William is signed up for a class 10-12 Tues. through Fri, playing all kinds of sports games. We have a meeting at the clinic on Thurday with Maddie's doctors. Aside from that, we had a few other things planned but we all have nasty colds, so I think we'll lay pretty low for the week.

Hope you all have a wonderful vacation week! If you get a chance, check out the laser tag at Pinz in Milford. It's a lot of fun.

Sunday  -- February 10th

It was a long week last week. Long days of testing in the hospital, but we made the best of them. We always have so much fun with the staff in all of the departments we have spent so much time with. They are all so incredibly compassionate and fun. In particular, Maddie loves to hang out with Steve in Nuclear Medicine (he's in a website picture 11/15/06). They like to try and scare each other throughout the day, hiding around corners, ducking behind machines, then popping out!

Tuesday we had the MRI, Catscans, Xrays and blood draw. We had time in between the tests, so we went up to 6N to visit our friends. It's always fun to see everyone. Maddie was bummed her nurse, Chris, wasn't there so we made a plan to go back up on Wed. We saw our friends Kara and Kristin D'Orsi, who is running the Boston Marathon in Maddie's name! It was great catching up with them.

Wednesdays tests were the long PET Scan and Bone Scan. While we waited for one of Maddie's injections to take (the dye) we got a visit from our friend Beth Hill. She hung out with us and helped us pass the time. We also watched the Happy Feet DVD. It was very cute. In between those two tests, as planned, we went back to 6N to find Chris. Maddie had really missed him and she was so glad to see him.

Maddie's test results show that the tumor in her pelvis has gotten a little smaller! Yeah!  Her blood counts are about the same as the last draw, so we'll continue to watch them and re-draw every 4 weeks.  The next blood draw and check up appt. is on the 21st, and then her next set of scans will be in three months.

I didn't think Maddie would want me writing about the following, but after talking with her, she said it was fine...

After a long two days in the hospital, we went back into Boston on Thursday for a really special day. Maddie, William, and I picked Ernie up at work and went downtown for Maddie's hair appt. Her hair piece, which was ordered before the holidays, was ready! We are working with Hair Club For Men and Women. They have a program for kids - Hair Club for Kids. The entire staff is made up of some of the most warm, loving people we have ever met.

It was a huge day for Maddie! The hair appt. was going to take up to two hours, so Ernie had to leave to keep William out of the way. They ended up renting skates and going ice skating in the park! I stayed with Maddie and got to watch the whole hair process.

It was such an emotional moment when it went on her head, so of course, as any mother would do, I started to cry. Well, that was cut short when Maddie told me to knock it off! Our hair consultant, Diane, did the most amazing job matching Maddie's real color and then cutting the piece to blend in with her hair. It looks amazing! It looks so real! When her hair was all done, we went and waited in the Consultation room and called Ernie in.  When he saw Maddie, he got tears in his eyes! It was really so moving.

All of the consultants came by to check Maddie out. Nobody could believe how great she looked, and at the same time, reminded her that she looks just as beautiful without the hair, which is so very true. Maddie can swim and shower with this hair piece. She can take it off whenever she wants and it goes back on pretty easily. The program follows her until she's 17. We'll go into Boston every time she needs a cut and when it's time for a new piece.

Before the appt., when we were on the subway going in, two people had offered up their seats to Maddie, who, of course, graciously turned them down. Standing and holding the railing is much more thrilling. After the appt., Maddie now had her hair piece on and blended right in. It was just so strange. She was no longer looked at any differently than the next person. How liberating for her! We were so thrilled for her! Maddie had never complained about her hair and is always so dignified and comfortable about it, but this is a nice little bonus for her.

I know having Maddie wearing her hair piece, made Ernie and I feel differently too. In fact, I turned to Ernie and whispered, "I don't feel like a "cancer Mom" right now. I feel like me again." Isn't that weird? Nobody was looking at me with a sympathetic/empathetic look. I was just another Mom at that moment. It felt different. It felt good. I can only imagine how wonderful it felt for Maddie.

Michael was SO excited to see his sister with hair! He had a glowing smile and a loving hug waiting when we got home and she walked through the door. He had been waiting so anxiously. It's amazing how affected everyone was. Maddie wore it to school on Friday. At first, she wasn't sure if she was going to take her hat off and show everyone just yet, but she did and she said she got a warm response from everyone!

Thank you so much to Ellen, our lead consultant, and the entire team at The Hair Club. You gave us all the most amazingly special gift! Ernie's thinking about becoming a member!

Some more exciting news...Maddie and I have officially been chosen to go to Lourdes in France, to visit the Holy Shrine! What an incredible blessing! We are so excited. We have to get our passports in the works tomorrow. We will be going April 30th-May 6th. Yahoo!!!!

In closing, I wanted to mention the Happy 40th Birthday balloons that were placed on my mailbox last week...

Thank you friends for emailing or calling to wish me a happy birthday, however - it's NOT my birthday, and I'm not 40 yet! Our good friend and neighbor next door, Paul Altmeyer, the clown, thought up that one. He's always good for a laugh...

We're going to work on updating the website with a lot of overdue pictures today, so I hope you enjoy them. Have a great day in the snow today!

Monday  -- February 4th

It's been a while. Let's see...

Michael's band concert was awesome! Michael looked so handsome and the whole band did such an amazing job. What talent at such young ages!

Ernie and Michael had a fun night at Bingo. They didn't win a prize but had fun together just the same.

Our visit with Nan, or as Thomas called her "Aunt Neet," was a lot of fun. She stayed Sat-Tues.

Maddie had a great field trip to the State House on Thursday. Our friend, Christina Knowles, works there and arranged for Maddie's class to meet Rep. Ross and Scott Brown. They got a tour of the State House and had lunch there. The coolest part was that Maddie was introduced and clapped for, and even written about in the House's daily report. Thanks so much Christina for a very memorable day!

This weekend was pretty uneventful, aside from the Super Bowl. Too bad we lost but it was a great game. We'll be back next year.

I took the boys over to meet our new neighbors four doors down. We brought them flowers and a cake and stayed for a few minutes. They're very sweet. They have a 3 year old boy and a 5 year old girl, so it will be fun for the kids to have some new little pals in the neighborhood. Maddie was out walking Hope with Ernie.

This week will be real busy. Maddie and I are heading into the hospital tomorrow and Wed for full days of testing: body scans and blood work. Please keep Maddie in your prayers and we will update everyone with her test results. Thank you!



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