Child's Play

Friday, April 25, 2014

I've read articles warning Moms not to post things on the internet that could be mortifying to their kids later in life.  I've considered this and made the conscious decision not to post anything too graphic or too naked.  But let's be honest, Ari won't care about any of this content when he gets older.  He will never even google his own name. Right?  Right.

So with that said, Ari has a girl friend named Shayna who is cute and sweet and very smart.  It's really no wonder she and Ari have a special connection.  Aside from these characteristics they both share, the best thing they have in common is a vivid imagination and a desire to play together. 

And they sure do know how to play.

They play fire station. 

They play doctor.

They play another kind of doctor.

And then they play nap.

Can you believe it?  They're both only 3 years old!

What will four-play look like with these two?!


19 months

Monday, April 14, 2014

To the average mother, 19 months old isn't anything special.  There's no cake or goody bag, no balloons, no song, and not even a Facebook post.  19 months.  It's a little more than a year and a half.

Alison turned 19 months old last week.  For me, that number has a chilling connotation. I tried not to dwell on the significance of the number, but I'm still haunted by that age.  Because Ari was just 19 months old the day he was diagnosed with cancer.  I have been acutely aware that the date was nearing.  I looked for signs and symptoms all over my baby girl.  Swollen glands? No.  Sore legs?  No.  Lack of energy?  No.  Asthma like symptoms?  No.  Does she too have cancer?  I don't think so.

But I will admit that when I brought Alison to the on-call pediatrician two weeks ago for her first sick visit ever, I did not believe the diagnosis.  "It's just a virus."  It can't be a virus, I thought.  That week, she was 18 1/2 months old.  She was lethargic and febrile, had no appetite, no smiles, and no clapping or singing or jumping.  It must be vicious cancerous cells taking over her little body.  I asked the doctor bluntly.  "Do you think she has cancer?"  The doctor looked up and questioned, "What would make you think that?" and before I could even explain, I burst into tears. 

19 months old.  She's just a baby.  She likes to play in dirt and splash in puddles and cover herself in tomato sauce.  She sings and runs and dances all day long.  She is happy and silly and she is healthy. 

She does not have cancer.  She had the flu.  (Bad timing, right?)

Tonight begins the holiday of Passover.  Not to be too dramatic, but I feel like a slave in Egypt.  Pharoah is the cancer and though the medicine is working, we've been wandering in this desert of chemo and leukemic cells and fear for way too long.  But even though I can see freedom in my future, even though we already witnessed a miracle, I don't think I'll ever feel free.  Will Pharoah's army target Ari or Alison or my family again?  I don't know.  I sure hope and pray not.

But I will push this fear aside, and I will celebrate the miracles of life and laughter and happiness and freedom tonight and this week and throughout the coming years.  And you know I'll be drinking all 4 glasses of wine.

Next year (or maybe this Fall after we've wandered long enough) in Jerusalem.

Chag sameach people.


My Birthday Gift from all of you

Thursday, April 3, 2014

I have incredible news.
We recently heard from Dr. Lewis Silverman that the money used from Team Ari over the last 8 months in a year-long research project (with mice and with a new cancer drug targeting pediatric leukemia) is working as they hoped!  The next step to complete this pre-research is to combine the drug with other existing drugs to try to develop a method for using this drug in humans or more kids!
The assumption is this drug will soon be going to clinical trial!  Real kids with relapsed leukemia who don't have many options left will be given this drug.  We talked about how this money could be life saving.  And it really really is going to do just that. I have no way to thank you for your hard work on Team Ari 2013.  But of course, I'd love for you to walk with us (or donate!) this year! 
Here comes Team Ari 2014!  In fact, today is my birthday and all I want today is for you to join the team or donate to the cause.  The Dana Farber needs you!  The research needs you.  The mice definitely need you.  And the kids need you.  Of course, Ari needs you.
This year's walk is on Sunday, September 21.  This will be approximately 6 weeks after Ari finishes his 2 years of treatment.  We will have a lot to celebrate!  Like last year, most of us will be walking the 3 mile route and the more kids the better.  It's such a fun and exciting day with food and music and prizes and the feeling you have when you walk across the finish line is one of success and pride and sheer joy. 
Sign up today and use code Brunch to receive $10 off the registration fee. Or, if you're registering your whole family, call Sarah Dillon (  617-632-6434) and she can help you easily register every member of your family without having to do it online yourself multiple times.
With deepest appreciation,
JulieSue (and Matt, Ari, and Alison)


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