Thursday, August 20, 2009

The guest poster strikes again. While Janel is in Erie with family, it's Dad's turn to reflect on the day...

It certainly was a long one. Ally woke up a couple times between 2:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. and finally said she wanted to go downstairs and sleep in a recliner because her shoulders and head hurt. This was a new one, she's never complained of this before, so she started downstairs and I went to her room to get her blanket and pillow. The next thing I hear she is vomiting at the bottom of the stairs. I raced down to find her pretty much done at that point and clear liquid all over the kitchen floor. She said she felt better and I layed her down on the couch and proceeded to clean up and sleep in the recliner next to her. Unfortunately, that was followed by another round at 4:30, 6:00, 7:30 and 9:00. Pretty much like clockwork every 90 minutes. It was never much more than liquid and after sleeping from 10:00 to 11:30 or so, she was fine the rest of the day. Just another one of those side effects and/or mild illnesses that Ally faces that the rest of us are fortunate not to have to deal with.

So with Janel, Evan and Carly hitting the road at 9:30, and Ally too sick to go with the Boohers and Wingers for the planned "Kids Fun Day", I had to quickly do a 9:00 a.m. conference call from home and bag 3 other meetings I was supposed to attend today. This has become routine, but I am lucky to have a great team at Synergy that is willing and more than capable to cover for me at a moments notice. It's easy to take for granted how flexible my schedule is, but I am thankful for it everyday and I don't know how we would get through this without it. Full time for me is now 4 days a week (and a few late nights for those that know me) with Ally's treatments every Friday, and it seems everything I schedule is subject to change with a phone call from Janel about Ally. So a special thanks to Team Synergy for all the help and peace of mind you provide Janel and I.

The good news out of all of this is that it did give me even more time with Ally. After her nap, she was ready to get her "game" on. She is like me in that she loves games and competition. So we played electronic Deal or No Deal, a favorite of Ally's, and yes I picked the million dollar briefcase but the CPA in me struck a deal at $223K! We also played checkers and then I decided to teach Ally how to play chess. Something I would never do on a typical day, especially with brother and sister around, so it was special time for the both of us. I even made her a little Chess cheat sheet. For puking all night and morning, she was really into the different pieces, the unique moves for each piece, and the overall strategy. For me it's another of many moments that I sit back and think how old she's getting. While uploading some pictures for later in the blog, I noticed the last picture we took (on our little pocket camera, not Janel's big daddy Canon) BL - Before Leukemia as Janel says - and couldn't help but think that Ally has aged years in maturity since this picture. Ally in her braids, the 3 of them playing Ring-A-Round-The-Roses while we waited for our taxi at Atlantis in the Bahamas. Four days later, the next picture is of Ally in her hospital bed.

She looks much healthier in the picture, of course she is 79 pounds with a little chub versus her current 67 pounds and frail frame. But it is more than that. She was a little more innocent then, a little more carefree. I believe that's why she seems much older now, along with not having hair. I really struggle to picture her with hair, almost having to resort to pictures. I know Ally is still Ally, and I know and can't wait for her beautiful RED hair to come back, but I'm sad that her innocence never will.

Back to the day...after all the games and a bath for Ally, we had to take our beagle to the vet because of some heart issues he's having. They wanted to do X-rays so I asked Ally if she wanted to go to Krogers, Tim Hortons, the library...WHOA! When I said Library she really lit up. She hasn't been all summer because of her counts, but they were still good last week so I figured we could go (and just scrub hands like crazy, which we did). We were there for 30 minutes, and she said as we left that she only wished we could have stayed for a LONG time, like a half an hour! The next event was the Dayton Dragons game. Ally was very excited because I took Evan a month ago to a game and she saw all the pictures and heard about the fun, and because I told her we were in the front row, right behind home plate. Special thanks to John Lee at Siebenthalers who read the blog about Evan and offered me his tickets for tonight. We had a blast! For some reason most of the seats around us were open, and it was like Ally and I had our own little bubble to enjoy each other, the game and some great weather. And of course pizza, peanuts, Graeters ice cream, and a beer for dad. After 8 innings, I finally convinced Ally we had to leave because I promised her Mom I would get her in bed at a reasonable hour, but she REALLY wanted to stay until the end.

Suffice it to say that day 1 with Ally started a little rough, but ended great. Maybe the puking was God's way of telling me to take 2 days off with Ally instead of 1, who knows?! But make no mistake I miss Spank and Moosh (aka Evan and Carly) and my lovely wife too, and from what it sounds they are having a great time in Erie. In talking with Janel, today was a little tough because of so, so many memories, but she's happy she was able to make the trip. She'll of course tell you all about it in a few days, but I hope she enjoys a little break from blogging!

Here are a couple of pics from the Dragons game.

Say a prayer for Ally tomorrow - she has to get 2 shots, 1 in each leg, of something called peg-asparaginese, that go deep into the muscle and are the most painful shots or procedure she's had throughout all of this (no sedation). But like a trooper, she knows that's the agenda for tomorrow, and she still went to bed smiling. We should all be so strong...


  1. Terri Barnett ShumakerAugust 21, 2009 at 5:54 AM

    Great Post Jared and am I am so glad that you and Ally had a great day together after the morning icks.
    Kids do grow so fast and I am sure Ally seems to be aging even quicker then most because off all the extra stuff going on for her but she will remember the GOOD stuff that you are doing with her.
    Your a great Dad and a pretty good blogger too, Janel has taught you well.

  2. Jared,
    Okay, you and Janel are the blogging royalty of the entire Internet...yep, the entire world wide web. I'm impressed. Nice post.
    Glad the day got better. Ally is amazing, and I hope that she realizes it too. Here's to a good day today. I woke up realizing it was Friday, was excited for a minute, then realized it's the rough day for Ally. But I'm still hopeful becuase after today, it's one less in the hospital for all of you. I miss Graeter's.
    enjoy your weekend with your "little girl."

  3. What a nice day you had--the kind memories are made of for both you and Ally. They say God works in mysterious ways--I hate that Ally was so sick during the night but it gave you a day at home with your princess and it was a good day!! Saying prayers for Ally today.

  4. Jared, you are a king. You have a lovely queen, a prince and two princesses. One princess may seem to be losing her innocence, but I bet she isn't. Kids are so resilient, and their minds are wired to seek out purity -- joy, laughter, fun. She won't stop seeking, mainly because she lives in such a perfect kingdom that you guys have created for her.

    I think about my Dad, what he's going through and how we are all handling it on this end, and I am so grateful for the lessons he's taught me. That's how Ally will look back on this, thankful for you and your love. And, she will be thankful you taught her to play chess as she beats you at it for the rest of your life! :)

  5. Wonderful post, Jerad! You do a great job. What a wonderful dad you are...and how blessed Ally (and Carly and Evan) are to have you. So glad you had an eventual good day together, making memories. I know I speak for the rest when I say that TEAM SYNERGY is blessed to have you as our leader and would do anything to help. Sending prayers Ally's way today...that the shot won't be as traumatic as expected. LOVE TO ALL...

  6. Jerad,you are such a great Dad. You set the bar so high for others :-). The chess cheat you. We missed having Ally with us, but I can't think of a better day for Ally than to be with her Dad. Hoping today is not too bad for Ally. Remind her that next Friday she gets to be at school with her friends! :-)

  7. Jerad,
    So proud of you for picking up for Janel while she is gone. I would expect no less! I had tears in my eyes, reading your blog entry because I know how special Ally is to you, as well as how great it is to have one special child all to yourself. I'm glad you listened to God and took one extra day off. I'm sure it's something you won't EVER regret.
    Missing the rest of the family, but praying you have a smooth day at the hospital (and Janel has a good day in Pennsylvania) We'll be thinking about you!

  8. Jerad thanks for sharing your great day, even pics, I'm impressed! You are such a great dad, and even if Ally is losing some of her innocence, she is gaining a knowledge of what it means to put others first, and what a truly great guy is (something she'll hopefully remember when picking her own great guy!)
    Prayers for Ally today, I know it will be hard, but maybe having some special one on one Dad time will make it better.
    Jammer, cause I know you're reading,I hope the memories are bringing you comfort too. Much love to you all!

  9. Jerad,
    The treasure that you and Janel are giving Ally through this Blog Site.
    When this all behind her, want a wonderful story of love, hope, courage, inspiration. Looking forward to the October 1 walk. Extra prayers your way today.
    Mary Nutter

  10. Jared:

    I haven't commented before and I wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you guys and sending lots of positive energy your way all the time.

    Ally will forever remember these special times with you, no matter how sick she is at the moment. Even in the dark times, and it's hard to keep your chin up, just know what it means to Ally that you are there to hold her, cry with her, listen to her, and even laugh and have fun.

    Hopefully we can reconnect in person again soon. Until that time, I'm with you on this fight. I hope you can draw strength from that.

    Scott Bauer

  11. Jared,
    What a blog, you better be careful or you may have another job to add to your list. Sorry Ally was sick but sounded like the day was a very memorable day for Daddy and his little girl, how awesome. Hope today is not painful for very long and know that our thoughts and prayers are with you. One less day of pain, you are an awesome dad and husband. Keep at it, one day at a time.

  12. Great to see you posting again Jerad! Sounds like an awesome Dad and Daughter day you had! Those will be some lasting memories for you both. We'll be keeping Ally in our thoughts and prayers, and hoping the procedure goes well tomorrow. Can't wait to see you, and meet your family on October 1st!

  13. Thank you for your post Jerad. I had tears in my eyes as you described the innocence that has been lost. I feel the same way about Maggie, and I think that it shows through her lack of smiling (that along with feeling yucky). These poor children know more than they should about disease and life.

    I'm so happy that Ally was able to enjoy the day despite the rough start. It sounds like it was a busy, yet exciting day.

    I know the shots that you talk of well. I will pray that Ally will get through them and quickly forget about them. Pray all goes well tomorrow and it will be as uneventful as possible.