Sunday, August 28, 2011

Blessed Time

The Barnett and Mills families have truly had a blessed week. I am very happy to be writing good news!! First of all, on Tuesday, Ally and Evan both had their first days of school. Ally is in fourth grade and Evan is in second grade. Let me show a small example of how far we have come. I noticed while looking through my pictures a remarkable difference (really in both of them)
This picture is last year, 2010. The hair had just started to come back, but she still chose to wear a hat. (as she did the entire 2nd grade year too!)
And here they are on Tuesday. 2011, a full year of hair growth. Looking much healthier with longer hair (a full year's worth) and even a little chubbier (another year of steroids!) What a difference.

The very next day, Wednesday, my sister Melissa and her husband Gavin welcomed their third baby into the family. They had a healthy baby boy, named Camden, weighing in at 10 lbs 7 oz. He has stolen my heart. Ally asks to see him literally almost every hour. So about once a day I have been walking across the street with Ally (my sis lives right across the street from me!) and we get a little snuggle session in with him. Now my sister can officially start her own show titled "My Three Sons" or have her own baseball team or in her case, with her big boys, her own defensive line. (Man, those jokes are gonna get old, Melissa) I had one of the most awesome experiences of my entire life because I was right there by her side when Camden was born!!!! I am very proud of my sister (no drugs!) and very proud of my nephew.

So on Friday...another HUGE day for our family. It was Ally's last spinal tap! I am hoping FOREVER. She went under sedation and got her last dose of chemo into her spine. She also got her last dose of chemo into her port in her chest. She will continue with her daily chemo until September 17....and then she will be done with that! Most importantly, the spinal fluid was clear! After our last spinal, which went horribly because they had to try three times, I was worried. But she seemed very relaxed going in (not sure why) and she did great. One poke and done. She wanted to see what it was like, and I wanted to be able to show her, so I took a bunch of pictures during the procedure after asking Dr B if it was okay. I guess I am not the first person to document this. It was a good thing for me to do because it kept me busy and not crying through the whole thing! Anyway, I will share those pictures later with everybody. I took a lot! We showed Ally. The only reason I showed her what they do is because she doesn't have to do it again. She has never remembered one thing about any of the spinals, which is a blessing in itself.

Dr B also decided not to do the bone marrow test at that time. It makes sense now that I think about it. He wants to wait and do the bone marrow during her surgery to get her port out. She will be under general anethesia at that time and won't feel it. It will also allow us to see how her body is doing after three months without chemo. I just wish I would have known this sooner so I wouldn't have worried so much. So we will wait for that to be done.....

And finally, on Saturday, the 2nd Annual TJ Chumps Rally for Ally motorcycle run was held. Lots of caring people on motorcycles rode all day from 9-4 for our cause. They went to all 3 TJ Chumps, even running into my Dad at the Fairborn location, and also several other bars. My friend Lori Fultz, who is former co-worker of mine, spends a lot of time and effort organizing this on our behalf. She is just one of those people who have a heart of gold and does it for no other reason than to just be nice and help a good cause. I am so grateful to her! Because of her hard work, the donations of many kind people for the raffle (TJ Chumps donated a 40" flatscreen!), and all of those that participated we will be adding $700 to our Curesearch total for the walk. I was so impressed that some of the wait staff at Chump's were giving half of their tips to our cause. So to Lori and Jim and everyone else: THANK YOU SO MUCH! And we were so blessed to have Jerad's Uncle Bill and his friend Steve ride down all the way from Junction City to represent our family in the event.

Here is Ally welcoming the riders back in:

So that was our busy, blessed week in review. I hope to have many more good posts to write about. The power of prayer is what got us to where we are today. With God all things are possible.

Monday, August 22, 2011

TJ Chumps Rally for Ally

Please see the attached picture for the Rally for Ally event to be held this Saturday, August 27th. (You might have to double click the picture and blow it up a bit!) It is again starting and ending at TJ Chumps in Englewood. If you or anyone you know ride motorcycles, this was a really great event last year. We are grateful to them for again riding in Ally's name. I know it has been publicized on WTUE and at all of the TJ Chumps location, but I have failed to post it out here. (Please forgive me Uncle Bill) If you need any further information just let me know! We will be there at the finish line (assuming Ally's spinal and bone marrow are not too hard on her this Friday!)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Last Friday of Summer

Today is the last Friday of the summer. The first summer that my kids are finally old enough that they don't wake me one second after they get out of bed. Which is really nice, by the way. We have really done nothing these last two weeks of summer. Well nothing in my book = lots of fun times with the kids. I have spent some time with my sister...who is due to give birth to her third child any day! Here are a few pictures from the day we spent together at the Children's Garden at Wegerzyn.

And my very cute, but about ready to pop sister: Melissa.
And my sweet little boy turned 7! As he was going to bed, the last night that he was 6, I told him that I just wished he could stay 6 forever. And the weirdest thing is....he agreed! Usually he always wants to get older, but for that one blink in time it was as if he knew how good he has it. He had the most awesome birthday party with a few of his friends at Fox Hill pool. I wanted to surprise him with a dunk tank...but got back from vacation and all the rentals were gone. Enter in Evan's Pa to the equation.....who is now the proud owner of a dunk tank. We now have a dunk tank to add to the arsenal of fun at Fox Hill. SEE?!? He is a very lucky boy.

He's Up!

And he's down.
Ally girl takes the fall.....
My very awesome concession stand workers.....the best!

He even had a dunk tank cake (shared with my Dad who has the same birthday as Evan!)

And this is just the coolest mid-air shot I got of my nephew Owen.Really I have so many good memories from this summer and like a lot of Mom's I don't want it to end. But I also know that it has to because my kids have gotten super lazy and they need a little more structure to their days.

For me, as everyone is gearing up for school and buying this and that and fretting over tiny details like clothes and school supplies and lunch boxes.....well, I find myself only focusing on one thing: the end of treatment for Ally. It is first and foremost in my mind when I wake up and also fills my prayers when I lay down at night. The day I have waited for for so long is rapidly approaching.

I am scared. I will say it now and get it out there. A week from today Ally will have her last spinal tap. Her last push of methotrexate will travel up her spinal cord and envelop her brain. She will lay "upside down" for an hour one last time and let the chemo do its job. But the scariest part for me, is that Dr B will stick a giant needle in her hip bone next Friday and pull out a sample of her bone marrow. We have not done this for almost two years. No scientist has looked at her marrow under a microscope and checked for leukemic cells in a very long time. (they check her spinal fluid, but not the bone marrow) I keep telling myself all will be good, but I also know that this is the closest I will get to receiving yet another phone call that could bring me to my knees in my instant. So I am just asking for extra extra extra prayers from my Army and my friends and my family who have carried us this far. We are on mile 25 of 26 of our marathon, but we must cross the finish line with all the strength that we have.

And finally I will again ask, if you can, that you walk with us (and all the kids battling cancer) on the morning of Sept 17. It will be a monumental day for us. The exact last day that Ally will take her chemo at home. The information on the 1st annual Curesearch walk is here:

I am also closing out the Ally's Army shirt order this weekend. I already have about 50 shirts to order, but if you would like one send me a quick note at They are $5 each.

Thanks as always for following our story and praying for our family!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Back From Florida

We just got back from a week spent in Navarre Florida with Jerad's family. His immediate family is 25 people. This includes him and four siblings and 13 grandchildren! And yes we all stayed in one house. Did I mention 13 kids!?! We ended up driving down and had a nice time visiting with everyone. We had a scare in that 10 of the kids got a horrible rash which turned out to be something from the ocean with jellyfish larvae. We also had about the same number of kids end up with ear infections/swimmers ear. We spent a few days at urgent care/drs offices which was nothing new to us...and I spent a bunch of time praying that Ally would not come down with a fever. That would have meant a an adult hospital...would have had to access her port and give her IV antibiotics. I was very fearful of that but we made it thru. She is still taking amoxicillian for her ear infections and still having some pain in her ears so we will see what that develops into (if anything).
Here are a few pics from vaca:

I am still trying to organize our Ally's Army team for the curesearch walk for childhood cancer. Again, it is on Sept 17 th. (Ally's last day of chemo too!) You can sign up to walk or just donate here.

I am having some Ally's Army t-shirts printed up again for some people that are walking. They look like this:

If you would like one for the walk (or just to have one) please send me an email at with the size you would like. Youth or Adult. They are making them for me for just $5 a shirt! I will accept orders until Aug 20! I can't imagine we will order anymore anytime if you want one now is the time! Just let me know.