Lauren Elizabeth Hacker's Journal
You Are Invited!!! Friday, August 16th
Written Aug 13, 2013 9:07am
To say thank you to all of the friends, family, and neighbors that have helped us and loved us through the process of Lauren's treatment.....And to celebrate with our family Lo's remission, Phil's and my 25th anniversary, Jonathan's graduation (& start of high school)-We are making up for some lost time and throwing a Partay!
YOU ARE INVITED
OPEN HOUSE @
681 Hackberry Rd
Friday, August 16th
730 pm-1030 pm
Music by Adam & Zach Sieff
Great food and good company
SEE YOU THERE!!!!!
Grandma, Soldier Field, and T Swizzle
Written Aug 13, 2013 9:01amToday is Jonathan's first day of high school. Wow! How did that happen? I made him his favorite poached eggs and toast and sent him out the door. He likes to play it cool, but he was pretty pumped up. This week, he likes everything about Creighton Prep. Let's see how long that lasts. But, it is nice to see some attention focused his way. His big brother, Carlo, is making his transition go pretty smooth. He had breakfast with a bunch of guys at Lisa's Radial Cafe (the one and the same-Lo's favorite) yesterday and was on Cloud 9 all day. I am learning to savour the moment. I know that his high school years are going to fly by. Go Prep!
We just got back Sunday night from a whirlwind Chicago trip. Phil had to work, so I headed out Wednesday night to take the kids to see Grandma Polly. We stopped to see our friend, Yvette, and her family. Yvette has kids that are Jonathan and Lauren's age that went to school at SMM with them. The kids had fun reconnecting and I enjoyed just hanging with my friend. Des Moines isn't that far, but I haven't spent enough time with her. She is the best. I am learning to stop and enjoy people's company. I have time for it now, but it has become a priority. The next day, we headed on for Cedar Ridge (that is what we call Phil's family home in Plano, Illinois). It is on the Fox River in Illinois and is set on an acreage of some farm land and forest. It is quite relaxing. So, that is what we did. While the kids baked with Grandma Polly, Aunt Alesia, and Auntie Coco, I headed into a neighboring Chicago burb and hung out with an old friend from Papillion. It is sometimes nice for the kids to hang with their Grandma without me butting in. Everyone had such a fun day. Getting to see Bobbi was definitely a highlight for me. I often wonder how I ended up connecting with such incredible people over the years. She is one of them. When I came home, it looked like a Keebler bake shop. There were nutmeg logs, brownies, chocolate crinkles, and gingersnaps. Holy smokes, that woman can bake! Jonathan even whipped out the brownies on his own.
On Saturday, we all fought the traffic to head into the city after a visit from Mary Edgerley and Cynthia Teegarden. The Edgerleys and the Hackers have been friends for a few generations. The Edgerleys farm the Hacker farm along with their own. They are more like family. It was so nice to see them. We reminisced about Mary's son, Philip Henry, who I will always consider as Lauren's guardian angel. It was nice to sit with Mary and hug her. It meant a lot that they came to see us.
We had no idea we would be stuck in traffic for hours in order to get to Soldier Field. It made me appreciate the minor 20 minutes that it takes to get to a concert at the CenturyLink in Omaha. But, it was cool to see Soldier Field in all its glory. I couldn't believe what a sold out crowd looked like at Soldier Field. We bought tickets from Taylor's PR team. They were most excellent seats. We were about 6 rows back from the front point of the stage. I did feel the crush of a lot of teenage energy. Lauren was her usual self and was quiet. She took it all in and loved looking at all the people and the staging. We enjoyed it, even though when Taylor came off the stage I had to put my linebacker skills to use to keep the crowd from crushing Lauren. A body guard winked at me; he recognized my skills at pushing back a load of screaming girls. My Lord, I was about ready to knock them flat. They were nuts! I think Lauren was a little embarassed. But, she will always be protected by me....always. The rest of the concert, she knew all the words. She loved the costumes. We talked throughout the concert. She liked when she remembered what Taylor had told her about planning costume changes and different visions she had for the concert. She told Lauren her favorite part were the light up drums and Lauren remembered that. Lauren looked happy throughout the concert. She loves Taylor's style and musicianship. She had a great time. It was worth it. After the concert, the crush of the crowd blew me away. I couldn't believe watching 50,000 walking slowly to get out and wrap around the Field Museum and then spill out to the streets of Chicago. From going there every year for the past 25 years, I had a good idea of how to walk to where we needed to be. But, I made the mistake of thinking we would get a cab. Silly Omaha girl! We ended up walking from the stadium to about 4 blocks from Millenium Park. We were to meet Phil and Jonathan at a restaurant in the park. We walked for an hour and then finally took a pedicab. Oh my, my dogs were barking. But, again, it was worth it! We got back to Plano at 2 a.m. and then hit the road to Omaha in the morning. We were wiped out. We stopped at Grandville and went to mass with the Edgerleys and had a great breakfast before the long day back to Omaha. Lauren slept the whole way and has a little bug. But, she played Taylor Swift music on her iPad and slept. She had a smile on her face. It was totally worth it!
The next morning, Lo had her monthly check up. She had her last appointment with Dr. Thompson. Dr. Thompson retires at the end of the month. Dr. Coulter will be Lo's new doc. She enjoyed talking to Dr. Thompson about her trip to Alaska and going to Chicago. But, what was the best news was that all her counts were normal. She is staying in remission. Her white blood cell count was even in the normal range for the first time ever. Not just in the safe zone.....but totally normal! I felt like a could breathe for a moment. Thank you, God!
2 weeks until the start of school for Lauren. She has Mrs. Clark this year and many of her buddies in her homeroom. She is excited for school and not nervous at all. She is ready to get back to it. It feels weird to me that school is starting and I am don't have any plans. Other than a bible study class and my yoga classes, I don't have anything on the agenda. I will be overseeing the construction project and have quite a few books to read. Phil and I are changing some things in our family diet. We are trying to incorporate many of the themes from a book about living an anti-cancer life. But, other than that we plan to live in the moment and be thankful of everything that we have. More importantly, we plan to spend time together. We will be living the anti-busy life....we will see how it goes.
North to Alaska
Written Aug 3, 2013 9:59pmIt has been a while since I have written. The time has flown by because there is so much to do to get settled in and try to live a normal life again, whatever that means. We got the word from Dr. Thompson that we could go on vacation a couple of weeks ago. Lauren's counts looked good and she hit the point where she only needs to be seen in clinic once a month now. We didn't burn any daylight on that one. We had were supposed to go on a cruise this summer to the Mediteranean and celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We had booked the tripa few weeks before Lauren got diagnosed. Well, we cancelled it pretty quick. Thank goodness for travel insurance. So, we brainstormed. We knew Lauren needed to stay cool, not be at elevation, and have a relaxing and not hectic vacation. Within a couple of days, we threw caution to the wind and booked a last minute Alaskan cruise on Royal Caribbean. I think Phil and I both have adopted the philosophy that you don't put off until tomorrow. We have been planners and so cautious all these years. Well this experience has changed all that. We are living in the moment. So, we did. We just got back from Alaska. It was so incredible. We loved the scenery. It was relaxing and we had a few adventures. More important, we hung out together. I even made Jonathan take a Cha Cha/Rumba class with me. He will never admit it, but he had fun. Lauren loved being on the ship and made friends quick. She shot up the rock climbing wall like a torpedo. The activities director found out she was just recovering from cancer and became an instant fan. I was worried we would have to cancel the trip because the week before we were to leave, I got a horrible kidney infection and a kidney stone. I was sick as a dog. The doctor was worried that we would need to cancel too, but decided to take me to surgery a couple of days before we left. So, I was moving slow like Uncle Joe on the first couple days of the cruise. But, the fresh air and sunshine (yes, we had fabulous weather) brought me back to my old self. So, we are back home, in the middle of more construction on our house.
Lauren is doing very well. She has a sassy short hairstyle. Her hair is coming in darker than it was before, but it is too short to really tell what it will look like yet. She is very glad she only has to get her blood drawn once a month now. We have been working on her with her diet. Our whole family is trying an anti-cancer diet and incorporating a lot of antioxidants and other foods to help increase the odds of Lo staying in remission. Phil and I are starting to read a lot about how to keep her healthy. We hope it pays off for the rest of us as well. We have so much to look forward to, but I think Phil and I are still worried when Lauren's cheeks are pink or she seems a little tired. She had some bruising up and down her leg one day and I had a hard time not panicking. I think that is the way it is going to be. I just thank God for everyday we have when we are all healthy, anything more than that is just gravy on our taters.....being healthy is all I ask for these days.
We are going to head out for a quick trip to finally see Grandma Polly and Aunt Alesia this weekend. Lauren and I are going to make a stop Saturday night at Soldier Field to see our favorite rock star. Taylor.....here we come!!!! I have always wanted to see something at Soldier Field. We were able to buy great tickets through Taylor's PR people. We cannot thank the kindness and generosity of the crew that works for Taylor Swift enough. We won't be able to meet her personally this time, but she will know we are there sending her a lot of love.
When we get back we will be getting Jono ready to start his first day of high school at Creighton Prep. We are also preparing to do the GloRun as a family as Team Lolo. We have asked all of you that can to come do it with us. We would love the support and we would love to help make the GloRun a huge success. Please look at my older post on how to sign up. We only have 14 people signed up so far. They can only hold so many spots for Team Lolo, so don't wait to sign up.....PLEASE!!!! It would be fun if some of the kids her age came to do it with their parents or siblings. It is a very fun event.
Otherwise, life is returning to normal for us. It will never be the same. I got razzed by Mr J about how I never cook for him anymore. So, poached eggs and toast tomorrow. He keeps saying Sherry D (Sharon D) and Martha are much better mothers and way better cooks. I even went out and bought a paella pan today. There are things you can say about me, but not being a good cook is fighting words. I am taking him down one good dinner at a time. I am actually really looking forward to our family dinners. And....thanks to Ellie, Sydney, Anna, and Kara....we have cucumbers, tomatoes, and zucchini like you wouldn't believe. Our garden went ape when we went to Alaska. We even ate our own sweet corn for dinner tonight. Lauren was so excited to pick the cucumbers and tomatoes. Getting back to our life in a simple way seems like a dream to me. On the cruise ship, they had a "Walk for Wishes." Jonathan and I participated. I started walking hoping that some family would benefit from our mile walk around the cruise ship deck. As I started thinking about it, the reality of our year hit me. I was sobbing. Luckily it was windy and I was wearing sunglasses. The fact that we were actually walking around a cruise ship together while Phil and Lauren were taking a "napkin folding" class seem surreal. The gratitude overwhelmed me. Lauren went into the hospital so quickly and it never let up the whole 6 months of treatment. It was a nightmare. I still have trouble accepting that it is over. I want to, but I am cautious. So, I just Thank God every day for any sense of normalcy. I felt the love of so many people during Lauren's illness. All of that love and prayer enveloped her and moved her towards today. I can never thank people enough for being there for us, for her. I am going to try, though. I have been lousy at thank you notes. There wasn't a time that caring for her let up. Now, we are trying so hard to just get back on our feet, but don't think for a minute that I don't think of each and every one of the warm gestures, the hot meals, the hugs, the cards, the "Go, Lolo, Go" pictures, the little friends that prayed for Lauren....all of it. I love you!!! Thank you!
Please sign up for the GloRun!!!! Help Lolo Glo!!!!