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SWEET SICILY (4) - is in the arms of Jesus - FLY ANGEL FACE, FLY
Through the C.O.L.E. (Caring Openly, Loving Eternally) Foundation, have 'adopted' this sweet little angel, named Sicily. The C.O.L.E Foundation was recently founded to honor the life of another sweet three-year-old boy named Cole who is now with the Lord. The Foundation ask for prayers and encouragement for the children and their families.
Would appreciate your prayers for Sicily and if you want to send some happy mail, please pm me for an address. Thanks so much and God bless you all for your prayers.
Here is a little excerpt from her caringbridge site.
Sicily Evelyn Zeka, our vibrant, precious three year old daughter was diagnosed with bi-lateral Wilm's tumor, cancer of both kidneys, on Aug. 22, 2008.
Sicily is under the care of Dr. Meyer at the OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City and Dr. Hum at the Children's Hospital at St. Francis in Tulsa, OK. We believe she is in good hands!
I just visited the caring bridge site for this amazing little girl and her amazing family, if anyone has the time you need to read the journal, this Mom's faith is inspiring. I visited the guest book and left a message for them. Thanks Caterina for sharing this with us.
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough! Chemo Angel
Betty, thanks so very much for visiting Sicily's site - thank you, thank you, for your encouragement for this absolutely precious angel.
Here is the latest post from Sicily's site.
Good Fall Morning,
Sicily is doing very well and will be ready to take her brother to her appointment this morning, though she is still snoozing. Unfortunately, it's raining so we won't be able to play outside on the play ground equipment today. She can still show it to Corinthian. Sicily and I spent a lot of time yesterday trying to put things away in her room and hang things on the wall. She was very helpful! I would ask her where we should hang something and she'd come up with several suggestions. The favorite thing she decided exactly where to hang was her pink flower shaped clock, and that was put right by her bed so she could see it. Not that she is able to tell time, that's beside the point, it's that she has a clock in her room that she can see while laying in her bed. She thought that to be very important! I also put a picture on her chest of drawers that she hasn't seen since it was in her bedroom in Wellington. It's one of her Grandpa Zeka who passed away at the age of 82 when Sicily was only five months old...he is holding her as she is wrapped up in a blanket with his big hands cradling her. He is looking down at her with a very soft smile on his face. It's one of my very favorite pictures. Sicily looked at it yesterday and said, "that's Grandpa holding me when I was a baby." I said, "Yes it is!" Then, as if a light bulb of discovery went off in her head she became very excited and exclaimed, "he's lost his hair, just like me and daddy," as she noticed Grandpas shiny head. Another family member she could relate too. And if Grandpa was still here, I can imagine he'd pat her head and grunt and say, "oh chet!" That's what he called half of his grandchildren as he had so many...it was his original term of endearment! We all love that name! Anyway, Sicily is actually still asleep on this dark rainy morning, but my spirits are high. It's so nice to have my mom here. The kids will have some special bonding time and I will hopefully be able to get some things done aroung here like laundry and reconcilling the bank statements!!! ; )~ Everyone have a blessed day and thanks again for all the gum chewing prayers. I continue to pray that Sicily's numbers remain in the normal range so her body can stay strong during this fight!
Second posting for today...just wanted to do a quick update about Sicily's appointment this morning. She did super and her counts are above normal again at 8160. They will probably drop again soon, but they have always stayed so far in the normal range. I asked the nurse how is it that Sicily's numbers are doing so well, and even going above and beyond, and her answer was, "she must have really good bone marrow!" So we can safely say that Sicily is one tough cookie from the inside out!!! The kids are getting ready to do some art stuff with Grandma. Everyone enjoy your day...we sure will!
PS - added a couple of pics of Sicily's treatment this morning with Corinthian
We are all doing good. The kids helped Grandma make waffles with strawberry sauce for breakfast...very tasty! The sun is shining today and it's a nice fall morning. Since Sicily's numbers were so high yesterday, we'll probably let her play outside for little bits at a time today. My mom commented on how Sicily seems to feel really good. I agreed...that's one of the things that is so amazing.
Our nurse yesterday said if we adults were to get the medications that Sicily is getting, we probably wouldn't feel too good. Kids are truly amazing. Their naiveness and innocence serves them well in a situation like this! What a blessing! I know we are lucky with Sicily's resilience because I do know of a few children who did and do suffer a lot with the chemo. It varies from child to child! Like I said, we consider ourselves lucky!
Sicily and her siblings just headed out the door for a little while. The temperature is 60 and there isn't a cloud in the sky. The over protective mother in me wants to keep Sicily inside, but this will probably do her some good to get some clean fresh air and a little bit of sunlight. Some sunshine for our sunshine! Everyone have a great day!
Update on Sicily.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2008 04:53 PM, CDT
We're all doing good. Sicily has been minus her little cough so we're letting her play outside, and boy, is she ever loving it! She is such an outdoor gal! She's been riding her scooter, riding her bike, pulling the big red wagon around, playing baseball, playing golf...just about anything she can think of. Apparently, she had a lot of catching up to do! Playing outside really makes her happy, so why not! God gave us a beautiful day with beautiful weather so we're gonna enjoy it.
I think she is currently helping her daddy with yard work...I may never get her back in the house! We had a great visit with my mom. My dad drove down to get her this afternoon and they're heading home. My older sister, Christy, will be here for a few days next week. The kids really enjoy having company! Me too! Everyone enjoy the weekend! Love to you all!
Thank you so much for your prayers - here is the latest update.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2008 10:09 AM, CDT
Good Monday Morning...
We are all doing good. We had a wonderful weekend...had a lot of good family time. We even decorated Halloween/fall sugar cookies last night. Sicily's are the ones with the black icing over flowing the sides. Whoever the lucky person is that gets to eat those better have a mirror handy to check their teeth and tongue. She had fun making a mess! She's really doing good right now and I can only attribute it to all the prayers that are being answered. This weekend Sicily was able to play outside quite a bit and that really makes her happy. I have noticed a couple of bruises on her so I'm ready to be cautious with her activity...the best that I can for such an energetic little person. I'm glad the temps are going to start dropping here soon so the temptation to be outside all the time won't be too overwhelming for her. It's hard to believe Halloween is just around the corner! Time sure can fly. Patrick and I have almost wished this second round or chemo would go a little faster. The first six weeks it was easy to kind of sit back and take one day at a time. We're starting to get a little ansy. I continue to pray that the chemo is still working as I am learning how stubborn and tricky cancer can be. On Saturday, we lost another little warrior to Wilm's. Little Gabriel Jacobson (he has a carepage website) returned to his Heavenly maker way too early...he was only four years old. What is so frightening, he had clear scans in July. His mom took him to the hospital because he began to complain of leg pain. After his CT, the doctors basically told his family to take him home and make him comfortable because there was nothing they could do for him...the cancer had come back in a vengence and had spread through out his little body. Please keep his family in your prayers. It is truly heartbreaking! I'm doing okay, but it always brings the fears back to the forefront of my mind when I hear of another tragic story. We need to find a cure! Anyway, we just finished our fall break so it was a little more difficult than usual for me to drag myself out of bed this morning (I'm not much of a morning person anyway!). The kids all seemed to bounce back fine. I'm ready for daylight savings...love that extra hour, even if it is only for one night! Please have a great Monday, considering it is Monday! Smile and make someone's day today!
Just wanted to pass on to you the latest update on Sicily from her Caringbridge site - thank you for your all your prayers for this sweet angel face and please keep on praying.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2008 08:15 PM, CDT
Sorry I'm so late journaling. My sister Christy is here and we've been busy doing homework with kids and quickly celebrating Patrick's 42nd birthday this evening. It's just another day to him, but the rest of us sure think it's important! Sicily is doing good and sure loves having the extra attention from her aunt! She will have her next chemo treatment tomorrow morning at 9:30, again. Hopefully the rain will hold off long enough for us to get to play outside on the playground equipment. We have a strong chance for rain. I'm ready for a little and definitely ready for some cooler temps. Here it is, Oct. 21st at 8:15 and it's still 71 degrees out. I want some fall weather. I'm afraid we'll go straight from this to the forty degree weather! Oh well, if that's the least of my complaints these days. I have a request to pray for another family...this time a father is battling for his life with kidney cancer. His name is Dave Janisch and his wife is Polly. He has been given about two weeks. I've been reading his carepage (JanischGr) and have been so moved by his and his wife's faith. It's people like them who I want to emulate my strength and courage! It's amazing how words and prayers can be shared across the miles due to these wonderful blogs. I stumbled on this one while checking a chain of other ones. I think it's so important to offer up prayers for those who we don't know and most likely will never meet, at least on earth. We will meet some day in our eternal paradise! Until then, we all need each other in many ways and can help each other with out even knowing it. God Bless you all...and get your gum ready for tomorrow. Aunt Christy gets to be with Sicily during her chemo treatment tomorrow. I hope she does okay (aunt Christy)...she doesn't do too well with needles. I think I'll have her hold Sicily but not watch her as her port is accessed! Sicily's aleady told her that it doesn't hurt! Our brave little soldier. I'll post sometime tomorrow to report her numbers...pray that they remain normal. Love to you all!
We just returned from Sicily's appointment and she did great. Her numbers are good at 4400. I asked the nurse about the couple of bruises and she said not to worry, Sicily's hemoglobin was good and so it's just the result of her being an active little 3 1/2 year old. Don't we know that! My sister is amazed at Sicily's level of activity...she exhausts us! But we are still thankful for that energy! I only wish I had half of it so I could keep up with her. It has been pouring cats and dogs here this morning. The kind of day you want to stay home, burn a candle and drink some hot spiced chai tea. I'll do that later. Right now I'm heading out the door to run get some groceries as my sister is going to help me make a bunch of meals we can freeze. So, I'd better get going. Everyone have a great day!
We are still doing really good. Sicily practically wore out her aunt Christy with hide and go seek and many other activities. It was a very special bonding time for them, and me, too. Christy helped me prepare some meals and it's nice to know that there will be things available on nights I'm not up for cooking or if we have family here in the future to help with the kids during times of need!
I still get completely moved to tears when I read journal entries like "Ms. Rykers!" ; ) And my sister-in-law, Lisa, my brother's awesome wife, just called me this afternoon to talk to me about what she will be doing with her preschool class that she teaches. They have declared Friday, November 14th "Sicily Zeka Day" and will be talking about her and sharing her story and strength with other little children. I think it is so amazing the way other children are seeing and participating in Sicily's journey...it is beyond heartwarming. Words cannot express how it feels. I just hope somehow, someday Sicily will get to meet all of you wonderful people, or even just speak to you on the phone. You can't imagine how much all the kind gestures, thoughts, actions and prayers have done for our entire family!
Again, it can almost leave me speechless...I did say "almost!" But it definitely leaves my eyes worse for the wear, too! It's all tears of gratitude and thankfulness!
It was such a blessing to have my sister here these past few days, especially today as I had to keep Elias home from school with a fever and a sore throat...I'm trying very hard to keep him and Sicily separated! Last week was also so awesome to have my mom here. I look forward to my sister-in-law, Pat, the week after next.
It can get hard just being home day in and day out sometimes. It used to be so easy to just jump in the mini van, head to Wal-Mart and walk the isles for some adult interaction. Now it's Sicily or the cat, Stowie, who have to listen to me talk to myself! We're getting along fine!
Well, it's time to run the older two kids to piano lessons so I'd better get them all together. Patrick isn't home from work yet, so we'll all go for a little ride. Everyone have a blessed evening!
Sicily is doing great. She's upstairs right now playing Hot Wheels with her older brother Corinthian. They just came in from riding scooters around a little outside. It's beautiful today, the temp in 72 and the sun is shinning. Sicily has her "scary" chemo in the morning, but she'll do great as usual! I can't believe that Friday is Halloween...the time is actually flying right now. The kids are ready and I love that this year it fell on a Friday so we can stay up late, let the kids eat more sugar than normal and have a lot of fun...and maybe, per chance, sleep in a little over the weekend with the time change, "Yippee!!!" The middle two kids just got off the bus so we'd better attack the homework in the backpacks! Everyone have a great evening and I'll post after her appointment in the morning.
This is an amazing little girl and we have an amazing God who answers prayers. It is wonderful that she is tolerating chemo like this. More prayers going up for Sicily that when time comes surgery will go well also.
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough! Chemo Angel
The latest post on sweet Sicily. Thanks again for all your prayers.
Happy Halloween Everyone!
And "Yippee" for Friday. Patrick took today off and I was able to run a few errands during the day, which was nice for a change. Sicily helped her daddy in the yard a bit. She's taking a much needed nap...she'll be recharged and ready to go trick-or-treating tonight. She is going to be a beautiful little angel with fluffy white wings and a fuzzy halo. And her favorite pair of silver tennis shoes! She is also adorned with a K State powercat tattoo on her hand, thanks to Aunt Bet! ; ) Isabella will be dressed as "I Love Lucy" and Elias is recycling last years boxer costume. We couldn't agree on a costume together...he wanted something really scary and I don't do scary, and I found some really cute (wrong word) historical costumes online, like Abe Lincoln and George Washington. He would have none of that, so he asked if he could just wear last year's costume again. I kissed his forehead and said, "ABSOLUTELY!" We're new here so no one will have seen it before, and I'm all for saving a penny on a Halloween costume! I applaud him for coming up with it himself. Corinthian and his friend have decided that they want to trick-or-treat this year. Corinthian skipped out last year in sixth grade. Their costumes are real original (ha-ha)..Corinthian is wearing a big green leprachan hat and his friend, Sam, is wearing a big red, white and blue hat...he's Uncle Sam! It's Friday night so we have to let them have a little fun. Besides, these two are really good kids! They won't get into any mischief! I haven't been able to post any new pictures lately because this site won't let me put a lot of them on. My little old digital camera I was using won't work anymore and my big camera is too powerful, I guess. It won't accept pictures off of Corinthian's camera, either. So Patrick and I will try to figure out how to do it so we can put some Halloween pictures on later! Everyone have a safe and happy evening!
We're doing good around here. My sister-in-law, Pat, is here from Kansas and we just finished eating an awesome dinner she made (I finally learned how to make her fantastic homemade rolls...as did Sicily). I know a lot of jealous people out there! ; ) Taylor and Ashley also joined us and they are all playing a game right now. It's been a busy evening of homework, as well. It's so nice to have an extra few brains around to assist in that! It can get overwhelming at times for Patrick and I.
Pat will be going with Sicily and Mommy to have her CBC tomorrow to check her numbers. We're just praying for a good report...I don't see any reason she shouldn't get one. She took Aunt Pat on quite a long walk today. She still has an amazing amount of energy! Everyone have a relaxing evening, if that is possible since everyone is probably glued to the TV right now! I pray that God will guide our soon to be determined new leader! God can work wonders!!!
Here is the latest update on sweet Sicily. If anyone would like to send her some happy mail, please pm for address. Thanks to all for prayers.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 05, 2008 04:56 PM, CST
Things are going good. Sicily's numbers have dropped to 2840, but still considered good and in the normal range. That's the lowest they've been thus far. We're still scheduled for her CT next Tuesday in OKC. I'll be anxious for the results of that. Meanwhile, Patrick and I are getting ready to go out and eat for the first time in a long, long time... thanks to Pat for insisting and babysitting for us. Everyone have a great evening!
Latest update on Sicily - thank you for your continued prayers.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 07, 2008 01:54 PM, CST
I'm so sorry I've been a little lax in my journaling. Having my sister-in-law Pat here was so awesome. You know how you can know someone for fourteen years, but not really get to know them until you spend some one-on-one time with them? That's how the past few days were. Pat and I never have been by ourselves, without a whole bunch of other family around. We really enjoyed our time together...and Sicily...she wants to know when Aunt Pat is coming back. They had a very special time together and made a strong bond, which Sicily tends to do with people who love to play with her and give her lots of attention. We can't thank Pat enough for her visit and her wonderful meals. Did I mention she also made kolaches... another thing she is famous for. But most importantly, she made a little girl feel very special!!! Thank you, Pat!!!
Speaking of a special little girl, she is napping right now and has still been doing good. She's been so happy lately and that's about all we can ask for, except for the cancer to disappear, as well. She asked me this morning if she will be asleep when they take "her cancer out" and I told her yes, she has to be. She continued to ask why, but I can't tell her that it's because it will be painful. I want to be honest with her, but how much can she or will she comprehend. I don't want to instill any fear in her as she has been so fearless thus far! She has less fear than any of us and she's the one going through it all. I'm just so ready for the doctors to say she's ready for surgery. I know how important it is and was for us to shrink the tumors. If the tumors are still a certain size, there is a possibility of rupturing or spillage during removal. I'm sure that risk is present no matter, but what we are trying to achieve is to retain as much of her two kidneys as possible. Her surgery will be what's called renal sparing...they will "spare" as much of the organs that they can so she can hopefully function in the normal range.
Patrick and I are so ready for the next step, even though it will definitely mean a disruption in our lives, since we feel like we've been blessed to be able to live pretty normally in this type of situation. I know that's not the case for many, and it is very heartbreaking. But it's amazing how people manage to do what needs to be done. I can only say it's by the Grace of God and only the Grace of God!!! I still feel Him in our midst every day, even the days my heart gets heavy and my mind overwhelmed with the thoughts of "possibilities" and "what ifs!"
I'm still slowly unpacking a few boxes here and there from our move in June, and I came across a plaque I have that says "Great strength comes from faith in God!" For some reason it started me thinking about faith and wondering how I would ever get through something like this without it. I decided long ago that faith can be as simple as making a decision...a decision to have it. Circumstances like the one we are in, can build one's faith stronger and more impermiable than it was before the situation, or it can also, sadly, destroy one's beliefs. I am thankfully of the former and remain firm in God's grasp! But I have been witness to how easy it is for desparety to take the upperhand and make a person question God's will.
Again, I believe if a person makes the decision to hold fast to their faith, faith will carry them through anything! I feel sad and get scared when I hear some one ask, "Where's God?" Or "How could God do this?" God is everywhere and He has His hand in every occurrence of our lives...He is teaching us, and if we listen, we can learn from even the most tragic experiences. I don't mean to get on my pulpit and preach, but this way of thinking is the ONLY way I can live, right now, and hopefully forever.
I can't tell you how loved and cared about our little family feels right now. All we can do is thank God and pay it forward in the future as much as we can! I'm still amazed at the generosity and thoughtfulness that has been bestowed upon us! I've said it before, and I'll say it many times again, but I can't believe how cancer can be a sort of blessing! It's been an eye opener on a world of goodness! I could tell story after story, but I might just wait for the book (just kidding)!
Little princess just woke up from her nap so I'd better sign off for now. Hope I didn't scare too many people off today with my ramblings, but it's still very therapeutic for me! Everyone have a great weekend and "Happy 11th Birthday" to our beautiful daughter, Isabella. I can't believe she's eleven! Time sure does fly!
Sicily's mom's latest post - please pray for this sweet angel face as she goes to OKC today and that her cancer will be totally gone.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2008 08:25 AM, CST
Good Morning everyone,
Today we head to OKC to have Sicily's CT scan to check on those nasty little tumors to see if they have continued to shrink. We have to be at Children's Hospital by noon so Sicily can drink her contrast...she has to drink so many ounces of this red liquid every fifteen minutes for an hour. She will then have her labs drawn at 1:00 and her scan is at 2:00. I already have knots in my stomach this morning, even though I doubt we'll hear anything unless our brother-in-law, John, gets some news for us.
She ate part of a choc chip pancake for breakfast and can't have anything else to eat or drink until after the scan. At least being able to drink the contrast at noon will at least hopefully quench her thirst. She doesn't seem to mind it. She's doing good this morning, driving her mini coupe around the house. She always loves it in the morning when daddy is home.
The other three kids have a pretty busy day today. Corinthian has to teach part of his Language Arts class as part of an assignment...I think he was both nervous and excited. He always liked to play teacher at home so maybe this will give him an idea if it's something he might be interested in doing when he's older. He still says he wants to be an architect. Isabella is going on a field trip with her fifth grade class to down town Tulsa for a two hour Veteran's parade. I'd love to go to that! She's been excited about it!
Elias gets to go bowling with his first grade class to the local bowling alley. He and Isabella have been bowling in a league and I think he was excited to show his friends that he already knows how to bowl pretty good! Elias is also progessing in his tae-kwon-do class...I love to watch him do his moves. There is actaully a look of concentration on his face when he shows us stuff...not something we normally see. He's a smart little fella but usually is of the "I can't remember" or "I forgot" mentality! ; ) Got to love his character! It saddens me that I can't go and be with or watch the other kids in their activities today, but I truly believe they understand the situation.
Life has been as normal as can be for them lately. I'm glad for that! I hope we can continue to make that happen for them after Sicily has her surgery.
The time of her surgery will be stressful and chaotic I'm sure, but we'll work hard, along with other family members, to make it as smooth as we can!
For today, let's send up a super prayer that Sicily's cancer is dying and that we'll be on our way to surgery so we can get this little spark plug healed! I pray that her numbers will increase so her little body will be able to handle surgery, if she's ready!
Everyone have a great Veteran's Day and remember all those who are fighting and have fought for the sake of our country!
The latest update from Sicily's mom. Please continue to pray. Thanks so much.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2008 12:59 PM, CST
No news as of yet, but my patience is actually growing instead of fading...God's answer to many prayers, I'm sure!
My sister-in-law Teresa left before lunch. We had a nice, brief visit. I was able to make a shopping trip to Wal-Mart this morning. I sure miss shopping early in the morning when the store is calm and not so packed. It's a much more pleasant experience! That's when I used to do most of my shopping. These days I end up there at the busiest time of day...the evenings when most everyone else is there, too. I didn't feel rushed or hurried, as Teresa told me to take my time. So I'm sure a few extra things ended up in my cart that weren't intentionally supposed to be there! But I did do a little Christmas shopping...I'm always an early holiday shopper...part of my "be prepared" mentality.
As I was checking out, I was in the line of a little lady with whom I see working at Wal-Mart often. We usually make small talk and I commented on how much I enjoy shopping early in the day, but I'm not able to much these days. She gave me the tilted head question sort of look and I proceeded to tell her a little about Sicily. She made several comments on how amazing little kids are who have to deal with this type of situation. She then said that one of her grandsons had a Wilm's tumor when he was about two. I almost dropped my debit card. I said, "really...that is what my daughter has" as I had not mentioned what type of cancer Sicily has before. I asked how he was and she replied, "great...he is now married and in his thirties." I thanked her for giving me more hope!
I get amazed so many times over and over how God puts people in my path and me in theirs all so we can help each other and learn from one another. As I've said before, you have to be open to Him to receive these messages. Sometimes you have to do a little "reading between the lines and interpreting," but other times the message hits you right between the eyes and there is no denying it! I prefer those because I'm notorious for second guessing myself, so I need the "knock on the head!"
While I was gone this morning, Teresa and Sicily took about a 35 minute walk around our neighborhood. Teresa said she was afraid of tiring Sicily...I think she found out the outcome was reverse...we all tire out before she can or does. She's the proverbial Energizer Bunny!!! And that is no lie! When she has her surgery, it may be a sort of vacation for me. I may actually be able to sit down for longer than five minutes at a time! I'm going to try to look at it in a bright aspect.
I dread what's impending more than anything, yet pray for the day to get here asap! Yes, I am a walking contridiction! But I do look forward to taking care of her in the hospital. She's such a strong willed, independant little personality at home, that it will be nice to be needed by her for a change. Not that that will be the case, I'm sure she will continue her amazing headstrong ways while hospitalized, but I'll still be ready and willing with my TLC! She's just admitted right now that she is tired, so I'd better jump up and tuck her in for a nap as this doesn't happen very often. I'll journal as soon as I hear of anything!
My emotions are overwhelming right now, so it's probably not the best time for me to journal, but I owe it to all of our wonderful prayer warriors to keep you up to date on the CT results.
The preliminary report shows that the tumor on the right kidney has grown a little while the one on the left shrunk just a bit. This isn't the news we wanted to hear, but I've long lost expectations, so I can't say that I am surprised, even though I am still very disappointed.
Patrick just talked to John and it looks like surgery will happen next week. I don't know anymore than that and hope that by sometime Friday we know more. Please pray, pray, pray...you have done so awesome thus far! We need to bump it up a level and bombard heaven with Sicily's name...even though I know He is already very familiar with it! Love you all and thank you for being there for us!
This morning's post from Sicily's mom - thank you so much for your prayers.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2008 06:29 AM, CST
I woke up this morning with that uneasy feeling reminiscent of the days following Sicily's initial diagnosis. She is sleeping soundly and I'm ready for her to wake up so I can hug her.
One thing we were told last night about the change in her right tumor is that is could potentially be that the tumor is bleeding because it is close to dieing...that sometimes happens and would explain the growth. Of course that is something that can't be verified until surgery or I wonder if maybe an MRI would tell us more, we still have to wait and see.
She was still her usual spunky self before bed last night, still oblivious to what is just around the corner. I'm doing my part by handing this over to God and asking Him to stay ever present by our sides so we can continue to stay strong through this! Since so much is out of our control and out of our hands, this is the only thing I know I can do! I know our "army" is strong and it's going to take every single person, near and far, to help us win this!
Thank you all so much for your support! We'll never be able to repay what has been done for us, but we will certainly try. This whole experience has brought me closer to God, and maybe that is why we have to go through it! I believe He's reached others, as well. How amazing!
As soon as we find out any more news, I will jump back on here. Meanwhile, I get to go spend two and a half hours in the dentist chair this morning...Uuuugh! ; ) Sicily will be happy that daddy will be home with her for awhile this morning! Everyone have a blessed day!
I will have to think on a childs card, but will you send me an address to my
email on the stampencamper name on the left. We will also send up prayers, and hopefully, Mom is done in the dental chair also and has no complications.
Hoping this is a good day for your family
my avatar: (such desparation), Dear God, if you can't make me thin; make my
Second posting for today...that short lived feeling of desparation I had this morning has vanished and has been replaced with more hope and confidence than ever.
As I sat in the dental chair for three and a half hours this morning, I had plenty of time to think and pray. It was a little grueling and uncomfortable, but I kept thinking about Sicily the whole time and thoughts of her gave me immense strength and peace. She has no idea the affect she's had on her mommy and daddy, as well as hundreds of other people. By thinking of her I felt like I could handle any pain or discomfort...it pails in comparison to what she will be going through!
The tumor board in OKC decided that she is definitely ready for surgery, and the sooner the better. It will be next week, but still do not have a day as of yet. Considering it will be a six to eight hour surgery, if all goes well, then they've got to schedule an OR for the whole day. The female doctor who implanted her port, Dr. Puffinbarger, or a Dr. Manter will be the surgeons...we feel confident in their skills as our brother-in-law does.
The initial plan is to remove half of each kidney, which "should" allow Sicily to maintain as close to normal renal function as possible. We were also informed that the right tumor, the larger one, does appear to be "mis-shaped" due to bleeding. If this is truly the case, it is a good thing! Of course nothing will be exactly known until the actual surgery.
I want to ask for specific prayers on surgery day, one being that the tumors stay encapsulated so that Sicily may not have to under go radiation. If it is thought that she may need radiation, I'm hoping to find out if the surgeons can temporarily tack her ovaries out of the way so that Sicily may have the chance to bear a child of her own someday. I read about that possibilty as it was done for another little girl. It doesn't hurt to ask. But I would pray that she doesn't have to have radiation in the first place! One less stress!
I'm really feeling good right now, as is Patrick. We may finally get the monsters out of our little darling! Thank you God!!! I'll post tomorrow as soon as I hear a day and time! We love you all!!!
This morning's post from Sicily's mom. Thanks for your continued prayers.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2008 11:59 AM, CST
No news yet...I'm patiently waiting on news of what day the surgery will be. I'm such a planner I want to know how much time I will have to get the house and kids prepared, not to mention all the packing!
Sicily is doing great today...she's her normal happy busy body self and knows that she will soon have surgery. Last night I told her we would be getting to go to Uncle John and Aunt Cathy's house for one night this week, and she said, "yeah!" I then proceeded to tell her that after that, we would be taking her to the hospital to have surgery so they could get the cancer out of her. Again, she answered with an enthusiastic, "yeah!" She's ready! And so are we!
I hope we find out something by early this evening or it's going to be an extra long weekend. I want to be able to focus and it's hard waiting for the phone to ring! I'll post as soon as I hear something!
A short post from Sicily's mom - thank you for your continued prayers.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2008 08:23 AM, CST
We did not hear anything yesterday about the surgery date, so we will continue to wait patiently. It's cold and windy here, but the sun is shinning brightly and Sicily is doing good. Everyone enjoy the weekend!
Just received this latest post on Sicily's Caringbridge site.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2008 04:27 PM, CST
Good Sunday afternoon,
It is a beautiful day today, the sun is shinning and there is not a cloud to be seen in the sky.
We have somewhat of a reason to believe that Sicily's surgery won't be until Thursday or Friday. I spent quite a bit of time on the phone yesterday morning trying to see if I could talk to someone who could just look into the scheduling for me and I finally found a really nice lady. Wish I would've gotten her name because she was very nice! We know who the surgeon is supposed to be so this wonderful lady checked the surgery schedule and didn't see Sicily's name yet. She did say this particular surgeon had a surgery scheduled for Wednesday, but it was not a major case, as I guess we are being called...Sicily is a "major case"...kind of scary terminology!
So, I'm letting my mind think and prepare as it will be later in the week. The wonderful lady also told me that we'd need to be there the day before surgery to get all of Sicily's lab work done, and we'd get to meet with the Life Specialist and tour all hospital.
I think a lot of my worrying about getting the surgery scheduled was because I wanted my brother to be able to be here, but that has all been worked out and I am so glad he's going to be able to come this coming week! I just really wanted him to be with us during Sicily's surgery. I know my parents and two other sister's will be there, too, as well as several of Patrick's siblings. I want a waiting room full of family and friends because we're going to need the support. And we are so absolutely blessed with support, it's unbelievable.
I'm starting to get things in order, as best I can for the coming few weeks. I actually put the Christmas tree up last night and just finished putting on the lights, all 800+ of them. Now it's ready for the best part, the decorating. I think we'll start tonight for a bit but then the older kids will be going to Religious Ed classes so we'll have to finish tomorrow. Putting up the tree was one of those things that I really "needed" to do as we have no idea when we will be home. It will be nice to return home to a house looking like Christmas!
Well, better get back to work. I'll probably be on the phone first thing in the morning, hopefully not pestering anyone too much. I did find out that the reason we did not get scheduled last Friday was because the person in charge of scheduling was off...everyone deserves their time off! Keep your fingers crossed that we won't wait too much longer tomorrow and I'll journal as soon as I find out!
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2008 08:43 AM, CST
SICILY'S LATEST POST - SURGERY ON 11/19 AT NOON
Good Morning all,
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19th AT NOON...We will check into the hospital at 6:00am to get all of Sicily's lab work done and prep her. I finally feel like I can focus and I have a game plan set into motion. It also looks like her surgery may only take four to five hours as her tumors are in good locations, if that can be said. They don't block any major arteries or other potential problem areas. I'm so ready for this! I better get pack'in as we will need to be in OKC tomorrow evening. It's time to rally the troops...and get that gum ready! ; )
This morning's update - Surgery is still scheduled for tomorrow. Thank you for praying.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2008 07:16 AM, CST
Thirteen years ago at 12:15 pm, our lives changed forever...Corinthian Frank Zeka was born. I can't believe we are now parents of a teenage son! It just doesn't seem possible!
We are doing pretty good around here, as good as can be expected. I haven't yet packed for myself, but that shouldn't take too long...sweats and jeans mostly...comfort is a priority. I'm not looking to win any fashion contests while at the hospital! And as Patrick likes to say when I worry that I might have forgotten something..."there's always a Wal-Mart!"
Sicily woke up around 6:25am and didn't really go to sleep until after 10:00pm...I don't know how she gets by on such little sleep for a girl her age, but she manages. That might explain her temperament at times!!! I feel very confident going into this next leg of the journey!
Patrick's sister, Valerie, organized a day of prayer that starts tomorrow at 4:30am and goes until I think around 10:00pm...there will be someone praying every second of the day tomorrow. "If God is with us, who can be against us?" It will be a strong feeling knowing how many people - family, friends and strangers alike will be lifting her up to our healing Lord!
I just pray that she won't feel much pain and have too much discomfort when it's all said and done. She is such a strong little spirit, physically and mentally...it will be hard for me if she experiences much pain, as it would be for any parent! But this little gal has the pain tolerance of a giant...God made her that way for a reason, we now know!
Well, I'd better get back to work packing and getting kiddos ready for school. It looks like we have to leave earlier today than we thought as Sicily needs lab work done. Everyone have a blessed day...and thanks in advance for everything that is about to come our way!
Well...here we go! We are fully armed with our gum chewing prayers and ready for battle. That cancer will never know what hit it!
Yesterday, I had a little talk with Sicily and tried to explain, as plainly and "un-scary" as possible what will be happening today. Her naiveness and complete innocence once again is on her side. I told her the doctors would help her go to sleep with some special medicine. Once she's asleep, they will open up her tummy...I pretended to unzip her tummy like it was a coat. Then, they are going to take out that bad cancer and throw it in the trash can...and I pretended to wad up a ball and toss it like I was aiming for a trash can basketball. She thought that to be pretty humorous! I continued to tell her that when she woke up, she shouldn't hurt, but if she does start to hurt, tell mommy and daddy and the nurses and we'll try to make the pain go away. I hope it is that easy! Her initial reaction to my play by play was, "Okay!" Again, I hope it goes down that easy!
She's been so happy and full of energy lately! I don't think she could go into this any stronger. Mommy on the other hand...I woke up at 4:00 with a stomach ache and never went back to sleep. My mind, heart and soul feel strong, but my body just didn't get that memo, I guess, that we were not going to stress too much or worry because I put this in God's hands! And that is where is shall stay! We don't have to check in until around 8:30, so that was a nice surprise! Again, my body just doesn't seem to get the message that it could have and should have slept in a little more! But that's were a can of pop comes in (or two, or three)! In hind site, I wish we still had to be at the hospital at 6:00...then at least I'd feel like the ball was rolling. But, then again, if we have to sit and wait around, probably better to stay where we are comfortable.
I will try to update as much as I can today. I'm going to try to have my sister's laptop with us in the waiting room, but if for some reason it does not work, I will call Patrick's sister, Bett, and dictate a message for her to post for us. Sicily's soldiers are standing at attention and the battle cry is about to sound...
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2008 12:43 PM, CST
Kerry just called...here's the latest. I'll try to remember all she said, and decipher my shorthand! The surgeon said the surgery should last only 2 - 2 1/2 hours now! She feels really good about the placement of the tumors, as they are in the best possible place they could be. She feels they'll have to take 1/2 of the larger tumor, and 1/3 of the smaller one. The surgeon is not sure about the spots on the left kidney, they will know more when they look.
Samples of lymphnodes will also be taken. The scar will be a vertical one, and will be large. They will be able to see lots of things since it will be a large opening, hopefully nothing more.
Kerry was with Sicily when they put the anesthesia in her port, and she was asleep in three seconds! Many aunt and uncles got to see her before she went into surgery, which Kerry said was a blessing. More later...
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2008 01:17 PM, CST
Okay....my brother from Joplin just called...he was concerned that only part of the TUMORS were going to be removed....I meant to say only 1/2 and 1/3 of each kidney would be removed. ALL of the tumors will be removed. Sorry to scare anyone.
Patrick and Kerry were very pleased and comforted by the surgeon's comments and explanations of the surgery. We hope things are going well right now!
Sicily's surgery is over and she is doing well - THANK YOU, LORD!
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2008 04:09 PM, CST
The surgery is over, thank the Lord! They took 1/3 of the left kidney and 1/2 of the right. Sicily had to have one unit of blood, which is not unusual, and is in stable condition. They will find out by Friday results of four tissue samples that they took, two rests and both tumors. Sicily will be in ICU 24-48 hours. Keep chewing gum, and praying that she continues to do well, and that results will be favorable.
Sicily is doing well - thank you so much for your prayers.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2008 09:15 AM, CST
Good morning! This is Sicily's Aunt Bett again. I'm not the journalist Kerry is as you can tell, but I'm going to do my best to give an update that Kerry just gave. She said Sicily is doing really, really good. She's resting well, nodding her head when asked questions. She's doing so well in fact, that the nurse came into her room this morning with transfer orders, to move her to a regular room ALREADY! What an amazing little girl! We all knew she was tough, and she is proving it!
Kerry overheard nurses talking in the hallway this morning and one said that Sicily is the most compliant patient ever!! Kerry had to laugh because she is when getting medical tests, etc. but at home she's the "drill sergeant"! Her stats are all good and she's urinating fine. The pain management team is keeping her comfortable. Kerry was going to change the channel on the TV but Sicily gave her a look, as to not change it, so she was listening to the cartoons, just not watching! Kerry requested that the pathology report be seen by a doctor in Chicago so it may later than Friday before they get results, but she's fine with that, knowing the cancer is OUT of Sicily's body.
Kerry wanted everyone to know that eventually she'll get to a computer, but bear with me in the time being! She said Sicily is a trooper! Patrick got to play basketball this morning with his brother-in-law, he said even though it had been months since he'd played it felt good to get some exercise, though he's tired now!
On a personal note...Sicily's Grandma Zeka and I have enjoyed every minute of our time staying with Corinthian, Isabella, and Elias...and Stowie, their cat. We celebrated Corinthian's birthday Tuesday night with McDonald's (his fave is a Big Mac) and then had a cake, with candles. They are doing really well. They are the best kids; I feel fortunate to be able to stay with them. We'll go to OKC Saturday morning to see Sicily...we're very excited! Have a good day, and thanks to all of you for all the thoughts, prayers, gum chewing, and messages. Thank you from all of our family, and bless you.