Friday, February 29, 2008

In memoriam. . . . (xox, Thankful)

Fabiola the Great Buckingham-Fontaine
28 July 1953 - 27 Feb 2007


~Dennis Fast~



FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 29, 2008 01:07 PM, EST
The latest from Ally's Mom

Hello Again,

We are sticking with the tent thing. We ALL hate it, Ally hates it, Ally's Daddy hates it, I hate it, but the doctors really want to give it a chance. They said 4 days. So, 2 1/2 more days of sticking Ally in a plastic tent. When she can fall asleep for a nap it is not too bad, but that doesn't happen often. We can only touch her feet while she is in there, so it is hard to comfort her when the treatment is going on. Only 2 1/2 days left is what we keep thinking.

We appreciate all the thoughts of good sleep for us too! We have a room nearby where we trade off. It is great, because I slept until 8:00 this morning! Ally's Daddy will get a good night's rest tonight.

On an awesome test result coming back, her test that caused her to be radio active for a period of time came back to show the cancer is only in the tumor! It has not spread. The doctors had already done tests to see if it had spread and those all came back negative, but this was the final test to triple check!
The silver lining.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

How could I *not* love you?


From Ally's Mommy:


Today was another long day for Ally. We began the day with not the best night of sleep ever (but not the worst). Then Mommy left for most of the day to take care of some school things. While she was gone Ally "went into the tent". It is this horrible plastic tent that goes over her for 2 hours and they spray her with meds. We have to wear masks if we are in the room. Ally DOES NOT LIKE THE TENT! Unfortunately they feel it is necessary for her to get over this virus. Hopefully it will be closer to the 3 days than the 7 days they gave us for a window. AFTER the tent Ally went to "sleep" for a little bit, with the help of some drugs so they could do the test with the radioactive drug inside of her. We have not received the results for that one yet. THEN she had to go back to the X ray room, they removed her old NG tube and stuck another one in her, which gave her a bloody nose and an angry mood. Then Mommy showed back up and they stuck her in the tent again. She managed to sleep for about 15-20 minutes. So, she again has not had a good sleeping day.

They are going to stick her in the tent again, around 8:00 for tonight for another 2 hours.

Last night they finally got to us around 9:30 and wanted to start the tent then, but Ally had finally fallen asleep, so we refused, and they just began this morning. We had to strongly refuse before they stopped trying to talk us into it.

Well, even though she went through a lot again today, it did seem like a better day (although I was out for most if it).

Tomorrow the only thing scheduled is the tent (3 times for 2 hours). Hopefully that will happen before she has to go to bed tomorrow!

If only the rest of the media were as honest as *this* man

From the Desk of David Pogue

A few years ago, a parenting magazine asked me to write an article about the dangers that children face when they go online. As it turns out, I was the wrong author for the article they had in mind.

The editor was deeply disappointed by my initial draft. Its chief message was this: “Sure, there are dangers. But they’re hugely overhyped by the media. The tales of pedophiles luring children out of their homes are like plane crashes: they happen extremely rarely, but when they do, they make headlines everywhere. The Internet is just another facet of socialization for the new generation; as always, common sense and a level head are the best safeguards.”

My editor, however, was looking for something more sensational. He asked, for example, if I could dig up an opening anecdote about, say, an eight-year-old getting killed by a chat-room stalker. But after days of research—and yes, I actually looked at the Google results past the first page—I could not find a single example of a preteen getting abducted and murdered by an Internet predator.

So the editor sent me the contact information for several parents of young children with Internet horror stories, and suggested that I interview them. One woman, for example, told me that she became hysterical when her eight-year-old stumbled onto a pornographic photo. She told me that she literally dove for the computer, crashing over a chair, yanking out the power cord and then rushing her daughter outside.

You know what? I think that far more damage was done to that child by her mother’s reaction than by the dirty picture.

See, almost the same thing happened at our house. When my son was 7 years old, he was Googling “The Incredibles” on the computer that we keep in the kitchen. At some point, he pulled up a doctored picture of the Incredibles family, showing them naked.

“What…on… earth?” he said in surprise.

I walked over, saw what was going on, and closed the window. “Yeah, I know,” I told him. “Some people like pictures of naked people. The Internet is full of all kinds of things.” And life went on.

My thinking was this: a seven-year-old is so far from puberty, naked pictures don’t yet have any of the baggage that we adults associate with them. Sex has no meaning yet; the concept produces no emotional charge one way or another.

Today, not only is my son utterly unscarred by the event, I’m quite sure he has no memory of it whatsoever.

Now, I realize that not everybody shares my nonchalance. And again, it’s not hard to find scattered anecdotes about terrible things that happen online.

But if you live in terror of what the Internet will do to your children, I encourage you to watch this excellent hour long PBS “Frontline” documentary. (I learned about it in a recent column by Times media critic Virginia Heffernan).

It’s free, and it’s online in its entirety. The show surveys the current kids-online situation—thoroughly, open-mindedly and frankly.

Turns out I had it relatively easy writing about the dangers to children under age 12; this documentary focuses on teenagers, 90 percent of whom are online every single day. They are absolutely immersed in chat, Facebook, MySpace and the rest of the Web; it’s part of their ordinary social fabric to an extent that previous generations can’t even imagine.

The show carefully examines each danger of the Net. And as presented by the show, the sexual-predator thing is way, way overblown, just as I had suspected. Several interesting interview transcripts accompany the show online; the one with producer Rachel Dretzin goes like this:

“One of the biggest surprises in making this film was the discovery that the threat of online predators is misunderstood and overblown. The data shows that giving out personal information over the Internet makes absolutely no difference when it comes to a child's vulnerability to predation.” (That one blew my mind, because every single Internet-safety Web site and pamphlet hammers repeatedly on this point: never, ever give out your personal information online.)

“Also, the vast majority of kids who do end up having contact with a stranger they meet over the Internet are seeking out that contact,” Ms. Dretzin goes on. “Most importantly, all the kids we met, without exception, told us the same thing: They would never dream of meeting someone in person they'd met online.”

Several teenagers interviewed in the story make it clear that only an idiot would be lured unwittingly into a relationship with an online sicko: “If someone asks me where I live, I’ll delete the ‘friend.’ I mean, why do you want to know where I live at?” says one girl.

Fearmongers often cite the statistic, from a 2005 study by the Crimes Against Children Research Center, that 1 in 7 children have received sexual propositions while online. But David Finkelhor, author of that report, notes that many of these propositions don’t come from Internet predators at all. “Considerable numbers of them are undoubtedly coming from other kids, or just people who are acting weird online,” he says.

“Most of the sexual solicitations, they’re not that big a deal,” says another interview subject, Danah Boyd of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. “Most of it is the 19-year-old saying to the 17-year old, ‘Hey, baby.’ Is that really the image that we come to when we think about sexual solicitations? No. We have found kids who engage in risky behavior online. The fact is, they’ve engaged in a lot more risky behavior offline.”

As my own children approach middle school, my own fears align with the documentary’s findings in another way: that cyber-bullying is a far more realistic threat. Kids online experiment with different personas, and can be a lot nastier in the anonymous atmosphere of the Internet than they would ever be in person (just like grown-ups). And their mockery can be far more painful when it’s public, permanent and written than if they were just muttered in passing in the hallway.

In any case, watch the show. You’ll learn that some fears are overplayed, others are underplayed, and above all, that the Internet plays a huge part in adolescence now. Pining for simpler times is a waste of time; like it or not, this particular genie is out of the bottle.

Visit David Pogue on the Web at »

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ally's Mom relates:

It's a stinky day in the PICU. It was one of those 2 steps forward, 3 steps back kind of days.

First, she is still puking when we put food and sometimes meds into her belly, so the plan was to move her NG tube past her tummy and into her intestines. That did not work (it coiled up on itself) so we had to go to this room where they could put her under an x-ray and do it again. This did not work, so tomorrow they will try again with a bigger NG tube.

Second, her virus is not getting better, so they have to use a tent where they will mist her meds into her. She will need to be in it for 2 hours 3 times a day for 3-7 days. We really can't touch her when she is in the tent, and there are some side effects. It can give her asthma type symptoms and will lower her blood counts, which are low anyway because of the chemo. Also, if you are preggers or even thinking about getting pregger you can't be ANYWHERE near the stuff!

It is 8:20 PM right now, Ally has napped for maybe 30 minutes today, she is SO overtired and they still have not set up the tent for the first 2 hour round. We are tired and just want our baby to have some sleep. It doesn't look like that is likely in the foreseeable future.

Also, she is slightly radioactive because of a test they are giving her tomorrow.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

Please send prayers and vibes and light candles!

Enemy Mine, RIP

Susan Walsh / AP

fields of barley


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

nautilus, pearl

nother xray

cn xray

Humorous Pictures

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2008 12:47 PM, EST
Ally's Mom writes:

Welcome Snow!

Ally is having a pretty good day today. She pulled herself up to a standing position (of course while I was out of the room!) and has spent some time in her wagon. She has less energy than the last few days, but we expected that with the chemo lowering her blood counts. We are still able to get a smile out of her.

Her doctor told us we are going to have to make a trip to Boston in the next couple of weeks for some pretests before they take her stem cells. No word on when that will actually be, just before her next round of chemo. They are also talking about moving her out of the PICU to Pediatrics. There are no beds up there now, but it looks like when a room opens we are moving upstairs. That is good and bad. Bad because the rooms are MUCH smaller and she won't have as much one on one attention from her nurse but GOOD because that means she is doing better and there are bigger TVs in the room and a shower in the room.

Here is to a puke free day and night (still waiting for it!)

This is the last daily update for now. Ally's Great Aunt listener will send updates as they become warranted. It would be greatly appreciated, though, if folks could bookmark Ally's Candle Page and continue to light candles! Your prayers and sending of good vibes are cherished. XOXOXXX


Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. ~~ Goethe

Monday, February 25, 2008


distance in which individuals are clustered
Dot sizes: = 1,000+ = 100 - 999 = 10 - 99 = 1 - 9 visits

The above map depicts: 17,666 visits from 25 Feb 2007 to 26 Feb 2008
This map is normally updated daily (latest: 2008-02-26 04:43:09 GMT)

They're re-setting my hits map. Promised to keep my numbers, but the map's gonna look a bit empty for a while. . . .

Humorous Pictures




MONDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2008 04:20 PM, EST
From Ally's Mommy:

Hello Monday Friends,

Today Ally has been out in her wagon again! She also has a little chair she can sit up in, and the physical therapist is supposed to bring her some other toys to get her in different positions. She actually sat up on her own for a tiny bit today.

She seems a little more tired today than the past few, she has napped quite a bit today (I hope that doesn't mean she won't sleep tonight).

Her Chemo is over, and now we have to start some injections to help her white blood cells out. (I am NOT looking forward to that, but they assure me they have numbing cream.)

Ally's Daddy and I are overwhelmed (in a good way) by all the support and love people are sending our way. Since I write the blog I will say a special thanks to my school district. You all have been great, even the people who don't know me are being awesome. We both want to say a super special thanks to our families too. You guys are SUPER AWESOME.

Removed Stealth Poster's comment because the link didn't work. Here it is:

Thanks, Monica! ♥

Our next president? Don't see how not. . . .


Sunday, February 24, 2008

“To An Athlete, Dying Young” by A.E. Housman

The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.

To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
An set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.

Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay,
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.

Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
Afer earth has stopped the ears:

Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.

So set, before its echoes fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.

And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl's.


SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2008 01:42 PM, EST
From Ally's Mom & Dad...

Good Sunday,

The puking is not getting better. She had quite the night last night with the vomit. Her doctor said it usually does get worse the later into the round we go. Hopefully it won't be any worse tonight. Last night (or rather this AM) at about 1:00 Ally got some anti-puke meds that were supposed to make her sleep. Instead, they perked her right up and she started babbling and playing for about an hour! Silly girl. Mommy wanted to sleep. They finally had to give her another drug to get her back to sleep.

She has been sitting in her wagon again today and has been held by a few different people. She even smiled at her nurse!

Here is to the LAST day of chemo for round 1.


We join the eagles at their play
any day, any night
make light of light

Glowing in their eyries
sightless in their way
focused on the distance, dreaming

Come soon, the nest is nearly
finished. 'Tis nearly time time time
Time for twining, twinning, singing, spinning

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Chemo Day 1.4 (tomorrow is the last day of this first round of Chemo!)

Good Morning All,

Ally has had an eventful morning. Her nurse today is really working for a smile! She brought Ally some toys that make noise! Ally loves them. She also brought Ally a chair to help her sit up for a bit, and a little wagon we can pull her around her room in. We also cleaned off all of her old wires that can be replaced and put on new ones after a nice bath. So, Ally is fresh and clean and smelling good.

A few days ago when we picked up Ally she was very "heavy" because she wasn't able to support herself. She still can't sit up on her own, but she doesn't feel as "heavy," so she is gaining strength!

Looking forward to a great day with Ally and day #4 of her first round of chemo.


Friday, February 22, 2008



See what bad sports grow up to be if the voters aren't careful? (or liars, cheaters, frog abusers for that matter)

Ally Update

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2008 06:01 PM, EST
by Ally's Mom

Good Evening All,

Day 3 of Round 1 is over. Ally slept through the first half of her treatment and then played a little during the second half. So far she has not puked, but that did happen later in the night last night. We think it might be when she gets her pain meds, those might upset her tummy enough to make her spew. Hoping tonight is the exception.

She has been playful today, and LOVING her book. We are excited to be 1/2 way done with the 1st round.

Note from Ally's Great Aunt listener: Nurse Teri tells me that Ally's activity level increasing is the first sign that the tumor is shrinking, because as it eases off her aorta (a large vessel that oxygenates the heart) the more oxygen the heart receives, thus the more it can distribute that oxygen to other organs, and then out to the arms and legs! Go Ally!

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2008 11:37 AM, EST
From Ally's Mom...

Hello everyone,

The Chemo is not agreeing with Ally's tummy so well. She has puked a couple more times. They are going to give her more anti-puke meds today when she gets her chemo. Hopefully that will help. She does seem to feel better after she lets it go. She is in a playful mood today!

That's it for now. Have a fun, snowy day!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Holding you in the light

Ally's Mom writes:

Her 2nd treatment of her 1st round of chemo is over. So far, so puke. We will keep our fingers crossed for the next few hours. We are hoping for a peaceful night. Ally has been quite playful and has even laughed a couple of times today! She is also talking her baby speak. It has been too long since we have heard that. Her Daddy and I were both smiling big!

She is still on her back, with no strength to sit on her own, but we see her strength growing each day. She has successfully pulled the following off of her: Her NG tube, her leads (which monitor her heartbeat), her "glow toe" which measures her oxygen level, her very sterile and very important central line cover, and she is trying like mad to get her central line tubes and her blood pressure cuff. Even with all this stupid stuff happening to her she causes trouble! We love her!

Good day today! Thanks to everyone again. Even though thanks isn't enough.

Ally Update

From Ally's Mom

Ally was supposed to get a hearing test today. (One of the long term side effects of her chemo is hearing loss - she will probably need to wear a hearing aid) There was still fluid in her ear, so the hearing test wouldn't really count for anything. So, they decided to put tubes in her ears instead. We were scheduled to get tubes on March 10. No need! Hopefully this will make her ears feel really good, and in the short term she should be able to hear a little better. Unexpected pleasant news!

Last night, after her chemo she was a little sick, but was able to get some meds to help settle her tummy. Her 2nd treatment of her 1st round of chemo happens later today. Wish her non puking luck!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Ali Jarekji / Reuters file

Ally Update


Her first round of chemo is over! She has four more days for this round. During chemo she was AWESOME! She was playing with her blocks and trying to pull off her wires! We are actually going to have to put some clothes on her to keep her from doing that.

Thanks for all your positive thoughts. Things were REALLY bad yesterday, and today they are better.

We love all of you!

Ally Update


Hello everyone,

Well, as always things look a little brighter the next day. Ally should be starting her 1st round of Chemo, pretty much any minute now. We are nervous to see how it is going to make her feel in the short term.

We have been doing a lot of talking and figuring out how to get back to work and be here for Ally. We think we have a good plan. We do need to get back to work to pay some bills and keep ourselves from going crazy.

We talked to the social worker here today and she had spoken with Ally's doctor. It looks like she may be able to come home for short visits between chemo. We were relieved to hear that, and also nervous, because we don't really like to clean the house that well.....all those people asking what they could do for you have sponges and bleach? Just Kidding! That is still weeks away at this point, so we have some time to prepare the house.

We feel much better about the situation today, but it is still a stinky situation. We will be calling in all those offers to help in the weeks and months ahead!

Thanks again for everything you are doing to help us and Ally. She was playful this morning, pulling at her tubes and clanging her block against the side of her crib.

Approval Ratings. . . . how low can he go?

American Research Group, 2/19/08

Overall, 19%
Economy, 14%

Till The End Of Time

Till the end of time, long as stars are in the blue
Long as there's a Spring of birds to sing I'll go on loving you
Till the end of time, long as roses bloom in May
My love for you will grow deeper with every passing day

Till the wells run dry and each mountain disappears
I'll be there for you to care for you through laughter and through tears
So take my heart in sweet surrender and tenderly say that I'm
The one you love and live for till the end of time

Till the wells run dry and each mountain disappears
I'll be there for you to care for you through laughter and through tears
So take my heart in sweet surrender and tenderly say that I'm
The one you love and live for till the end of time