Sunday July 24, 2011

A busy week is almost behind us and an eventful week is ahead. This past one was filled with more appointments than we'd like, but the results were mostly good, so positive overall. Shannon's energy is bouncing back now 9 days after the first round of maintenance chemo. She fit in some time with friends, some golf, and even a little open skating. Erin has had some summer fun, too. In fact, I am watching her and her friend swim as I write.

In addition to our hematology appointment, the girls had their dental check ups as well. No cavities and the only change is a new toothpaste prescribed for Shannon to use since radiation can affect the enamel on your teeth. Our dentist was well aware of Shannon's fight and even requested one of the Shannon the Cannon bracelets that she'd seen on several of her patients.

Added to those two appointments was a hearing test and consult to check on Shannon's left ear which has been bugging her. No sign of any infection or obvious problem and her hearing is excellent, so it's most likely just another side effect of tumor related changes in her head. The doctor was able to put Shannon's mind at ease that there is no reason not to swim - or to fly. Speaking of flying...

This Friday, July 29th, Shannon will turn 13. A milestone. Over a year ago, Grandma and Papa Harkins proposed an idea they had for their four grandchildren: each grandchild gets to plan a special birthday trip to take when they turn 13. Just the grandchild, Grandma, and Papa to a destination of the child's choosing - within reason. (Funny side note - cousin Jack may need some explanation of "within reason". He's only eight, but he's thinking that for his 13th, Grandma and Papa will take him to Spain to see a bullfight!)

Shannon is the oldest, so she gets to go first. Shannon decided back in February that she'd like to see the Twins play an away game and it just so happens they are out in Oakland on July 29th. Oakland isn't a great destination, but the city across the bay certainly is. So, a trip to San Francisco was planned. Mind you, this plan was hatched before Shannon got sick. There have been many sleepless nights for me, Dan, Grandma and Papa as we tried to figure out how best to carry out this birthday wish. Should we all go? Should we postpone? Would Shannon be healthy enough to travel? Why did something that was suppose to be a great gift now become something that was causing great stress? We've spent weeks avoiding talking about it, so unsure if it would even happen.

In the end, Shannon decided for all of us. She doesn't want our entire family to come - she wants her trip, just like she had planned. Her own special trip. She wants to tour Alcatraz, see the Golden Gate Bridge, shop on Fisherman's Wharf, and watch the Twins play on the road. Shannon knows she may tire easily, but she's planning for down time when she needs it and early bed times if necessary. Papa assured her that an early bed time is not a problem for him! And, knock on wood, Shannon's health is good enough right now to go and enjoy it. So grateful for that. So, today she began preparing by painting her nails, updating her iPod, and going over the list of meds she'll need to take on the road.

Monday we see Dr. Rodriguez for a blood check and weight check. Barring any changes, on Wednesday Shannon, Grandma, and Papa will be off on their adventure. When she returns on Saturday, Shannon will be a teenager ...