Author Archives: chanin - the mom

Fundraising for Chanin’s Cancer Fight

March 11th, 2017 | Posted by chanin - the mom in Family - (0 Comments)
Gavin and Mommy

As many of you know, in December of 2016, Chanin was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of stage 4 cancer known as High Grade Neuroendocrine Carcinoma; her primary cancer believed to be gastrointestinal in origin.  Many cancerous lesions were found on her liver, where the cancer had spread, with the largest tumor measuring a large 7.5cm x 7.5 cm.  Unfortunately, the type of cancer she has is very painful, as her liver is pushing against all her internal organs and placing a lot of pressure on her body.  Because of the incredible speed the tumors grow, time has been a factor, and surgery has not been an option.  Chanin immediately began intensive chemotherapy 3 days in a row, every 3 weeks.  She recently completed her 4th round of chemo and has two more rounds to go.  Although the chemotherapy comes with many unwanted and uncomfortable side-effects, it is proving to be effective, and the largest tumor has shrunk to about the size of 3cm.  We are very thankful for this positive news; however, we all know that there is still a lot of fight left and there is no cure. The tumors will continue to come back and Chanin will have to undergo further treatments.

Chanin remains positive and is committed to this battle.  She has been doing everything she can to survive.  She has always been a survivor (previous double-lung transplant and kidney transplant!) and knows what she has to do to continue to live.

Many people have asked how they can help us out during this difficult time, which is why we decided to start this fundraiser.  I’m trying my hardest to do many of the things Chanin used to do, and Chanin’s parents have also been a great help to us, but there just isn’t enough time in the day to do it all and still be able to spend quality time with Chanin and our son, Gavin.  Fortunately, I am employed, and I have a supportive employer.  But, we’ve had a lot of unexpected expenses come our way relating to our situation and some support would be very helpful.

Plans for donations:

  • Medical Expenses: Because of the extensive medical expenses relating to Chanin’s cancer treatment, we already owe our full deductible to our medical insurance and our out-of-pocket max.  Additionally, we are driving around 40 miles each way to Phoenix and back an estimated 3-4 times a week to get Chanin to her doctor’s appointments and chemotherapy.
  • Meals: We’ve had a couple friends/family donate meals to us which we are EXTREMELY grateful for!  I do know how to cook, but it has been very difficult for me to find the time to prepare and cook healthy meals with all that is going on, and nutrition is very important for Chanin.  There are some online meal services which deliver food and also some places where we can go to prepare the meals ahead of time and freeze them until we’re ready to use them.  These services do cost more than our normal grocery shopping, but they save a ton of time and will allow us to have some “real” meals at home.
  • Electric Scooter: We would like to buy Chanin an electric scooter to help her can gain back some of her independence.  Between Chanin’s cancer and chemotherapy, her body has become very weak.  She currently uses a walker to get around, but she is unable to go anywhere that requires her to walk any longer distance than the typical car to doctor’s office.  Thanks to generous friends of ours who donated tickets to us, we’re planning a trip to Disneyland soon, and the scooter would allow Chanin to make her way around the theme park with ease.  Chanin also misses doing simple things like shopping, running errands and participating in regular family activities, which the scooter would allow her to resume.
  • Housekeeping: We are looking to hire a housekeeper as I am finding it tough to keep up with the regular household chores.  Between my day job, chauffeuring Gavin around, driving to doctor appointments, making trips to the pharmacy, running errands, cooking, doing dishes, etc., it has become increasingly difficult to focus on keeping the house clean, a job Chanin prided herself in doing.  We think some help in this area will really take a load off.  Also, Chanin needs to be in a clean environment to help avoid infections, so we think this will help.

Those of you who know me know I have a hard time asking for help.  It has always been difficult for me to look outside myself for assistance or to share my burden.  However, I never expected to be in a situation like the one our family is in right now, and after some encouragement, I decided this might be a good way to go about allowing others a chance to show they care.

Thank you so much for reading and supporting Chanin and our family throughout this journey.  We are grateful and appreciative for all the thoughts and prayers being said for us.  This is a very difficult and scary time for our family, and we are comforted in knowing that we have all of you on our side.

For many more details about Chanin’s progress you can visit her CaringBridge site here: Chanin’s CaringBridge

5 Years of True Love

September 23rd, 2011 | Posted by chanin - the mom in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

For our 5 year wedding anniversary, we decided to post a few of our favorite pictures from our special day, now a half a decade in our past.  As we gaze at these happy, joy-filled photographs, it seems like only yesterday we were reciting our vows to each other before our family and most treasured friends, making our nuptial promises and confirming our commitment to one another.  However, when we look back and reminiscence over the weeks, months and years we have spent together, we realize that in this time, we have already begun to collect a lifetime of invaluable memories.  It’s hard to believe that we’ve managed to pack so many memorable events in to such a relatively short amount of time; but we have, and we hope to squeeze in many, many more in the years to come.  We are truly blessed to have built a life together.

Enjoy sharing in our memories below…

 

(click on the pictures below to enlarge them)

Free At Last!!

October 27th, 2010 | Posted by chanin - the mom in Family - (7 Comments)

After 3 LONG months, I am finally out of my Thoracolumbosacral Orthosis (TLSO)!!  It’s such a liberating feeling to, once and for all, be free from the confines of that thick, rigid, plastic torture device.  Okay, it wasn’t that bad.  While the brace did fulfill its general duties, by squeezing my spine into place, and keeping me from bending or twisting, it also provided a few extra and unexpected services as well.  After just the first week in my TLSO, I soon learned that it also served as an excellent heating device. Unfortunately in July through October in Arizona, a heater is the last thing I needed, or anyone needs for that matter.  So for the last 3 months, I have not been cold one single day, just sticky, sweaty and hot.  I am now very much looking forward to some cool winter weather.

Another lovely perk I received from my ever-so-snug brace, was the inability to overeat.  With the constant compressing embrace of my reinforcing friend, I was regularly reminded of when I should put my fork down and stop stuffing my face.  Putting it simply, making a glutton of myself ceased to be an option, and I was forced to eat smaller meals throughout the day.  This may not seem like a hard endeavor for most people, but when my mom was here cooking up a storm of all my favorite recipes, it was agonizing at times.  My mom makes the best buttermilk waffles with homemade syrup ever!

So, now that I’m free, there are a lot of things I’m looking forward to getting back to.  Of course, I will have to take things slowly and limit myself quite a bit, but I’m just excited that I can now give Gavin soft, “real” Mommy hugs.  I love my baby so much!  I’m also actually looking forward to helping James out a lot more with the chores around the house, and cooking big meals again for the family and then cleaning up the mess I make in the kitchen myself.  I’m so very thankful to both James and my mom for helping me get these seemingly simple, but necessary, things done during these last few months.  Never once did either of them complain to me about the stress these tasks must have added to their daily routines.  Thank you again Mom and James.  I love you both tons!

And lastly, on a simpler note, I am just really looking forward to once again dressing in normal clothing.  No more big baggy pants that fit over my brace and tight, spandex shirts to fit under it.  Yay… I get to be me again!

A Quick Update from Chanin

August 1st, 2010 | Posted by chanin - the mom in Announcements | Family - (10 Comments)

I thought I better write a quick update to our friends and family. Some of you already know, but for those of you that don’t know yet, or don’t know the details, I’ll post it all here on our website right now. Yes, I did have a little accident exactly one week ago today. Saturday night (July 24th), James, Gavin and I had just returned home from a 2 week business trip/ mini-vacation to San Francisco. We had a late flight that night, so we all woke up a little late Sunday morning. James and I woke up around 9:30 in the morning, and James went right to work on the pool in the backyard, while I started sorting through 2 weeks of mail. At about 10am, I started hearing Gavin making noises upstairs, so I decided I better get him up so I could start making breakfast for everyone. We had a lot to do that Sunday, including unpacking all our suitcases and doing a big grocery shopping trip to restock the food in the house.

I headed upstairs and went into Gavin’s bedroom, where I was greeted by my super excited little stinker. I pulled him out of his crib and put him in his playroom to play for a minute while I gathered him a clean diaper, an outfit to wear and his sippy cup from his bedroom. I then picked him up again along his toy accordion to head downstairs. Gavin didn’t want to leave his playroom, as he wanted to continue playing and wasn’t very happy about having to get his poopy diaper changed. He wiggled in my arms and his accordion fell to the floor. I picked it up with my spare hand and then rearranged Gavin in my arms so he wouldn’t fall while also holding all his other things.

I unlatched the child safety gate and began heading downstairs with Gavin kicking his legs around. My plan was to bring him downstairs before I let him go, so that I could change his diaper and get him dressed for the day. I took a couple of steps down the first few stairs, when suddenly my sandal on my left foot started slipping on the carpet of the stair. I twisted my foot to try to regain my balance. However, my next foot completely missed the next stair. I was scared that I would drop Gavin, so trying to think fast, I dropped the other things in my hands, and grabbed Gavin with both of my arms, hoping that I would just fall on the padding of my butt, and protect him from taking a nasty fall. Unfortunately, the fall I took was much harder and miscalculated than I thought it would be. I flew up in the air with Gavin in my arms and landed smack on the edge of the step of a stair on my upper back. Boom… I heard an awful cracking noise, unlike one I have ever heard before, that I will now never forget. I landed so hard, that Gavin escaped my arms, and we both tumbled down the few stairs left until we both fell to the halfway landing of the staircase.

Immediately Gavin began screaming, while I tried to catch my breath and start breathing again, but I couldn’t. I was instantly afraid that I may have collapsed one of my lungs. I felt intense pain radiating through my back, but I couldn’t move. I finally regained my breath and set my attention on Gavin. Gavin walked over to me in tears. I was relieved to see him on his two feet and moving towards me. I began screaming out James’ name as loud as I could. Gavin watched my reactions and would scream when I would scream, then became quiet when I would cry out in pain. I was begging God to let James hear my screams. I was so worried about Gavin, but I was unable to move to check him out for injuries, or even to keep him from attempting to go down the next portion of our staircase with another 10-12 steps. But, Gavin didn’t leave my side. He put his hands on his mommy and I could see the fear in his eyes. He seemed to be trying to ease my pain, while we both screamed for James to hear us.

I knew James was outside, so I knew I had to scream loud. I had never in my life screamed as loud as I screamed for him at that moment. I never even knew I was capable of screaming that loud, but just being able to scream that loud, assured me that neither of my lungs could possibly be collapsed. Luckily, from what I could tell, Gavin did not seem to be too badly hurt, and thankfully he didn’t want to leave his mommy. If he had attempted to go down the rest of the staircase, I would have tried my hardest to have stopped him any way I possibly could, as he still doesn’t know how to go down stairs on his own. But if I was unable to stop him, as it seemed would be the case while I was unable to move, he could have taken a huge fall down many more stairs leading to a tile floor. Fortunately, Gavin just wanted to hug and stay near me while we screamed for James.

I honestly didn’t know if I would be able to stay conscious or scream much longer as I was in so much pain and having a hard time breathing. But finally, after what seemed like an eternity, James heard me and came rushing into the house. James told me that he had never heard a scream like the one he heard coming from me that day ever before. He ran up the stairs to find me crouched on the stair landing unable to move. I told him I fell while holding Gavin and to check Gavin out. He quickly looked over Gavin to make sure he was okay and brought him safely downstairs and into the gated family room area. He came back to check on me and knew that it was an emergency right away since I couldn’t move, was in excruciating pain, and was short of breath.

James called 911, and the fire department and paramedics came super quickly to our home (the fire department is literally across the street from our house). James had unlocked the front door, so within minutes they were announcing themselves and in our house setting up their equipment. I was happy to see them because I had no idea how I was going to make it down the rest of the stairs and to the hospital without their assistance. A few of the paramedics directed their attention to Gavin and checked him out to make sure he hadn’t been injured. They checked his whole body for injuries, and made sure he was tracking and not lethargic, while other paramedics slowly and carefully helped me down the stairs and immobilized me in a gurney.

I was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, and James and Gavin followed in our car. In the ambulance, they put a catheter in my arm and started me on Morphine for my intense pain. At the hospital, they discovered I was running a high temperature, which they explained was likely caused by my body’s reaction to internal inflammation from my injuries, and I was given multiple x-rays. Not long after that, we were informed of the extent of my injury. The doctor came in and told James and I that I had a broken back. My T8 (Thoracic Vertebrae #8) was broken in half and had been pancaked/ crushed. I was referred to neurosurgery and given a CT Scan to make sure my spinal cord had not been pierced. I was very lucky, had I moved or twisted after my initial injury, even a small amount, like to stop Gavin from falling down the second portion of our stairs; I could have experienced paralysis, or even the loss of use of my legs. But thank God, my spinal cord remained intact.

After 5 days in the hospital, and one back surgery, I am now at home wearing a large custom-fit, thick, hard plastic-molded back brace. I have to wear it all the time except at night when I sleep. I use a walker to get around, but right now I am really only able to sit or lay most of the day and hang out with Gavin. James and my mom are doing great helping me with everything. I love them so much and am so blessed to have them both in my life. My back will have to remain immobilized in the brace for 12 weeks, and I will continue the physical therapy I started in the hospital during that time.

Since the accident, I have been grateful for so many things, especially that things did not turn out worse. I thank God so, so much that Gavin is okay. He was my hero that day, as he stayed by my side the entire time after my fall. He could have been hurt so badly if he had decided to go down the rest of the stairs himself, but he knew something bad had happened to his mommy, so he stayed and cuddled me until his daddy came. I thank God that he stayed in my arms when I took the brunt of the impact of the fall. I don’t know if I could live with myself if things were reversed and he was the one severely injured. We are also so extremely blessed that this all occurred at a time when James was home and not traveling for work. I don’t even want to think about how differently things could have played out had he not been there. So while I may not be the happiest camper for the next few months while recovering from a broken back, and less importantly a strained ankle, I am definitely aware that things could have been much worse. I am so thankful to God that we are all okay and will fully recover in time.

Gavin and James were my heroes last Sunday, and they are now my inspiration to recuperate and get better quickly. I absolutely love those two boys in my life so unbelievably much!! I am also so very thankful and lucky to have such a loving mom who was by my side within just hours of the actual accident. She flew in to Arizona from California the very next day to help us out with Gavin, and she is now staying with us at our house to assist us in my recovery.

I hope this story has helped explain a little of what has gone on this past week. I am still in quite a bit of pain and on a lot of pain killers and anti-nausea meds, but please email me if you’d like. I have a lot of free time right now to respond. I’m hoping in a few weeks I will be feeling a little better, and then I’ll get back to talking on the phone and returning calls to those of you who have called me.

(Note: A picture of me in my brace with my walker to come.)

Gavin’s 1st Haircut

April 11th, 2010 | Posted by chanin - the mom in Family - (5 Comments)

At 16 months, we finally decided Gavin was old enough and his hair was long enough for his very 1st haircut!  We researched the local hair salons and decided on Snip-its in Chandler, an entertaining and interactive fun place for kids to get their hair cut by real professionals.  Mommy didn’t want to attempt cutting Gavin’s hair in fear he’d end up looking like he cut his own hair.  We were a little afraid that Gavin wouldn’t cooperate at the salon, and he’d end up being sent home with only half of a new hair-do.  But to our surprise, Gavin was very good and only had a brief 30 second meltdown.

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Gavin’s hair was cut by Juan Carlos, a real perfectionist.  He made sure that Gavin was happy the whole time by enticing him with lollipops, animal crackers, bubbles, computer games and cartoons.

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Mommy and Daddy watched and instructed Juan Carlos, who made great efforts to please us.  We were super happy with the final result.  Gavin was given a toy and sticker for being a good boy, and Mommy and Daddy were given a lock of Gavin’s baby hair.  Gavin looks so adorable in his new hair-do.  Well, he always looks adorable to Mommy and Daddy, but now he looks extra handsome.  We hope you all agree.  Take a look at some of the pictures from Gavin’s very 1st haircut ever!

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Week by Week Development

June 11th, 2008 | Posted by chanin - the mom in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Hi it’s Chanin, or Mommy! Since we found out that we were expecting, I have been keeping an “old school” diary here at home. You know, the kind you write in with a pen using your hand muscles. However, because James has set up this really cool website, I have decided to start becoming high-tech and “type” a weekly log of our baby’s development. Well here goes my first post…

Week 17

This week our baby will have a big growth spurt. In addition, our baby will also start to plump up a bit. This new fat will be a source of energy and important for our baby’s metabolism. It will also help our baby to produce and retain body heat and pad its spine. Our fetus now measures up to 6.8 inches and weighs nearly 5 ounces!

Our little girl or guy has been working on two basic reflexes for a few weeks now: sucking and swallowing. Our baby has even began smiling and reacting to light. By the time our baby is born, it’ll have nearly all the reflexes that we do.

Our baby’s lungs are beginning to exhale amniotic fluid, and the circulatory and urinary systems are working. Hair on head, eyebrows and eyelashes are filling in.