He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
- Isaiah 40:29-31

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

To the moon and back

My mother has a saying. She has said it to me many, many times. It isn't something that she made up herself. Actually, it's pretty common. It's "boys will be boys." She likes to remind me often as if I don't know first hand. Heck, she only had one. I have three. Sorry Mom, I win. But today was one of those days that the boys were boys and I just had to go with it.

It was one of those days where the weather was too hot to go outside. For three boys with enough energy to power a small town, those elements do not mix. Noah and Adam were determined to destroy the house. I swear that there isn't one single room I can go into without tripping on toys. They wanted to wrestle and then cry about who hit who in the head, leg, arm, you name it. Joshua chimed in every once in a while as well. I tried the time outs, punish to your room, wait till Dad comes home and nothing worked. It was just a "boys will be boys" day.

So tonight we had take out for dinner. I took only Joshua to get a milkshake since he actually listened today. It was supposed to prove a point and teach Noah and Adam a lesson. I'm not sure if it worked. After the milkshake, I left Jeff to do the bedtime routine while I went to soak in a bubble bath with a good book. I enjoyed my time and when I felt safe, I got out and tucked the boys in. I said their prayers with them the same way I do every night. And I told them the same saying I say to them every day at least once a day. "I love you to the moon..." And they respond at the same time as I do with "and back."

So even after one of those days, I am thankful for those sweet words. It reminds me of how blessed I truly am and it helps to ease the stress of the day. Someone once told me that there is a special place in heaven for a mother of three boys. Lord, I sure hope so.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Momma is always right

He needs blood. I knew Joshua was looking pale and would have been completely surprised if he didn't. We'll go back to Hopkins on Thursday for a good helping of some red blood and maybe a side of platelets. His platelets are at 87 so we'll see what they decide to do. I was surprised however that his ANC was above 1500. Technically that is the magic number we have to get to so that we can stop giving him his nightly shots in the legs. Today his was at 1800. The decision was made to continue the shots until Thursday though because we don't believe he has hit his low point yet. That should be about now so we'll see if his ANC is around the same or has dipped down come Thursday. Let's just say Joshua is not happy about this decision.

And I have to say that the boys are having a typical little boy summer. Tonight, Adam fell asleep on the sofa at around 5:30 and he hasn't woken yet. He is bruised beyond belief and is covered in mosquito bites. Both Noah and Adam have that little tan where when they take their shorts off the little tush is white as can be and everything else is tan. That is just the cutest sight. A Mom's image of summer. I swear I am going to get a picture and pack it away for those future girlfriends.

Even though the boys are enjoying summer, I am looking forward to fall. Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the cooler weather and the back in school routine. This year Noah will start Pre-K. He'll go 5 half days and I plan to work with the other two during that time since we had to withdraw them from the nursery program we had planned to send them to. I am also planning on potty training boot camp once again. Both Adam and Joshua are ready they just don't want to do it. They REALLY want to go to school so I think that when we drop Noah off and they can't go that they will get on board. I keep telling them that in order to go to school they have to go on the potty. We'll see how it all goes. Wish us luck!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Just to make you smile...

This was such a rare moment. I had to share.

Kung Fu, Dinner, and a Power Outage

This pretty much sums up the weekend. The boys had a great time enjoying the outdoors on Saturday. Bud and Bebe were visiting and I am not sure who wore each other out more. The boys were all exhausted by the time bed time rolled around. Mommy and Daddy were as equally exhausted.

By the time Sunday rolled around I decided that we needed to get out of the house. Having a child with cancer pretty much limits what you can do. Sometimes I feel as though we are on house arrest. We do our best to make the most of it but these four walls can drive you insane after spending weeks on end looking at them. Besides, I know that his winter we will be stuck in even more. So, I suggested that we go so Kung Fu Panda. The thought was that since the movie had been out since the beginning of June, there wouldn't be a lot of people going to see it. We'd go, eat popcorn, laugh a little, and escape the heat of the day for a while.

The plan actually worked. Okay, so about 2/3 of the way through the movie Joshua started screaming that he wanted to "go home," and Adam was becoming squirmy but we did make it to the end. There was popcorn and sodas and a limited number of people. No one asked to go to the potty during the movie and we made it in and out in record time. Actually, it started to pour down raining just as we were getting out of the movie so we did have to get out in record time but all the same it was a fun family adventure. Of course the boys have picked up a few kung fu moves and have decided to practice on each other. Still don't know if kung fu was the right movie to see.

Then, we got home and the most wonderful dinner delivered to our door by our friends Keith and Kathy. It was so nice not to have to think about what to make and just sit down and enjoy. Thanks guys for feeding our gang!

During dinner though we were surprised by an unexpected power outage. Now by this time the storm has beeb passed by four about three hours. The sky is sunny and bright. The house is dark. Good thing dinner was already cooked and we only had to heat up garlic bread on the grill. I would have been completly upset if my already prepared, smelling delicious dinner was half cooked and we lost power. But, we had a nice dinner and then decided we needed a walk. One because what else is there to do when the power is out and two, because we probably gained five pounds from dinner. The boys get to ride in the stoller and Jeff and I get a workout.

So the power didn't return until about 11 pm. By this time we've all gone to bed. Joshua spent the good part of the night crying and complaining that we wouldn't turn the tv on. All three boys enjoyed playing with the flash lights. Noah was convinced that we were going camping. Jeff and I had to give Joshua his nightly shot whild Noah held the flashlight for us. We joked about how much we rely on electricity and what people did before.

It's funny but for once we had a "normal" weekend. There were no fevers (thank God) and we were able to enjoy some time together. My hope is that this next round of chemo goes better then I am expecting. I hope that we are able to enjoy some more weekends like this one. Oh, with a little less kung Fu and a little more power though.

Friday, July 25, 2008


In case you haven't heard, Randy Pausch died today. This man is none other than an inspiration. I can't quite tell his story as well as he can, so you NEED to check out what he is most famous for. It's called "The Last Lecture" and it's how we should all live our lives. I first watched Randy's lecture months ago and it really moved me. I hope it inspires you as well.

I finally got a chance to sit down and watch something other than Dora, Backyardigans or Max and Ruby last night. I watched the new show Hopkins. If you haven't seen the show it's a real life hospital drama about the doctors and patients of Johns Hopkins, aka our home away from home. What amazed me was not the story of the doctors or even the patients. I was amazed at how I could tell the hallways, operating rooms, anesthesiologists (yes, Joshua has had some that were in the OR during the episode), and doctors. It is unreal how your perspective changes with cancer. I didn't watch the show like most people.would have or do. I watched to see if I knew the rooms and doctors. The sad part is that I knew a lot.

And since I have titled this post inspiration I guess I should talk about mine. The boys are doing great. The energy level is constatly stuck in overdrive. I'm not complaining since I know things could be a lot worse. Yesterday I did some organizing and rearranging of their rooms. Noah was very excited. Thanks to Kelly and Nick for the new picture. Noah thinks it's "super cool." The cleaning was an effort to get into all the cracks that the boys seems to hide items in. I am amazed at how many juice boxes, goldfish and puzzle pieces you can find under a bed. Why do boys always want to hide things. They put everything under the sofa, under pillows, under rugs. Is this just a boy thing or do girls do it to? And will they outgrow it? I live in fear that I won't find that one hidden apple one day. I guess that thought gives me the inspiration I need to constantly be cleaning!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

We're Home

And it's a good thing. Joshua was so ready to bust out of the hospital. Mommy was ready as well. He recieved 5 doses of chemo in the three days we were there so he's pumped up for another two weeks. Now we do the no fever dance and return to clinic for a count check on Tuesday.

Adam and Noah were happy to see Joshua and they resumed their tearing apart the house with their boyness in record time. I can't tell you how many times I've used the words "stop or someone is going to get hurt" in the last 12 hours. Of course they don't stop and someone always gets hurt. Boys...

And finally, it's a good thing we're home because Jeff has made us famous. He's made the local newspaper for the second time in months. The first time was back in June when he was asked at Relay for Life what his vacation plans for the summer were. They took a mug shot and that following Wednesday, big as life, there he was. Then, about two weeks ago we had an unwanted nighttime visitor. Jeff had left his truck unlocked and it seems as though someone took it upon themselves to help themselves to his iPod. They also visited our neighbor and took her iPod as well as camera. Jeff and Kelly both filed police reports and wouldn't you know it, they made the paper. In the "News in Brief" section, they have a little blurb about the theft. They not only post Jeff and Kelly's full name, they print our address and the fact that his truck was unlocked. Great. Guess that Brinks security system may come in handy after all.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

All of this blogging and page designing is new to me. I am amazed that I have gotten this far but I am learning. Most of it is trial and error. Okay so mostly error but at least the page is up and working.

I've added an e-mail subscription link to the right for all of you that have told me you miss the daily reminders to check out the World of Czorapinski. Hope this helps! If there is any other element that you would like to see let me know and I'll do my best to get it on here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

More Fun

Nurses come in to give Joshua chemo wearing white gowns and wearing gloves. They never handle it any other way. Then, they pump it into my son. Sounds good. I'm telling you though there has got to be something extra in it this time around. Joshua has been a talking, energetic little guy today. He has helped his nurses take his temp, blood pressure and given them high fives. He wasn't too thrilled that we had to start the eye drops again but bounced right back. It amazes me that he can be so happy while large jugs of chemo are going straight into his veins and he is tied to a hospital bed.

Obviously his counts were good today. His ANC was 1380 and platelets were over 500. Well into the start range. We're checked into Hotel Hopkins for the next two nights and hopefully will be discharged by early Wednesday afternoon. We've worked our way through two of the DVD's I've brought from home so I only have three left as well as the leapster games to get us through. If we exhaust all of those I can resort to song and dance but it's not a pretty picture. He has learned to use the buttons on the bed so that has kept him busy for a good while today. He seems to think it's a ton of fun to go up and down and up and down.

Meanwhile, Noah and Adam are having fun at Camp Nonna and Pappy. It'll take me a week to undo all of that "fun" when they get home. They have a great time none the less and don't miss Jeff or I a bit. It's nice to know they don't mind us going off. As a matter of a fact this morning as I was getting Joshua into the car, they were standing on the front step with suitcases in hand. I tried to hand out a few hugs and kisses but instead I got the "get outta here Mom we've got places to go" look. Such a nice feeling.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Smile and say Cheese!

I would love to have a picture of my three boys. You know, one of those professional, everyone smiling, wall portraits. I have always dreamed of having one of those. I have one of the three of them from when Noah was 24 months and the twins were 4 months old. It's a beautiful photo. I just wish I had a recent one. Today was going to be the day.

Well, that was my plan. I prepped the boys. I talked about the camera lady and what funny words we were going to say. Donkey, turkey, and puppy, were the words of choice. The boys laughed and practiced. Then we walked into Sears.

Joshua promptly stated that he would not be a willing participant in this plan. Now, he started crying, screaming "not me," and throwing what I like to call a three year old fit. We can stick needles in his legs and chest. We can give him a ton of medicines each night. We can tie him down to a hospital bed for days on end, but don't EVER try to take a professional photo. We are horrible people.

So, I got individual pictures of Noah and Adam. Not the plan but I'll take what I can get. Now the plan is to buy myself some backdrops and a new camera. I'll get that group shot one way or another!

Oh, and for those of you that have contacted me and are having trouble posting comments, just click on the comments button for the post. Then choose the Name/URL button and just write your name. We'll be back in the hospital starting tomorrow for three days worth of chemo. Please keep Joshua in your prayers as it's another hefty dose.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Fevers are Back...

But this time they reside with Noah. Last night he started to run a fever. I didn't think too much of it, gave him some tylenol and went to bed. This morning he seemed fine but around noon his fever was back. As luck would have it, I had already had a well child visit scheduled for Adam so I took Noah along and "Dr. Carol" squeezed him in for me. Turns out the poor child has a sore throat as well as an ear infection. Wonderful. More meds or the medicine cabinet. I swear our family is paying for our doctor's children's college education.

Adam's well visit went great. He is average for height which I find hard to believe because he seems so tall, and he is only in the 5th percentile for weight. That's remained constant for him so nothing to worry about. He's just a skinny kid. Doesn't take after his momma! The boys are exempt from any of the shots they need since Joshua can not be around any live viruses. I had hoped that the delay in immunizations wouldn't effect Noah but since Joshua relapsed it will. All the shots you need to start school will have to be put on hold for him as well as the twins until Joshua is out of treatment a good 6 months to a year.

I hope everyone's summer is going well and that you are enjoying some family time. I can't believe it is already the middle of July. I have to be honest though and say that I am looking forward to fall. It's my favorite season and always seems to put us back into routine. I live for routine. It's that type A personality thing.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Difference of a Few Days

So Joshua's white blood cell count was only 190 this past Thursday. Today it was over 187,000. It's amazing how his little body can recover. I only wish my body would recover that fast. His platelets are still on the low side but he is making them himself and they should increase over the next few days. Just in time for a chemo admission on Monday where we'll knock everything out of him again. He is just happy that we didn't have to do the "pokies" in the legs tonight. I hate to tell him that we'll start them up again next Thursday.

Adam and Noah are once again having a sleep over. I have found that it keeps the boys out of our bed so they get no arguements from me. Hey if they want to sleep on the floor every night until the teenage years, I'm fine with it. Joshua on the other hand figured things out as soon as I turned off the lights and promply headed toward Mommy and Daddy's bed. Oh well.

Check out the new slideshow to the right. Jeff had to give me a little help since all this blog stuff, or should I say technology, is out of my scope of understanding. I just want to tell it what to do and have it done. Jeff say's technology doesn't work that way. No wonder I don't like it! This site is a work in progress but I hope to keep adding improvments. Also, I put a link to get updates to the right as well. At least I think that's what it's supposed to do...

Monday, July 14, 2008

What's in a name?

There is an ongoing conversation in our house. It took forever for Noah to learn to say Czorapinski. For those of you that don't know us personaly, you pronounce it Zora-pin-ski. He was Noah Pinski for the longest time. Adam and Joshua even know him as Noah Czorapinski on occassion. But ask Adam if he is Adam Czorapinski or Adam Pinski even and you will get a NO. He is Adam, the boy.

Tonight the boys were putting away their shoes. I have three bins by the front door and each is labeled with one of their names. Adam was reading the labels tonight. We got a Noah Czorapinski, finally an Adam Czorapinski, but just a Joshua. When I asked if it was Joshua Czorapinki he said, "No. Just Joshua." Then, Joshua decides to have a conversation and explain that he is a Czorapinski too. He said "I am Joshua Czorapinski. I am not Joshua, the boy!" This could go on for years.

Now try to ask Adam and Joshua if they are twins. You'll get an even bigger laugh out of that one.

Oh, and was that enough Czorapinski's for you? :-)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Say No to Fevers

Last night around 2 am Joshua decided to start with one of his neutropenic fevers. 100.4 is the magic number that sends us to the hospital. He hoovered around that number for most of the night but never hit it. I think God was smiling on us because I was soooo tired. Today he seems to be fine so hopefully we are past the low point.

Adam on the other hand is still struggling with his allergies. I couldn't figure out why his allergies were acting up. Then it struck me. The last time I went to the pharmacy they didn't have the brand name Zyrtec. So I went with the generic because they always say that is the same. Well, I guess not. It usually takes a week to get any of that med into or out of his system. It's been about a week of generic Zyrtec. You see where I'm going with this right? Benedryl to the rescue.

And Noah is a happy little guy. We went out and bought his first real soccer ball and soccer cleats. He's walking on air right about now and can't wait for soccer to start.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The After Glow

I was a proud momma. Yes, I had the camera and was snapping away. Joshua recieved an award and got to ring the bell as he crossed the finish line. No, he wasn't running a relay or graduating from kindergarten. He was just finishing a little radiation therapy. It's what I like to call kicking some leukemia butt.

Twelve treatments. Twelve times we had to take Joshua into a room, pump chemicals into him to make him fall asleep and then send radiation into his boy parts. These past two weeks we took away his ability to father children and produce hormones that will make him a man and yet we gave him his life back. I know we have two years of chemo to go. But I look at the situation as the cancer cells came back in his testies and that is where we were going to kick them out forever. The chemo in my mind is just going to make sure they don't come back and to get any strays. Overall, Joshua completed this phase with the same attitude and endurance that he always does. He is currently laying on top of Adam and wrestling with him. Gotta love that child. Here's to getting through all the upcoming chemo with that same attitude.

As far as counts, Joshua's are still really low. We are praying that we can escape the dreaded fever. I would love to be able to spend some time at home with the boys this weekend. Adam seems to have caught a cold or is having a battle with his allergies yet again. Hard to tell. Noah is passed out on the sofa as he has had some very busy days in the hot summer sun. I'm looking forward to September when we can hopefully get all three boys on some sort of a schedule. Even though our schedule is always changing and subject to change, I like to keep the boys as close to routine as possible. It helps with the oh so pleasant attitudes.

Well, gotta finish this post. I hear the twins locking themselves in the bathroom. Bad idea...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Little Blood Never Hurt Anyone

Joshua recieved his blood and platelets today. His platelet count was down to 11 so he was in great need of some of those. He very well may need more of them by the end of the weekend. We have another appointment scheduled for Tuesday for a count check to see how he is doing. We are waiting for his ANC to get back to 1500 before we can stop giving him the GCSF shots in his legs. He knows exactly what's coming every night. He is finally at the age where he can tell us his thoughts. His comments are usually, "I don't want an ouchie" or "It's gonna hurt." Breaks our hearts.

Adam and Noah got to spend the day swimming and being outside. They are both so exhausted by the end of the day that they usually crash and crash hard. Sort of like Jeff and I do but we at least try to climb into bed first. Noah's soccer coach called today and he will soon be starting practice. He is really excited. Jeff and I are really excited for him as well. I can't wait to watch his first game. Of course, Adam will be doing his best to get out there as well and won't understand why he can't play. The twins love to kick the ball around too and are actually really good at it. Look out world when all three Czorapinski boys get on to the field.

A New Start

It was time. I have been thinking of designing a new site for Joshua for a while now. While I like certain elements of Carepages, I wanted to expand and create a site to not only talk about Joshua and his treatment, but a site to give you a glipse into our lives. Cancer touches not only the person who has the disease. It touches the entire family. Noah and Adam deserve as much attention and although I know that most posts will be about Joshua, his treatment and what is going on with him, I hope to include his brothers as well. Oh, and on ocassion talk about Jeff and I. The fact is that our lives revolve around cancer and treatment. I want the world to know what cancer does and how we are fighting back. I also want you to know that we aren't letting cancer stop us from living.

So why Broccoli 4 Breakfast? Well, for a number of reasons. To start, it fits us perfectly. Broccoli for breakfast is not normal. We are not normal. No more explaination needed. Also, broccoli is Joshua's food of choice while going through chemo treatments. I have no idea why. It just is. Broccoli is the only veggie that all three of my boys will eat. Crazy I know, but true.

And finally, some days you just feel like you had broccoli for breakfast. You know how it can just be one of those days. We have a lot of those days.I hope you all enjoy the new site. It is a work in progess. Feel free to post away and tell us what you think.