Monthly Archives: August 2012

Witness Protection Program and Bullet Points


A.  We were sucked up into an alien space pod

B.  We were witness to an international drug cartel and were whisked away into witness protection

C.  We live so rural that we had to wait 7 weeks to get internet service at our new place in Montana

D.  I was tired and weary

Answer:  Well mostly C and a little of D

It has been three months since I’ve written.  I can hardly believe it has been so long.  I needed a total break but this was certainly longer than what I had envisioned.  So, with three months worth of life, I will attempt in this post to provide a succinct overview.

Most importantly, Allistaire is alive and well.  She has had three of her monthly blood tests and all her counts look good so far.  She is growing in height and weight, talking up a storm, running and jumping and being stubborn and painfully cute and scowling under her furrowed brow.

Here are the major events of the last 3 + months:

April 13th – Sten and Solveig moved to Montana and began living with Sten’s parents

April 19th – We put our house in Kent up for sale

May 2 – Allistaire completed her treatment for AML and was discharged from Seattle Children’s Hospital

May 13 – We had an offer on our home with a completed and approved home inspection

May 15 – Allistaire had her Double Hickman Catheter (aka tubies) removed.  Allistaire and I then got in the car within minutes of her surgery and drove to Bozeman to join Solveig and Sten in Montana

May 31 – Allistaire had a weird rash on her face.  Called Dr. Pollard, Allistaire’s attending doctor at Children’s, at 5pm Seattle time/6pm Bozeman time, she recommended Allistaire get into see the doctor the next morning. Called the medical group she had recommended and got an appointment with a doctor new to their practice the next morning.  Attended a Cancer Survivors event put on by Cancer Support Community of Montana

June 1 – Allistaire saw Dr. Angie Ostrowski at Medical Associates in Bozeman at 9am.  She did not think the rash was indicative of anything concerning but consulted with another older pediatrician and called Children’s to discuss with Allistaire’s doctors there.  I really like Dr. Ostrowski and decided to keep her as our local pediatrician

June 3 – We purchased a Karilian Bear Dog puppy we named Finn

June 4 – Ruby passed away

June 6 – Solveig, Allistaire, Finn and I drove back to our home in Kent, Washington

June 8 – Found out Meadow House in Bozeman where we were going to live, would be available for us to move in by the end of the month – massive house packing endeavors began

June 11 – Allistaire had her first check-up appointment at Seattle Children’s.

Hematocrit 37.5, ANC 1645 and Platelets 204

June 12 – Took our puppy Finn to the vet because he was strangely sluggish – thought maybe he swallowed a rock

June 14 – Took Finn to emergency vet because he wouldn’t walk and was in a lot of pain

June 16 – Picked Finn up from the fourth vet that week, $800 later and he was good to go – actually suffered from a severe infection from a probable puncture wound in his upper leg

June 22 – Sten flew in from Bozeman and we drove to Southern Oregon to visit with his Aunt Lucy

June 23 – Drove to P0rtland to visit friends Jeremy and Christy

June 26 – Arrived home and finished packing the house

June 27 – Picked up the massive U-Haul truck, packed the moving truck and Sten’s parent’s truck.  Got word that Citi Bank had officially approved the short sale of our house!

June 28 – Cleaned the house and were on our way to Moses Lake, WA by 4 pm

June 29 – Arrived in Bozeman that evening and ate dinner for the first time in our lovely Meadow House

June 30 – Sten’s family helped us unpack the truck and move into the house

July 2 – Enjoyed Livingston Rodeo with the family

July 10 – Allistaire’s second monthly blood test and first official visit in Bozeman.  When the nurse who was going to draw Allistaire’s blood read her name on the file, she turned to me and said that she has been praying for Allistaire for months.  The tears came quick as I once again was reminded of how many have loved us through all that has happened, even people whose names I have never known and whose faces I have never seen.  Dr. Ostrowski mentioned to me that she and Dr. Rebecca Gardner at Seattle Children’s were close friends  as fellow residents in Salt Lake.  Dr. Gardner is one of our dearest doctors even though we only had her in the beginning due to her maternity leave.  She is the doctor that communicated the news and details of Allistaire’s diagnosis with us.

Hematocrit 38, ANC 1170, Platelets 239

July 14 – Sten’s oldest brother, Peder, and our sister-in-law, Jess, have their second born son, Per (pronounced “pear”)

Mid July – Dr. Pollard called to ask if I would be willing to participate in a PBS special involving Mike Loken of Hematologics who was responsible for reading and interpreting Allistaire’s Flow Cytometry test results.  Dr. Pollard affirms that Allistaire’s blood counts look good and relays that Dr. Gardner at Children’s said that she would send her own children to Dr. Ostrowski.  I am amazed at God’s provision for Allistaire and us in Bozeman.

August 2 – Solveig’s 6th birthday that she and I spent celebrating together.

August 9 – My parents arrive in Bozeman for a much anticipated visit

August 10 – The sale of our home in Kent closes – we are freed!

August 12 – I wake mom and dad up to come out to the backyard and see the bear eating berries up behind the clothes line

August 14 – Sten alerts us that there is a big bull moose out by the garage.  Mom spies another bull moose four feet from the first.  The two  moose make their way up into the front yard, past the kitchen window and eventually walk right past the front door

August 15 – Mom and Dad head home

August 16 – I get my Montana Driver’s License and register to vote – I am officially a Montanan!

August 18 – We FINALLY get internet installed (satellite turned out to be our only option).  That evening we headed up Trail Creek to Stellablue’s house for a “we’re finally home and well” party.  We were overjoyed to see Andy, Andrea, Stellablue and little Soren in their own lovely log home in Montana and not in the hospital.

August 19 – Solveig, Allistaire and I drive to Seattle

August 20 & 21- Allistaire is filmed by PBS having her exam with Dr. Pollard.  I am interviewed regarding why we chose to have Allistaire participate in clinical studies and what we believe the benefits to be.  Mom took the girls home and I get to visit with so many people I love including Chris and his mom and girlfriend.  He was going in for blood counts in hopes he was ready to have his tubies out.  I saw Shannon with little Jaxon who has down syndrome and AML and is coming up on his 7th round of chemo.  I saw beloved Stefanie who I met when it all began and who sweetly helped me learn the ropes and her little man Mason who is looking so good.  I saw Taylor and her mom in passing and had the joy of having two hours with Paige and her now 5 month old son Isaac.  I sat for about 10 minutes with Sally and Mary Elizabeth in one of the infusion rooms getting caught up.  I saw Jenna, who is over 60 days post transplant but who was in a for a fever, and her mom Julie.  We got to see Abi and her mom Diane only briefly because Abi has been having such a very rough time and at that point was about two weeks post transplant.  I spent hours with beloved Heidi, mom of Sam, up at their house in Everett.

Hematocrit 39.5, ANC 1365, Platelets 207.

Dr. Pollard says that her blood counts look good and even though her platelets seem low to me she says that she could have her platelets at this level the rest of her life and be perfectly healthy.

August 22 – I hoped to visit with Diane, Abi’s mom, but Abi was brought to ICU that morning for trouble breathing.  I head to my parents house to spend the rest of the day with them and Solveig and Allistaire

August 23 – The girls and I head to my brother and sister-in-laws house with a stop at my friend Angela’s on the way

August 24 – My sister-in-law, Briana and niece Lucy, Solveig and Allistaire and I enjoy the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle

August 25 – The girls and I drive back to Bozeman.  I am so relieved to be home. I get word from Abi’s mom that she is on her fourth day in ICU but doing better.  She had to be put on dialysis and they pulled off 7 liters of fluid in 3 days resulting in her losing 22 pounds.  Pray that her new stem cells engraft soon and that she begin to get blood counts.

Here are a few of the views from our new home:

View from our deck the first evening in our new home in Montana

Yes I have cow pies splattered on my car now and drive over two cattle guards down our driveway

Sunset on the aspens

Evening thunder storms