Tag Archives: victoria

A Happy Update

Victoria at 15, Photo by Carmela Rose (awesome BFF)

Victoria at 15, Photo by Carmela Rose (awesome BFF)

I just had to pop in for a minute and report a happy little update on Victoria, who had her 18 month recheck this week with her oncologist/surgeon.

He says there is absolutely no sign of the cancer recurring and he is 99% sure that she is cancer-free.  He’ll continue to monitor her, but he says he feels really positive about her prognosis.

Now that’s pretty magical news, I tell ya.  :)

 

 

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A Little Update

Thank you for all your kind words about Victoria.  It’s meant a lot to our family.

I thought I’d post a little update on how she’s doing but I’m not sure I ever posted much information to begin with so here’s a super short recap:

Victoria had surgery on May 2nd to remove a lump that had been below her ear for over a year.  A doctor and specialist had told us that it was “nothing” but we finally pushed for it to be removed and another doctor agreed it was best since it was growing larger.  The surgery was a parotidectomy, since the lump was sitting on top of her parotid (salivary) gland. 

She had a difficult recovery, with a lot of pain and pretty severe swelling on the side of her face.  At her two week recheck, the doctor informed us that a biopsy had revealed a rare type of cancer of the parotid gland instead of the benign cyst he was expecting.  He said he was optimistic that it had all been removed, though. 

Last week, we went to an oncologist who specializes in cancers of the ear, nose and throat who told us that the surgeon had removed the cyst in a way that was dangerous since he hadn’t known it was cancerous (basically, you want to take extra all around and “ink” it to help determine if there is more anywhere and be sure you got it all).  She also palpitated the site to see how Victoria was healing. 

Within about an hour of the appointment, Victoria was in a lot of pain and by that evening she was in excruciating pain, sobbing and shaking with a high fever.  We rushed her to the emergency room, where they gave her large doses of pain medicines and IV fluids to no relief.  She spent the night in the hospital and in the morning we rushed her back to Sioux Falls to the oncologist’s office.  Victoria’s oncologist was now in Aruba, so another specialist saw her and immediately admitted her to the pediatric ward of the local hospital.  She had a severe infection where she’d had the surgery (it’s likely the infected area burst and spread during the palpitations the day before).  They did emergency surgery that night to deal with the infection, and she was released from the hospital on Sunday.

The good news is that she’s healing very well from this surgery and she’s in much less pain.  She had her stitches removed yesterday and the surgeon told us he looked at the pathology report from the initial surgery and the cancer does seem to have been removed well (there were clear margins all around, meaning that the extra that they want was there).  She will have a special type of CT scan in three months to look for more cancer.

Victoria is still on antibiotics and pain medication, but she’s getting back to her usual self.  She’s pretty weak and things like chewing still cause her pain, but her spirits are much better.

(If you’d like to send her a card or pick-me-up, you can at:  Victoria Bayer, PO Box 304, Westbrook MN 56183)

The cancer is a very rare type and it tends to be very slow growing, which is good news.  Victoria’s surgeon has another young patient who had the same type of parotid cancer and has been doing well for two years.  We’re optimistic right now about the cancer, the surgery, the infection and her medical team.

Meanwhile, every other member of our family has been sick this month too.  We’ve had coughs, colds, flus, an eye infection, a respiratory infection, fevers, stomach pains, allergies, sore throats, headaches, lost voices and general exhaustion.  We all finally seem to be getting better now that the worst of the crises are over.  We have high hopes for June!

I’ll be back soon.  Thanks again for all your sweet comments, thoughts, prayers, letters and words of support.  :)

~Alicia

 

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A Smallish Break

Some of you may know that our daughter Victoria was back in the hospital this week.  She had a couple of very scary days with a lot of pain and another surgery, but she’s back home again now.  We are in limbo with her cancer diagnosis (the latest news is now cautiously optimistic), but her most urgent medical needs have all been met and we’re getting her the best care we can.

This has been a rough month.

Right now I’m focusing all of my energies on taking care of my kiddos and getting our lives back in healthy, happy places all around.

I’ll be checking in off and on, but I’m taking a smallish break from A Magical Childhood while focusing on family.

I’ll be back soon.

Kiss your babies, count your blessings, and don’t forget to add a little magic to the day.

~Alicia

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No Scowling!

I love this picture that Victoria took!

She calls it “No Scowling” even though it was really meant as a notice about not skateboarding.

photo by Victoria Bayer

I think I may print it and frame it as a little reminder for all of us!   :)

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A Little Picture and Poem by Victoria

Presents have boxes
Presents have bows
You won’t get a present
If you bite my toes

 

Happy Thursday!


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Crazy Hat Girl

Victoria has been in the Wilder Pageant for 6 years now.  Every summer, she dresses up in an old fashioned dress, pinafore, braids and bonnet, and helps reenact life from the time when the Ingalls Family lived nearby.

Until this year.

This year, she is wearing an old fashioned dress, pinafore, braids and… this hat.

She wasn’t supposed to.  Her dad brought it as a possible costume change since he plays two characters, and she seized it and wore it for fun during dress rehearsal.  The director told her to go ahead and wear it, much to her delight.

This came as a surprise to many of the other bonnet-clad girls, who repeatedly asked her if she was really going to wear that hat.  She would tell them yes, sometimes they’d give her a look, and that would be the end of it.

Except for one girl.  This girl (whom I’ll call Pageant Girl) just could not get over the fact that Victoria was really, truly going to wear that hat in the Wilder Pageant.  She asked Victoria about it repeatedly.

The conversations went like this…

Pageant girl:  You’re not really gonna wear that hat, are you?

Victoria:  Yes

Pageant girl:  But you can’t wear that hat!

Victoria:  But the director said I could.

and later…

Pageant girl:  You’re not really wearing that hat though, are you?

Then the next day, after the first performance, when Victoria did in fact wear the hat…

Pageant girl:  Why are you wearing that hat?

Victoria:  Because the director told me to.

and later…

Pageant girl:  Why are you wearing that hat?

Victoria:  Because I want to.

and later…

Pageant girl:  Why are you wearing that hat?

Victoria:  Because it’s so awesome.

Pageant girl:  But it’s not awesome!  It’s weird!  And it doesn’t look good on you!

Victoria says, “We were next to The Bench of Teenagers and they all stood up and said things like It’s okay and It’s a cool hat and Hey, she looks fine.”

But still, later on…

Pageant girl:  That hat looks so weird.

Victoria:  Thanks.

Pageant girl:  I feel sorry for you, because there’s no way I’d wear that hat!

Victoria:  (Jumping onto a bench)  I feel sorry for you because you’re not daring enough to!

I have grown to love that crazy hat — and my kid for wearing it.  :)


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Opening Night

littlehouse

Some of you may know that we live near Walnut Grove.  Yep, that Walnut Grove.  Some of you may also know that my husband and daughters have been acting in Walnut Grove’s Wilder Pageant for 6 years now.

Every summer, June evenings are consumed with rehearsals for Anna, Victoria and Daryl.  Then July comes and weekends are consumed with the performances.

Tonight is opening night.  It is just past dark, so the show just began.  The grassy hillside near Plum Creek will be crowded with hundreds, sometimes well over a thousand people, some in reserved seats and others in folding chairs and on blankets.  Children will laugh and chase each other on the hills until the music starts and they excitedly catch sight of a horse drawn wagon off in the distance behind the trees.

Then “Older Laura” will come out and start to tell her story, about how it is that the Ingalls Family arrived in this little town.  And for nearly two hours, families will go back in time as they watch dances, schoolroom lessons, a grasshopper plague, a raging fire, a church’s construction, a girl’s blindness, comedy, tragedy and more.

The boys and I went Wednesday for dress rehearsal and got to see this year’s show.  I always choke up at certain scenes, and some just make me smile.  I took a billion pictures, too.

Here’s a few images from the banks of Plum Creek…

Backstage…

Almost time…

And it begins…

Break a leg, my sweeties.

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Beauty in Parking Lots

Victoria has a new (to her) camera and has been itching to go to a greenhouse with it.  The other day she saw one in the parking lot of the grocery store and she ducked in for 10 minutes of snapping while I picked up goodies for lunch.

My sweetie came back a few minutes later with a memory card full of fabulous photos.  She gave me permission to share some here…

Aren’t they wonderful?

She has a photograph in this month’s issue of New Moon Girls magazine, too.

If you haven’t introduced your kids to photography, I highly recommend it.  Even inexpensive digital cameras can do some pretty amazing things these days.   Jack and Anna also love to take photographs, and I love to see their pictures when we download them later.

Victoria  has decided that she wants to be a freelance photographer and children’s book editor (and adopt 8 daughters and live on a farm near the ocean!).  I think she’s off to a good start.  :)

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A Visit to Antarctica

Okay, it wasn’t really Antarctica, but it sure seemed like it!

Sometimes you need a little sunshine, a change of scenery and a delightful child or two to put your insides right again.

I was feeling pretty horrible the other day because of the recent child abuse tragedy. I wrote articles and researched more than I felt I could bear and then I hist post for the last time of the afternoon and asked the kids who wanted to go on a walk with me.

Two fabulous girls said yes and off we went.

Anna brought a walking stick that she collected at Lake Superior last fall. During the whole trip, she kept a running dialog about its magical properties and an imaginary world she made up as we went.

It drove Victoria crazy.

Finally, we got to the end of the world. Or the end of the street, anyway, which ends in a cornfield. It also happens to be where the snowplows have pushed all the nearby snow, creating a pretty cool place!

Anna used her trusty stick to climb the side of it and triumphantly surveyed her domain.

Victoria is never one to take the easy way, so she decided to run up the side of it.

There was a lot of falling down.

She even got this close.  It’s very hard to grab onto snow!

Then finally, triumph!

Sort of.

Once the girls were finally on solid ground, they talked me into climbing up and joining them.  What another world it was!  The girls raced and ran and explored and we had a blast.

(See how the girls are standing right on top of the snow?  It is actually pretty deep but they are light on their feet and didn’t usually sink in, unlike their mama! Note to self:  eat less chocolate!)

Then we climbed back over and slid down into the real world again.  Even me.

I believe we have to do all we can to make the world a better place.  But I also believe we have to play and imagine and take time out to go explore Antarctica sometimes.

I also believe in lots of hot cocoa.

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Lessons From Victoria

Victoria is 11 but sometimes I forget she’s not 17 or so.  Or maybe 34.  Victoria was one of those babies that people always said had an old soul.

Look!  At one day old, she was already deep in thought.

Over the years, we haven’t parented Victoria (or any of the kids) in a strictly mainstream way.  I’ve never been that big of a fan of mainstream things, and when it came to parenting I preferred to follow my heart.  I also followed the advice of lots of other mothers I admired and read an awful lot of books, but I picked books that followed my heart too.

Along the way, I got a lot of advice that I didn’t ask for, and I pretty much ignored every bit.

Somehow, despite my parenting all wrong as far as at least a few relatives were concerned, she completely skipped any terrible two’s, did learn to fall asleep in her own bed, did not in fact test her boundaries and has pretty much been a terrific kid every day of her life.

Best of all, I thoroughly enjoy being her mother.  We sit and have long talks.  We teach each other things (she’s already way better than I am at anything computer related).  We crack jokes.  She reads my blogs and asks my advice.

And yes, I give her chores and math problems (we homeschool) and have some rules that she’s not entirely fond of, but she has a say in all of that too and she doesn’t seem to mind any of it too terribly (other than the math problems).

Tonight we sat and read through an heirloom seed catalog from 2005 together.  We read some of the cool stories of the plant varieties and I talked about what qualities to look for in plants for our area and we made plans for summer gardens.

Almost every night, we have talks like that.  I love them.

People tell you all the time that you should parent this way or that way or some dire thing will happen.  People care an awful lot about how other people parent, I have to say.

I think the biggest parenting lesson I learned from Victoria is that there’s a direct correlation between how much time you spend just hanging out and enjoying your child, and how great your child will turn out.  Not just being around each other, but really talking and connecting.

And that it’s always a good idea to follow your heart.

Or it could be that she just has a great head on her shoulder.  ;)

And yes, I thoroughly enjoy the other 3 children too, but that’s another post for another day (and I don’t have pictures of them with snowball heads on their shoulders).

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