Thursday, August 29, 2013

Capturing a moment

I didn't realize what I had caught in the picture above until someone mentioned it on Facebook.   Then I took a closer look. The embrace that daddy is giving his little girl says it all.  The look on his face, the hug for his little girl not not sure he is ok with letting her go but knowing that she was going to be just fine.  And G...right after this hug, she jumped from daddy's arms and was standing in line with all the other kids anxiously awaiting to enter her classroom.  I had a lump in my throat the whole morning while dropping her off but didn't want to cry (I didn't have my sunglasses on J).  When I took a look around, it was a delightful feeling to see all the other parents seeming to feel similar emotions; not because we were all on the verge of tears but because we were all a part of it...together.  I could see the emotion in Adam's eyes and he could hear it in my voice.  Our baby made it to kindergarden.  The thoughts that Gabriella wouldn't be here because she was in treatment or any where else makes it that much more emotional.  This feeling kicked in even more when I went on Facebook and saw a number of children who didn't make their first day of school because they were in the hospital or worse.  Maybe I should stay off Facebook on emotional days?

Today is one of the biggest milestones yet with the girls off to their new year.  I was torn between the feeling of letting my babies grow up and being so excited for them to attend school; just like every other kid.  Getting to see G walk through those kindergarden doors was like a right of passage.  After all we've been through and now to see G with her piers and just can't get any better than that.

After we dropped G off on day 1, we took Bridget to school.  She seemed a little lost as she went to her new setting in the blue room.  She had been there a few days but I think it all started to set in this week, with G being at a different school and her being in a new class.  Day 2 was even more upsetting for Bridgy when I dropped her off first.  It really hit for her when she saw G leave with me.  I felt so bad as I watched her cry at the window with teacher Sharon but I knew she would be ok.  Talk about mommy guilt!   I just wanted to go grab her and take her with me!  I've been giving it a lot of thought but now I'm looking at it from their little perspectives.  The world is a big place and when you're so small, it can seem even bigger.

For me, I've been a little lost too but I always know how to fix that with a little cleaning and a lot of organizing.  We just got home from our last day of our RV vacation to see Grandma and Grandpa.  And we are off this coming weekend to Camp Okizu for our family retreat.  It's the same one we went on last year right in the middle of radiation.  I think, and it's just a hunch, that we will have a much better time this year.  Adam and I are both really looking forward to it!  I'm not even unpacking the girls bags...just washing and organizing them for the coming weekend.  The last few nights have been spent sorting paperwork, packing lunches, putting laundry away and....again...organizing for the big month, bake sale, obstacle course, Bill's ride, my dad's 70th birthday, G's scans....ugg....G's scans.  She's gonna be just fine!  I know it!

Last day of summer.....

We enjoyed a fun filled day of Boardwalk, sunshine, little crowds, a great family dinner on the Wharf and watching the sea lions play.  Life is good!

My favorite part of growing up and going to the Santa Cruz Wharf.

Adam's new friend, G thinking "Omg, I don't wanna see"
and Bridget thinking, "What is going on here?"

Friday, August 16, 2013

Bake Sale 2013....We're looking for a few good bakers!!

Calling all good cookies........We're doing it again!!!


 As we did last year, we would love delicious beautiful baked goods to sell at our events.  The baked goods can be anything from: 
cookies (Chocolate chip, peanut butter, sugar, ginger, oatmeal, snickerdoodle, etc
cupcakes, (vanilla, chocolate, etc)
rice crispy treats, 
cake pops, 
breads (pumkin, zucchini, banana)
lemon bars, 
granola bars, 
Paleo treats, 
little pies in a jar,
jam in a jar,
gluten free treats, ...whatever your heart's desire to create!

Our DROP OFF of baked goods will be on Saturday, September 28th at Pacific Cookie Company at the Sash Mill from 12pm to 4pm.

Pre-Cookies and Cupcake orders will be available for pick up on SUNDAY (the day of the bake sale) at the Aptos location from 10am to 3pm and yes...we need bakers to bake Sassy Cakes and Cupcakes favorite recipes: 

Sassy Cakes and Cupcake's Recipe's              Pacific Cookie Company will be       
Will be sent again to those who would              providing these delicious flavors 
like to bake cupcakes!                                    for us once again!  

CUPCAKES $33/dozenCOOKIES $20/dozen
Sea Salted CaramelPeanut Butter
Chocolate Chip Cookie DoughLemon Drop
Oreo CookieChocolate Chip
Variety Pack

Presentation of the items is best done in small baggies tagged with a tag, sticker or distinct way to label your goods.  Please label the items if they contain nuts or any dietary specialties.
Platters are great as well!  Please label your platter with the items and we will keep them together.  
Baskets are also a great way to display goods.  Please label the basket with the items and we will also keep these together!  If you would like baskets and platters back at the end of the event, please write your name and phone # on the bottom.  

Whatever you can make, we can take!  Please indicate the amount you would like to bake in an email to us.

We would love some dedicated volunteers to help us fight pediatric cancer on the day of the event to SELL...SELL...SELL!!!  We have two shifts for Aptos, Capitola, and Scotts Valley: 
9:30am to 12:30pm OR
12:30 to 3:30pm. Let us know the time and place you would like to volunteer and we will put you in contact with your Team Captain!  
Watsonville will have different hours so please contact me if you would like to be a part of this event!  

We would love to have the local girl scouts help us again!  Please contact us if you would like your troop to be involved.  

If 100 people print out 2 bake sale flyers each and posted them at local businesses, think of all the awareness we could spread in September for childhood cancer!  If 100 people shared this email with 5 of their friends and posted on their Facebook page, think of how many more individuals we could reach!  (Please remember to take down the signs at the end of the event). and click on "Bake Sale"

Thank you for your endless support and for continuing the fight for these children!  

In hope, strength, and love,



We are again planning our 2nd annual Team G Cookies for Kids’ Cancer Bake Sale on September 29th, 2013 in Santa Cruz County to raise money for pediatric cancer research and to support Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and Team G Foundation.

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is a 501(c)3 nonprofit public charity raising money for pediatric cancer research through local bake sales.   It was founded by a very determined mother to help increase her young son’s odds in his fight against cancer. In late 2007, she had the idea to bake cookies to sell during the holidays. Her small idea became a huge movement with 96,000 cookies baked and sold during a three-week period with the help of more than 250 dedicated volunteers, raising more than $400,000. During that massive bake sale she realized people want to get involved and help, they just need a way to do so. So Cookies for Kids’ Cancer was created.
Team G Childhood Cancer Foundation is a nonprofit organization in the process of obtaining a 501(c)3 dedicated to supporting families battling pediatric cancer and funding new and innovative treatments to ultimately cure childhood cancer. Just a few months ago after a year of battling their 4 year-old daughter’s cancer, Kristin and Adam Cosner (and a dedicated board of advisors) launched Team G Foundation supporting all types of pediatric cancer at leading research institutions. Until we find a cure for childhood cancer, we are dedicated to supporting families fighting this disease with our "Hope Totes", our online resources, and inspiring stories of children fighting cancer.
If you are wondering why there is a need to raise money for pediatric cancer research, it might come as a surprise that pediatric cancer is the number one disease killer in the U.S. of children under the age of 18. In fact, it kills more children than asthma, AIDS, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis combined. Unfortunately, pediatric cancer receives a very small percentage of the National Cancer Institute’s $4.8 billion annual budget and almost no research and development dollars from pharmaceutical companies.
Last year, with the help of the community and individuals with a passion to make a difference, we raised over $20,000.  We have set this mark as our goal to beat this year! We hope you will help us reach our goal. Every dollar counts and every dollar makes a difference. Research funding has made a direct and measurable impact on the survival rates of pediatric cancer.
If children are our most precious resource, why wouldn’t we do everything in our power to keep them safe? It’s our responsibility and obligation to protect them and our future.
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. As the mother whose idea it was to create Cookies for Kids’ Cancer says, “If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes the world to fight pediatric cancer.” We’re in this fight because every child battling cancer deserves a fighting chance. We hope you too will join our efforts and be a good cookie.
Pre-orders will be taken for pick up at Surf City Coffee in Aptos on the day of the event, Sunday, September 13th!  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Meeting the COO/Calling 911

I realized that I've been posting a lot of updates on Facebook but not posting on the blog as much.  It's still really important for me to let you all know what's going on so I'm doing my best to schedule time for updates!  We have been so incredibly busy and trying to find our "balance".  I think we are tipping the scale the other way and making up for lost time.  We do have our rest days but we are having a great time "living it up".  The family time has been precious and I've been working hard to keep my phone tucked away.  I know I got in the habit of keeping my phone in immediate access just in case I got the fever/ED visit call.  It's definitely been a conscious effort to put it away for periods of time especially when the girls aren't with me.  But I'm still keeping it close by when they are at school or at a friends house.  I'm hoping this is just a mom thing and not a cancer mom thing.

G will be starting kindergarden school...16 days in fact (I'm so not ready for this) and we want to suck up every ounce of time before this happens.  Her hair is growing back beautifully and she has these wonderful blond tips.  Lately we've been getting so many compliments about how cute her "hair cut" is and I've been asked if I frost the tips.  Really?  It's actually amusing and if I'm in the mood, I let them know. The tips are actually blonde because of the affects of the chemotherapy.  It's slightly fried on the ends and I can only imagine what it did to her little body.  The healthy hair is growing in strong which is an indicator that she is healing and getting healthy.  Sometimes, I've been to tired to strike up another conversation of childhood cancer (I have plenty of these) but let Gabriella know that she can talk about it if she chooses.  At some point, I'm sure she will get tired of hearing about cancer and I've made sure to tell her it's ok to let me know.

I just can't believe that G will be starting school.  Did I mention that I'm not ready for this just yet?  I'm really not counting down either ;-).   Thinking back of all the time we spent in the hospital and not at school makes me feel like cancer robbed us of this innocent time.  But looking at the positives, we all got to bond and grow in incredible strength as a family and for that I am grateful.  I just wish it wasn't cancer that made us stronger.

As for Bridget, she is such a fun and amazing little person.  I'm just in awe of her extraordinary giving capabilities and her kindness.  Trust me, she definitely has her moments and she won't go unnoticed in this family.  When she wants to be heard, she WILL be heard.  When she's tired, she gets frustrated very easily especially when I can't understand what she's saying.  Mostly side effects of the "me" pacifier and years of talking with this thing in her mouth...but we are working on this.  Bridget just started gymnastics and is pretty excited about it.  When she walks in to her class, she is ready to go.  Not really worried or shy about it.  She just enjoys it.  It's quite a difference from my little shy Gabriella but that has changed dramatically since her journey.  Both girls are in swimming and doing amazing.  Bridgy has had a couple of moments when the teacher was turned the other way and she decided to brave the waters on her own.  I'm hoping to instill a healthy respect for the water.

Gabriella is also taking a Spanish class with her friend Campbell.  She wasn't totally sure about it at first but is so excited to be able to hang out with her buddy.  Both of them light up when they see each other.  It's really sweet.  And they are learning a good amount of Spanish! 

COO Meeting

So a couple of weeks ago we got the pleasure of meeting with the COO of Lucile Packard Anne McCune.  What an outstanding lady.  She had a lot of wonderful information to share with us about her extensive involvement as a facilitator of many programs to better the relationship between patient and hospital.  She willingly and compassionately listened to the trials of our journey through Packard.  It was a great meeting and ended with a vow to continue the support of patients and their families.
We also gave her a Team G Foundation brochure.  She ended up buying 12 "Hope Totes" for us to distribute in our general donation.

Calling 911

The other night shortly after our Team G board meeting, I got a panicked call from Adam telling me that G couldn't breathe.  G had a small cold which Bridget got as well but it didn't seem like anything to worry about.  Apparently she woke up from a dead sleep and was struggling to pass air through her lungs.  When Adam called me,  I could hear weird sounds and G going from a short cry to a gasp for air.  Never have I gotten from Aptos to Scotts Valley so quickly.  5 minutes later, Adam called again asking where I was.  For a moment I thought, what am I going to do when I got there.  I didn't have a magic medicine to make her instantly better.  So I said to Adam, "Call 911 and I'll be there in less than 5".  He said, "Oh yeah, good idea.  I'll call now".  It just goes to show that even after being a medic and working in the field, all bets are off when it comes to your own child.  You never feel so helpless in your life and out of control when your kid is hurting.  I got home before the fire department but they arrived shortly after.  Our friend Dennis along with the SVFD crew came in and started her on a breathing treatment.  She settled down and her airway opened up.  The neighbors even called and stopped by because they saw the fire engine with all the lights on in front of our house.  Always a sight for inquisition.  Ends up our neighbor Toby could hear G wheezing from their bedroom...and our houses aren't that close.  We made sure to keep an eye on her for a few hours as she slept.  She still sounded pretty coarse but her airway was open.  For a moment we were debating on taking her into the ED but after the couple of treatments from the fire department, we felt comfortable watching her and calling if G needed it.  Geez, as if we haven't had enough excitement and panic in our lives.  

The cold lingered on for about another week but it's on the very tale end...and she still has a ton of energy.  

Even though our treatments are over, this journey is far from over.   We're living out each amazing moment as they come and doing our best to plan for an incredible future.  

On we go!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Obstacle Course and Blood Drive September 15th, 2013

This is happening again!  Last year when we were in the trenches of our battle with Gabriella's cancer, our CrossFit family and friends were planning a fundraiser to help us with medical expenses in fighting G's cancer.  The local paper caught sight of our story and published it in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.  We were blown away at the outpour of support from our community and pledged from that moment we were going to continue to fight for other children and families facing this same battle once we got through ours.  Some of those funds raised for us that day were used for medical expenses.  Since we had pretty decent insurance coverage, we used a majority of those funds to start up Team G Foundation.  Little did the participants of that day's events know that they were contributing to the start of something amazing and helping build our foundation!  100% of the proceeds raised from the obstacle course will go directly to the Team G Foundation mission in helping families battling childhood cancer and raising funds for pediatric cancer research.  
If most of you know our story, you know that the article written was a special article that brought Tianna and her family to us.  After reading the paper, Tianna contacted our family to let us know she was fighting the same cancer.  She wanted to make sure we knew she was here to help Gabriella.  Our families are forever bonded to fight childhood cancer.

This year Teen Kitchen Project, lead by my friend and warrior mama Angela Farley, will be on site to sell wonderful healthy Paleo meals to those who are hungry for a delicious lunch!  All proceeds from the sale of Teen Kitchen's food will go to benefit the Teen Kitchen Project.  This is an amazing project founded by Angela which serves two purposes: to get teens involved in the community and to create healthy meals for those families and individuals dealing with a severe illness in their lives.  They help bring comfort and healthy nourishment in a time of turmoil for these families.  Let's show them some support!  
This year's blood drive will be held by Blood Centers of the Pacific from 12pm to 4pm.
  1. You can register to donate blood at:
  2. Click "Donate Blood" in the upper right hand corner.
  3. Enter the sponsor code TeamG (not case sensitive). 
  4. Schedule your time and come join in the fun!  That's it!
We are so thankful to Sam and Cliff of CrossFit West for the support in throwing this event!  These guys have been an incredible proponents in our foundation and have been huge supporters!  As part of our CrossFit Advisory Board, they are a definite asset to the foundation. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A child taken...but always remembered.

Today is the day just one year ago that we lost a precious child from this earth.  A year ago today is the day when Tianna took her last breath.  Her body parted from this world and her pain ended.  But her spirit and memory live on forever.

I remember the day we met Tianna and her family.  I remember it well.  It was just over a year ago when Gabriella was starting her grueling 6 weeks of every day radiation.  We were at Lucile Packard for a long day of radiation planning and Tianna was in the hospital being treated for a recent recurrence.  We had just connected a few weeks before when Tianna reached out wanting to help us when she heard about Gabriella having the same type of cancer.  I remember seeing her mom in the hallway and her little sister Leilani.  True to form, they had huge smiles on their faces but their eyes were filled with tears....tears of pain and tears of uncertainty.  I remember walking in to Tianna's room.  She was sitting up in the chair but was a little groggy from the pain meds she just received.  The first thing I noticed were her hands.  Her fingers were long and her hands were very thin.  I tried to recall seeing hands like these before and I realized they were the hands of someone close to the end of life.  Working in an ICU for the better half of my nursing gets familiar with these things.  And I thought to myself, "No, it couldn't be.  She was a teenager...and teenagers don't die of cancer.  They just don't."  Claudia and I talked about her new chemo regimen since they were treating her now as a recurrence.  I remember feeling so comfortable in that moment with Claudia and I felt like we both just knew....but just didn't want to accept it.  Before we left, I had an awful feeling that I wasn't going to see Tianna again and asked if I could hug her...and I did.

The whole ride home, I just thought to myself how unfair and upside down life was.  How could a child be sitting in a hospital bed waiting for life to end when she should be worrying about what to dress to wear, who she's going to the dance with and the pimple on her forehead that won't go away....not cancer.  Tears fell from my eyes.   Adam reassured me that the doctors were going to do everything they could to get her through this.  She was a child and they'll do whatever they can to save her.  Just a few days later, we found out that she had passed.  My heart ached and I just thought to myself, "No, no, could this be?  This isn't supposed to happen to a child."

If you want to see where Tianna got her courage from, just watch this video.  Her mom, Claudia continues to amaze me.

There will be a "Fight For Gold" Challenge in honor of Tianna located at CrossFit Central at 1:45pm today, August 6th put on by our comrades at Teen Kitchen Project.  The following day, August 7th is the scheduled Fight For Gold Angel Tianna Challenge.  We need to put an end to childhood cancer so children don't have to deal with this suffering and parents don't have to hold their child in their arms as they take their last breath.