Terrariums, Nature, clay, & Chemo. Oh my!

June has arrived with a hot roar.  Florida temperatures are soaring into the 90s and the end of the school year is here!
It has been quite the journey this school year and the adventure continues.

Aaron is doing fabulous at Babson Park Elementary.  This coming week is their final 3.5 days and it's packed with fun for the students, from a School Fair to a Fairy Tale Bowl.  He's also scheduled to attend 4 weeks [4 days a week], a 3rd grade enrichment program at the school.  It's a half day program and will begin introducing him to the third grade. 

David has pretty much wrapped up his first official homeschool term.  He began at the end of April.  The 2016-17 academic year will be his first full year homeschool.
He's excited about the coming year as his textbooks have begun arriving.  He was especially excited when his National Geographic Earth Science book arrived! 

The biggest reason, as you all know, to homeschool is due to his health.  His ITP has been relentless and thus far has responded very little to the 3 different treatment plans he's undergone.
So now we dive into the more heavy duty treatment and pray for at least short term remission.  |

Monday, June 6th he will begin a 4 week round of a chemotherapy drug called Rituximab.  It brings response and often short term remission [about a year], in about 50% of it's recipients. 

His platelet count again hit critical level this past week and we found ourselves back at Nemours for an overnight stay and observation.  They debated whether to do a short term treatment, but his platelets at least held steady and we were scheduled for Monday for the chemo.
The wonderful thing is that Nemours is an amazing hospital for children.  I don't know how we would have done it without them.  They have made this whole journey "fun" for David making sure he understood what is going on and entertaining him while he is there.

This link tells a little more about the treatment he will be recieving.  While it is of course good in one aspect, it will be trying in another.  His immune system will be more suppressed than usual.  And as we know, he's already not the best at fighting off infection.
So per the doctor's orders, we have taken steps to make sure he is rarely around large crowds, and those that enter our home sanitize their hands upon entering.  It will take 2-6 months for his body to begin replacing the B & T cells that are destroyed during the chemo.  And about 11 months for it to be back to "normal".

Rituximab, a chemotherapy drug.

Click the link to read more about Rituximab.

To our family's great surprise and thankfulness, a friend of ours  [Jim Holton] created a Go Fund Me page.  We have been extremely blessed and the sweet gifts and donations will help ease the burden during this trying time.  For each of the infusions, David and I will be staying in a hotel close to the hospital just in case we need to go back [we are over an hour away if we go home] and most of the serious side effects happen within the first 24 hours. 
It will also be good for David as we can go just minutes down the road and he can rest right away. 

Help the Gouge Family fight ITP

Click the link above to read more about the campaign for David!

So back to the end of David's school year!  We had a great week of exploring nature [Thank you Bok Tower Gardens!], to eating 2 terrariums where we can watch a small eco system develop, to creating with salt dough! 

Another thing David has really been into is "old timey phones".  He constructed this old box phone [fashioned after the crank phones], and also made a candle stick phone.  He plays with them all the time!
I found a vintage replica [non working] candlestick phone on Amazon and would love to get it for him for his birthday if we can. 

And lastly, to keep the boys spry this summer, I have created our schedule.  Now I realize with David's June chemo schedule it may be thrown off a bit, but it's a good guideline and will encourage them to remain active both mentality and physically [for David as much as he can be currently.]
Here's to summer!  Here's to remission!  We can do this!


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