Monday, January 31, 2011

31/365 Mean people suck!!!


I don't have time for this! I am however thankful that I have online back up and an external drive - see being paranoid pays!! Although the contents of my computer now resemble my teen son's bedroom, nothing seems to be's just very messed up. Fingers crossed that it will be business as usual very soon.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


There is nothing beautiful about what Batten Disease is doing to my little girl.


And yet, when I look at her, all I see is beauty.


Saturday, January 29, 2011



When I was little someone told me about what they termed "magic numbers". The concept was simple, every time you happen to see the clock numbers all read the same, you close your eyes and make a wish. The wish had to be personal and couldn't be something broad like world peace. I remember thinking that this was a great idea....anything to increase the number of times one could make a wish in the day was fine with me! Eventually the magical thinking of childhood faded and although I stopped making wishes I never forgot about the idea.
When Tatyanna was first diganosed I remember standing in my bedroom watching her play with her ponies on the floor. As the digital face on the clock changed to the numbers 2:22, my mind was drawn back to a time when wishes were possibilities waiting to happen (although, at this same point in time I also believed that pirates really did sail around in big ships with parrots and I had every intention of becomming one when I grew up, so that tells you something) At that moment I decided to take a different approach. Instead of making wishes, I would think of something that I was thankful for. A task that becomes significantly more difficult when your child has just been handed a death sentence. It may sound cheesy but truthfully, it has been a good exercise for me as I am continually reminded of just how good I have it.

Tonight I sit here typing, a teary eyed mess. Over the last 24 hours I have been completely overwhelmed by the number of people that are coming together to support my little girl. I'm speechless (which doesn't happen all that often) and touched at the outpouring of love and generosity. Many of these people have never met Tatyanna but heard her story and want to help. The general attitude is very much one of "We can do this!" There are no words to adequately express my gratitude. We are thankful, so very thankful.

Friday, January 28, 2011

28/365 - quotes from this side of normal


"Mommy, Tatyanna's breakfast stopped.....can someone come and make her eat again....?"

Thursday, January 27, 2011



"We have to do a project on diseases for school....guess what I picked."


She casts a whithering look, " No...try again"

"Hanta virus......rabies......mono.....??"

"Seriously know what I picked. And since it's for a project, I want all the information that I know you're not telling me."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011



The perfect pick-me up after a rough day.* I'm not sure which I love more the phonetic spelling (which blows me a way, just a little....when did she grow up so fast?) or the fact that Lexi drew her dad with no legs and a crutch. At his protest, she went back with a a marker and added some legs after the fact, but you can still tell what her original intention was. I have no idea as to her thought process on that one....but it definitely made me smile.

*rough day having nothing to do with Tatyanna, who had a super giggly awesome day at school and everything to do with things like dentists and setting up appointments for a root canal.....ugh

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Just because her sister can no longer play the way she once did, does not mean they can't still have fun!





Monday, January 24, 2011

24/365 Winterpeg


There are certain parts integral to every vehicle that render it completely useless when they cease to function. I will be the first to admit that I know very little when it comes to the mechanical components under the hood. I could change the oil or a tire if I had to and once had a Mustang that had to be started with screw driver but truthfully, that's about the extent of my limited knowledge. That said, when our van started making a funny sound a few weeks ago, I knew that it was probably a bad thing. When the funny sound turned into a van that suddenly seemed to flake out and refuse to choose a gear, 'probably' was elevated to 'most definitely'. Indesisiveness in vehicles is never a good thing. Transmissions....they would be one of those integral parts. So instead of a productive day conquering Mt. Laundry, we drove to the city to pick up a new transmission and drop off Lexi's passport application.

Winterpeg - a very fitting moniker for a city that is currently covered under a layer of ice and snow. Redlights were reduced to mere guidelines and the attitude was really more one of "Stop.....if you can...." Fortunately we made it there and back safely - which couldn't be said for the 3 SUV's that were in the ditch or the overturned semi-truck that was blocking one lane of the highway. Tatyanna however, was content to leave any worrying to the grown-ups and spent the trip snuggled in blankets in the back seat watching cartoons.

Dear Summer....I miss you.....please come back!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

22/365 - the is rolling


Once upon a time I made this post: click here. Add almost 3 years, combined with a click happy mom and more photography workshops than my daughter would like and you have a child who is only too happy to sit on the stool and stare warily at the photographer. :) As I look through our passports I am in awe with just how small my girls were, their big eyes peering out from beneath whispy bangs and cheeks that could only be desribed as cherubic. They were just babies. In some ways we all were. Although the shock of Tatyanna's recent diagnosis had worn off, numbness had set in and it would be a very long time before we would truly experience the reality of life with Battens.
And now, here we are, nearly three years later; trying to plan our third trip across the world, wanting more than anything to make it work one final time. All sense of of naivety long forgotten, we are acutely aware of the daunting task ahead.


Beijing, trip #2- 2009. When we arrived, Tatyanna was unable to walk independently at all. With complete support she could take a few steps but would frequently stumble and fall. This was taken during week 4. Truly there are no words to describe how it feels to watch your little girl walk again.
While I know that the results of that trip can never be repeated, Tatyanna has progressed too much for that, that magnitude of improvement again would go so far to increase her quality of life.

Friday, January 21, 2011


4:00 a.m.


9:00 a.m.


On the upside, if we do go back to China, jetlag shouldn't be too much of an issue this time!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

19/365 sisters....


Dance games on the Wii are simply not complete without a shout-out to the Bieb.....

Tuesday, January 18, 2011



My heart is heavy, my spirit tired. Last night our tight-knit Battens community was filled with saddness yet again with the word that another angel had earned her wings. She was only 5.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Dear Mr. Sketch,

While I appreciate the fact that you market yourself to users of all ages, the fact that you come in an assortment of fun and funky "flavours" does lend a certain appeal to the younger population.....a cohort of indivuals that has been historically proven to express itself through colourful expressions of temporary body art. Please consider this my formal request to add a "washable" feature to your upcoming marker forumlation.


a mom to kid with a colourful sort of personality


Just when I thought that I was about to come up empty handed in the daily photo department, I came upon this colourful moment. Lexi had apparently come down with a case of the chicken pox courtesy of Mr.Sketch. A cure proved to be slightly elusive and required a little more scrubbing than either of us liked but eventually we were able to get the marker off and Lexi will be able to attend kindergarten tomorrow, pox free.....unlike a certain incident in the past when her sisters got into their dad's Sharpies. I believe that big sister Skylar was the guilty party in this case and Tatyanna was merely a willing canvas but neither was willing to talk about it. Parenting lessons learned - no good can come from quiet kids, Sharpie does not wash off.....for days.

Tatyanna, age 3

Saturday, January 15, 2011

15/365 Neighbourly awesomeness


Earlier this afternoon I looked out the window to see the man who lives across the road snowblowing our driveway. We've lived her for almost 2 years and until 2 days ago, I had never actually met him. Because of all the recent media coverage, he had become aware of Tatyanna's situation and wanted to help. I know cookies aren't much but I really wanted to show him how much we appreciated his thoughtfulness.

Newly arrived props + no one willing to model = contrived pictures of cookies :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

14/365 As it should be....

There are many words to describe Lexi, boring is not one of them. This was my facebook status this morning:

"Scene for this morning: Lexi happily stirring things into a cup singing a tune about mixing and cooking.....she takes a big swig and splutters, " oh YUCK!!! So so gross....that was deeesgusting! Hmmmm, that didn't work out well at all!" and then she scampered off. That's when I noticed a container of shrimp delight turtle treats sitting on the table.......I just can't bring myself to ask.


Lexi is 5. She goes to kindergarten, takes ballet and dreams of fencing against the big kids. She has fallen in love several times and has been known to wake me up wondering how she will know who to marry. She has hopes and dreams. She has a future.


When Tatyanna was diagnosed with Batten's we were told that we should have the other children tested as well. Because the older two were long past the age of onset, we had little concern that they would ever be more than potential carriers of the faulty gene. Lexi, however, was 2. It was entirely possible that she could be asymptomatic and harbouring the same disease that was begining to show in her older sister. It was not a decision that was made lightly. If we had her tested and the results were positive, it meant an agonizing wait for the disease to begin to manifest itself in our precocious tyke. Our other choice was to do nothing and live with the threat of what was possible.
We chose to do nothing.


5. It was the milestone age in my mind. Once we make it to 5, I can stop worrying. For 2 1/2 years we waited and wondered, never really allowing ourselves to truly think about it. Every time Lexi did something that seemed "off", fear would creep in, leaving us cold around the edges. Finally, this summer, 5 was here and in the days since I have begun to feel the clouds part and the bands of worry start to ease. Suddenly the future seems a little brighter, plans a little less tentative. In my world, where the unthinkable does happen and parents do receive second and third diagnoses, this is something that I will never take for granted. There are days where she drives me crazy with her nonstop questions and ability to create monumental messes, days where she embraces the roll of pesky kid sister a little too heartily. But through the irritation, there is always a part of me that smiles...because this is just as it should be.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

13/365 At the end of the rainbow.....

Just because one can't wear shoes anymore does not mean their feet have to be boring!



This morning found us at Tatyanna's pediatrician's office, bright and early, for a suspected's amazing what a dose of antibiotics can do! She's been back to her wiggly, giggly self ever since!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011




At some point, I know there will come a time to stop fighting this battle. A time when we feel the need to focus internally on our little girl and just let thing be. And while it will be an acceptance of sorts, we will never give up. Until a cure is found and no child has to endure the ravages of this brutal disease, the war will continue. But, that moment is not now. Today in an attempt to put a face to the endless letters that we have written (and apparently have never gotten past the various secretaries and aides) we attended an open house that the premier was hosting. Knowing that the media would there in abundance and that it wouldn't have been prudent for the leader of the beleaguered NDP party to completely ignore us, we hoped for a few moments of his time. While we don't expect anything to come of this meeting, I'm glad that we had the opportunity to have Tatyanna's story told and truly appreciate that he did take time out of his busy schedule to talk with us.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

11/365 Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto.......

I should not have typed that in as my post title as I can not, for the life of me, get the song out of my head now! Lexi has always been fascinated by all things robot so when her dad was shopping the other day and found several robot making kits he couldn't resist.




At this point it occured to me that I do, in fact, have batteries in my speedlite and don't have to be shooting at ISO's of 3500. :)

IMG_2086 copy

Monday, January 10, 2011



I'm not sure if there is anything more nerve wracking then waiting for the phone call that will commence a live, on air radio interview. I was given a window of time during which they would call and a vague idea as to the questions that would be asked. Any organized person would have used that time to prepare, to go over the questions and determine the best possible answers. That was my intent, it truly was.....but did it happen? Not so much. Instead I paced the floor in nervous silence, praying that I wouldn't pass out or acquire a sudden case of the hiccoughs. I may have recited some daily affirmations a la Stuart Smalley with the hope that they would somehow inspire confidence and reduce the waver in my voice. When the phone finally rang, I think I jumped 3 feet in the air. Praying that no one could hear my heart, which was hammering its way out of my chest, I took a deep breath and began. After all, this isn't about me. It's about her. It's about my girl who has so much fight and spirit left but no means to win this battle. If I don't fight for her, who will? We've been dealing with the government for the last year trying to create a spark that will inspire change. For kids like Tatyanna, there is nothing. Parents are given a diagnosis and told home to go home, enjoy their precious babies and wait for an end that will come far too quickly. We were recently encouraged to seek out a referral to the local palliative care service. We were told that this was the best that could be done at this time. This just isn't good enough. It has to be better. There has to be more. Our attempts at creating policy change to open doors for new research have been futile thus far and so the tactic has changed. We've put it out there that we are hoping to return to China for a 3rd round of treatment since there is nothing available here in North America. We know that it's not a cure, that it will only buy us time. But, right now, time is the only thing I want. I'm just not ready to let go. The improvments we saw on the previous trips were phenomenal and I would love to try once more. Unfortunately that trip comes with a staggering $50,000 price tag and we are left wondering how to proceed. Prayer for wisdom would be very much appreciated! At a recent appointment with a metabolic specialist she made the comment, "I can't imagine parents doing more for their child than you two." This was interersting as I can’t imagine doing any less.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

9/365 - Sunday afternoon snuggling....


It's only day 9 and once again I have a picture of my couch. But, it's the weekend, and what else does one do on a frigid Sunday afternoon?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

8/365 - Good friends, good food, good times. What more could a person ask for?

Tonight we had friends over for hot pot, a meal that we used to enjoy going out for in Beijing. To say there was much food would be an understatement! Even the kids got in on the fun and were all very dedicated to eating with the modified chopsticks that Trent made. It was one of those evenings that, when everything was over, you're left with the good feeling that only a night of fellowship with friends can provide. I truly appreciate the normalcy of our relationship with the B family. When you are living with a child with medical issues, this isn't something you take for granted. Tatyanna's condition is awknowledged and accepted but isn't always the focus. It's just "part of the fabric". Being able to have a life outside of Battens is something that I feel is so very important to our ability to cope. An evening spent laughing and talking with friends can go far in keeping us in the fight.
C- thanks for being you. :) We had fun!



In keeping with the "hot" theme, there were even a few hot dogs, just to make sure that there were a few familiar items for the kids.



Friday, January 7, 2011


It has become a commonly accepted fact that if Tatyanna has an appointment in the city, the weather will be terrible. If it is summer, it will invariably rain at some point during the trip, hail is to be expected. If it is winter, it will almost certainly snow. Today was no exception. It's nice to know that there are some things in our life that stay consistent. :)

The bi-annual appointment with neurology was positive and Dr. S is happy with how Tatyanna is doing at the moment. There's really nothing new to report. We were pleased to hear that her kidney ultrasound results came back normal and the plan is to keep doing what we're doing.


This is just a bonus photo for today. I had left the room for a moment to prepare Tatyanna's meds and came back to find Lexi snuggled in bed, "reading" her a story. I need to remember that my camera has video capability because this would have been a priceless capture. Lexi's version of the chosen stories was rather entertaining!


Thursday, January 6, 2011


Nothing will motivate a person faster to clean the house than having a news station call and say that they'd like to cover your daughter's 2 hours.


I also feel the need to sheepishly admit that the corner of wall behind the cupboard has gone unpainted..... for over a year. I think maybe I should get on that.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I often wonder what goes on behind those big, dark eyes. It's been over a year since I last heard her speak. And, although she is not silent, our conversations have definitely changed. I wish for one moment that I could get inside her head, to know what she is thinking. There are days now where she barely makes a sound and it takes a great deal of effort to coax a response out of her. Days where her smiles are faint and slow to appear.


Although I do have to work harder.... moments like these become all the more magical.
( I may or may not have had to resort to chimpanzee noises to get this I will not demonstrate them for you.)


Lately Tatyanna has taken to getting up at 4:00 am. She thinks it's great fun and breaks into giggles when I tell her to go to sleep. Then, once I have had enough coffee that going back to bed is impossible, she does this:


Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Just in case I ever give the impression that things are gloomy over here, I can assure you that, although we have our moments, usually they are anything but. :) With 4 kids in the house, there is plenty of humour. Often of this variety.....