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August 2, noon:  I can't believe it's August!  We are looking forward to a few last weeks of summer.  Ellie is doing great.  I don't think she has ever been as healthy as she is now.  She feels good, eats like crazy and runs around constantly.

Ellie and I attended a Make-A-Wish fundraiser last week, which was the premiere of a movie.  They showed the movie early in the day and it was fun to eat movie popcorn at 9am!  Here are a couple of pictures of Ellie from that event.

I will update soon when Ellie starts Kindergarten.  I cannot believe she is going to start!  I have already warned the teachers that if they see anyone peeking in the windows or lurking in the halls to just ignore me!  It is going to be tough for me to have her be gone all day, every day.  Ellie and I have spent so much time together, especially since her siblings are quite a bit older than she is.  I am not prepared for her being gone that much.  I am simply going to miss her!  I keep teasing her that maybe we'll wait one more year before she starts.  She just says, "Mommy, no!"  She is excited for this new chapter in her life.  I'll make sure I post pictures.

Thank you so much for your continued support and love.  We are blessed by you!  I am so thankful to God that we are on this end of our journey.  I am prayerful that only "boring" stuff is ahead of us.  God has blessed us by allowing Ellie to be healed and surrounding us with our circle of supporters. 

"For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him how knocks, the door will be opened."  Matthew 7:8


July 18, 5pm:  Ellie has been busy since I last updated!  First, we took a family vacation to celebrate Tom and my 20th anniversary.  Here are Lexie and Ellie on the beach.  We had a wonderful, relaxing time together as a family.

Then, this weekend, we attended the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.  We walked in Ellie's honor and for those who have also had a journey with cancer.  This was our 3rd year doing the Relay and it's always a poignant, special night.  They start with the survivor lap.  Everyone who has battled and beaten cancer walks a lap around the park.  Everyone else stands and claps.  My dad is also a cancer survivor so he and Ellie walk together.  He has come each year to walk with her.  Here is a photo of them together. 

As it gets dark, we light the luminaries.  Each luminarie has the name of someone who as battled cancer - whether they won their battle or not.  They flicker in the darkness as we all take a silent walk around to read the names and honor those who are no longer with us.  It's very emotional.

We are getting to make quite a few friends at the Relay.  It's nice to celebrate with them as we bring back Ellie to walk as a survivor.  We are so thankful to watch her make that survivor lap!

We thank God for allowing Ellie to be a survivor and also for allowing us to never forget those who did not survive.  It's overwhelming to see the hundreds and hundreds of bags with endless names on them.  So many brave battles that have been fought. 

I'll close with the American Cancer Society's Relay theme: "Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back."


July 5th, 1pm: Thank you so much to everyone who joined us for our 2nd Annual "Freedom From Chemo" Party!  We had such a wonderful time celebrating this milestone. 

Ellie's last chemo treatment was on July 3rd, 2008, and we are thankful to have this anniversary to celebrate!  We are hopeful to celebrate this anniversary for years to come. 

I wanted to share some photos with you, but there were too many to put on this page so I have created a site.  You can see the pictures at: www.2ndannualfreedomfromchemoparty.shutterfly.com

To those of you who couldn't join us, thank you so much for the kind emails and notes.  We so appreciated your celebrating with us in spirit.  We are extremely thankful for our circle of supporters. 

We thank God for allowing us to celebrate this anniversary.  Ellie is doing great and she had a wonderful time at her celebration.  We are so thankful!!

"For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your good and not for harm, to give you a future with hope."  Jeremiah 29:11


June 30, 9am: We would like to invite you to our "Freedom From Chemo" party!  Ellie's last chemo treatment was on July 3rd, 2008.  Last year, on July 3rd, we had our first "Freedom From Chemo" party.  We were thrilled to have over 150 people join us to celebrate!  This year, we are thankful to be celebrating the 2nd anniversary of Ellie's last treatment with our 2nd annual "Freedom" party.

If you live near Lincoln, please join us!  Our celebration will be on Saturday, July 3rd, 6pm - 10pm.  Feel free to stop by anytime to join us for drinks and appetizers.  Please email me at: dvolk@neb.rr.com to get our address and directions.

Thank you so much for your continued support.  We know we wouldn't be planning this wonderful celebration without the amazing support group that God has granted us.  You have truly seen us through this journey. 

We are thankful that God is allowing us to pass this 2nd anniversary and that Ellie is doing so well.  Please join us to celebrate!  If you don't live close, please celebrate with us in spirit!  We appreciate you!!


June 13, 1pm: Ellie had an eventful week.  We started off this week in the emergency room of Children's Hospital.  Ellie had been throwing up and complaining of abdominal pain.  It was very similar to when she had her abdominal obstruction last year.  At that time, she ended up being brought to Children's by ambulance and having emergency surgery to remove 18 inches of her small intenstine.  So we were, of course, concerned that she was having similar symptoms.  We took her to Omaha to the Children's Hospital ER.  They took x-rays of her and really checked her out.  They felt that she was perhaps very constipated or something not as serious.  Ellie was also feeling much better.  Relieved, we went home. 

The next morning, the ER doctor called us.  He said that overnight another doctor had been looking at Ellie's x-ray more thoroughly and felt that she did indeed have a blockage in her intestine.  They asked that we come back.  So we made the trip back to Children's.  They did x-rays again and checked several things.  They determined that she did have some small blockage, but whatever it was had worked it's way free. 

Since Ellie has had more than one abdominal surgery, the doctors said that we will probably deal with issues with her abdomen for quite some time.  We have to continue to watch her.

Once Ellie had recovered for a few days, she and I went to a luncheon to speak to a group about childhood cancer.  After I shared our story with the group, Ellie did a great job answering questions that they asked her.  Here she is before we left for the luncheon.

We are thankful that our little scare this week turned out to be nothing.  It certainly brought back many memories of rushing her to the ER last year right before her surgery.  It was a little to "deja vu" for me.  I would gladly never step foot in an ER again.  We were just thankful to take her home again without a hospital stay.  She is now doing great.  Feeling good and eating good.  We are very thankful!

Ellie did tell me something very sweet this week.  She told me that after I leave her bedroom at night, after saying a prayer with her, she says her own prayer.  She told me she likes to talk to God "by herself".  I'm so thankful that at 5, she has that relationship with Him!

Thanks for your continued prayers and for your support.  We are blessed by you!  We thank God every day for our circle of support.

"Cast all your anxiety on God because He cares for you."  1 Peter 5:7



June 1, 2pm:  Ellie had a busy week last week!  First, we spent 2 days in Kearney at the state golf meet watching Mitchell.  Ellie held up very well considering she had to walk 18 holes both days!  There were no carts allowed and the course was very hilly.  But she did great.  A few rides on mom and dad here and there, but she mostly walked the entire thing.  She was the youngest spectator we saw.  That is one of the challenges of being 11 years younger than your sibling.  You get to attend a lot of events when other 5-year-olds are playing.  But she always handles it so well.  Here are a few photos:



We hurried back to Lincoln for Ellie's preschool graduation.  She was very excited!  Here is a photo of her proudly holding up her diploma (upside down)!

 Lastly, we headed to the hospital for some ultrasounds. These were part of her normal checkup routine.  They looked at her entire abdominal cavity, both where he right kidney used to be and her left kidney.  They also checked her liver and bladder.  Ellie laid very still throughout the scans and only moved around a little when she said it tickled.  The hardest part of these tests were that Ellie couldn't eat.  She was very hungry!  We headed straight to a fun restaurant after the hospital. 

All of Ellie test results came back clean!  We feel such relief after getting good results back.  These days of testing seem so long and we are always so tired afterwards.  For me, I don't really do anything that would physically make me tired.  It is simply the emotional part of waiting and wondering. 

We are so thankful that Ellie is continuing to do good.  What a blessing!  And we are grateful to you that you have continued to support us.  Thank you!  God is so good!!

Here is the theme from Ellie's graduation ceremony, "He said to them, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belows to such as these.'" Mark 10:14









May 13, 10am:  Yesterday we went to Children's Hospital for a day of tests and scans for Ellie.  She goes every 3 months for a variety of tests to make sure the cancer has not returned.  We actually ended up having a shorter day than usual because there was a scheduling mix-up and she did not get scheduled for some ultrasounds that she needed.  We are going back in 2 weeks for those.  But, the tests she did have were very good!  Everything looked clear, clean and healthy!  Her blood work was good and the doctors were very pleased with all of the test results.  Here are some photos from Ellie's day:


Sitting by the water in the hospital lobby.  We always start our visit throwing a few coins in.


Ellie getting her blood pressure checked.  We also learned that she is still at 36 pounds.  She cannot seem to gain weight!  She eats great, but is also very active.  I am sure the weight will come eventually.


Ellie getting a chest x-ray done.  You'll notice the lights form a cross on her chest.  We love thinking about her being covered in the cross during these tests.


More x-rays.  Ellie has to stand perfectly still and cannot even breathe during these tests.


Almost done with tests! 


Here is a photo that Ellie took of herself that she wanted me to add also.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support.  We are so blessed!  We thank God for Ellie's great test results.  He has never left us during this journey.  We also thank Him for you!

If you have a spare moment, please say a prayer for all of the children who battle cancer.  Each time I am on the oncology floor of the Children's Hospital, my heart aches for these kids.  They are so strong and brave.  It is such a horrible thing to go through - anytime in life - but especially as a child.  To see them hooked up to chemo, with their sweet bald heads, while they play games and try to be "normal" - well, it is a heart breaker.  God must have a special voice He uses when He talks to these little angels.

I will leave you with some of the lyrics from a song that Ellie's preschool class sang at the spring concert last week: "When my savior calls, I will answer.  I'll be somewhere listening for my name."



Posted on Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 10:38AM by Registered Commenter[Your Name Here] | Comments13 Comments

Reader Comments (13)

Oh, Ellie, I loved the picture you took of yourself!! Yes, in the one picture, you are covered by the cross, again, now and always. Sorry you have to go back in two weeks, but I am sure those tests will turn out just as well as these last test. God Bless You All!

May 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPat Kuhn

Sweet news to my ears! Congratulations on the results. Ellie's maturity comes through in the pictures taken of her in radiology. And see, the staff believes in Ellie's future or she wouldn't have to wear the xray shield! They know she'll grow up to be a mom some day. I have been to children's hospitals and feel that God has sent very special people to work there. Thanks for the update. Ellie, have a Snickers for me!

May 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMary Smith

I love the picture she took of herself, so cute!! I miss you guys!

May 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRylie Volk

Thank you for the update. I sure have been thinking of Ellie's additional hospital visit. Glad all went well. Looking forward to the summer installments of "Life with Ellie". They're sure to be varied and oh, so normal! God is good.

June 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMary Smith

heyy ellie grace its ellie grace you are so cute i have been following you on your journey we both have a great name my moms calls me elle(L) i lov you GOD bless and remember jesus luv you

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterellie grace

How can Ellie continue to have such a sweet smile?! Just hearing of this latest event made my blood run cold. Can't begin to imagine the gut wrenching fear you experienced. Glad this had a happy ending. There is something at work within her - or Someone. May your little angel continue her dialogue with her Heavenly Father.

June 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMary Smith

Ellie, I am so thankful all was well, after the scare of the rush to the ER. I know you haven't heard from me in a while, we visited Nebraska. We flew into Omaha and yes, I waved to you as we passed Lincoln, on the way to Blue Hill. Yes, I also waved as we headed back to fly out of Omaha. ;) Ellie, I thank God every day that you are healthy and ask Him to continue to let you be a healty young lady. You are such a wonderful inspiration to all! God Bless you all, Pat

June 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPat Kuhn

I will be thrilled to join you in spirit on July 3rd to celebrate Ellie's Freedom! I will smile all day and send up prayers of thanks every time I think of the celebration. By the end of the day, I hope your faces hurt from smiling. :)

July 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMary E. Smith

We'll be thinking of you all tomorrow in spirit! So amazing that Ellie's been chemo free for two years! Love,
Katie and fellow Frenzen crew

July 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKatie Frenzen

My goodness, there must be something special in the water in Nebraska! Quite a collection of beautiful people attended the festivities! Looks as if a good time was had by all. The Jeremiah quote is one of my very favorites. Looking forward to next year's celebration.

July 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMary Smith

Oh, Ellie, I know it has been a while since I last checked in with you guys, but know that the prayers never stopped! I thank God all the time for your healing, and gee, what a blessing to celebrate your 2 year anniversary free of chemo and cancer. Praise the Lord, God is Good! God bless you all! Pat

July 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPat Kuhn

I'm glad that everything is going great for all of you. Have a great last couple of weeks before school starts.

August 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRita Offutt

Ellie, I'll be thinking of you when you head off for your first day of school. I know you have a wonderful teacher and good classmates. Deep breath, Mom. It only hurts so bad the first day.

August 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMary Smith

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