Saturday, August 27, 2011

Happy 14th Birthday!!!!

Today is RJ's 14th birthday and I think it's safe to say that nobody is sad to see 13 in the rearview mirror. It's been a great day, starting off with donuts and moving on to presents and a special dinner out. Anyone who's followed this blog knows just how precious this milestone is and (at least by the adults) isn't being taken lightly.

RJ just started high school and seems to be loving it. His health is great, he has monthly oncology appointments that have all been totally clear. He's a regular (slightly pain in the a$$) teenager and we're so glad to see it.

The future looks bright indeed!

Monday, March 21, 2011

He Meant to do That

RJ continues to do well - no more meds, no more chemo and just check ups and check ins to make sure everything stays okay. It's so amazing how much has changed in just a few months. He even needed a haircut! Thanks to the magic of Auntie Sam and her bowl of bleach, he has a 'do' that looks like he meant to do it and not something that was a default chemo design. He has tutors right now and there is talk of him returning to school part time - surprisingly, he's on board with all of that. We think all the sitting around bored has gotten him to a point where even school is looking good.

In other news, Courtney had her lip repair surgery last week! The first few days were rough, but she bounced back like a champ and is once again the smiley baby we all know and love. The tape and stitches should come off within a week or two and we'll post a photo as soon as
we can. Courtney has always been a beautiful baby, and it's going to be so different to see the repair once it's all healed.

Posts here are going to be on an 'as needed' basis, and hopefully they won't be needed too often. We here at Blog Central want to thank everyone who commented, donated and supported Jessica, RJ and Courtney as they went through such a horrible and amazing time. The money that was raised through the blog and local fundraisers has gone to pay bills while Jessica wasn't working, assisted them in daily living expenses and has been set aside for copays and medication expenses - they really couldn't have done it without all of you. Money aside, all of the hundreds (and we do mean hundreds) of cards and letters of support were incredibly valuable in keeping their spirits up and sense of community intact.

Thanks for stopping by and the Romeros hope to see you around town soon!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mombo's Pizza Fundraiser 3/1

If you're in Sebastopol next week, there is a great fundraiser coming up:

Kudos to Mombo's here in town! They are sponsoring a tasty fund raiser for RJ Romero and his family on Tuesday, March 1st. 25% of the take that day (3:00 to 9:00) will go to RJ Romero and his familiy. RJ is our 8th grade student who is fighting cancer and our community is really stepping up to support him. Come to Mombo's that evening and enjoy dinner and help the family.

Mombo's is located at 560 Gravenstein Highway - learn more about them at their website.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The 'No News is Good News' Post

So it looks like this is how it's going to be - periodic posts telling you that everything is going well and there's no big news. After the last few months, we'll take it.

RJ finished chemo two weeks ago, and he's handled it well so far. He did have to get a series of blood transfusions at the end of last week because his counts were off, but that is something everyone has been waiting for all along. In fact, when they went to the local hospital to get it done, one of the nurses was amazed that he had already finished chemo and this was the first time they were seeing him. He seems to feel better and stronger every day, even going bowling over the weekend. Despite a valiant effort on RJ's part, Karen ended up beating everyone with a personal best, but we here at blog central suspect that she cheated.

Things are starting to work into a routine and Jessica is trying to get everyone out of the house at least once every day. RJ is going to start working with a tutor to catch up on eighth grade over the next few weeks and he may end up going to classes half days before the school year is out. Baby Courtney is scheduled to get her lip repair soon, and blog central is selfishly glad because we miss having them around, although everyone agrees that it is going to be so different to see her without the adorable cleft.

We'll keep you posted as often as we can, so check back periodically for any news.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Big Chihuahua

So the good news is....drumroll please...RJ is DONE with chemo! The not so good news is that he's still in the hospital :( His kidneys took a real hit this time and it's taking a long time to get the chemicals washed through his system. We're hoping he'll be out by Thursday, but right now it's just a wait and see.

In order to clear out his blood, he needs to drink lots of fluids. In the spirit of liquid medicine, his friend Julia brought him an Icee on Superbowl Sunday. Jessica and yours truly took the opportunity to walk around the block and get some air on such a gorgeous day. When we came back, the anxiety level in the room was high and RJ was clumped under all of his covers. It seems that he got a huge case of the shivers while we were gone, sending the nursing staff into overdrive as they thought he was crashing. Seems that someone should have informed everyone that RJ always gets the shivers when he drinks something really cold. Once everything calmed down, it was kind of funny - as one nurse said, "It would have been something to call a code blue due to Icee ingestion."

Julia publicly termed him the shivering chihuahua and blog central and everyone present agreed that that was the enduring image of the day.

Despite being cooped up in the hospital, he's feeling pretty good. Physically that is. Mentally, he is bored. A recent quote: "If the cancer doesn't kill you in here, you'll die of boredom." We're trying to keep his spirits up for the next day or two until he's sprung, so if you have a minute, go hassle him over on Facebook.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Off They Go!

As amazing as medical science is, RJ's counts went from 8 to 4,000 in 24 hours, so he was able to leave the hospital for a few days of R&R.

He got to hang out with some friends and eat some good food.

This morning, bags were again packed and they headed off to the hospital for the LAST ROUND OF CHEMO! Say it with us folks...THE LAST ROUND!

Very exciting times here at blog central. We'll keep you posted.

Friday, January 28, 2011

It's a Numbers Game

A big thanks to everyone who is participating in the Baskin and Robbin's fundraiser today! We just found out about it last night and are so thrilled with all of the support out there in the community. If you're near Sebastopol, you can find out more by clicking on this link.

One of the big things they're watching for right now is RJ's white blood cell count. We had a quick lesson on wbc counts here at blog central and from what we can tell, the normal amount of wbc in the body is anywhere from 3,500 to 15,000. This morning RJ had a whopping count of:

His count has to get over 500 in order to be able to start this last round of chemo, so it's just a matter of waiting and seeing. For someone with a virtual absence of white blood cells, RJ's actually feeling pretty good. In a bizare universal coincidence he's been eating well and gained 8 pounds since his last hospital visit. The upside of this whole thing is that he can pretty much eat whatever he wants, which these days includes lots of pizza and egg sandwiches from Tommy's in Hayward.

We're posting this recent photo of him with Courtney and cousin Alex for no other reason than RJ hates to get his photo taken. We think it's cute, and what's life all about if you can't annoy the cancer kid once in awhile?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Just to spite us for that last post, RJ went and got a fever this morning and is in the hospital. Fine. Whatever. We won't post things like that in the future - we get the point.

RJ was scheduled for chemo this morning anyway, but just as Jessica had the car packed and they were headed south, they got a call that his white blood count was ridiculously low and that he couldn't have chemo until it was higher. They had some other appointments, so they decided to head down anyway - they even stopped so that RJ could see his friend's band play, although blog central could tell last night that he wasn't feeling great. His temp this morning was a bit over 101 and at last hospital check it was 102.6. We think they're going to put him on antibiotics and keep an eye on him, but we'll let you know. Hopefully, this will all clear up quickly and he can start chemo next week. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Last Round!

Tonight, RJ, Courtney and Jessica make their way down for RJ's last round of chemo! The doctors had originally said that it would take months longer, but the oncologists hadn't figured on RJ having no major complications from each round. He's been able to take each chemo on schedule which has shortened the time considerably. He hasn't felt all that great at times, but his body is handling everything better than anyone expected.

Do you live in the East Bay and want to help? Jessica usually stays at the hospital to have dinner with RJ every night and hospital food isn't...the best. Wonderful friend Dede has been bringing tasty meals for them to share and we'd like to know if anyone else would like to do the same. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, but a home cooked meal can make the end of a long day special. If you live near Oakland and want to help, contact Dede at

Monday, January 10, 2011

RJ Goes to the MRI

So RJ got to go on a trip today. He needed an MRI to check on the cause of his headaches and the nearest MRI machine was in the next building.

So...he went by ambulance.

They loaded him up, drove the 100 or so feet to the driveway next door,unloaded him and took him up to the MRI.

RJ got a nice change of scene and it was an interesting adventure for all.

(We put this older picture of RJ and Gypsy in just because it's cute.)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Not Slacking Off

I was just told by the boy himself to stop slacking off on the blog, so here we are ;)

You might be able to tell by the comment that RJ is feeling much better this round of chemo. He went to the hospital on Wednesday with a more positive outlook and that has followed him through this week of treatment - the change really is remarkable. It's hard to pinpoint what's different, but the nursing staff at the hospital got a jump on his nausea medications and his blinding headaches so he feels physically much better and because of that everything has been much easier. He's pretty active on Facebook, so feel free to comment over there too. RJ finally shaved his head last weekend (not that we didn't love the ostrich style chemo-do) and everyone agrees that he looks awesome - thank God he doesn't have a weirdly shaped head. Unfortunately, he won't allow us to post any non-hat photos, but we're working on that.

There have been some great things happening recently - the Dr. Pepper company sent RJ a great package full of cool stuff: a Tshirt, hat, pin, a patch and dogtags (which he'd better keep around his neck or they might find their way into the hands of a few of his friends who covet them). Now he can wear a Dr. Pepper T-shirt pretty much every day of the week.

Blog friend DeDe has shown up at the hospital three nights running with awesome food that RJ is gulping down (despite his particular taste in meatloaf, hers passed with flying colors) and hopefully he'll start to put on some weight. Despite the weight loss, blog central swears he's grown taller the past few months - we are tall, but he's just about to pass us which isn't right at all.

One of the best gifts for Christmas was a new iPad so that RJ can watch movies, play games and read books (even textbooks-ha!). Unfortunately, the night before he went into the hospital it just stopped working - no power, no nothing. Jessica didn't have the packaging or a receipt with her down here in the East Bay, so blog central decided to venture to the Apple Store (which, not owning even an iPod, felt a little like being a heathen in church) and explain the situation. The tech plugged it in, fiddled around for a few seconds and within five minutes we were walking out with a brand new iPad which has been great for him to have this visit. Go Apple. Blog central might have to investigate getting an iPad for headquarters.

RJ's grandma found a great program called PJammin' where kids wear pajamas as a fundraising and awareness effort as part of World Cancer Day on February 4th. Follow this link for information if your school is interested in taking part.

So - that's it for the slack from blog central. Stay tuned for any new developments!