Support For Christi Thomas

This blog is to help offer support to the Thomas Family and their daughter, Christi, in her battle against cancer. Please visit Christi's website at to learn more. There, you'll find journals, photos and a lots of other information about this amazing child and her family.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

MRI Complete

This picture was taken AFTER the MRI was conducted. (Notice the smile.) Prior to it and during it she was very scared. Afterwards she told me that she worried about getting pulled down the tunnel and not knowing what was at the end of it and that it reminded her of being on a roller coaster. (She does not like big roller coasters.) She also told me the first song I put on her iPod was "No Child Left Untested" and she thought I accidentally put all of my (boring) songs on her iPod, but then the next song and all of the rest were hers. Whew! Hee hee! I waited out in the waiting room and read for my dissertation work and tried not to remember how many times I did this with Christi.

(Christi Napping at Children's Hospital, 2002, age 5)Various times this afternoon Shayla said things like, "Poor Christi! Mom, she was only five when she started having to do that. I'm ten and I hated it! You must have been so sad not being able to hold her hand. She was so little." I told her about the very first MRI Christi had and that she screamed and carried on so much they had to shut it down in the middle of the test and come and get us out of the cafeteria at Children's Columbus where we were so exhausted we had fallen asleep sitting up against the wall. She asked if that was when Christi drew that scary picture where she was by herself and strangers were sticking needles at her. I told her, "No, but that was another time for different tests."

We also went to her first PT session this afternoon. She really likes Terry so it was nice to be back. Unfortunately, scheduling appointments 3X a week is going to be more challenging than I expected, but we'll do what we can. Terry made the mold of her feet for the orthopedic inserts for her shoes. I was surprised that they're over $300 and insurance won't cover them. When I was debating in my mind whether to have them made or not I decided to go ahead because I haven't spent any money on Christi's shoes in 2 1/2 years so why not get Shayla what she needs for her very high arches.

I did not mean to leave anyone hanging. The manager at Wal-Mart told Shayla she would call her before the end of April to let her know of the decision. She filled out all of the paperwork by herself, but I checked it to make certain the phone numbers were all correct. I was really proud of her as I thought many of my seventh grade students would not have the guts to do what she did. And she was so sweet...."If you can't donate, we understand. Maybe you could give us a certain percentage off of the gold fish price or buy two get one free or something. We will make posters to let people know Wal-Mart helped us, etc."

(PIC: Dec. 2002, Reading to Christi - age 5) Since Shayne is in Texas for a couple more days we're going to stay up late reading in bed tonight, sleep in tomorrow, go to breakfast at Bob Evans, meet with the orthopedic doctor for Shayla's 8:45 appointment to see what the MRI showed and then head to school. After school, four of my high school girl friends are coming over to our house. First I'll give them a tour of the new school. Can't wait!

Monday, March 30, 2009

The orthopedic doctor obviously didn't know my history, as I sat and patiently listened while he fully explained to me this afternoon what MRI and CT scans were. He believes Shayla probably has a stress fracture in her right foot due to over usage. Tomorrow we'll have her do a MRI and hopefully that will let him figure out what to do next. We'll meet with him on Wednesday morning.

She'll also start her physical therapy tomorrow, but tonight she's off to musical practice. While waiting for her doctor's appointment she completed a couple of scrapbook pages - they are darling! After her appointment she asked if I could take her to Wal-Mart to ask the manager for a donation of 51-75 goldfish. When I asked her, "What for?" She said, "I volunteered to ask for my 4H club. They're for the Goldfish Toss for the 4H Kick Off night games." I responded back with, "I hope you're not really going to toss the goldfish." She responded with many giggles. At the store, I stood back and watched her with amazement. I cannot believe she had the guts to do that. She was so gracious with the response as well. She's amazing!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Thanks for the Prayers

Here's a TREMENDOUS thank you to the many sweet friends and family members who were lifting me up in prayer this week. For about two and a half weeks, I'd been preparing and I was very nervous about the events I had been invited to do at Bowling Green State University (where I did my undergraduate degree). I had the opportunity to take professional leave from my superintendent to teach a Middle Childhood Reading class at BGSU (where about 12 faculty members came and sat in the back watching me teach) and I also made what was to be a 60 minute presentation on my dissertation research "The Professional Implications of National Board Certification" to BGSU's College of Education's faculty - currently considering aligning their Master's programs with NBPTS's 5 Core Propositions. (Well, they had so many great comments and questions about it that I ended up faciliting for 90 minutes instead of an hour - and I also had a lot of fun, whew).

Heading into this week, I was incredibly nervous and scared hoping it'd all be ok, especially my first real "audience" for a research presentation. All of my festivities at BG went MUCH BETTER than I ever expected and I believe the many individuals who were lifting me up in prayer is the reason for that - THANK YOU!

When I sat down to chat with 8 faculty members, right after I taught the class, tears started streaming down my cheeks. I tried my best to explain the fact that I've had the most rewarding and fulfilling career as a teacher and all because of the wonderful professors at BGSU for teaching me how to teach and for helping me get that first (and only) teaching job. I never thought it would be emotional, but it all just suddenly hit me - how great my job is and how deeply I'm indebted to my former teachers. Regardless, I now feel like the weight of the world is off of my shoulders. Praise be to the Lord! (Are you having a good laugh over that old picture of me when I was 18?! Well, the BGSU students had a good laugh over it too as I put that former student ID on one of my Power Point slides and told them to hang in there, they'd be finished soon, out in the real world and wishing they were back at BG all before they knew it!)

(Picture: Shayla and Marty on Marty's horses, Winter 2008) When Aunt Marty was deciding what to name her new horse, she turned to a very special book Christi made her. Unfortunately, she didn't use any of the names, but it was so sweet to see this little book in Christi's little handwriting. She really put a lot of work into that. She loved her aunt so very much! We are looking forward to "horsing around" with Jeff and Marty next weekend at the Equine Affaire in Columbus!

Horse names handbook written by Christi Thomas:
Dedicated to Aunt Marty

Mare Names
Bright Eyes
Fairy Dust
Molly Sue
Morning Dove
Pot of Gold
Rosie Sunshine

Mare or Stallion Names
Bitty Babe
Desert Dawn
Feather Boa
Good Luck Charm

Stallion Names
Candy Apple
Dust Bunny
Light foot
Midnight Spark
Quick Silver
Silver Bells
Tiger Eye

Copyright Christi Press 2006
Written by Christi Thomas
Illustrated by Stickers
Stickers Placed by Christi Thomas
The End

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Night

I have a bit of time to kill before I conduct another interview for my dissertation with a NBCT from the south tonight, so I thought I'd upload a very short video clip of Shayla's "Belly Ride" on the dolphin in Cozumel, Mexico. I would have been too scared to do this, but Shayla is absolutely amazing! Driving to school today, I couldn't tell her enough how incredible I think she is and how proud of her we are. The quarter ended today and once again she has all As and one B (in math). Also this week two birthday party invitations arrived. She's so excited about having her very first sleep over with school friends. God has richly blessed us with her little life!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It's Not Cancer

Again I’m thankful for something “normal” – and not cancer! Shayla is a very tough kid! Unless she’s really hurt, she doesn’t complain. (We still often joke, "The wrong one had cancer," because Shayla has an amazing pain tolerance, unlike Christi.)

A few weeks ago, after the Saturday night performance of the high school musical, Shayla told us on the way home that her feet hurt and that she understands now why her dance teachers often wear different shoes to give them more support when they’re dancing for hours. I knew she’d been wearing her ballet shoes a lot due to all of the extra practice for the musical, but I didn’t give it any more thought than that.

Thursday Shayne told me Shay said her feet felt much better after he rubbed them. (We didn’t know they had been bothering her; he was just rubbing them for her while she watched TV.)

I took her to the doctor’s on Saturday and wasn’t surprised to learn that she needs six weeks of physical therapy for plantar fasciitis (just like we did about 2 years ago). What did surprise was learning yesterday that her X-ray came back as suspicious and that her doctor wants her to see an orthopedic doctor. After hearing the message, I called and spoke with a nurse who told me it is not a fracture or anything real serious like that, but something is definitely wrong and before Shayla begins her PT, she needs to see a specialist. I’ve made that appointment for Monday afternoon. Once again, I’m just reminded that this is just a little inconvenience and is most likely fixable. Shayla will be ok! (Perhaps three hours of dance lessons and an hour of ice skating lessons each week is too much for her little feet. Shayne has suggested, the hours of jumproping she's been doing in her barefeet in the basement in recent weeks haven't been spent wisely.)

Regardless, I have a great peace of mind. I never ever had that comfort with Christi’s care. My prayers are with those families; those moms and dads really need a good night sleep! I'll sleep fine! Shayla makes us feel so lucky! Thank God for Shay Shay! Thank God it's not cancer!I know there are indeed parents who received that word today and my prayers are going up for them.

I just received word this afternoon that Tiffin University will be having the "Christi Thomas Easter Egg Hunt" in the near future. I'll update as soon as I know more. (Picture: Christi's last Easter Egg Hunt, Tiffin University, March 2006, age 8. She was so happy that day. She always loved their egg hunts and that is why we made the donation to Tiffin Univerisity. Go Dragons!)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kitchen Complete

Some may remember during Christi's four years of treatment there were many home improvements that we wanted to do; however, that was not the time to do that. When things were going relatively well in 2005, I had some painting done and ordered new living room furniture, but that was about it. Now, two and a half years after Christi's death, I think we finally have everything done that we'd been wanting to do! The new kitchen table arrived this week and now I can say I am finished with all of the updates.....inside.
Christi playing in the "old" kitchen.
Goodbye, to the country look. I tried to go for "European Bistro" this time.

Christi & Shayne in the "old" kitchen
The girls with the painter, fall 2005
Christi helping

Shayla helped too. Goodbye, country-blue!

I had a few emails of inquire regarding the "Upper Case Living" - wall stickers. The one over our bed is custom done. It wasn't any more expensive and you can have anything you want made. You just decide your saying and select your text and size. Was it easy to apply? Well, Jaime made it look easy! The come in all one sheet and you use painters tape to put it on your wall, and brush over it with a credit card and it comes off on your wall. You take them off with a hot blower dryer. You cannot reuse them. I think I answered every one's questions. If not, let me know! We are really pleased with the look.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I'll blame my teaching collegues for getting me into this one. (And thankfully I absolutely LOVE it!) I believe my home decorating is now complete. This week the "Upper Case Living" (wall stickers, basically) items I ordered from Jamie arrived and she came over and put them up for me. The difference is amazing! It's amazing what they did to my walls. They look so classy. If you are interested, this is her website:

Cherish Yesterday, Dream Tomorrow, LIVE TODAY! These words are a subtle tribute to Christi. We have great memories; we dream about being with her again and we know she'd want us to LIVE life now.

The laundry room is now complete. With three "messy photos" of the girls hanging down the wall in this room, it only seemed proper to have "Loads of Love" put on the wall. I love it! (Shayne said, "Weren't all of those photos taken while I was babysitting and you came home and saw the mess?" I'm willing to bet I gritted my teeth, took the photos and then carried the girls right to the bathtub!)

The upstairs bathroom is now complete! (Someone jumped in this photo last night just as I was taking it. She's a hoot!)

This one brought the most "conversation" at our house. Shayne saw it and said, "Ahhhh, thanks for putting my name on your bedroom wall." (He often falls asleep on the couch and never makes it to bed.) Shayla's first sentence was, "Hey! Where's my name?" We reminded her that she had TWO bedrooms down the hall and even though she often ends up with us, it's NOT her room. Then an "orb" appeared in this photo making me think Christi was with us last night when we were all three sitting on the bed laughing and laughing about the words I had put up.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Until a blogger emailed with concern, I didn't realize it had been so long since I last posted. No worries! All is well! Heidelberg's spring break ended which means I'm back to work there. My student teacher continues to impress me, yet I'm still super busy - and loving that - at school. Shayne's job is absolutely thriving and keeping him incredibly more than occupied, growing the company. And Shayla's just a sweet as ever! We are blessed! I hope everyone had a great week! (I've also been doing some decorating at home so I'll share those pictures soon.)

We, the McVicker's for a day, certainly are doing just that! (Dinner at the Clover Club last night before class - Mulligan Stew $5.00, yummy!)

Here are a few "oldies but goodies" I am sharing of Christi today. I hope you enjoy them! (They were taken by Shayla's gifted teacher. Her daughter babysat the girls a few times in the summer before Christi was diagnosed. I was so happy when she gave them to me a couple of weeks ago.)
I sure miss that lovely little gal! May she be playing and rejoicing in God's great kingdom!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Picture for Grandma

Yes, mom, she WAS a "munchkin" but also a member of the "Lullaby League" - that is what I was talking about on the phone last night and here is that lovely picture a sweet, sweet mom took and gave me yesterday at school. I set it as our desktop picture because I thought it was so lovely. (And it took a lot to replace the other one with Christi's picture on it.)

Speaking of Miss Christi and lovely photos, here are a few I don't believe I ever shared before. (Picking 4 year old Christi up from preschool, Shayla on the right too little yet to go) These pictures were taken in the spring of 2002, the same time Christi's back pain started that sent us to the emergency room on four occasions as well as to her doctor's office. Now I know to insist on scans, but I didn't know then what I know now and I believed the doctors who told me nothing was wrong> "Rest assured. Put your mind at ease," I remember one saying. Hopefully, others will learn from mistakes we made with Christi.

Regardless, I can look at these pictures and smile as I remember how much Christi LOVED the wonderful Betty Jane Preschool and her teacher, Mrs. Newhard and her good friend, Adam. I thought they'd grow up and change the world together. I thought I'd watch them over the years. Sadly, Christi died and Adam moved back to China. It sounds like those two took the preschool by storm. I remember the teachers telling me there was another preschool child who was reading fluently like Christi and the two of them really clicked and always played together.

Last night found us with Shayla's 3R 4H club. We went bowling together for a couple of hours. Shayla came up to me at one point and said, "I didn't know how much fun this was going to be!" And I had a wonderful time talking with lots of parents of my students. (They're often amazing and surprised at what their kids do at school. It was kind of fun to share, especially the tampon story. Boys! I've got a great job!)

Shayne made it home safely and Shayla will soon be off to her Saturday morning ice skating lessons. My dissertation work will take up the entire weekend (again). Thankfully, I'm still really enjoying it, making new discoveries and I actually continue to be ahead of schedule. I am working with some amazing: Superintendents, Principals, Professional Development Providers, Literacy Coaches, Supervisors and Five NBCTs from around the country who remained in the classroom. It's has been incredible and I really owe it to these individuals to do my very best work as I tell their stories and create my analysis. My Advisor at OSU recently told me she thinks I could receive a dissertation award at AERA (The International Research Conference) because she thinks it's groundbreaking research and that what I'm doing is that good. Regardless, I'm still having fun and really enjoying the labor! Praise be to God!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

They made the deadline

How about those college students waiting until the last day to turn something in? (Smile.) Seriously, it was nice to receive many applications and recommendations today. These kids are super and I know Christi would want us to help them achieve their dreams at a wonderful institution - Heidelberg University! Christi told us that would be her first college. When all of the other scholarships are due (on May 12th - Christi's "12th" birthday), I won't be surprised to see the Fremont St. Joe, Seneca East and Dance Unlimited Students waiting until the last minute either. I can relate. I've been putting off something for a very long time too - ordering Christi's cemetery plaque, ugh! Each time I sit down to start looking at choices and making decisions, I feel too ill to continue. Seems like it's been so long since she gently floated off to God's great kingdom, seems like I should be able to do this task, but it still hurts. Just today I found myself blinking back tears as I talked to our superintendent at school about Christi and her classmates. Oh, it's still hard, very hard some days. Yet, most other days, I think she'd be proud of us for marching along and celebrating her life in the many ways that we do. She was just so awesome; it's hard not to miss her terribly! (The blogger in me tells me I need to add another "never before seen" photo of Christi here; however, I'm in the process of switching computers so it's not real easy to grab one right now.)

On Sunday, after the musical, I got in the van with Shayla and turned on my phone. I had received two text messages. One from a dear friend said, "Is there a good looking guy flying to Tampa today?" The other was from Shayne telling me our friends were on the same plane, but that he didn't make it back to talk with them yet. It really made me smile!

Shayne had a very nice week in Florida where he's been attending a conference in Orlando and fishing with the guys from work near Tampa. We will be glad to see him tomorrow as he's planning to make it back in time for the "Father / Daughter" horse riding lessons. They've been taking lessons together on Friday afternoons. Because I typically stay back at the house, recently I said to Shayla, "How is dad doing?" She said, "Well, today he couldn't find the right horse, but once I told him that Dusty was over there, the horse he was trying to get ready was Buddy, not Dusty, he did fine." Oh, what a hoot! In Shayne's defense, unless your Shayla, it's hard to tell 14 quarter horses apart - they all look very similar. Here's wishing you and yours a great weekend! ENJOY!

Pictures from Sunday afternoon's musical at the high school:
Shayla chatting with our favorite newspaper reporter, the amazing Jill!
Shayla after the musical with her grandma Nee Nee

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Scholarship Applications Due Tomorrow

There may only be three of us "Thomas Team" members now, but we are committed to keeping Christi's memory alive. One of the ways we do this is by offering thousands of dollars in scholarships each year. TOMORROW IS THE DUE DATE for any Heidelberg University Junior, who is majoring in Education, to apply for this year's scholarship. It will be presented at the Spring Awards on a Friday afternoon in April. Don't forget to get your items emailed in! The committee of five will be reviewing each application very soon. THANK YOU for letting us celebrate Christi's life! Here's wishing you and yours a grand week! ENJOY! And live it well!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Wizard of Oz

The Amazing Jake! In 8th grade he would crack everyone (including me) up and he's been doing it all weekend too! This student is incredible and some university will be very lucky next fall to have him on their campus.
Who knew he could sing so well?! He fooled his parents for years! (He can even dance in that costume really well too!) Yay, Mike!
Shayla presented some flowers to Laura to thank her for her hard work with the Munchkins.
With her beautiful 4H Advisor
Another very special former student. "Glinda" is gorgeous and did a fabulous job! This is the only picture I noticed an "orb" in. (Perhaps the beautiful blondes are sticking together - hee hee.)

Shay has obviously had a very, very special weekend. It's rare to say these words together, but Shayla is very tired. (But definitely not as tired as her father AND after getting home at midnight, he got up at 4:45 to go complete in the Arnold Pump and Run (lifting and running) competition down in Columbus this morning. I hope he's doing ok!

Both shows went well yesterday and Shayla had a blast "hanging" with her little Munchkin girlfriends for nearly ten hours. As another mom was telling me last night, "I'm going to be so sad when this is over. My daughter has really gotten to know your daughter so well." We will have to soon set a playdate for these girls to get together.

In my last post when I said it was hard for me to tell Shayla she didn't get the part she wanted, I wasn't disappointed that she's in the chorus. What was hard for me was that I had to tell her. Thankfully, she was fine with it. As mom said to me when she called yesterday, "I knew she would be. She is always so happy with anything she gets to do. Just being picked with all those kids trying out is really something." Tonight, after today's show and the cast party and clean up, we'll go to her first rehearsal meeting for "The Music Man" at the Ritz and find out what all this will entail. As I curled her hair for one show, I fought back tears as it hit me how very lucky I am to have a little girl with hair to curl and that's healthy enough to get to do all she does. I thank God for Shayla (and for all of my family and friends every night)!

This little video clip of the "Lullaby League" is from Thursday's dress rehearsal - the only time when photos or video were allowed to be captured.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

1,000th Blog Post

Since I just saw that this is my 1,000th blog post, I'd better make it a good one (wink, or at least post a picture that would make Christi laugh - like this one of the girls in Kentucky with a long haired sheep). Seriously, I will always be grateful to "Webby" (sweet Eric) for adding to the .com site with this blog in January of 06. During our scariest times, it allowed me to quickly update the "Christi Situation", without having to bother Eric and wait for him to post my journal. Now that I basically use this blog to deal with my own thoughts (and to let my mom know how we are) I can see the power it has had in my healing. As a reading and language arts teacher, it seems I constantly discuss with my students the power of writing. Today being the 1,000 entry, reminds me of that first hand! Thank you, dear Eric! I know I can never pay back all of the good blessing that have been so lovingly shared with us, but I can pay it forward and I will never forget that!

The Ritz posted the cast list on Friday at 7AM. Shayne informed me that Shayla was selected for the chorus. At lunch, I went to tell Shayla. I think she was on the look out for me because she walked up to me and I didn't have to try to find her in the midst of all the 4th grade girls, whew! I told her that I was so happy for her being selected to be in the chorus for a real Ritz Players musical to be held for two weekends in May. I told her the girl who was selected to be Amaryllis. Then I asked, "Are you ok?" (Because I wasn't. I thought I was, but then I felt tears coming as I told her she didn't get the part she wanted.) She said nonchalantly, "Of course I'm ok. Why wouldn't I be? I get to be in a musical at the Ritz and I'm really happy for her. She must be so excited right now." I was shocked with her incredibly mature response. As we ate dinner last night before heading back to the school, Shayne suggested she call the girl who got the part to congratulate her, even though we all knew that might be hard to do. Shayla said, "That's a great idea, dad. I will." I'm not certain why God blessed us with this incredibly sweet and talented little gal, but I am so glad he did. I don't know how we'd get along without her!

For the first time last night, we sat through the entire musical. It was absolutely fantastic! The flying effects are HUGE! Everything about the show is downright fabulous! There are two more shows today and one on Sunday. Shay couldn't be any more pleased about that. We'll get her to her ice skating lessons this morning and then I'll start curling up her hair again. What a hoot! We're so pleased that Aunt Marty and Uncle Jeff will be joining us tonight!

This is one of my amazing sixth grade reading students. He was fantastic! (And he cracked me up one night as I walked in with Shayla and went to get her dressed. This comical gentleman yells from across the room with his hands up, "Don't look at me Mrs. Thomas. I'm in my underwear!" I could only look away, shake my head and laugh because I never would have noticed he was there if he had not yelled to me. Trust me, he keeps class interesting too and I would not want it any other way! He rocks!)

Shayla greets Harriet (Traci from COSI - Columbus)
Harriet brought Shayla this darling stuffed Cowardly Lion - too cute!
We took delight in sharing the show with this precious little gal and her mommy. Shayla even signed an "autograph" for beautiful Kate. So sweet!

Shayla told a mom taking care of the Munchkins last night that she had friends coming to see her from Columbus. Little did she know Greg also joined them - all the way from Iraq! It was fabulous to see him as he's home on a much too short break! (I'll never forget his kindness in helping me get the girls out to my van in the midst of a rainstorm very late one night in Columbus watching "The Sound of Music".) He's like a "gentle giant" - so quiet and small, yet so large in what he does. I had to blink away tears when I saw he was wearing a Alex's Lemonade Stand bracelet.
This amazing student was one of my 8th graders and I will miss him very much when he goes off to college. I've been writing many letters of recommendation for him recently and I wish him only the very best! When he told me in the late fall that he wanted to get the part of the scarecrow I knew he'd be great, but I didn't know he'd be THAT GREAT! Wow! Now, if he "only had a brain" - hee he heeeeee! Seriously, he's one of the brightest (and kindest) students I've ever taught!
With the extremely talented director - Ron Boose
With the lovely (inside and out) Mrs. Huenemann
Saying "goodnight" to Toto. The dog in the play is absolutely fantastic and unlike some practices when he took off, the kids backstage didn't lose him once last night! Tonight, Shayla's taking him a box of doggie treats since he probably wouldn't want to receive flowers or candy like she's taking for the others.

Irene, you asked about my doctoral dissertation. It is going very, very well! I'm really enjoying it too! Praise the Lord! I'm scheduled to defend it in August. Shayne is in the midst of buying me a new (bigger, faster) laptop which will better help me with the NVivo8 qualitative research program I'm using to help me analyze the data, but I would be fine even if he didn't do that. (He just likes to spoil me I think. He's a sweetie!)