Sunday, November 9, 2008

Haven't Posted in a While...

Abbey has been feeling great.  We have been busy doing normal things around here, which has been so wonderful.  Abbey got a lot of new things (from many of you) while we were in the hospital and many packages of goodies since we have been home so we have spent much of these days looking at pictures that were made for her, playing with new toys, coloring in her new coloring books, playing new games, reading new books and snuggling on the couch while watching cartoons and videos.  

This past Friday was our clinic day and she was supposed to start the next phase of treatment.  During the next month, she will get two doses of chemo every Friday (one through her port via IV and the other by spinal tap) and she will be on a new oral medication everyday.  When we went on Friday, after checking her blood counts, they found that her neutrophils (it is the infection fighting part of our white blood cells) was too low to continue on with the next phase.  They said it was normal and not a big deal, so she got another break this week.  In the long scheme of things, it puts us back a week, but it is nice to see her get this break while she is feeling so good.  Next Friday when we go back, they will again check her blood and they are anticipating her numbers being higher so they can continue on in the treatment.  Although this break for her body is nice, please pray that her numbers come back by next Friday because if this would go on too long, they would have to do some additional testing (maybe another bone marrow biopsy) to see what is going on.  Everything has been going so smoothly so please pray that this wouldn't turn into a bump in the road.  We feel pretty confident that next month will be easier than this past month and that there are less side effects to her new oral medication.  Amazingly, she is handling the chemo really well.  We saw many more side effects from the steroids then from the chemo this past month.

Abbey's strength is slowly, but surely coming back.  She is walking better and able to get on and off the couch by herself.  She can't stand up from a squatting position or sitting position from the floor, but she calls for us when she's stuck and usually laughs as we help her up.  Her hair is very thin at this point, but she is still hanging on to some of it.  When Abbey was a baby we always thought she had the most perfectly round, beautiful head.  She had hardly any hair until 18 months and then she got this full head of beautiful, blonde hair.  Every time some of her hair comes out, we think 'God knows exactly how many strands are on her head now' and we are thankful that He knows our Abbey that intimately.  She is beautiful inside and out, and we know someday her beautiful hair will grow back.  Until then, we will just enjoy no distractions from her big eyes and joyful smile.    

We haven't talked much about the boys...  Jacob is doing well.  We have kept him home from preschool since she was diagnosed, but are thinking we may put him back in school soon.  I talked to the director of the preschool yesterday and she is going to send a letter home to his class asking parents be mindful of sickness by trying to keep their kids home if they are not feeling well.  There are 8 kids in his class so it is small and they are very diligent in hand washing and wiping things down.  We don't want Jacob to start feeling like he is being punished by this and we want some sort of normalcy back in his life right now. He loves school and has told us several times that he misses his teachers and friends. He has been amazing through this whole thing though and we are amazed at his gentleness and kindness toward Abbey.  He is quiet when he needs to be and very accepting of these changes.  We know God is using this in his life too as He is in all of our lives.  None of this will go to waste.  Micah is getting big.  He is crawling and getting around really good these days.  He is a very happy, 'go with the flow' baby who smiles a lot.  He's a joy to be around.  Jacob and Abbey continually entertain him and he too makes them smile with his contagious laugh.

Jim and I are holding up pretty well.  The other night I had a small break down.  I checked on Abbey around 11:00p.m. and noticed her head was wet with sweat (night sweats) and that was one of the things that started happening soon before she was diagnosed.  I had taken her to the doctor 3 times and kept saying "something is wrong... I know something more is wrong than a cold or virus".  At first they said it was just a virus, then a sinus infection (and that the night sweats were from that) and finally, the third time I took her in, they did blood work and found that something in her blood was wrong.  Well, when I saw the sweating the other night I physically got sick (that was the same way I felt each night when I would go in her room before we knew what it was).  After her numbers had not come up on Friday and I saw the night sweats my first thought was that the leukemia cells were coming back.  I immediately had the doctor paged and he assured us that this can be a normal sign of her body coming off the steroids.  He was not concerned and he talked us through it and calmed our nerves.  

After getting off the phone with the doctor, we went up to bed and Jim read Isaiah 40. It was so comforting to us.  The whole chapter is so good, but verse 28 says 'The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.'  Verse 29 'He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.'  Verse 31 talks about people who hope in the Lord will have renewed strength and they will soar on wings like eagles.  Jim and I then prayed together, cried together and felt God's presence in a powerful way that night in our room.  We were strengthened by His word and by spending that time with Him.  I love my husband so much and feel so blessed that when we are overwhelmed and worried, he immediately takes us to the only place where there's power and hope. Please continue to pray for all of us.  That we would look to Him through these ups and downs and that He would continue to carry us.    


Sarah said...

After I read your post, I was reminded about Psalm 57, it speaks about hiding in the shadow of God's wings until the danger has passed. You have show such grace and strength and I know the Lord is giving it to you. You have blessed ME so much. Your strength has strengthened my faith and I thank you for that. I continue in prayer for you all and I will pass on your prayer requests to my church. We cry, we pray and we rejoice with you Colberts.

Anonymous said...

We're so happy that things are looking better for you guys! Enjoy the happy times you're having now and we'll pray that things continue to get better and better! Thanks for the bracelets!
keith and beka

Greers said...

Thank you Shelley--we've been checking daily to see the latest and it was such a GOOD report. So glad you are finding your nourishment in Him and then in each other. We continue to pray for Abbey--even more now that we are all wearing the orange reminder bracelets. Thank you for encouraging us as your look to Him in this challenging time.

Anonymous said...

Shelley, You are a true inspiration and the best role model for us mothers. Thank you for that!

Anonymous said...

I Corinthians 15:57-58
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Know that we pray for you, at the very least, every time we drive down our street and see your house! We love you!

the Ortega's