Saturday, December 13, 2008

Flashes of Hope


When we got to the clinic today we were excited to see that our pictures from 'Flashes of Hope' had come in.  Flashes of Hope is a non profit organization, dedicated to taking powerful, uplifting portraits of children fighting cancer or other life threatening illnesses.  A few days after Abbey was diagnosed, they came to the children's oncology floor with a few women from a beauty salon and they made Abbey feel like she was a princess by curling her hair and even putting lip gloss on her :). They then took a bunch of beautiful, professional pictures of her and our family.  Today we got a holder with two 8x10 pictures displayed in it and all the proofs.  They also gave us a disc with all the pictures on it and there was a note in there that says we can get copies made from the disc and use the pictures to put on personal websites.  This organization is unbelievable because they give each family this at no cost to the family.  It was such a blessing to be able to have these pictures done of Abbey right after she was diagnosed and when she still had all of her hair and these pictures will continue to be a blessing as we continue going through this.  

These pictures were taken on Monday and she was diagnosed the Thursday before.  She had been through so much already by this point as they began aggressively attacking the cancer the morning after she was diagnosed and look at her face in these pictures.  It brings tears to my eyes to think about what she had experienced those first few days.  She had surgery the morning after she was diagnosed to put her port in, 2 procedures and she was immediately on so much medication.  Doctors and nurses were continually examining her and she was hooked up to an IV 24/7, yet you can just see a peace in that little face. You can't see her port under her shirt with a large needle in it, or the big IV pole that we had to take everywhere with us for almost two weeks, yet she is smiling and looks like any other happy little girl.  It's amazing to me.  Another testament to God's comfort for her and another reminder of His power and love for her.  Those first few weeks are such a blur to us and it is so hard to remember much about them.  It is so comforting for us to see her face in these pictures though and to know now that she was at peace with all that she was going through.  

The other night I spent some time looking back at old e-mails that were sent to us those first few days after she was diagnosed and it was hard for me to read them as my eyes were so blurry from the tears.  I don't remember reading most of them and the outpouring of love that we got during that time was even more amazing then I knew.  I eventually had to stop reading because it was so hard to go back to that time.  Someday I will be able to finish them, but we will keep them for a long time (at least until this chapter of our lives is over) and when needed will look back at them to be reminded of how God comforted us through all of you.  

So I'm sure you're wondering how today at the clinic went.  We were supposed to start phase 3 today and when we got there, they checked her blood and saw that her numbers were really low and not where they need to be to continue on into the next phase.  We are going to go back again next Friday to see if her numbers went up and if they do they will start phase 3 then.  They did say that her numbers looked so low though that they would be surprised if they would come up that much in a week.  They aren't always sure why this happens to some kids, but they did say that her body may be trying to fight off a little virus.  She has had very mild cold symptoms the last week or so, but nothing that would even be considered a cold on a healthy child.  For her though it is enough where her body is really fighting hard to get rid of whatever it is.  They told us to be very careful these next couple weeks with sickness (we always are) because if she would get sick on top of this little thing with where her numbers are, it could very easily put us in the hospital.  

We were really surprised that her numbers were so low today because she has been very active and happy.  She has been seeming so normal to us and playing and running around like nothings wrong with her.  Tonight we seriously spent hours making cookies and she was happy as could be.  Please pray that her body would quickly get over this little cold or whatever it is and that her numbers would come up by Friday.  So the good side of this is that her body gets a break from all chemo (even the oral chemo), but the bad is that it puts us back at least a week (maybe two if her numbers are still low next Friday).  We trust our doctors very much though and know that they know what they're doing.  They did tell us a couple times today not to worry about this and that it is pretty common.  Dr. Bodas always talks about 'bumps in the road' and he assured us that this isn't considered a bump in the road so please continue to pray with us for a completely smooth road as we continue on....   

12 comments:

The Svendsen Family said...

She is so beautiful. I think I wrote the same thing last time, but it is so true. Shelley, you are an inspiration to me with what you write. You and Jim are the most amazing parents. We are constantly praying for Abbey. We love her and want her well. We hope you have a very merry Christmas. Love, The Svendsens

Keri Bush said...

sniff sniff. Beautiful, just simply beautiful.

Szczepanski Family Blog said...

That is such a wonderful post. The pictures are beautiful, she is an angel! I'm praying for Abbey and you and all your family. God bless!

daisy2biker said...

The pictures are just beautiful! She is so precious! Praying for a smooth road for Abbey and the rest of you as well. She will pull through this with flying colors, she is an amazing little girl with an amazing God by her side.
Always in my prayers...
Bekky Bittner

Aggie said...

She is such a beautiful little girl! And I feel like I could imagine exactly what her personality is like by the adorable look on her face. You are truly blessed!

plantgirl said...

Oh now I'm jealous! Last time we were on the oncology ward for Josh's bowel obstruction flashes of hope was supposed to be coming, actually the day we ended up getting discharged. The photographer canceled that morning, I was so bummed, I wanted to get them while we were already on the unit. They told us we can do it out-patient too, I can't wait to add Josh to their images, he like your daughter, is one brave kid.

Greers said...

What ADORABLE pictures, what a gift. Thanks so much for posting those Shelley!

Greers said...

I just spent some time with a woman who works for Flashes of Hope. I came upon their booth at an event. When the woman described what they do for children fighting cancer, it was SO hard to hold back the tears (okay, didn't do a good job...), because all I could think about was your amazing journey right now. I was wearing the orange bracelet and told the woman your story. :) Praise God for His unfailing love!!!

Anonymous said...

very beautiful...what an awesome gift! we're praying for you always...merry christmas! enjoy your blessings! :o)
Love, beka

The Gammons Family said...

I love the pictures. We continue to pray.

The Gammonses

Leigh-Ann Danley said...

I have been following your story for a while and I want you to know that I am in constant prayer for your family. Your faith is an inspiration to others who don't even know you. You have 3 beautiful children and

Divine said...

great entry...from the heart like all of them...flashes of hope,how special...my heart goes out to you all...I am thankful for your faith...you are helping me..i am soooooooo proud of u all..praying ! peace.love.heal.