Tomorrow (Sunday) is the very last day that Abbey will get ARA-C (the chemo that she is getting right now for 4 days in a row) and we are so excited to almost be done with it! We decided for her needle in her port to be left in on Thursday instead of doing the shots and so far everyday has gone smoothly with her getting her chemo here at home by the home health care nurse. She will be on an oral chemo until Wednesday and then we will be done with Delayed Intensification!! We are counting down the days (actually more like the hours) and we are so ready to be done with this intense stuff and to get into maintenance.
Abbey has been feeling much better this week then she did last week and has been handling the ARA-C much better this time around. We're not sure why that is, but whatever the reason, we are happy. We think the beautiful weather that we've had here the last couple days has definitely helped. We have been outside from sun up to sun down (except coming in for potty breaks and meals (and chemo...) on these nice days and it has been a breath of fresh air for all of us... literally! Abbey has been keeping up with her brothers and you'd never even know she's sick these last few days, let alone in the last intense part of this phase with chemo everyday. Each day that the nurse has been here, she comes in, sits with her shirt up for her chemo, and then five minutes later, she's ready to get back out and play. It has been amazing.
On Monday we will go back to the clinic for Abbey's blood to be checked. Her red blood cells were low on Thursday and they are pretty sure she will need a blood transfusion by Monday since her numbers are still on their way down from all this intense stuff that she's been getting. We are going Monday, prepared to be there all day (the transfusion alone usually takes about 4 hours) and then when it's done they will take her needle out and homebound we will be with only 2 days left of the phase.
Last night we went to a park near our house and we walked and talked about almost being done with the worst. We were talking about how we are going to celebrate on Thursday when Delayed Intensification is complete and Jim and I both agreed that we will start with taking a deep breath! God is so good and I can't even believe that we've made it this far. Not by our own strength.... we are so weak without Him, but His strength has filled us in our weakness and has carried us to this point.
Isn't this necklace beautiful??!! My dear friend Kendra called me today and asked if she could drop something off this evening. She came with tears in her eyes (I had tears in mine too!) and this beautiful gift to me (thank you so much Kendra!!). The picture on the necklace is of me kissing Abbey's head and we are both wearing hats with orange ribbons on them. It was taken right around Christmas (it was one of the pictures on our Christmas card and she used the picture off there to surprise me) and it is very special to me. On the back is a picture of our whole family, which I love so much too. I love, love, love it and will treasure it for the rest of my life!
I also wanted to mention two other very special pieces of jewelry that were given to us since Abbey was diagnosed. A friend of mine from college that has been an amazing support to us as we've gone through this (thanks Laurel!!) sent Abbey and I these matching "Hope Bracelets" and they are so special to us. Abbey has a tiny, little wrist and it fits her just perfectly and it's so precious on her. We love wearing them and matching! When she's grown we will be able to look back at her bracelet in amazement as to what a little peanut she was when she went through all this. And maybe someday I will be able to give Abbey mine to wear and her daughter can wear her little one.
The other piece of jewelry is Abbey's "Journey Necklace." My very close friend Marcie (thanks Marcie!!) thought of this great idea of a charm necklace and putting a new charm on it each time we have a milestone through her treatment. We have a journal to write down specifics about each charm so we will forever be able to remember each thing that she overcame. In the picture you can see a few of the charms that we've added so far. Isn't that a great idea?! It hangs in Abbey's room and is a constant reminder of all the obstacles that she's made it past :)!
We have been blessed in so many ways... people praying like crazy for Abbey and us, meals, house cleaning, gift cards for gas, groceries, toys and date nights for Jim and I (someday we will go on some of those :), help with our kids, cards, notes and poster boards of encouragement, comments on our blogs, e-mails, beautiful handmade hats, people shaving their heads to support Abbey, gifts to Abbey, "Praying for Abbey" bracelets, gifts to us, Abbey's bedroom makeover,... to name a few.... we have been loved on in so many ways and we will never forget the outpouring of love that you've shown us through these last 6 (almost 7) months. I know I can't mention every one on here, but each one has been like a huge hug to us and we are overwhelmed and thankful!! And we pray for God's blessings to pour out on you as they have on us through you all. Thank You!!
I will keep you posted on how Monday goes and I will be sure to tell you when we are completely done with this phase :). We also have some fun things to share with you next week and we are excited to celebrate some other blessings and gifts that God has given us with you all then (yes even more blessings on top of all that! :).