Thank you, God, for my eyes and ears.
Help me bravely face all my fears.
"But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward in your work."
2 Chronicles 15:7
Yesterday in our mailbox was a new book for us called "Help Me Pray Today." There was no note with it so we don't know who dropped it off for us (thank you whoever you are!) and right when I brought it in the house, Abbey asked me to read it to her (she is our book lover so whenever there is a new book, she holds it until someone reads it to her)! The one page was titled "Courage" and had the words above on it with the bible verse below it.
We sat and read each page together and each one was a blessing to me, but the one on courage really spoke to me as I sat with Abbey in my arms. I often find that I learn more from simple kids books about God then other things that I read. I guess in many ways I am like a kid and simple, easy to understand things work just great for me (maybe why I have always wanted lots of kids). Well anyways, yesterday, in the midst of the fears that I am struggling with, I was encouraged by God's word and His reminder to me to be strong and not lose courage.
With all that said, nothing is wrong. Everything is actually going really well. Abbey did have a rough week last week with a cold, cough and ear infection, but it was all normal kid stuff and she is completely on the up and up. As I've said before, it has been so hard for me to separate normal sickness from her leukemia. Each time she has had anything little come up, I cannot get relapse out of my mind. My biggest fear became a reality on October 2nd, 2008, but now my biggest fear is relapse and when she is feeling a little off, my mind goes there and at times it's hard for me to come out of it.
I seem to do good all day and I feel for the most part like she's just a normal, three year old little girl and like our life and our family are normal. It's at night, after she's in bed, or the few times that I'm not with her that I start to feel overwhelmed with thoughts of what could happen. You'd think that with three small kids and another on the way, I'd be enjoying my break at night when they're sleeping, but it is just easier for me to be able to see her face and know that she's happy and o.k. Please pray for me as I work through this. I know without a shadow of a doubt that God is in control of every second and that nothing will happen that isn't His will. And I also know the peace that passes understanding that can only come from Him during times like this. Please just pray that I would rest in those things right now and that my mind would stay focused on what I know to be true.
So back to updating about Miss Abbey. Friday was our clinic day and her blood looked pretty good. Her ANC was down a good amount from last visit, but it wasn't anything that the doctors were worried about. I again sat with tears in my eyes, telling our doctor of my fears of relapse and he assured me that nothing that is going on with her right now (with the cold and ear infection) is even remotely a sign of that. I also always ask them to look at her blood really good under the microscope (they always do that anyways), but there's something about me asking them to look really good that just makes me feel better I guess.
Above are some pictures from clinic. The kids are playing with Buddy (the puppet) and his owner Bev. Abbey wanted to play doctor so Friday, Buddy got lots of shots and medicine. He was tough though :) and it was nice for Abbey to get to be in control for a little bit. Bev is so wonderful with these kids and it is something that they always look forward to when we come to clinic.
Friday marked the first day of the second month of maintenance. We now have 19 months to go until she's done. The first five days of each maintenance month she is on more medications so it seems like I'm constantly making her take something. Today alone she had to get her two shots (which we may see an end in sight... I'll explain in a minute) and 5 oral medications. Once we get past these first 5 days, her medication lightens up some for the rest of the month. Thankfully, she has gotten very used to taking medicines and even does the liquid pushes in her mouth all by herself.
So back to the two shots she gets daily (they are the lovenox shots for the blood clot in her brain). She has not gotten used to them and most days, they are the very worst part of our day. The one that I do when she's sleeping usually goes o.k., but she has had nights where she wakes up a little (she never remembers it in the morning) or moves while I'm giving it to her so they too are very stressful and hard. The morning ones are the worst though because she is fully aware of what is going on. And the hard thing is that she has to be completely still when I give it to her so it can take up to 20 minutes for her to give in and just let me do it. I know this is a strong word, but I really hate giving them to her. I CANNOT wait to be done with them! I also hate cancer. Just thought I'd say that since I already used the ugly H word.
So this past Friday our doctor said that if her blood clot is gone by three months of her being on the shots (yes, I have been giving her 2 shots a day for 2 1/2 months), then we will be able to stop the shots. So, on July 6th, she has an MRI to check to see if it's gone. Please, please, please pray that this thing is long gone and there is no sign of it at all so that we can stop the shots. It will be a huge relief for all of us (especially poor Abbey) to be done with them! Our doctor did tell us this past Friday that all of her tests for being prone to getting these came back negative so that was a relief. That means that they are pretty confident that the one chemo that she got a while back is what caused the clot and that this isn't something that we will need to worry about or watch for once this one is gone.
And onto some fun, happy things. Last weekend we went to my niece, Gracie's dance recital. A few weeks before Abbey was diagnosed, Gracie and Abbey were in a dance class together, but of course we had to pull her out. Well, over the weekend was the recital and although a little hard to see all the little girls up on stage without our Abbey, we thoroughly enjoyed the show and Abbey can't wait to get back into a class soon. Her and Gracie are going to be taking a class this summer so Abbey is very excited about that. Below are a couple pictures from before the show (Gracie didn't have her full costume on yet :).
In the back of the program, my sister Stacey had this page printed. Isn't it beautiful?! I couldn't read it while I was at the show because I kept crying. I had to wait until I got home to really look at it. My sister (and niece) are the best!
And another very fun thing that we did was the one day we went to Amish Country in Southern Ohio. We went on an exotic animal wagon ride which was amazing. It seriously was like out of a movie and we couldn't believe the animals that were just walking right up to our wagon and eating out of the buckets of food that we were given. I didn't get too many good pictures because I was concerned that one of the animals were going to eat up one of my kids, but we had a blast. We went with my sister, her two kids and her mother-in-law. Her mother-in-law goes down there a lot so she was our tour guide for the day :) It was a great time! Here's a few pics from the day. And as you look at the pictures, please don't call child services when you see how huge and scary the animals were. As I look back I think I was absolutely crazy to have let me kids come within inches from them, but they are all just fine :)