Friday, July 31, 2009

We're Off!

Right now I am sitting in a hotel room looking at my four favorite people sleep peacefully all around me, while I feel the fifth one do some pretty cool moves in my belly. It is such a nice change of scenery and as much as I'm a homebody, it's so nice to be away right now. We are half way to our destination and somewhere in Virginia.

Our clinic visit this morning was o.k. Not great, but not bad. Abbey's ANC (neutraphils) are still very low, but there is something else that they look at in her blood called monocytes. Monocytes are important because they turn into neutraphils and her monocytes were nice and high this week so it is an indication that her ANC is on it's way up. Last week was hard not only because her neutraphils were so low, but her monocytes too were very low so they couldn't say that her numbers would be up soon. Today they were confident in saying that her immunity is on it's way up and they were pleased with what they say today compared to last week's blood check. So, although it wasn't exactly what we wanted to hear, we are thankful that things are on the up and up and that there was an improvement from last week. We normally would have to go back next Friday to again check her numbers, but since we will be gone until Sunday they said it would fine to come in on Monday (a week from this Monday). We feel pretty confident that by then her numbers will be back up to where they should be and they will be able to continue on with her oral medications. The nice thing is that she again is getting a week break from almost all of her medications (and we have the assurance that things are looking up).

We asked them more specific questions today about what we should and shouldn't do while on our vacation. We have to be mindful about indoor crowds and be diligent in giving her baths after she's in the pool or sand. Anyone that knows me knows this is far from hard for me. I really can't tell you the last time I skipped a bath for any of my kids at night so I assured them that I would continue to be my neurotic self while on vacation. I sometimes actually annoy myself with my germaphobe ways, but I think God put that in me a long time ago since he knew I was going to have a kid with cancer. When we checked into the hotel, Jim stayed in the van with the kids for 20 minutes so I could come up to the room to plug in our air purifier, wipe everything down, tear off the bedding and put sheets and blankets from home on the beds. If there's anything that I can do to try to protect my immunocompromised child from sickness, you can be sure I will be doing it!

Tomorrow morning we will get up whenever the kids wake up and go down to the hotels continental breakfast and then we will be back on the road. We have about five hours left until we reach Myrtle Beach so if it goes half as good as our drive went today, we'll be in good shape. The kids were troopers and we are really glad that we broke the drive into two days. We will be meeting up with Jim's parents there as they too are somewhere in Virginia for the night.

As we drove today, I had a lot of time to think and meditate on how blessed I am. We
listened to a lot of our favorite Christian music and I was brought to tears many times
as I looked in the mirror back at Jacob, Abbey and Micah. I am crazy, madly in love
with my family and although this life hasn't been easy (especially the last 10 months),
I wouldn't want to be anyone else. God has been so good to me and I am thankful for
everyday that He has given me. I know He is molding me into the person that He
wants me to be and am just praying that I would continue to be shapeable and trust in His perfect plan for my life.

Thank you for praying for Abbey's numbers this week. We feel covered in prayer each
and every day. Once we get settled in our home for the next week, I'll be sure to share
some pictures :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

And We're Off.... Almost

Pictures of Abbey from this week :)

It's hard to believe that tomorrow is Friday again. This week has flown by and if I'm going to be honest, I'm glad it did. We have been on lock down in the house to keep Abbey (and the rest of the gang) away from germs and sickness all week. Tomorrow morning we will head out bright and early for Abbey's blood to be checked again and to see if her numbers are higher. We have been praying our hearts out that her immunity is back up again.

This week was hard in many ways, but we have been busy around the house getting ready for our vacation. We decided to keep Jacob home (and of course Abbey too) from VBS. The kids both knew that VBS was this summer, but I never said it was this week so as it got closer to Monday we decided that would be the easiest thing to just keep them both home. They actually never really knew all week that they were missing it, but at some point we will have to tell them that it's over. It was too heartbreaking for us to have to tell Abbey that she couldn't go and it would be harder for her if every night Jacob was gone. It was a hard decision to keep him home too, and we really didn't want him to miss it, but it's one of those things where we just thought this would be the best way to go about this tough situation. We know God is using this in Jacob's life as He is in all our lives and at times like these we have to trust our heart and know that God is directing us and using each situation for good. We had some offers from wonderful girls at our church to do a VBS with the kids at home at some point so we may take them up on it :)

We will leave tomorrow, soon after lunch for Myrtle Beach. We are going to break the trip up into two days, stopping after 6 hours of driving tomorrow and then going the rest of the way on Saturday. We are very much looking forward to our time away! We met with our friends who own the condo this week and we got to see pictures of the condo and all the fun things to do around there. It looks amazingly beautiful and we can't wait to be there. If Abbey's numbers are down, we may be limited in our activities, but we know that just being there will be refreshing.

Please be in prayer with us about Abbey's numbers tomorrow. Please pray that her ANC is up. There are a lot of water parks and fun things we will be able to do if her immunity is back up. Also, please pray for safe travels for us and for Abbey to stay healthy as we are away. No fevers or sickness of any kind. We are excited, but a little nervous to take her so far so please pray that we would all be able to relax and just enjoy our time away.

Thank you and we will let you know how her numbers are when we get a chance tomorrow.

Friday, July 24, 2009

So today was a pretty rough day. Abbey's counts were not up. In fact, they were down even more from last week. I didn't expect it and had a very hard time holding back the tears as our nurse and doctor went over her numbers with me. I think I've cried more today than I have in a long time. The doctors assured me that this isn't too concerning to them. That it is just her body needing a longer break from her oral chemo and that her bone marrow is just wiped out and needs time to come back. She's been off her oral chemo for a week so that's why I thought her numbers would definitely be up, but it doesn't always work that way. She most likely still has drugs in her system that are affecting her and she also just came off her 10 day antibiotic yesterday from her sinus infection so that most likely all plays into her marrow being wiped out. This week she will really get a break from ALL medication (except for her one anti-pneumonia med and her lovenox shots) so we are praying that this week, her body will recover. In it's own time, it will.

As I sat in clinic today, I was reminded of how very much I hate this disease. I was again reminded of this war going on in her little body and the strong medication that they have to give her to get rid of every last cancer cell. I was reminded that the medicine not only kills the bad cells, but it kills the good cells too. And I was reminded of how much I love this girl and so badly want to shelter her from all that she has to go through.

The thought of telling Abbey that she isn't going to be able to go to VBS this week is making my heart so heavy. I so badly want her to be able to go and just be a normal three year old this week. Every time I think about her missing out on something that she has been looking forward to for so long, I cry. My heart just hurts for her little heart and the disappointment that she is going to feel. We are praying that she would be understanding and that we will have the words to explain it to her. We are going to really try to do special things with her this week at home each night while VBS is going on.

I talked at length today with our doctor (and nurse and nurse practitioner) about our upcoming vacation. They are encouraging us to go and get away. Although her numbers are low, she is feeling great. You'd never know her numbers are so low if you saw her playing today. They sat in our room and watched her laughing and being so silly (Buddy and Bev were in visiting) and they said that if she was laying around and feeling horrible they would tell us not to go, but after seeing her, they think it would be good for all of us to go.

They will give us all the information that we need about the hospital we should go to in case something comes up with Abbey or if she gets a fever. We have our doctors cell phone number and he assured me that he is just a phone call away if we have any questions. So all that said, we have decided to go on our vacation. We will go back
Friday for another count check and will continue to pray like crazy that her number are
higher (we will be leaving Saturday), but regardless of where they are, if she continues
to feel as good as she is now, then the trip is on.

Today as we went back and forth about our decision, we came to the conclusion that God put this opportunity in our laps to get away to a beautiful condo right on the beach for a reason. He knows that we all need it and there is nothing more that we want right now than to be able to enjoy a week away together. We trust our doctors and know they would not be telling us to go unless they felt confident that she will be fine. We of course will modify our activities while we're there and will stick to the same rules as when we're home about not being around too many people, but we might as well be in a beautiful place while her numbers are so low. We will still be able to be outside as much as we want and spending time on the beach so that alone will be wonderful. I don't think I mentioned it in the last post, but Jim's parents are coming with us too. They were supposed to be coming to our house the first week of August (which we have been looking forward to for so long) so when the vacation fell on that week we were so excited at the possibility of them coming with us. When we told them about it, they were all for it so it really all has fallen perfectly into place. We are very much looking forward to our time with them and to have the support of family with us while there in case something would come up with Abbey is very reassuring. And, Jim and I might even get a date night (or two) away while the kids soak in every second of their grandmom and grandpop.

So, although today has been a hard day we are all excited to start planning for our upcoming trip. I can't even wait to wake up to hearing the ocean outside our bedroom window and to snuggle with my kids (and my husband) while sitting on the patio at night and watching the sunset. To be able to experience God's beautiful creation together will be a breath of fresh air for all of us. I can't wait to take the kids away and to just get a break from all that we have gone through these last 10 months. And I am just so thankful that God is so good to us, that when I feel so sad about Abbey missing VBS, He gives us this gift of a week on the beach to help us get through this next little hurdle. Please continue to pray for her body to recover and for her ANC to be higher next Friday. Thank you for your love and support.

Abbey and Buddy at clinic today. The bottom one is Abbey giving Buddy a shot. It's nice when Abbey gets to be in control every once in a while and is able to be the one giving the shot instead of getting it. They are great buds :)!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Tomorrow (Friday) morning we will be heading to the clinic for Abbey's blood to be checked to see where her counts are. Please pray that her ANC is up and that she would no longer be neutrapenic (which means she is much more susceptible to infection).

She has been acting great and seeming to be feeling good, but that isn't really a sign as to what's going on in her blood. We have been isolated at home all week, which wouldn't seem so bad since this was our life the first 7 months after she was diagnosed, but after we've had a taste of getting out more and doing more "normal" things, it has been hard to not be able to take her out again.

Also, next week is VBS at our church and she has been looking forward to that for months so it would be so hard for her to have to miss it. She had to miss dance class tonight and of course, our upcoming vacation is something that we are thinking about too as we go into tomorrow.

I will let you know when we get home. Anything over 750 is what we are praying for! Thanks!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Make a Wish, Dance, Jacob's Birthday, Baby, Abbey Update and maybe Vacation...

I have been a horrible blogger lately...  I usually do my blogging at night after the kids are in bed, but these last few weeks I have been exhausted and going to bed soon after the kids.  So, if you're still checking in on us, thank you!  I promise to update a little more often than I have been these last few weeks.

There's lots of fun things that have been going on here so this may be all over the place, but I am hoping to get you all up to speed on what's new.

A few weeks ago 'Make a Wish' came here to ask Abbey her wish.  We were so amazed and thankful for even the experience that we had with them that night and are very much looking forward to Abbey's wish coming true.  The night they came to our house was like a mini party and it was so much fun to have them here and get to know them.  They brought each of the kids a gift bag full of tons of goodies and it was like Christmas as they opened their gifts.  They also brought a huge bouquet of balloons so it was very festive and exciting.  Soon after they arrived, they asked Abbey what her wish was.  She was pretty shy with them at first, but she did tell them that she wanted to go to Disney World.  As the night went on though she warmed up and was pulling the ladies in her bedroom to color with her and show them her things.  They talked with us a lot about what to expect about our trip and it sounds so wonderful.  They have special villas for families with sick children and the villas sound so nice.  There are doctors and nurses working there around the clock if needed.  Everything will be included in our trip including travel, lodging, the parks and even meals.  We will get a badge to jump all the ride lines and they even have free babysitting (with trained childcare givers) in case Jim and I want to have a night away.  We will be going in May and we know it will be a wonderful vacation for our family.  Below is a picture from that night.

Another exciting thing that I wanted to share is that Abbey has been able to start a dance class this summer.  She is doing ballet and tap and loving every second of it!  Throughout the week she is constantly showing us different things that she learns in class and asks me every day when her class is.  We are so thankful that she has had so much energy and has been able to do some normal things like this.  She is in class with her cousin Gracie (as seen in the picture below).

A couple weeks ago we celebrated our first born, Jacob's 6th birthday.  We had a LEGO party for him (he is very into little legos!) and we all enjoyed celebrating him.  It's hard to believe Jacob is already 6!  He is such a huge blessing to our family.   

Isn't this cake adorable!  It was made by Beth who found our blog a while back and wanted to bless us by making the kids birthday cakes this year.  Not only was it adorable, but it was so delicious!  Thank you so much Beth!!

The kids painting small wooden things to carry their LEGO candy in.

Jacob got lots of new Lego sets for his birthday.  He loves putting the sets together and these last couple weeks has spent several hours at the kitchen table working on them.  The one below is a really cool castle that Jacob and daddy did together.  

And a quick new baby update...  I'm 25 weeks and feeling great.  And as you can see, the baby is growing (as am I :)  This has been a very easy pregnancy and it is going so fast.  Other than being tired at night and falling asleep the second my head hits the pillow, I have no complaints and am enjoying being pregnant and anticipating this new little guy joining our family :)  We still haven't settled in on a name, but we still have time.

And lastly, a recent Abbey update....  She has been overall doing well and feeling pretty good.  She is over her sinus infection so we are so happy about that.  Last Friday we went to clinic for a numbers check and her ANC was down more than they would like it to be.  So, they held her oral chemo for the week to give her body a break and for her bone marrow to recover so her immunity can build back up.  We have been laying low and staying home since Friday and we are praying that her numbers are back up by this Friday when we go back to clinic.  

And along these lines..... we have an amazing opportunity to go to South Carolina to stay in friends of ours condo right on the beach the first week of August.  We were so amazed and thankful when we got a call a few days ago asking if we'd like to do this as a gift to our family.  I have been talking to Abbey's nurse (who has been talking to her doctors) to see if this might be a possibility and they gave us the green light to go, but if she gets a fever and her ANC is below 500 then she would have to be admitted to a hospital wherever we are.  She hasn't had a fever in months, but it's still always a possibility and it makes us nervous.  We are praying like crazy that her numbers will be up by Friday (as we will be leaving the following Saturday) so we can be comfortable with taking her 12  hours from her doctors.  Please, please pray with us that her numbers would improve (over 750 would be great) so we can make our decision about going.  We so would love to have a week away on the beach with our family, but we need to be comfortable with taking her so far and will only feel good about it if her ANC is up.  I'll let you know Friday where her numbers are.

Thanks for keeping up with us :)