Friday, February 4, 2011


Where to begin... These last few days have been pretty crazy! On Wednesday, I was literally sitting on the couch writing a post about Abbey feeling better and how nice it was to be home from the hospital when the phone rang and on the other end was her nurse telling me that we needed to pack our bags and get to the hospital immediately. I was even going to add this picture (below) of her sipping hot chocolate on the couch from the night before and tell you just how happy we were that she had gotten over that last fever.

If you look back over our blog, you will see many times that I talk about the scary possibility of a bacterial infection in Abbey's blood due to her having a port in her chest and the severity of that when it does happen in a person. The reason we have always had to get her to the clinic or emergency room immediately when she has a fever is because this is a sign that that might be going on. A bacterial infection (you may have heard it called being septic) can be very serious. We were told that kids that have bad bacterial infections in their blood can end up in the picu with low blood pressure and in very bad cases their organs can start shutting down. So to say that this is something that has been a fear of mine since day 1 would be pretty accurate. We made it through her whole treatment with never having a positive blood culture.

So I have to be completely honest when I say that we were shocked that this was happening. Here we are, DONE with her treatment. Last week we had that one overnight stay because of her being sick with something, then after a day of being home, we were being called back. We hadn't been in the hospital for 15 months (I will always remember our last hospital stay because it was as long ago as Caleb's age. I was due with Caleb any minute last time we were here. The day after she was discharged, he was born!).

So when we got the call that we were needing to go back in, and for something this serious, it was hard for me to catch my breath as I heard the words over the phone. I can't tell you anything our nurse said other than that Abbey had a positive blood culture and that she would definitely be admitted to the hospital on the children's oncology floor and to get here as soon as possible.

These past several days have been kind of a blur. Once we got here the doctors had already decided that it was very important that they take her port out ASAP. Since that was the source of the infection, and she is done with her treatment anyways, it was a unanimous decision to get it out right away. The plan before this was for it to stay in for a couple months. This is normal procedure for kids coming off treatment because they still get frequent blood draws and the port makes that so easy and less painful for them. But with this going on there was no question that they needed to get it out.

So Thursday early morning, (the morning after she was admitted) she was in surgery getting her port out. She did awesome! I on the other hand was told that the doctor would be out to talk to me 30 minutes after they took her back. Once it past the 1 hour mark, I had to hold back the tears as I sat there waiting. Those are moments I hope to someday forget. Anyways, he finally came out and said everything went great. She hasn't complained even once that her chest is sore or bothering her. She has an iv in her hand for her antibiotics which is hurting her while the antibiotics are going in, but overall she's doing well with it. I can't tell you how wonderful it is having that port out of her body! We did get used to it to a point, but being able to carry her out of here with nothing foreign in her body will be amazing! Below is a picture of her about an hour out of surgery! What a trooper this kid is :)!

What's been amazing this whole week is that Abbey has really been feeling pretty good. I have always heard such horror stories about kids having this and just how very sick they get, but God has truly spared her from being as ill as they would've expected her to be.

We made "goo" and it's awesome! She has spent several hours playing with it and when the boys came to visit the other night we made a batch with them too :).

Tomorrow will be day 5 of us being here. We were told at first that the very earliest she would be able to leave would be Monday night. Well since she's doing so great, they're letting us leave tomorrow! She has been on iv antibiotics since we got here to kill the infection in her body and will go home on an oral antibiotic. We are sooo excited to go home!... although yesterday I asked Abbey if she is missing being home and her response, "I like being here with you mommy :)."

Abbey had to finish out this journey with a BANG and had to experience everything... Not only did she have leukemia, but after being diagnosed with that she got a blood clot in her brain as a side effect from her chemo and then to end, a bacterial infection in her blood! Never a dull moment!!

Abbey has been playing doctor all week and I usually am the patient (unless one of her stuffed animals is sick). It's hilarious hearing her say all the same phrases that they say to us about her! She truly doesn't miss a thing :)!

Lots of laps around the halls with the iv pole in tow.

In the playroom on the floor right after Abbey beat me playing Junior Princess Monopoly :).

Yesterday my in-laws came into town to help with the boys at home. Jim has been working through most of this and we didn't want the boys to be juggled around between lots of places and people so we are so grateful that they came to stay with them. It has been hard being away from them and I can't wait to walk in the door tomorrow and kiss them till their cheeks hurt! Last night they all came up to see us and we had a pizza party in our room. It was much needed for Abbey and I.

Pizza party in our room.

The kiddos in the room :). Micah enjoying his new "goo".

What a week it's been! Being here is something that I don't even know if I can describe. As sad as many days have been here, memories that I don't want to ever forget have also been made in these halls and rooms. Days where God has been more real than I have ever experienced in my whole life have been days that were here. I have spent hours and hours coloring with, reading to, snuggling with, pretending with and playing games with our brave little survivor and some of the moments that Abbey and I have shared here are ones that I will remember for the rest of my life. We have cried really hard here, but also have laughed really hard here. I have walked many laps around these halls, hand in hand with people that I love. We have built relationships with many of the people who have so lovingly cared for our daughter and we've met many families going through the most devastating days as we did here. Yet as hard as it's all been, I never want to forget it. I never want to take for granted a day that I have with the people that I love.

The other day I was talking to our one nurse about the different "codes" that you hear on the loud speaker of the hospital. She was telling me what each code meant and she told me that ''code blue" means that someone is dying. I immediately held Abbey tight as I know there are families that spend days, weeks and months on this floor with their children and they never get the chance to carry them out. It's heartbreaking to think about the roads that others have to walk, that have been much harder than ours. There are not words to tell you how thankful we are that tomorrow we will leave this floor with a pretty healthy five year old little girl. That I get to carry (yes I still carry my 5 year old) out to our van and go home. That tomorrow she will be running around and playing with her brothers as I know many are not as fortunate as us.

Thank you once again for praying for us this week. It has been felt and once again God has been so good to us. Blessings and love to you all!!


Noelle said...

Thank you for such a beautiful post. It helped me greatly. Thank you God for protecting this beautiful little girl!

eckman fam said...

what an amazing post! i am so amazed by your strenth!! we pray for you guys all the time!! so glad abbey is home now...right where she should be!

Kellie Svendsen said...

Shell, I am in tears reading all this. Abbey is the absolute strongest person I know! Just to see that huge smile on her face in all those pictures really touches my heart. We love her so much and we love you guys and can't believe all you all have had to go through. By the way, you are the second strongest person I know (right behind your beautiful daughter).

daisy2biker said...

Shelley! I am so happy to hear you guys are home!!!! Brought tears to my eyes reading this. Thank you again for showing Abbey's strength and yours as well. God is doing amazing things. Love and hugs to you guys.

Keri Bush said...

Been praying this whole tie and praising God with you!!!!

Cindy Bailey said...

Shelley, thank you for such a heartfelt post. Amen! I can't help but to tear up reading all that Abbey and your family have been thru these last few days and years. I'm so happy to see your beautiful Princess still smiling even in the hospital. Glad you guys are home now.I know the boys are happy to have you and Abbey back where you belong. Oh I also wanted to add that I'm so glad that the port is out and that Abbey is on the mend. God Bless!

lparsons15 said...

What an amazing little girl she is! Sounds like a crazy couple of days, but so glad she is doing good and can go home!

Becky said...

What a beautiful little girl, and a beautiful post as well. So glad to hear Abbey is doing better. Sending prayers!

Fearless. said...

Nurse Debbie Baillis told me she shared the mickey mouse stickers I gave her for Valentine's day with Abbey :) She said the hospital never does big things for holidays, so I sent her those to share with the kids- every kid loves stickers :) I told her to make sure Abbey got one- glad she is doing so well.

The Gammons Family said...

Thanks for sharing all of this with us. I am so thankful for how God has used all of this in all of your lives. What an amazing God! For years and years and lifetimes, your family will recount these stories and give glory to the God who faithfully walked you through them. This is the terrible and beautiful paradox of suffering. This must be what Paul meant when he talked about the glory to be revealed in Romans 8. Thanks again.


Abby said...

Thanks Shelley, your life is pure testimony and God has so many amazing things, beyond imagining, in store for your family and your fighter, survivor gem of a daughter. I hope you are still blogging then so I can hear about them.

Thank you for sharing your life.

Cindy Bailey said...

Hi Shelley, I was hoping we'd get another update on Abbey soon. I hope that she is doing well and that the family is too.:)

Anonymous said...

Hope and Pray everything is okay....get nervous when you don't post......praying for you all!

Holly said...

Shelly. I happened to be checking fb and I was reading bethany vitts blog.. I looked over and noticed yours so I opened it. I am normally not a reader... I have been glued to your blog for like an hour. How touching and elegant you explain your life. I am so happy that I was able to see you Friday evening and I was able to spend some time with your children. My mom still is talking about how beautiful and well mannered your children are. Your children are so happy and full of life. You are such a wonderful mother and it looks like you have a great life long friend who is your husband. God has done such awesome things in your life and I could see it in your childrens eyes. God bless you and I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.
Holly (Reger) Pape