Friday, February 18, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spring Tease

Winters in Northeast Ohio can be pretty brutal. Most winters are cold and snowy, but this winter has been especially white. I shouldn't be complaining about it because I love having all 4 seasons and we really do have beautiful winters (and springs falls and summers too :), but after a while we really start getting spring fever! Every year around this time (especially since we've had kids) we are ready for the daffodils to start blooming and for the warmer temps to come. Below is a pic of Jim doing what he does very often around here in winter!

Well today we had a little taste of spring hopefully being somewhere in the not so distant future. We had temps that got into the high 50's and the snow is melting! We finally saw some green and it felt warm compared to what we've been used to lately. Caleb was so hilarious when we got outside. He was like a caged animal, finally set free to roam around. He had a smile on his face the whole time we were out and couldn't walk fast enough (yes, he's walking :) to the next thing that he wanted to explore. It was so fun to watch him soak it all in! Abbey and Micah too enjoyed every minute of being out!

Well like all good things, our time outside had to come to an end. Lunch and nap time were still a must for the day so we had to come in. Poor Caleb. He was sooo sad :(. Hoping for more nice days soon to get these kids back out!

And I wanted to do a little update on our Jake too! Poor kid misses so much when he's in school (like playing outside with us today!). I feel a personal fun day in his near future (my mom used to let me stay home every once in a while for no reason and I do the same with Jacob :). Don't tell Jim!!! Just kidding Jim... love you babe! :) Anyways, last week Jacob was in his first pinewood derby car race. It was sooo cool! Jacob is a cub scout and Jim and him made a car together. He placed 6th in the race and the day was sooo much fun!

Jacob and his car

There were lots of really neat cars there! Jim and Jake got some ideas for his next year :)!
It was so professional and fun for the kids (and adults too)!

The kids looking on as Jacob's car raced

Well there you have it :)! Two posts in 2 days. I'm totally on a roll here! Hope you all have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

All is Well :)

Hi :)! I think we have the very best people following our story and loving us in the whole wide world! I have gotten several comments and emails over the past few days asking if everything is o.k. since I haven't updated in a while. I can't tell you how much that means to me, to know that so many of you are still keeping up with us and caring about us. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sticking this out with us! Sometimes I get tired of how never ending this journey has been and to know that many of you still care means the world to me!

Things have been pretty "normal" since coming home from the hospital. We've all been healthy (minus a random fever that Jacob had for a day) and have been staying home as much as possible in attempts to keep us from picking anything else up! Abbey is slowly, but surely regaining some strength. She was pretty fragile after coming home from the hospital and I know that week in the hospital took a toll on her little body. I have been making lemon chicken a lot (still the kids very favorite meal) to try to get a little more meat back on her bones :). Her chest in healing up nicely where her port came out and it is sooo awesome that it's not there anymore!

We had a clinic visit last week and they had to do a regular blood draw in her arm. She was nervous and upset right before Kathy did it, but after a little pep talk she put her brave face on and did amazing. It will be an adjustment getting used to the pokes in her arm, but I am confident that she will learn to accept this next step in the process.

Our next clinic visit is in early March. I am going to start working on writing letters to our doctors and nurses. Every time I even think about it my eyes well with tears. How do you thank the people that saved your child's life? I am praying that God will give me the words to show our deepest appreciation for each of their roles in walking us through every step of this journey and more importantly for giving us the gift of getting to spend a lifetime with our precious daughter.

And thank you to each of you who have faithfully followed this blog. Whether you are one of our dearest friends, someone we've met along the way, or a quiet follower, each of you have played a role in this story and for you we are thankful!

I have been bad at taking pictures lately! I will get some of all the kids over these next few days and will update some about each of them too :).

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!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hospital Re-Admission

From Jim:

Shelley asked me to do a quick post because her computer's power cord broke and now she can't use her computer. Anyway, Abbey is back in the hospital after a day at home. Her nurse called Shelley this morning and said that the blood culture that they took yesterday came back positive for a bacterial infection. Therefore, we needed to bring Abbey in right away.
So, Shelley and her sister, Stacey, took Abbey to the clinic. After a few hours in the clinic of talking with doctors, Abbey was admitted back into Rainbow 2. Abbey is getting fluids and antibiotics in order to knock out this infection. The doctors also made the decision to remove Abbey's port tomorrow! We are excited about this, but we didn't think it would happen this soon. The doctors expressed to us that this could be most likely where the infection entered/is. So, they felt that it was important to remove the port, which would help speed up the infection fight!
Hopefully Shelley will have a new power cord tomorrow and she will post some good news! One more thing... Abbey is actually doing quite well. She has no fever and Shelley said that she is in a good mood while watching lots of movies and coloring!! Thanks.