Friday, August 29, 2014

CHOP update

Abby saw Dr. C this morning and he said her incision was fine.  It's not healing quite the way he would like, but it's not infected and they're just going to leave it alone. She'll continue with the antibiotic for 2 weeks as a precaution.  She does heal slowly and agrees with what our pediatrician said yesterday about her maybe having ongoing wound issues. 

Therefore, her next veptr attempt will be held off until December 30th to allow her time to heal. If we schedule it earlier and she isn't completely healed, they would delay surgery anyway.  Hopefully, the incision will be totally fine by then (just in time for them to open her up again!)  

Not exactly my first choice, but at least she will be home for Christmas.  We will be living it up in the hospital for New year's! :)

12 Days in Africa by Lisa Sanders

12 Days in Africa is a memoir of a mother's journey with her teenage son to Uganda.  While there, she experienced grief, suffering, and a simplicity that would change her life forever.  From the joy she felt holding a little girl's hand to the anguish of holding a dying boy, Lisa shares it all.

While I enjoyed some of the stories shared in this book, I really had a hard time getting past the lack of structure and the many grammatical errors throughout.  I felt like I was reading her personal journal rather than a published book.  Considering this is not a pre-publication copy like others I have received, I was really surprised at the way the book jumped around.  The numerous grammar mistakes were distracting and took away from the overall beauty of the book.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sarah's Choice by Rebecca St. James

Sarah's Choice is a book for today's society.  It is a story of a girl who finds herself having to decide between the career of her dreams and a baby she didn't know she wanted.  Sarah has people in her life on both sides of the abortion debate who aren't afraid to share their opinions.  Ultimately, she has to make the choice of whether to have the baby or abort it.

I have to admit that I didn't have very high hopes for this book when I chose it.  Rebecca St. James was a singer, not a writer!  I was pleasantly surprised at how well the book was written.  It kept my attention and I loved how she managed to be relevant to the young women of the day while keeping it appropriate and without crude language. I really actually liked it quite a lot!

Disclaimer:  I received this book from Book Looks Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

CHOP it up!

We are heading back to chop on Friday.  Dr. C wants to check the infection and we will do the post-op appointment then too.  He called in 2 more weeks of the antibiotic to make sure the infection is gone for good. 

The good news is that we can cancel our original post-op appointment, and we will get her next surgery date when we see him too!  

Just another trip to the city of brotherly love!! :)

4 Random Pictures From My iPhone to Give You a Glimpse Into Our Life!

1.  These two are so funny together!  They were having a "hoe-down" here. Yes, that's a colander on Sara's head...

The girls have quite enjoyed the dress-up doll quilt Grammy made for Abby!  Little felt dresses and hats stick to the dolls.  So cute!


The boy who wasn't tired after a long weekend fell right asleep on the couch!

A super-sweet former student of mine made Abby a cute little purse.  Abby promptly put all of the checkers pieces in it. :)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thankful Thursday

I've been really slow to write this because I wanted to make sure I could do it justice.  I didn't want to write a cursory post in the hospital when I knew I couldn't devote the time to it that I wanted.

When I woke up on the morning of August 3rd, I felt so alone and anxious.  We were leaving that afternoon to begin our VEPTR journey with our little girl, and we really had no idea what was going to happen.  I was beaten down and just plain sad.

Little did I know what had been in the works for months.  My amazing sister had planned a HUGE send-off for us that involved lots of lies and avoidances of truth along the way!  Matt staged that he had to go pick up his laptop from the church (he knew just a tiny bit--enough to get us to the church).  When we made the turn onto the road the church was on and I looked up into the parking lot...I saw cars.

TONS of cars.

And a huge line of people dressed in purple.

Some were in tutus.

Everybody had signs, balloons, and noise makers.

250+ people were there for us.

Did I mention it was a sea of purple?!?!

I was in absolute shock.  All of these people were here because they love and care about our family.  We had family members, people from our church, CCPS staff members, friends, people from the community we didn't even was incredible.  What an outpouring of love.  I didn't even know what to say.

When we drove around and got out of the car, I hugged my sister and stood there in awe for a few minutes!

Bruce made a sweet little speech using the speaker on his police car.  Then Pastor Wagner had everyone join hands and pray, which was pretty amazing to see in itself.

We spent the next hour or so greeting everyone and thanking them for coming.  I tried so hard to get to everyone, but as I went through the pictures I realized that I missed some people!  So I'm sorry if I didn't get to thank you personally!!

Now it's time for the photo dump.  I know this isn't everyone, but I tried to include lots of pictures so that you could get an idea of how amazing this all was!!

(I didn't include names to protect the people pictured, just in case some weren't crazy about having that info on the internet!) :)

My sweet friend with her little heart warrior (he has on a custom made I <3 abby="" and="" her="" of="" p="" shirt="" some="" students="">

One of Caleb's best friends and his family (his best friend's mom is now his teacher!

Men in it!!

Amy and Owen

My mom and sister managed to keep this a secret for a very long time!

Caleb's other best friend!

Love the support for my Caleb Boy.  He sure is the best big brother ever!!

Abby's awesome pediatrician came!  He is an incredible man and doctor.

Janet was instrumental in helping my sister make signs and get accessories for everyone to wear.  What a sweet woman!

Some of my family!

Our best friends were away, but they made a special sign just for us!

This sweet lady has been SUCH an encouragement to me over the last four years.  She gets it in a way that most can't, and I love her so much!  I love her wonderful daughter too!!

Awesome family!!

My cousin and her family (the baby is in the carrier sleeping!)

This hysterical family had me laughing so much!  Their mom was making a tutu for herself and then her boys wanted to wear them!  She said this is the closest to having a girl!

Several work friends came to show their support!

Another wonderful work friend and her family!

Wonderful, supportive family!

Great family--the mom worked with my mom and the family joined us for the Shuffle last year!

Sweet church family!

Caleb's wonderful kindergarten teacher and her daughter

Another family of Abby Cheerleaders from our church

Abby's awesome speech therapist and her family (I don't know what I will do when Abby has to transition to school-based therapy!  This woman has taught me so much, given me so many hugs, and endured so many questions!! She is a saint!!)  

Great church family (I had the sweet little girl in VBS this year!)

Oh, Owen!  

From the bottom of my heart...thank you to EVERYONE who came to our send-off.  It was such an overwhelming and emotional event.  We are SO grateful for your love and support!  And to that amazing big sister of mine...I love you.  You are incredible.  Thank you for all of the time and effort you put into this.  There's no thanks big enough to show how much this meant to us.

God reminded me in HUGE way on August 3rd that we are most certainly NOT alone in all of this!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Vacation of Desperation?

We took a little jaunt to Philadelphia yesterday, jokingly saying that we were pretty desperate to get a vacation.  I can assure you, this was no vacation!

Monday evening, we noticed that Abby's incisions were oozing a bit and the drainage was enough that it was seeping through her shirt.  Everything was pretty red and goopy, so I followed the nurse practitioner's advice and took pictures.  I called first thing in the morning on Tuesday and emailed them the pictures.  I got a very quick call back saying that we needed to bring her CHOP...4 hours away.  I begged and pleaded with them to let us go to Hopkins (you know, that world renowned hospital a mere two hours away?!), but they insisted that we go to the CHOP ER with the expectation to be admitted for a few days.  Yay.

So, I called Matt (who had already left for work) and told him to turn around.  We hurriedly packed some stuff in the suitcase and called my mom to make some arrangements for Caleb.  I had just put him on the bus for his first day of school and now we wouldn't be there when he got home.  Sigh.  Between my mom and my sister, they expertly took care of everything with Chloe and Caleb.  <3 p="" them="">
At Hopkins, when we have been told to go through the ER for respiratory issues, the ER is expecting us and a pulmonologist is alerted upon our arrival.  We are seen pretty immediately by people who specialize in the reason we were there.

Not the case here, and I was kind of laughed at for thinking that would be how it worked.  Nope.  We saw three nurses, an ER resident, and the ER attending before we ever saw an orthopedics resident.  And nobody in the ER had ever heard of VEPTRs or had even met Dr. Campbell.

Now you know my thoughts on residents.  I'm not a fan.  But I did like this orthopedics resident more than most because he didn't make any decisions without talking to Dr. Campbell.  Dr. C couldn't see us because he was in the OR, but at least he was consulted.

After much deliberation, it was finally decided to start Abby on some antibiotics and change some of the steristrips.  Yep, that's it.  That was all they did after we trekked four hours and abandoned our son on his first day of school.  This could have easily been done at Hopkins (or at the pediatrician's office, for that matter!), so we were a bit frustrated.  Now we know.  I think we'll be going to our pediatrician before we even bother calling CHOP.  For whatever reason, they are anti-Hopkins and want every little thing done there...xrays, bloodwork, pre-op...everything!

All of this in the ER took quite a long time and we'd already made hotel arrangements because we were expecting to be admitted.  The cancelation deadline for the hotel had passed by the time we were discharged, so we figured we might at as well stay if we had to pay anyway.  And, it was rather late and Matt wasn't all about driving 8 hours in one day with a 4 hour ER visit in between.

We left this morning and got home around 2:30 after picking Chloe up.  Caleb was very happy to see us and everyone is happy to be home!  Abby's back is looking a little better with 4 doses of antibiotics in her and she was thrilled to take a bath in the tub instead of having the lie down on the counter.  (I used this clear plastic covering from the hospital to cover up the wound and didn't fill the tub at all, but she was a much happier little girl!)

The things we do to get a vacation around here!  :)