Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Very...

Happy Thanksgiving to YOU!!!! 

Enter into His gates with  thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise:  be thankful unto Him and bless His Name!  Psalm 100:4

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Our Little Spat

Every now and then I hope you don't mind if I stray from the topic of Sarah and the kids to something else.  Today it's something you can chew on.  And it's a personal story about a little "discussion" we had.  That's always a good read, isn't it?

So...remember in my last post I mentioned that the devil began to attack us after our great news.  First, Scott had to work a lot and I was really tired.  Then, Ben got that stomach flu, and if anyone is reading this who knows me for real, they know that when I say I hate the stomach flu, I really, really mean it.  I mean, we might get it in our house once or twice a year, and those days are the very worst days of the year for me.  That is how badly I hate it.  I get stressed trying to keep everyone else from getting it, and I am afraid of getting it myself.  And I do everything possible to avoid getting a germ from someone in the house.  I change clothes after hugging the sick person, I do not kiss my husband,  just IN CASE he might be harboring the germ without knowing it.  And this all came on the heels of me being in the hospital for a long time and he had a cold (and so we were not really snuggly then either...)  Well, things were stressful. 

So, he asked me out on a date on Friday.  Cassandra agreed to babysit, and I was glad to get out of the house.  I could tell that he wasn't very happy as we were leaving, so I asked him what was wrong. 

I will keep our conversation private, but suffice it to say that he told me something about how he felt about my behavior.  And it wasn't positive.  He wasn't mean, and it was just matter of fact, but he just laid it right out there on the table.

Well, that was just about all I could take right then.  Seriously??  You tell me this right now??  I was so hurt and angry.  My gut reaction was to go on and on about how we had the stomach flu in the house, and I just got out of being in the hospital for 3 weeks, and our daughter just got done having cancer, for goodness sake, and he wasn't exactly being Prince Charming either, and you get the picture.  I was just so hurt.  Oh, it was not a pretty sight in that car I am sorry to say. : (

We didn't go out together, I was so upset.  Instead, I went to the mall, and got some warm soup and hot tea at a book store, and planned on nursing my misery.  Only, something else happened.  As I sat there and stewed for a while, I also started praying about the whole thing.  And as I prayed, I decided to stop pitying myself and start thinking rationally about what he said.  And the more I did that, the more I realized he was right.  *GASP*!  Now, I knew he was not perfect either, and his timing for telling me how he felt was probably not the best, considering how stressed I had been, but the thing he told me was correct.  And I knew that I needed to repent and apologize, no matter how difficult that would be.  By the time I left for home, I was pretty well done being angry at him, and planning out what I was going to say. 

Things were strained that evening, but I did tell him that he was right and I was sorry, and I even refrained from saying anything to him about all the times he wronged ME... (You know how tempting that is.)

This is a very personal story, and I really didn't want to share our dirty laundry with you, but I did it for a reason.  Early in our marriage, I was very bad at this.  This scenario most likely would not have happened, because we both tended to be me-centered, and it was hard for us to apologize without pointing out the other one's faults.  When something icky came between us like this, sometimes it would take a long time for it to get resolved because we were both so stinking stubborn. 

But since I allowed the Lord to speak to my heart and do things His way, this little spat ended very differently.  My hubby apologized too, for making me so upset, and he admitted that he had not been the perfect husband either.  The rift was mended immediately.  I am not so scared about that stomach bug anymore, so we even smooched some. ; )  And today that man of mine was going out of his way to make me feel loved--including cleaning the kitchen for me.

There are two ways we can handle it when we are angry with our spouse.  We can get defensive and angry and nurse our pain, or we can think about what they said, apologize, and let it go.  Did you know that the Bible tells us all the answers about how we should handle every situation?  And if we just listen and obey, the result is always the best!  How I wish I had learned that part about being repentant and selfless a long time ago...but I hope you can learn it and use it in your marriage now!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Where have I been??

Oh, I've been here. : )  Thankful every single day for our wonderful news. : ) 

I haven't written in a few days, one, because I just wanted to sit on that last post for a while.  Why rush on?  And two, because every time God blesses your socks off, the devil comes in not far behind to try and steal your joy.

The boys all came to church with us for the first time in a while last Sunday, and Tuesday night, Ben had the stomach flu. : (  So, I was up all night with him that night, and it's hard to catch up on sleep after a full night of none.  Plus, I am freaked out over the stomach bug, so I have been working hard all week to keep it from spreading.  Sanitizing, sanitizing, harping at everyone to wash their hands, sanitizing some more...   I hate the stomach flu. 

A few other difficult little things popping up here and there let me know that the devil did not want me to have any fun.  But I'm sorry...a little old virus and other such bumps in the road will not take away my joy for long!!  Praise the Lord!!!

The boys and I are getting ready to fly across the country to see my family on Thanksgiving!!  Please pray that that stomach bug will be LONG GONE well before we leave.  Ben is almost all better, but not 100%.  I am still praying it won't spread, especially this close to that wonderful day.  I have not been with my entire family--mom, dad, both brothers and their families, all at one time, ever before!  It doesn't get much more exciting than that!  I just can't wait! 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sarah's exam with Dr. Aaberg

In June we were told by Dr. Aaberg that our precious Sarah had cancer.  Not only did she have cancer, but it was really bad.  He was sure it had spread to her brain and spinal fluid.  He gave us very little hope if any, and the expression on his face said it all.  We felt hopeless--and helpless.  He told us later that he was so upset that night, he hardly slept at all.

This morning Dr. Aaberg examined our precious Sarah again.  We waited in the waiting room talking about the journey we have been on, and speculating about what the next leg of the journey would look like.  We prayed, and we trusted, and we knew that God is sovereign.  His way is always best, and we would trust Him come what may! 

Dr. Aaberg came out to see us, and the first words out of his mouth were-- there's NOTHING!   I thought he meant her eye was still not dilated, and he could not get a good look yet.  But I was wrong.  He really meant NOTHING!  There was NOTHING IN THERE!

Dr. Aaberg was the bringer of bad news, but today he brought the best news we ever could have hoped for!!

Sarah is Free of Cancer!!!

I can't begin to tell you, dear friends how it feels to get this kind of news.  To be on this journey for 6 months, and then hear that it is done.  We are simply praising God with everything we have in us!  It was Him who picked out Sarah for our family.  It was Him who brought her to us.  It was Him who provided all the care she needed...Him who bolstered our faith...Him who helped her to sail through with virtually no symptoms--laughing all the way along!  It was Him who got us through the high dose of chemo and the bone marrow transplant, and Him who got her out of the hospital in record time.  It was Him who healed our girl, and all the glory goes to Him!  He loves our little Sarah so much.  We rejoice in our great God!  Our loving heavenly Father!

And Dr. Aaberg had a pretty great day too. : )

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tomorrow is exam day!

Life is great around here!  Sarah is doing so well!  She is really back to her smiley, sparkly self!  She is eating and drinking well--today we didn't even have to force her and she has already reached the full amount she is supposed to drink! 

Maybe the best part about a trial, second to the spiritual growth that can accompany it, is how really wonderful normal life feels when the trial is past.  I am ALWAYS grateful for Sarah's happy little personality.  But hearing those laughs and giggles throughout the day and seeing that smile and those eyes squinting into little slits--all day long...

There is just nothing better. : ) 

Tomorrow morning we see Dr. Aaburg!  Please be praying tonight that if that tumor is still there today, it will be GONE by the time he peeks in there tomorrow!  I was nervous.  Very nervous.  I didn't even want to go to the appointment.  I didn't think my heart could take the suspense!  But now I am feeling at peace.  I know one thing for sure.  GOD IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS.  And if that is true, then His Word is true, His promises are true.  And one of those promises is that He will never leave us or forsake us.  He also promises that EVERYTHING works out for the good of those who love Him.   The Bible is plumb full of wonderful news for us, His beloved children.  How can we doubt Him even for a second? 

Check back tomorrow, and I will let you know the results...thanks for praying, dear friends and lurkers!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Just plain tired.

Okay, I feel the need to start this off by saying that I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm complaining!  I am still so very thankful for how the Lord has carried us through EVERYTHING.  I am not ungrateful or untrusting, or anything like that.  I know He is with us, and we are really doing well.  Sarah is still doing great!  In fact last night and today, it seemed like she was really showing her true, spunky Sarah colors!  So this little post is just a peek into how I am feeling because emotions are just what they are sometimes, right?  We are human beings after all.

First of all, I am missing my husband.  While I was in the hospital so much, he was so busy with all the daily household things that he got quite a bit behind on his work.  His work he gets paid for.  So, now that I am home, he has been so focused on that, I feel like I have barely seen him, even though he is here.  Hopefully he will be caught up soon.

I am tired of making Sarah drink all the time!  You wouldn't think 20-25 ounces a day would be too hard, but when you are a little 24 pound girl, I guess you just don't want that much.  Every day it is a battle to get her to drink which ends up at least once with her in tears, but they say if she doesn't drink enough, she will have to go back on fluids at night. Ugh. 

I am tired of going to the clinic.  Over the summer we went many times twice a week, sometimes staying for  hours, but it didn't seem that bad.  I guess it feels worse now because I am behind on school with the boys, and it feels like so much more of a waste of time now that there is so much more to do.  Also, since Sarah has to be away from people as much as possible, we don't get to hang out in the waiting room with the other families.  We have to be isolated in a room alone.  Yesterday we were there for 4 hours.  : (  Is it better than being in the hospital though?  Yes.  But that doesn't mean I can't be tired of going there.

Here's a sad little story from yesterday's clinic visit...I woke up tired in the morning.  I got Sarah all ready and we were out the door--a little late.  Cassandra was parked behind me, so I had to wake her up to get her keys.  And as I was putting Sarah in her carseat, she says,  "Poopy!"  Yep.  Love those last minute diaper changes.  So after that and moving the other vehicle, we were late.  They have never said anything about us being late before, but this time one of my favorite nurse techs there gently reprimanded me for it.  (Honestly, it doesn't really matter much since it is not a real doctor visit.  Just a blood draw.)  I was already tired, so I wasn't in the mood. 

Then we went to our room, and I knew we would be there for the time it takes to get a certain medicine she needs, which would be an hour, plus the time it takes to get the results of the blood draw.  Not too bad.  It turned out that even though her white blood cell count was still fine, her ANC was low, so she had to get nupogen, (sp?) and we had to wait for them to order it, get it infused, etc.  So, we took a little (I mean long) walk to the pharmacy and back while we waited. 

When we were finally all done with everything and on our way out, I realized I did not have my ring on.  The ring my hubby gave me when we were still dating, almost 20 years ago.  Where did it go?  Oh yeah, Sarah loves jewelry, and had asked me if she could wear it.  That little voice in my head had told me not to do it, but I had thought, "We are just in this little room and she is sitting on my lap.  Nothing will happen to it."  Well, that's what I thought before I promptly forgot all about it, and we went on that long walk to the pharmacy and back.   So, I searched the little room, retraced my steps, told all the nurses to be on the lookout, and called the hospital lost and found.  No ring. : (     I have been even more scatterbrained than usual lately because I have been tired and have this huge to-do list on my mind all the time since I have been home. 

So sad.

Sooooo...Sarah's appointment with Dr. Aaburg to check for that tumor is on Monday morning!  We are praying that that stinker will be ALL GONE.  Will you pray with us??  Then, we truly will be done with it all.  What a glorious day that will be! 

In the meantime, we press on.  Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!

 More silliness!
 Reading with Josh
 Watching Barney with Ben.  Ben said, "Mom, I just want to spend some time with Sarah alone."  : )
 Ben did a little piano recital for us complete with tickets.  He made up some songs, and figured out how to play some real ones on his own.  I need to get to work teaching that boy!  (Another thing on my list...)
 Jacob sitting in the balcony
 Grandma and Grandpa were here for the concert too!  Ben brought the book to Grandpa and said, "Something for the little one..."  lol
 Me enjoying the concert with Josh ; )

Sarah so happy to be back on that trampoline!  (This time we put a sheet down on it to keep germs away!)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

30 days of giveaways!

Hi there...

 A little break from my regular stuff to tell you about this fun  little thing.  Stefanie over at her blog, Ni Hao, Y'all,  is doing a whole month of give-aways!  Click on the link over on the side of my blog to see what it's all about!

And Sarah is "doing good," as she would tell you.  She is eating pretty well, and drinking enough to be off fluids (because we are forcing-- I mean coaxing her to.) 

Please be praying because we go in on Monday morning bright and early to have the big exam to take a look at what might be left of that tumor!  Oh, my poor heart can barely take it...  Trusting, trusting, trusting!!!

Hope you are all having a terrific week!  I'm tired, but so enjoying being HOME. : )

Saturday, November 6, 2010

There's no place like HOME!

FRIDAY WAS THE DAY!! After what our nurse said was probably the fastest discharge after a BMT at our hospital EVER, we were strapping our Sarah into her carseat and heading out of the parking lot on Friday afternoon. I looked over at Scott and said, "Wow, we are on the other side of the bone marrow transplant!" That's a pretty weird feeling after gearing up for it and being in the middle of it for what seems like such a long time. And it's a pretty great feeling too, let me tell you!

Sarah is doing great! She still is not eating as much or as many different things as she normally does, and we are trying to get her to drink more so she can get off fluids at night...but other than that, things seem pretty well back to normal with her! Isn't it amazing how God has made our bodies to bounce back after something so traumatic? Especially children? We are praising His Name. : )

Last night was my first night in my own wonderful bed, and I sure loved it. : ) And I slept in. And slept in some more. And I loved that too. : ) And then after I woke up, I lay there for quite a while, just relaxing and praying. Mmmmmmm... : ) Are you noticing a smiley face pattern in this post???

We all had a good day. You can tell Sarah is so comfy and happy here at home. There's just nothing like it, is there?

Here are some pictures of our reunion with the brothers at the Renucci House, and then when we got home.

 With Cassandra on her first day unattached from the machines, and she could go out of the room!
 We took a field trip with Rhys down to the security office to get Sarah her own doctor badge!
 Brothers came to the Renucci House and had a great time with their sister.  Happy reunion!
 They love her so much. : )
 Big hugs. : )
 We are home!!!!
 They laughed and played most of the day today.  Such precious kids I have. : )
 Ben loves to play  Sarah's favorite songs for her.  He figures them out himself!
 More silly fun with those brothers!
 This face says it all. : )

Praise the Lord.  He is so good.  All the glory goes to HIM!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Home tomorrow!

I have got to get to bed, so I will make this very fast.  I will try to use fewer WORDS than usual, but that's hard for me because I really like words. : ) 

We moved over here to the Renucci House yesterday.  It's a place for families to stay here at the hospital that's like a hotel.  Our room is like a suite with a kitchen and a separate bedroom.  It's very nice.

Today Sarah had her first clinic appointment post transplant.  She normally loves the clinic, so I was disappointed that she was not very excited about it today.  She's still not totally back to normal, and that proved it.  She also wasn't super excited to see her brothers yesterday which broke my heart because they were so super excited to see her.  Josh had been keeping track of the days she was gone in a notebook, and had made a picture frame out of cardboard to put her picture on his desk.  They were all so happy to see her.  She did smile and play with them some, but yesterday she wouldn't even give Jacob a hug.  I felt so bad for him.  She just isn't feeling quite herself yet.  Today they came to visit again, and she did better.  Hugs all around. : )

The biggest problem we are having at this point is that she is not wanting to eat or drink very much.  Many things are not tasting the same to her, and she is having a lot of trouble with different textures in her mouth that never used to bother her.  I am praying this all passes soon! And worse, we are having a hard time getting her to drink more than 10 ounces a day.  It's frustrating because she still has to be on fluids at night, and now guess who gets to get up every very early morning to turn off the beeps?  I'll give you a hint.  There are no nurses living here or at our house...

But, even though things are not perfect yet, we are still PRAISING THE LORD that we are out of the hospital, on the road to full recovery, and going to our sparkling clean home tomorrow, along with my bed which has to be one of the comfiest in the world. : ) 

Oh, I wanted to mention that the big BMT cleaning day/week is done!  My wonderful hubby and Cassandra worked hard while I was at the hospital, and then duct cleaners and carpet cleaners came, and my dear neighbor friend and her precious daughter came and helped me deep clean yesterday.  It was actually fun, and I decided we really need to clean like that more often...

Hmmm...I think that was still too many words.  I was really trying to make it short this time. 

Blessings to you tonight!  Be thankful for your home.  You should never take it for granted. ; )

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Speeding towards home!

I will catch you all up on the latest...

Sarah's white blood cell count was in the 6000's  today, and she is considered engrafted--which means her bone marrow blood making factory is up and running!  What this means is, we are in high gear getting our house ready for Sarah to come home.  If you missed my original bone marrow transplant post, one of the biggest deals about this whole thing is that our house has to be completely spotless as much as we can get it before she comes home.  The goal is to rid the house of germs and dust as much as we can.  Even though she has plenty of white blood cells, they may be too immature to fight off some infections, so she will still have many restrictions until the end of January.

So, the duct cleaners came today, some precious friends have a duct cleaning business, and they came and did it for us on the spot!  The carpets will all be cleaned tomorrow, and I have some wonderful ladies with servants' hearts coming tomorrow to help me CLEAN!  Oh my, we were so stressed, but now we are feeling more in control. 

The other big news is, Sarah got to leave this room today!  She wore a mask, and we went on a little field trip with Rhys (remember when I told you about him?) down to see the lady who makes the ID badges that all the docs and nurses wear.  Sarah loves those things and always snags them from the nurses who come in, so she got to get her picture taken, and get her very own.  It says, Dr. Sarah, Main Big Wig of the BMT. (Bone Marrow Transplant) : )   Then we took another walk around the halls later to show off her new badge to everyone.

She is doing fantastic!  She is eating and drinking and apart from a little runny nose and a bit of left over tummy issues, feeling fine.  Our BMT nurse this morning again told me how completely awesome she is doing compared to all the other kids.  She calls Sarah her little superstar!  But we all know who the REAL SUPERSTAR is!!  And Sarah just got to be on the receiving end of His Super Powers. : )  That same nurse said Sarah is being discharged faster than ANY BMT patient she has seen.  Only 3 weeks and we are done!

Today marks 3 weeks, and tomorrow we leave this hospital room!  We actually could have gone home on Thursday, but since the carpets are just getting cleaned tomorrow, they want them to air out for a couple of days before she comes, so we are going to stay in the hospital "hotel" until Friday.  I think that is going to be kind of fun.  The boys were so cute today, so excited for her to come home soon!

So, once more let me tell you what God did......

He allowed Sarah to get this treatment (even if it has awful side effects) that she needed.

He let her have fun and no symptoms in the hospital for 6 days before things started to get bad.

She only had 5 bad days.

We prayed for no mouth sores.  She got only one when the other kids normally have lots of them.  One nurse I talked to said in all her years of seeing BMT kids, she only saw ONE that did not get mouth sores.  When I heard her say that, I knew it was possible...and it WAS with GOD!  That other kid probably had lots of people praying for him too.  I'm really not sure why God did let her get one.  But even that one wasn't very bad. 

There were no complications during the time her counts were low.  No infections, no trouble with her other organs, or any of the other scary things that could have happened.

When her counts started coming back up, she was back to herself in about a day, already eating pizza.: )

She is seemingly unaffected by the whole ordeal.  She is such a precious treasure.  I am totally not kidding.

And the hidden gem in all of this to me personally is that I was able to have all of this time with Sarah all to myself.  In my busy life with several kids, there just is not a whole lot of time to focus on just one of them for hours and hours.  And I was thinking tonight as I played, read, sang, watched videos, and cuddled with Sarah, how truly thankful I am for this part of it.  I am just so thankful to my Lord and Savior and best Friend-- for everything I mentioned up there, and for giving me the beautiful gift of being Sarah's mother.  He has shown Himself faithful every step along the way, in so many ways.  Most of them too personal to even try to explain.  If you know Him, then you probably know what I'm talking about.  And if you don't know Him, then I hope you will soon. 

Thank you each of you who has prayed for us.  And please don't stop if the Lord brings us to mind.  We still won't know for a little while if the chemo accomplished what it was supposed to do, and we can all pray for good results, as well as smooth sailing as we transition our girl home with a still immature immune system.

Good night from the hospital for probably the last time...hopefully forever!!  Have a wonderful day tomorrow!

      With big sis, Cassandra on her first day not attached to machines!

Getting ready to get her picture taken for her dr. badge with Rhys.  First she needed to check out his cool watch. : )