Tuesday, November 8, 2011


On Saturday afternoon October 29 Abigail was with us at her brother Nate's last football game.

She was really fussy and grouchy so we could not wait to get her home to bed. When she finally got up from her nap around 4:30 she was a basket case. Her ANC on the previous Thursday had only been 400 and she had a cold so I was concerned. I know the drill, so I packed a small suitcase and took her to the ER at the childrens hospital. She didn't have a fever when we left, but it was 101.4 when we arrived. One positive thing about cancer is that they don't make you wait long in the ER. She was evaluated almost immediately and what they found was shocking--she couldn't breathe. Her oxygen saturation was in the low 80's. The scary part was that they were having a hard time bringing her oxygen up. She ended up on "forced oxygen" which forces the air into your lungs to open them. As a result she ended up being admitted to the PICU--pediatric intensive care unit. The PICU scared me for a lot of reasons. The biggest one is that cancer patients usually go there to die. I was begging the whole time to get out and up to the cancer unit. It took a full 24 hours but she was finally weaned onto a low enough dose of forced oxygen that we could go there. We almost had to return to PICU but we prayed really hard and got to stay. One of her brothers and her older sister got to visit her there.

She was in the hospital for almost a week which meant that she was there for Halloween. We brought up her costume and she wore it all day while the staff did "reverse trick or treating" to her. Here she is picutred with our favorite "super nurse". She came home on oxygen and had to stay on it for a whole week. Luckily the oxygen company gave us a 25 foot cord so she could run around and play. We are happy that she is home again.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


With Abigail we stayed home most of her Induction (1st treatment phase of Leukemia). Her numbers made her susceptible to all kinds of illness and infection that month. Natasha has been different. While equally sick and grumpy, she has had great numbers. As parents we have learned that our girls need time outside of the house to keep them sane. Our trick in October was to find ways and places to keep them happy. Halloween offered us some great outlets for them. We attended a party at church and a party through the Make-a-Wish organization. Both were so nice because we there were activities for all of our 7 kids. The favorite activity by far was decorating and eating cupcakes. The funny part is that Natasha cried and whined through both events, but then screamed when we pulled into the driveway. She wants to be home least of all. At least our little princesses had a chance to get out and enjoy the holiday.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


It took about a week and a half, but Natasha's hair is now pretty much gone. I think it was actually harder for us to shave her hair than Abigail's because she looooooved to play with it. Her hair was a huge comfort to her. If you doubt that, just look at the photos.

Having gone through this before I thought the shock of seeing her bald and moon faced from the steroids would be gone. Funny that it's not. It is just as hard to see her go through this as it was for Abigail. The difference this time is that I am educated. I know what I can reasonably expect and I understand now everything the doctors tell me even if I am sleep-deprived. It's remarkable what a difference education and experience make emotionally. Just today I spotted the start of thrush in the back of Natasha's throat when she was crying. Her meds are just waiting to be picked up at the pharmacy. Abigail had thrush for days before we recognized it. How grateful I am for Tasha's sake that Abigail was such a good pioneer.


This is my new hated word. Actually the whole term is demodex folliculitis. It took us 2 months to finally discover what it was and we have been treating it for 2 months. It is found in individuals with compromised immune systems for long periods of time. ALL leukemia is one of its favorite targets. It is the normal mites that hang out on your skin attacking you. It's itchy and uncomfortable but she complains very little. The first picture is Abigail holding my little niece London. The second picture is psycho I know, but it shows her eye issues. For months she kept getting massive amounts of stys on her lower left and upper rt. eyes. Eventually we had them surgically removed but it has been challenging to keep them away.

Luckily the folliculitis is better. I don't know if and when we can get it to go away but it has never looked this bad since we started. So now that I am hoping to post more I just want to explain Abigails skin so it doesn't look like she has recently started puberty ;)

Saturday, October 15, 2011


On October 4th our little Natasha joined her sister in the fight against Leukemia. Here she is waiting for a bone marrow aspirate.

Because she had such high chances of leukemia we had been testing Natasha every few months to make sure we could catch it early. We had been planning Abigails Make-a-Wish trip to FL in November and decided to test Abigail one last time before we made the trip final. That was on September 8. On the 9th my pediatrician let me know that her blood looked good except for a low WBC count. She was probably fighting off a virus, so we could just test her again in a month.

When I mentioned that to the PA in oncology on Abigail's next visit he asked if Natasha had a cold or was running a fever. When I answered "no" he asked for permission to check her scores on the computer. When he came back he was very concerned about her ANC or neutrophil count. Normal is between 1.5 (still pretty low) and 7. Natasha's was .6 which is nearly neutropenic (meaning that she doesn't have much ability to fight off any infection). To put it into perspective, Abigail would not have been let out of the house with that ANC. He wanted her retested which we did about 5 days later. The only change was that her platelets, which allow her blood to clot, were declining rapidly and were now low. That was a Thursday. They scheduled her bone marrow aspirate for the following Tuesday. They tried to give us hope but kindly suggested that realism was in order. That was our conference weekend--waiting for the inevitable. At least we had time to prepare a suitcase and make arrangements for our kids. Telling them was a different story...

Natasha was officially admitted about 2 hours after the biopsy. They were able to confirm the leukemia quickly. By 9 am the next morning she was in surgery for a power port and she had her first chemo and steroids that afternoon.

Natasha walked into oncology that Tuesday with a huge grin. She was happy and giving hugs and kisses to everyone. She is naturally so sweet and loving that the staff quickly recognized how different she was from our little firecracker Abigail. That is part of the reason it is so hard for us now. She wasn't acting sick. She was busy, happy and adventurous. It's hard not to feel bad because we have made her sick.

She has steroids in her so she hates everyone and everything. She cries almost constantly unless she is asleep and Josh and I are so sleep deprived I see with a funny aura. I have wanted to post regularly but finding time seems impossible. Today I finally just handed her screaming to my husband and left. I needed a few quiet moments.

Even knowing what to expect, it is so hard. I love these sweet girls and watching them suffer brings almost physical pain to Josh and I. We have both had physical side effects and illness caused by stress that has been unavoidable given the circumstances. My greatest consolation is little Abigail who is only a few weeks away from "maintenance" which is a much less intense form of treatment. She is running, talking, playing and teasing much like she did before the cancer. But now she just seems to have an inner strength and confidence. She has been through so much that she is grateful for the marginal health that she does enjoy now. It's comforting to see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It's just another 8 months away...

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Abigail was a princess last night. Through a local charity organization we were able to attend a princess party. She did really well for the first half of the night and then she wasn't feeling well. We ended the night early, but not until we had already gone for a carriage ride, met the Disney princesses, eaten a fancy dinner, snacked on a cupcake, and just enjoyed being dressed up as princesses. Abigail attended with her twin Natasha, big sister Gabby, mom & grandma. She even showed us what a little princess she was inside when she made friends with another sweet little girl in line for the carriage ride. She is always our little example of acceptance.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


One thing that Abigail's cancer has changed is how I use my time. I felt busy before but now it is just crazy. I feel like I can't keep up with friends, enjoy hobbies, or just relax. There is always something that has to be done. When I am sitting it is because she is sick or having a bad day. I have recently decided to take my life back. I need to do things I enjoy just for me and that includes writing about our experiences.

I never thought it would happen, but cancer has become the new norm. Abigail still cries when they stick the needle in her chest to access her port but that is about it. She walks into the oncology lab like she's a rock star with a grin and a wave for everyone. They always have a craft or coloring waiting and she knows which locked cupboards contain the toys she likes. She starts looking for her best friend-the child life specialist-as soon as she arrives. Once they hook her up she will play with the kitchen for a while but then she wants to be busy. If we are there long we order up food. She sits at the little table, eats her Ramen/yogurt/chips and thinks it's funny that she makes messes. She loves to roam the clinic to see and talk to everyone. The great thing about a children's hospital is that they are happy to let her. I'm just the dorky mom that follows her around with the IV pole. We have met some brave and amazing people. I have so much respect for those kids.

As to Abigail's ability to tolerate things, she is amazing. It took 2 months for her to walk again and then she was ready to go. Right now she is on an escalating chemo course. Every 10 days if her "blood numbers" are high enough she gets more than she did before. Last Fri. she got 2 different forms of IV chemo and then had another form of chemo placed into her spine surgically. Sat. she didn't get out of bed until 10, but she was still walking. Her gait is unsteady and sometimes her legs give out on her but she refuses to lose her independence. Sometimes she will walk along, collapse or throw up, and get up and go again. She is so young that I wonder if she even remembers what it was like to feel good. She has her steroid moments but she is generally happy, full of smiles and waves, and busy. I was a bigger wimp by far when I was pregnant with the twins than she is now. She has been and is such an inspiration to me. Her perseverance with a smile keeps me going when I get frustrated with the situation.

Natasha gets away with murder. So far she has only been tested twice for Leukemia and both were negative but I am so paranoid at times. I am always on the alert for signs of the cancer in her. One thing that this experience has done is change the way I have been spending my time. I am rarely on the computer anymore and I haven't watched TV for weeks. Today I spent my afternoon playing board games with my 4 oldest. My baby has been held more. I sing more with the little ones and we have read more books together. Today I played pet shops with the twins. We have gone on more walks and I have been more patient at pushing the new little trike they got for their birthdays (Just turned 3!) I have been softer and found more patience than I ever knew I had. All thanks to a little girl with cancer.

I truly like the changes. It's like taking the waxed paper off of my eyes and seeing joy in things that were chores before. I love watching them do simple things together like sit on either side of the sink and "brush their teeth" (they really just suck the water out of the toothbrush and then refill it). I like people better too and tend to be less judgemental of others. I know that I have been a terrible wife/mom/friend lately because this has consumed me and I wonder now how many unknown things others are dealing with. It's been such a personal journey for me. Don't get me wrong, it's really hard. I have anxiety the whole way to the hospital every time we go and usually cry-out of pain or joy when we leave. But we are very blessed that she is doing so well. We all are. Work is exhausting but rewarding. Kids are moody but happy. Money is tight but not absent. Time is our most precious asset.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


We recently got the news that the last bone marrow biopsy showed that Abigail was cancer free. Technically, I guess, you could call her "in remission". Unfortunately, it doesn't change the treatment any. It is still 2 years because we know that it will keep coming back. We are just beyond thrilled to know that it is working and her body is responding!

Friday, April 22, 2011


I was sure that Abigail was destined to be bald by now, but not so. She is holding on to a few remaining hairs. You can't see it here, but she has a little chunk on the other side that you could almost make into a small pigtail. We were told that she would want hats on because her head would be cold. So far she could take them or leave them unless she is outside in the cold. I guess the little that she has left is enough to keep her from freezing. She keeps asking about her hair every time she sees herself in a mirror. I try to be upbeat and indicate that she has a cute hair cut--she's not buyin' it. She has tried several times to put a bow in her hair or indicate that it's her turn when I am doing her twin's hair. I lightly comb it, but what else can I do?

The other day my mom was playing with the girls. Abigail pulled Natasha's pigtail and then touched her head. She followed that up with her shoulders and hands raised as if to ask, "where's my hair?" My mom was having a hard time not crying. Abigail then laid next to Tasha and ran her fingers through her pig tail for a while. She used to fall asleep by sucking on her left thumb and playing with her hair with her right hand. The other night I laid with her and she played with my hair.

We have been really blessed by an outpouring of hats. Right about the time she needed some, we were surprised to get some from unexpected sources. Someone at my brother's work was kind enough to give us a some hats & flowers. Our girls have gone up there about every 6 months since they were only a few weeks old. I was so touched by their kindness.
This pink, black & white one is hysterical! Abigail's Aunt Sally and her sweet friend Emily have made sure that Abigail is nothing short of a fashion statement in the hats they have sent. THANKS! Everywhere we go from the grocery store to the Oncology clinic, people ask where we got the hats. In case you are interested, it's from Confetti Betty Couture. Here is the link: http://www.etsy.com/shop/confettibettycouture?page=2 The hats have worked really well for Abigial because they are so soft on her scalp.

Emily was so sweet! She sent a box of little gifts for everyone in our whole family! It was so thoughtful and made our week. I hadn't realized how left out our other kids were feeling. They didn't want hats themselves, but it stunk that things were always coming for Abigail only. This was so thoughtful. Here are the girls showing off their new stuff.

Abigail was delighted to have some new things to play with since she still wasn't mobile.

Here are my twins opening their most recent hats from Emily.

Sometimes they just crack me up and I am so glad they are mine.

Another fun package we received recently was filled with hats from Abigail's cousins in NV. Thanks guys! Along with a few friends, they knit several hats for her. Even my 7 year old niece made one!

Abigail is modeling above & Tasha Bear below.

The girls didn't want baby Corban to be left out either.

Receiving all of these hats has really made me think. Would I be this generous with someone else's child? People have given their money, time, talents, and resources to help my little girl. Many of them have not even met her or have only briefly met her. It amazes me that so many people are so giving. I learn so much every day from the example of those around me. I want to be more unselfish and more able to recognize opportunities to help others. Hats seem like such a small thing but to a mother and toddler who feel the loss of two little pigtails, it is really a huge blessing.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Thursday24th of March the was the last day of steroids and Friday the 25th our little Jekyl & Hyde went in for another bone marrow biopsy and spinal chemo. Here she is wanting to go home before it even started. We should have the results tomorrow. The hope is that there is no trace of cancer. We know of course that it would still be there but we don't want to see it. Her hair was looking so scrappy that we finally cut it short. I didn't want to shave it because I was afraid it would make her too cold. She is still shedding but it isn't in her mouth, itching her neck etc.
Saturday and Sunday were pretty hard because Abigial doesn't do well after the lumbar punctures anyway, but the biopsies seem to really bother her. In fact neither she or either of her parents got any sleep at all on Saturday night. It was really miserable. Luckily, her initial treatment phase called "induction" is over now. We are being given a week off. Fortunately, they are changing our chemo day, so we get 10 days off. As luck would have it, those days coincide with my kids' spring break.

The icing on the cake is that her "blood numbers" as we have come to call them, look fantastic! All but one of the values looks normal. Meaning that they are just like our other kids right now. We can go out in public and take her places again.

*I wrote this over a week ago and forgot to post it. My goal today is updating so I hope to add more posts. Unfortunately, that was yesterday's goal and we ended up with 7 hours of screaming and pain and a brief ER visit. Hopefully today will go better.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


While Abigail was in the hospital we decided to cut her hair. It was knotting up terribly in the back and looking more like dread locks than pretty hair. Neither of us liked combing through it. So, my sweet sister Cassie brought her hair cutting scissors up to the hospital and went to work. She even gave her a bath first. She was really happy to see her aunt.I can't believe how long it was! She has never had a real haircut since birth and it was getting really long. I had recently been able to do french braids with it. They were so cute! But, so was her cut. She looks like such a 'little chub' (an affectionate term in our family) with her bloated stomach & chipmunk cheeks from the steroids. Short hair just looks so cute on her. In many ways the haircut has been a blessing. Her hair is not as matted in the back and it seems to stay out of her eyes better. It is also much easier to wash. Last Thursday when I was giving her a bath I took out her elastic and then started to undo her braid. Hair came off into my hands. It was just a little, but I knew it was starting. We were told it would most likely come out in clumps but that is not how it is happening. It's just coming out one piece at a time all over her pillow, her shirt, the couch and us. I gave her a bath Tuesday and my mom found me sobbing over the tub. I would massage the shampoo into her head and then watch in horror as hair stuck to my hands when I pulled them away. I pulled a ball of hair out of the drain and then a small one from the pic that I used on her after the bath. Since then it has only gotten worse.

I don't know what it is about losing hair that makes it feel so final. She still has a "normal" look to her now. Sure, she just sits or lays, has a pale face with huge cheeks & stomach from the steroids, but normal-ish. But as the hair falls I keep thinking about how real it feels now that she is fighting cancer. The thought of seeing her bald just seems to take the "little girl" away somehow. There are no pigtails and ribbons, no bangs needing cut, no hair to fill with mud & spaghetti. Don't get me wrong, her Aunt Sally is on a campaign to make sure she has the cutest hats around in every color (thanks Emily too!) and some loving friends & family are knitting her hats as well. Its just hard for me. I love to do my girls' hair. It's like a source of pride that I take the time to make them look good--especially Abigail & Natasha. I think it is my way of telling the world that they are really loved and cared for. Isn't that so dumb? When I really think about it, it sounds shallow. But, it's how I feel.

Yet, right now when we are dealing with so much it is also somewhat of a relief that soon "there are no pigtails and ribbons, no bangs needing cut, no hair to fill with mud & spaghetti." Her head will be cold but she has been pulling out all barrettes & bows we have put in to keep hair out of her eyes. Of course, today they have come out with a chunk of hair attached.

I wonder how she will respond to seeing herself bald. I am really curious to see her reaction. She has been such a trooper. Smiling when she can even though we know how sick she must feel. Each of the side effects she is battling right now are "rare but not unheard of" according to the oncology nurse. But having them all is very rare. Like I have said many times before, we do rare in our family.

Here is our sweet little angel as she is sleeping next to me tonight:

I have this same Buddy Walk T-shirt and she was so funny when I wore it too. She kept smiling and pointing to me & then her. It is amazing how much I love her. There are just those moments that hit sometimes when words cannot explain how much you love someone. Tonight I am having one of those. I would never say that I was happy she has cancer but I can truly say that I have loved many of the learning moments it has brought. I have had a lot of mind numbing, girl holding, cartoon watching moments. I have also had some soul searching realizations and life lessons that I will never forget. It's amazing how you can find some of your biggest blessings amongst your greatest trials.

Monday, March 21, 2011


We spent a total of one week in the hospital. It was really hard on both of us. The doctors could not seem to get her blood sugar where they wanted it. I felt so helpless because I really could do so little. I just tried to hold & comfort her. She wanted me with her every second because she was so upset & scared. Consequently I lost a few pounds from eating only one meal a day. I wasn't able to read, use the laptop etc. or she would just cry & hold her arms out to me. It was very pathetic.

Chemotherapy, or as we call it "elixir from heaven", is hard on her body, but the problems she is having are side effects to steroids. The steroids help with the chemo but cause horrible side effects for some kids. Abigail is one of them. She now has high blood pressure, diabetes, and is constantly starving. The starving part is tricky because we have to be careful what & how much she eats for the blood sugar and balance that with the insulin. Add the fact that her tastes have changed dramatically because of the chemo, and that she developed thrush and severe mouth sores. She would scream for food and then scream when we put it in her mouth because she hurt so badly. It was awful. One morning I had had it. I was up much of the night with her and could no longer take seeing her in so much pain. I finally said a prayer and asked Heavenly Father to please let the pain stop. With the next bit of oatmeal the crying stopped. I don't know if the pain stopped but she was calm and ate everything in her bowl. I was so filled with gratitude for that little recognition of her needs and mine. She was still in pain when it came time for her next meal but I was OK because she had experienced some relief earlier. Our little "tender mercies" are so much more frequent now that we are making an effort to recognize them.

We did end up having family pictures at the hospital. They have a little outdoor area on one of the upper floors that we used. Unfortunately, Abigail's ANC was 0 which meant that she had no immune system at all. We finally took pictures of our family and just left a hole for her on Josh's lap. Then we brought her down and took pictures of just she & Josh to photo shop in. Her siblings stood behind the photographer waving and singing. She had missed them so much that she just perked right up and grinned. She was our easiest child to photograph.

Abigail still won't walk and usually wants someone to feed her and even hold her cup while she drinks. She prefers to be lying down. She is sore and achy. She watches Natasha play and I wonder what she is thinking. I wish I knew how much she really understood about what was happening. Does she remember running and playing and how much fun she had? Will she be able to just jump right in where she left off when she starts feeling better or will we have to teach her again? I wish I had a way of knowing what was coming. It would sure be easier to go through if I knew everything would be great at the end. I had my first bout of severe self doubt during this hospital stay. I wondered if I should have just let her go. I know it sounds awful but when you see your baby in pain and struggling it is hard not to question your own motives. Is this what she would really want if she could tell me? It feels like such a huge responsibility to make decisions for someone else. I decided that this one was easy if I just thought of one person--Natasha. She lights up around Abigail. She talks to her and brings her toys from time to time. They came as a pair and I could not imagine them not always being together. It's like yin without yang.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Inpatient Again

The volunteer that showed up to help feed her while I left for a few minutes was a good looking young guy. My little flirt ate almost everything for him.
Sometimes it is a blessing to have nurses to help clean her up!

I wanted to write every night and I already messed up! In all fairness, Tuesday & Wednesday were really busy. Abigail had been awful on Mon night/Tues. morning. She was up most of the night hitting me every 20-30 min. for a drink of water and filling 4 diapers in 1 night. I finally called the clinic when I saw the condition of her diaper area--it looked awful. When I called the clinic they wanted her to go to the children's hospital right away. I should have packed a bag but I was still thinking that Abigail was my normal little girl. OOPS!

I knew within a few minutes that she was being admitted. Her yeast infection had gone wild due to the massive antibiotics she had taken and she had severe thrush in her mouth. The worst was the side effect of the steroids given with the chemo. They have turned her into a diabetic. Normal glucose levels should be somewhere in the 90-125 range. Her glucose was 639 when she was admitted. Every day for the rest of the month, she will get a minimum of 5 finger pricks and 5 glucose shots. It's killing me to see her fingers & toes so black & blue. Because her body doesn't have the ability to clot really well a tiny prick turns into a big ol' bruise. Her little legs look like she's a heroine addict and it hurts me just to look.

The great thing is that it doesn't seem to bother her that much. She hates the pricks and cries when she sees it coming but she forgets quickly and is easily distracted. So really, the only one struggling is ME:) I will have to give the shots at home and I am not looking forward to it. Fortunately, the nurses will still be giving them for a while. Her blood sugar is terribly erratic and they are having a hard time controlling it. That, plus her incredibly low blood scores making her open to any illness, are keeping her in here. We have even arranged to have family photos in a hospital conference room. Any port in a storm, right?

Today I took the boys to the hospital kid's area and ran into a good friend from Michigan. It was so great to see her again. It has been almost 2 years. It really brightened my day. She is always such a happy person. It helped me to rise out of the slump I was in. I feel like I am abusing my little girl lately. There is no way to explain my "the end justifies the means" view to her. She doesn't understand why people are messing with her and hurting her--and her mom holds her down for it. I wish there was a way to help her to understand what her parents are fighting for. We want more years of antics & teasing from her. She has been such a fun part of our family. Tonight while we were watching "Finding Nemo" together she stole the remote from me and hid it behind her back. I loved that she was feeling like the fiesty little stinker we have been missing for the last 2 weeks.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Part of my desire to document all that goes on with Abigail's leukemia is to be able to keep track of all the positive things that will come from this new adventure. It's funny how you can hear statistics and see things happening around you without ever believing that it could happen to you. Having a child with a disability certainly never entered my mind. I guess I thought that since I wasn't considering it as an option that it just wouldn't happen. I felt that way about Leukemia. I read the statistics after their births--20 times more likely to have Leukemia. That certainly didn't mean they would right?

Over the last few months I kept having some strange thoughts enter my mind (I only wish this was unusual). When I had some quiet moments thoughts would come to me on how I would handle a child who was very ill or hospitalized. Everyone does things differently when they ponder on their ideas. I plan. I don't know if I am just a control freak or what but I actually planned what I would do in this situation. Who I would need to call, how I would talk with the kids, what I would change to accommodate the situation etc. (I know I'm a geek because I have also mentally planned several talks, funerals, and lectures). Looking back I feel like God sent me these thoughts to help me know what needed to be done when the diagnosis came. Managing a family of 9 requires some preparation. I am so grateful that I already knew what I needed to do at home so that I could make a few calls and then focus on Abigail's needs.

I was also blessed to have remembered a story an acquaintance told me about 8 years ago. She knew a boy who complained that his legs hurt and he turned out to have Leukemia. Of all the random things I have heard, this one seemed to stick and came into my mind on Wed. the 23rd. My sister watched my 4 youngest while I helped out at a school activity for my 9 yr old. When I returned I hung out with her for a while and had lunch there. Abigail was acting tired and wouldn't stand up. I had just taken her to the pediatrician the day before for her lethargy and he said she just had a virus. That had been the 3rd time that month she had been in to him. I had taken her for an ear infection and a rash which he called dry skin. (turns out it is called petechiae and my doctor should have caught it). Anyway, Cassie said that I mentioned I was concerned about Leukemia. I didn't remember this. I did remember mentioning it to my mom when Abigail woke up screaming inconsolably after her nap. I called and took her in AGAIN to my pediatrician and mentioned to him that I was concerned about Leukemia and relayed that same story. Finally he send me to the local hospital for x-rays and blood work.

As I look back, it's funny how things work. I remember sitting in the hospital praying that the phlebotamists would be able to hit her veins on the first try. She is a tough stick for a lot of reasons and as they were digging for a vein I was begging God to let them hit it. I had some things I really wanted to do that night and driving 25 min. to the local Children's hospital wasn't one of them. I am embarrassed to admit that I was angry when my prayer wasn't answered. Why couldn't he just extend a little mercy to a situation that was not a big deal? When I got home to make arrangements to go up, Abigail's fever broke 101. The doctor had told me to call if that happened. He sent me to the ER at the children's hospital anyway.

Leukemia would have been discovered with the blood tests at either hospital. The difference is that one would have been over the phone the next morning to just me, and instead my husband and I were able to hear it together and Abigail was admitted right away. That led to her being available for the cancellation that afternoon that expedited her much needed treatment. I need to remember that God's view is greater than mine. If I am going to believe in Him I have to believe that He knows what He is doing. Except for my breakdown at her first visit to the chemo clinic (sleep deprivation probably) I have just felt an overwhelming sense of peace. I wish I knew the outcome or the challenges we will face with this trial, but I know that we can learn so much from it if we choose to.
We have already begun to see why we are here in Utah at my parents' home. Having extra adult hands have been essential. This neighborhood has been amazing to our family and they act as if they were just waiting for a big service project. I have never eaten better or had a cleaner home to live in (let's face it--housekeeping has never been my thing). Josh's new job is filled with some incredibly compassionate individuals. We were visited in the hospital, given a generous collection, and Josh was hired on full time. (He was previously a contract employee for his first 90 days.) If they hadn't offered to hire him on we would have gone April, May & June with no medical insurance. The tender mercies of the Lord have been astonishing and we have seen His had in so many places we had never recognized.