~~~standing together as Ansley battles non-hodgkins lymphoma~~~

ways to serve

"...for this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you..."

Monday, December 19, 2011

CHAPTER 2 UPDATE: A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS GIFT!!!

We just got the news that Ansley's PET/CT scans this morning were totally clear - no signs of cancer! We have taken lots of pictures this year, but those may be the most beautiful ones that Amy and I have seen in a while! We are so thankful to everyone at MUSC for such wonderful care, and we give thanks to God for this wonderful news! They will be done with her bone marrow biopsy soon and the final results of that will take a few days. But for now, everything looks beautiful! Thanks for praying!

Also, as we receive this news, we know that there are families right now where we were at a year ago this time. Please pray for them as they begin a long journey.

Chapter 2 of our Story Begins


Friends,
I had the privilege of taking the kids to see my grandparents in Florida this past weekend. We celebrated Christmas with them in the same house where as a child, I had countless fun memeories. It was one of those "WOW" moments in my life. Seeing my precious grandparents love on my precious children...

After a wonderful weekend, it is time for Chapter 2 to begin. This morning, in just about an hour, Ansley will go to MUSC for her first set of CT scans, PET scans, and bone marrow biopsies. This is the first of many this year. She will be in the best of care with the doctors and nurses who have loved on her so well during the past year. But, even more than that, she is in the safe arms of Jesus. I am resting in that fact this morning. I am not going to lie and say there isn't some bit of "what if the scans show more cancer?" coming up in me this morning, but it's not taking first place in my heart. What is first this morning is this...

God promises to never leave us or forsake us.
God promises to strengthen us and help us.
God promises to uphold us by His mighty right hand.
God says not to fear bad news, because we trust in Him.
God loves my baby girl even more than me.

And so, we move forward this morning asking the Lord for complete healing of our precious Ansley. He has been faithful throughout this first year and I know His faithfulness and tenderness will continue. Please pray today. I will update this afternoon after we know the results. May God's blessings be evident to you today!

Monday, December 5, 2011

A New Day.....A New Season

Well, friends, Ansley's year of chemotherapy treatment is officially OVER!!
Just this morning, she woke up feeling more like herself than I have seen in months. She ended her final oral chemo on Saturday morning but I think knowing there is no "next round" has boosted her spirits in an incredible way. Words can't express the emotions that fill my heart right now. I am watching she and her brothers make a fort together out of sheets and towels and whatever else they can find. Why is it that a year ago this would've driven me crazy but now it brings nothing but delight to my soul?? I see life differently now. I see how precious it really is.

We are praising God for His faithfulness during this past year. It has not been easy but He has been so gracious to us. We pray that Ansley never has to have chemotherapy again! I trust that He is completely able to make that happen.

Ansley's Attempt on Saturday was a huge success! What an amazing way to celebrate the end of treatment! She also got her first Guinness World Record! She carries around the framed certificate everywhere she goes. I feel honored that so many people desire to help other families through The Journey House. It is a beautiful thing when we use our lives for good. I want to be totally spent when Jesus comes back! I have all of eternity to live in perfection. Now is the time for work!! Now is the time for service. Now is the time for endurance. Please join me in this vision.

Ansley's first set of scans is on December 19th at 7 AM. Would you pray for our family that day? I am sure the enemy will try to capture our minds and bring about fear. Please pray he is not given control. Pray for clean scans and no complications with the bone marrow biopsy, too.

Thank you for how you have loved our family. It is because of people like you that this year is ending so sweetly.

If you want to be on the Friends of The Journey House list, you can send me your e-mail address and we will keep you updated on our progress. We would covet your prayers as we make some big decisions about building plans. Also, our website is www.thejourneyhouse.org.

Anyone interested in seeing footage from Ansley's Attempt can go to News 5 Charleston,News 4 Charleston and YouTube. Just type in Ansley's Attempt and it should come right up.

Rejoice with us today and this season!! We love you dear people so much.

Amy

Saturday, December 3, 2011

12-3-2011....

A year ago to the day we started this journey with a visit to the ER. Syringes full of medicines have become the new normal for Ansley. This week was the final week of chemo in Ansley's final cycle for the year. As we get ready for Ansley' Attempt, we pray that these are the last doses of chemo EVER for our little one!

Monday, November 28, 2011

last day of chemo....i have to say it again it sounds so good!


Enough hair for a hair clip!!!

The morning of last chemo!

Sleeping peacefully.



Isaiah 26:3
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thankfulness


Tomorrow is a big day around our house. It is the final day of IV chemo for our sweet baby girl, Ansley. It has been one long, hard year and it is almost over! She will have to be put to sleep tomorrow to have a spinal tap, she will get chemo through her port, and also antibiotics through her port. After tomorrow, she will have 5 days of oral chemo. We are praying that this is the last chemo cycle this precious life ever has to experience. Quite frankly, I feel like tomorrow we are going on an exciting trip. I can't sleep, I have packed a special snack bag for my girl, and I have incredible joy in my heart. It seemed like this day would never come; and finally, it is here. Please rejoice with us that this week is the final week and pray that her scans show no more cancer in her little body in December.

So much to be thankful for tonight. So much to thank God for tonight.
Blessings and Peace my friends,
Amy

Sunday, November 13, 2011

New Mercies



I am writing with joy in my heart after a very sweet weekend with my family! The 7 of us enjoyed a relaxing weekend with not much on the agenda. It was a treat to go out on a date with my hubby, have pedicures with my girls and take a Sunday afternoon nap!
We are thankful for Ansley's emotional and physical health. She is upbeat, positive and being very tender with her siblings. We look forward to a great week and preparing to go to the mountains on Saturday for a week of vacation! Oh so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Pray for us as we remember last Thanksgiving and how much things have changed over the year.... a child with cancer,a move to a house closer to MUSC, etc. Please pray that I can be thankful for our "new" story. Maybe not thankful "for" the story but thankful that God has held our hand through the story.

Monday, November 7, 2011



I stared at the computer screen for a few minutes trying to come up with a title for this entry. I feel so torn inside that all i could think of was, "Jumbled." You would think that this close to being done with chemotherapy would feel magnificent. And, in some ways it does. I would've thought I would feel relief. But, quite frankly, it's not what I am feeling today. Our sweet Ansley came up to me today with huge tears in her eyes, "Mommy, I just want to be killed so I don't have to deal with this cancer any longer." Ugh.....what in the world do you say to that? Today was day 5 of oral chemo. She is swollen, sore, nauseated, red-faced, irritated, hungry but not hungry, sad and just plain over it all. All I knew to do was to hug her and tell her how much I loved her. It broke my heart when she said she was ready to see Harper in Heaven. This whole journey is hard. I am having a day filled with fear, anger and sadness for Ansley.

She is asleep now next to her brother, Garrett. Her emotions are much more under control and she hasn't mentioned death since this afternoon. Would you please pray for our family? I am weak right now and I need God to strengthen me. Please pray that Ansley does not stop fighting! We might be done with chemo this month, but we have years of scans and labs. This is a life journey not just a year journey.

My precious mom sent this to me and it has ministered to my soul today.

Christ will lead you into many situations that will seem impossible, but don't try to avoid them. Stay in the middle of them, for that is where you will experience God. The key difference between what appears to be impossible to us and what is actually possible is a word from our Master. Faith accepts his divine command and steps out in a direction that only God can complete. If you attempt only things that you know are possible with the visible resources you possess, those around you will not see God at work. You will be the one who receives the credit for a job well done,but God will have know part in it. Take inventory of your life and the decisions you are presently facing. Have you received a word from the Master that awaits your next step of faith? If you will proceed with what He has told you, no matter how incredible it might seem,,you will experience the joy of seeing your Lord perform a miracle, and so will those around you.

I feel like tomorrow is our family's next step of faith. I need Jesus for tomorrow!
Thanks for your faithfulness and letting me empty my heart to you. It is a helpless feeling to watch your baby girl suffer. I want to be faithful through every step. But, I can only do that with the Lord's strength. My tank is on empty....but His is always full!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thirty One Info

Our dear friend, Rebecca Deans, is a Thirty-One consultant. She is blessing The Journey House effort by giving from her sales for the coming month anyone who uses the following link. Please use it if you have any need for this cute stuff! They make great gifts, too.

http://www.mythirtyone.com/shop/catalog.aspx?eventId=E1203315&from=DIRECTLINK


Chemo went well yesterday. An 8 hour day at MUSC seems like a marathon!! But, our baby girl is doing well today and we are thankful that we are able to come home and sleep in our own beds. So many families have to either stay at a hotel or stay in the hospital. We have so much to be thankful for!!!

www.thejourneyhouse.org

Much love,
Amy

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

second to last

Arriving at 2nd to last chemo! Long day ahead with multiple infusions, EKG and ECHO. But oh so thankful to be at this stage of the game. Please pray for port access to go smoothly

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Exciting Stuff


Friends,

We enter a very exciting week as we count down to only two more chemo treatments!! Wednesday of this week is the next to the last one. I was looking back on some past entries and it seems like only yesterday we were in the hospital with an initial diagnosis of cancer. I am grateful beyond words at how God has carried us through the last 11 months and how He will continue to do so as we wait to see how Ansley's scans look every 12 weeks.

We are very excited about the upcoming event in Charleston known as Ansley's Attempt!
It will take place Saturday, December 3rd at Blackbaud Stadium at 9 AM. If you haven't a clue what I am talking about, please go to our website at www.thejourneyhouse.org and find out all about what God has laid on our family's heart.

Many people have asked how they can help with Ansley's Attempt. What we need more than anything is for people to come and hold a board for the mosaic. In order to get the World Record, we need 1,404 people holding up the boards. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE COME TO ANSLEY'S ATTEMPT!!!

Also, a dear friend of ours is a Thirty-One Gifts Consultant. She has graciously offered to give all of her commission to The Journey House from now until the end of November! Please look through this wonderful catalog and use the following link for The Journey House to get credit.

http://www.mythirtyone.com/shop/catalog.aspx?eventId=E1193271&from=DIRECTLINK

We want to get this home away from home going as soon as possible for families that are in Charleston for treatment of a sick child. Please help us raise the money! Also, we are now up and running for donations on our website. www.thejourneyhouse.org

May God use The Journey House for His glory!

Monday, October 24, 2011


Today is a good day around our house. Ansley is tired but not in pain so we will gladly take it!! We had the pleasure of talking briefly this morning on Channel 4. Please visit www.thejourneyhouse.org to find out more about what God is doing in Charleston. It is amazing how He takes something as painful as disease of a child and can bring good out of it.

No chemo this week. After next week's chemo, she will have 1 more treatment! We are thankful that we don't have to live in fear of what next year will bring. She will have PET scans every 12 weeks starting in December. At that point, we will see if the chemo has killed off all the cancer cells in her body. Psalm 112:7
says, "He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD."

May God be glorified through whatever He chooses to bring into our lives.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ansley's Attempt

It is amazing to see God work in the middle of hard, life changing, and emotionally draining times. But, I do believe that God can make good from anything He chooses to bring into our lives. Remembering that God desires for us to comfort just as He has comforted brings me to an exciting announcement.....

Our family will be on Lowcountry Live on ABC Monday morning around 10:30. We will be talking about Ansley's Attempt, which is an upcoming event on Sat. Dec 3rd at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston. I will send more info out later on the event. In short, Ansley is attempting the world record for the largest picture mosaic ever created. The reason behind this event is a dream of ours known as The Journey House. Ansley's Attempt is the "launch" event for The Journey House. The Journey House is a dream to see a home downtown that cares for and meets the needs of families with kids that have life changing diseases. We want to offer the hope of Christ, relieve the burdens of these families with meals, lodging and child care for siblings, and counseling, and also encourage these families during a really tough season of life.
We need the support of so many friends to make Ansley's attempt happen on the 3rd of December. If anyone is interested in helping, please e-mail me. There are lots of ways we can use your gifts!! We need coloring done, too. So, if you have children, they can serve before the event as well. Please bring your friends and family out on the 3rd of December.
More info will follow. But, please be in prayer for the Monday news broadcast. We want people to hear that our desire is to comfort hurting families just like God has comforted us for the past 10 months. We want to use our story to let other families know they are not alone.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tomorrow will be the final day of oral chemo for this cycle. The weekend has been hard because Ansley hasn't felt well. It has also been good because we have done NOTHING!!!!
It's such a season of mixed emotions.....sad to have her feel yucky, glad she wants to cuddle with me all day long; sad that she has so many questions about death, dying, and cancer but glad she comes to me and Matt to have them answered; sad she has had to go through so much in the last year, glad there are only 2 more chemo treatments; sad to see people die of this awful disease but glad they are out of the pain and agony that it brings along with it; fearful of what next year will look like but ready to move on to next year.

I guess it's like any season of life that is uncertain-it brings with it a mix of emotions.
The rash continues to stay gone which is a wonderful thing. Looks like we won't go back to MUSC until Nov.2!!! The Lord willing, that is.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Today was a long but good day at MUSC. Ansley's rash came back and we have been concerned about what might be going on. But today it began going away and we were able to move forward with chemo. She had real pain and fear with her port access and deaccess today. She shed lots of tears and Matt and I felt so incredibly helpless. But, the good news is there are only 2 treatments left! I can't believe we will be finishing a year pretty soon. Oh, what a year it has been. We are overwhelmed with the love you have shown us the last 10 months. It is never repayable what you all have done for our family. Whether we know you intimately or have never met you, thank you more than you know for loving, praying and encouraging our family.

We will begin a new phase of life starting in December as we begin PET scans every 12 weeks to see if the cancer is actually gone. I will admit I have fear over the waiting game of scans every 12 weeks for a year. I want to live remembering the verse in Jeremiah that says, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you." I am asking God to anchor our hearts to His truth and to help us in our weakness.

We press on this week with oral chemo for 5 days after IV chemo today. Please pray specifically for
**Ansley's left leg. She is having pain and soreness and we aren't exactly sure what is going on.
**Ansley's rash to heal and not to EVER come back
**Patience
**Matt as he is traveling for work to Chicago

God's grace in abundance to you all,
Amy, for the McEvoy Crew

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Good but Hard

Ansley has been feeling really well the past couple of days. Her energy seems high, her attitude seems pretty normal for a 5-year old, and she has been in a sweet, tender mood. I am so thankful for these last few days.

We have had some hard conversations around our house. Precious Harper Drolet, who was the first cancer patient we met in clinic, died on Friday. Her mom, Amy, actually consoled me on the first day in the out patient clinic. She shared with me that things would get easier and that life does get back to normal. She hugged me as I cried. Her dear daughter, Harper, fought so hard against this awful disease. Her family is an inspiration to anyone who understands how hard this journey can be. After we told the kids that she had died, it has brought up some fear issues, of course. Ansley said to Kendall the other night, "Kendall, if I die, will you keep my toys so you can remember me?" Whoa. What do you say to that? Then, Ansley says to me, "Mommy, why did Harper have to die?" I said, "It was just her time." Ansley said, "But it shouldn't have been her time."

I agree. It doesn't seem like at 11 years old it should be her time to die. Such hard questions. I want to be honest with the kids and celebrate these beautiful children who are now out of all pain, are cancer free and are in their true Home.
Yes, we who are left without their presence here on Earth are sad, but Heaven is rejoicing.

Harper, thank you for how you lived your life...Faithfully, courageously, passionately, unselfishly, and boldly. Drolet Family, thank you for how you have shown us how to live well in the midst of tragedy.

Chemo for Ansley is on Wednesday, the 12th. This will begin the countdown to November 28th!!! Praise God!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Day 2 1/2 of oral chemo. Ansley came to me this morning and said," Mamma, why do I have to be sick? When will this sickness leave my body?" Ugggghhhhh. I wanted to scream and cry at the same time. I'm not really sure how to answer that question to a 5 year old wanting to feel healthy again. I pray that come December there is no more cancer. I pray that Ansley never has to take another another dose of oral chemo or have a port accessed again after December.

Please, please pray for her body to be healed. And, pray that the next few days of oral chemo don't become unbearable for her.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bumps in the Road

We are sitting in the Peds Hem/Onc Clinic today awaiting chemotherapy. We have visited the 10th floor at Rutledge Tower this morning trying to figure out what is causing our baby girl to have a rash all over her body. Chemo did not go on Wed due to the rash. Labs were drawn on Wed and then we came back today. There was some question as to whether or not chemo should be administered today and the final decision was "yes." Funny thing is I am thankful we got to move forward even though that means the net week will stink. I am thankful when we can stay on schedule so that come December, we can be done. I can't help but want to see our precious Ansley done with treatments.

Honestly, it's been a hard week. So many bumps in the road right now. We, as a family, are trying to have life remain as normal as possible yet there are so many abnormalities. I guess I shouldn't say abnormalities, just new stuff. I think days at the hospital, crying eyes, giving meds and rubbing aching legs are becoming quite normal for us.

The challenge for me is to remain hopeful when things don't go as planned. Is my hope only visible when my circumstances are without challenge? I sure don't want to live that way. I have a hope that does not disappoint and His name is Jesus. WHEN bumps arrive, He is my strength and an ever-present help in times of trouble.

This quote was in the bulletin at church a couple of weeks ago and it has comforted my frustrated and weak heart.
Peace, Love and Joy to you all,
Amy

"Circumstances may seem to wreck our lives and God's plans, but GOD IS NOT HELPLESS AMONG THE RUINS. Our broken lives are not lost or useless. God's love is still working. He comes in and takes the calamity and uses it victoriously, working out his wonderful plan of love." -Eric Liddell

Thursday, September 8, 2011

almost done!


Almost done with infusion.
she had a good nap and is awake now.
Here today with Gavin and Garrett.

sleepy girl



infusion going.

she is wiped out.

no reserve left.

sweet dreams

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hard Day

Today I saw that Ansley was not herself. And quite frankly, it is hard. She tried to swim and got so tired and frustrated she stopped. I know she is low on energy and puny, but I saw it first hand today. It is hard to see your kids suffer and not feel "normal". I have to be careful with my mind and not feel sad and defeated because she will sense when I feel like giving up. Please pray for strength.

Tomorrow we go into MUSC for an IVIG infusion. It should help with the energy level and also with her counts bumping higher. It is a long process and has some side effects. I would ask you to pray for her and that the effects of nausea, itching, headaches, etc. would be minimal.

We are pressing on and fighting hard but there are times when it seems like nothing but an uphill battle.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

COUNTING DOWN

We have begun the 4th from the last cycle of chemotherapy for Ansley. It is very exciting to think about how little Ansley has left as far as chemo. The day has been hard though. She is yucky, achy, nauseated and fussy. Please pray that we can get the yuckiness under control with meds. All in all, we are okay. Ansley is one tough cookie and I am thankful for that!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

beauty from ashes



even on a hard day, there is joy to be found!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tomorrow



Tomorrow is Wednesday. It has become my least favorite day of the week because I now associate it with chemotherapy. But, the good news is that my boys will be going with me and Ansley tomorrow. She loves having her brothers there. I love that they want to be there! Another "good" bit of news is that after tomorrow, Ansley has 4 more sessions of chemo! We really are beginning the countdown.

Please pray for the port accessing and deaccessing to go smoothly and without pain. Also pray that the day would be relatively short at MUSC.
Pray that I would have the courage to go up to families that are coming into clinic for the first time tomorrow with a new cancer diagnosis.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Reminders...both good and bad

During this season, almost every day is filled with some tears. That's just how it is right now. Today the tears came from the visual reminders that we have a sick little girl. Whenever Ansley wears a sundress or a shirt without sleeves, her port is very obvious. Of course, it gets many stares and many strange looks as well. Whenever I see it, I am heart broken to think that my baby girl has to have this object in her body to get the chemo into her system to kill cancer. It just shouldn't be this way.

I also have the visual reminder of her cancer when I see her hair. Yes, it is growing back, but a little girl can only be called a boy so many times before her mom feels like punching someone in the face! I wish some people filtered what they thought before speaking. The daily reminders are hard to swallow. Even on "good" days, there are reminders that things aren't okay.

On the other hand, I have a beautiful reminder daily that God is faithful when I can grab Ansley in my arms in the morning and give her a big hug. She is here with us. She didn't die some 7 months ago. She is here and she is fighting hard. I am reminded daily of how resilient children are. Ansley is very aware that she is sick and that she looks different than most little girls. But this realization doesn't defeat her. She has a child-like trust that I so desire to learn!

I am reminded daily that there is much heartache in the world. Today, I learned of two new children whose lives will be forever changed by a diagnosis of cancer. Everywhere I turn, I see suffering. But, I am reminded that this is not the end of the story and this is not the home that we were created for. Cancer reminds me of how I long for Heaven. How I long for perfection. How I long for no more children to be diagnosed with cancer. One day, that will be reality.

Daily reminders. Some good. Some not so good. But, the question is what will I do with these reminders? Will I have a pity party and live in some "dream" world that cuts myself off from hurting people? Or, will I let the reminders energize my heart to help relieve suffering here and also look to perfection in Heaven? I pray I would choose option two.

As for our family, we are tired but okay. Ansley doesn't look well to me today. I'm not sure if she is just tired or getting sick. No fever, no cough, no pain. But, a mommy knows when her kiddos don't look like themselves. Please pray that she is not getting sick. Pray for our other kids. I have seen some jealousy lately from them in how much attention Ansley is receiving. It is understandable. Everyone asks them about Ansley. I don't want them to start to resent her.

So, in all, I'd say we are doing alright. We have one more week until the next chemo round. This never seems to get easy. I cry as I write that chemo week will be here soon. Please pray for these new cancer fighters and for their families. The initial days are overwhelming and shocking. Pray that God would be near to them and pray that they would know that God will use it for good.

Press on, friends. Don't avoid hurting people. Don't avoid suffering. We have all of eternity to live in perfection! Now is not eternity! Thanks and love to all of the faithful people praying for the full recovery of our little girl.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

5 more to go!!

Ansley, Matt and Morgan had a long day at the hospital today as Ansley completed another round of chemo. She was a champ even with discomfort with her port. After the completion of today, this leaves 5 more cycles before the scans begin. If we stay on schedule, she will be done with chemo the week after Thanksgiving and scans will begin in December.

Our family has been gearing up for the start of another school year. It is hard to believe we will a middle schooler, 4th, 3rd, 1st graders and Kindergartener this year! Boy, the years are flying...although the days can seem quite long at times. We are thankful to be partnering with a wonderful school that loves our children during a tough season of life. I will be homeschooling Garrett and Ansley until the end of 2011 and then we will see from there.

Matt and I had a wonderful weekend together. It is so good to have fun together, to have time to talk to each other for extended time, and just to remember why I think I am the luckiest bride in the world to have Matt as my hubby! When life hits, I forget how wonderful he is and how honored I am to be his wife. This weekend helped me to remember how precious our marriage is!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Wonderful Breather

Our family just returned from visiting my parents in Florida. It was a great break from reality! Ansley will be delayed this week in having chemo because Matt and I are going on a "staycation" to celebrate 14 years of marriage. This will be a very different year but I hope that we can enjoy the time together and focus on each other. Ansley will have chemo on Monday the 8th so that I can be here to give her meds the rest of the week.

We are looking at 6 more treatments before scans begin in December. I have felt fearful lately....more than I have ever known. I am afraid of what the scans will show. I am fearful of the day I hear the doctors say, "We found more". Other than searching out the Word of God, I haven't known what to do with this fear. I have found comfort in the following verse.

"He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord." Psalm 112:7

I can't say that I am free from fear but I don't feel alone in dealing with my fear.

Our kids start back to school on August 16th. I am dealing with the thought of this year looking so different than expected. The three oldest will be going off to school while Ansley and Garrett stay with me. I look forward to the time with them but it's hard to swallow all that has happened in the last 7 months of our lives. There is so much to be learned in this process of having a precious child with a deadly disease. Often, it's just plain overwhelming. But, as with other journeys, we are not left alone. We have a hope that is greater and His name is Jesus.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Birthday to Remember

It has been a few days since chemo. Actually, it has been 5 days since chemo and 3 days since celebrating a very special 5th birthday for our sweet Ansley. What a roller coaster of a week! The chemo day went well. Her counts were great and her port access went well. The de-accessing didn't go very well. She shed a lot of tears and had a lot of pain with it. Oh, how helpless I feel to hear our baby girl cry while having something like that done to her. The last few days have been hard. We now know to expect these days to be hard. The days following chemo are never easy... Nausea, itching, achy, mouth sores, hunger, fatigue just to name a few of the issues she deals with daily right now.

It was a sweet day on Friday as we celebrated the blessing of 5 sweet years with our baby girl. There has never been a birthday that I have had a wave of emotions like this one. It was a day to remember. I pray we will have many, many more birthdays to celebrate with our daughter.

We will leave for a vacation this Friday to be with family in Florida. It is the first time we will have left Charleston since her diagnosis in December except for the Make-A-Wish trip in April. Please pray she stays healthy. I am fearful of taking her away from a place that knows her so well. But, our family is in need of a break. This season is beginning to take a toll on all of us. It is definitely a marathon. We need a break from the daily struggles that a family undergoes when life changes so drastically from a sick child.

I am so proud of how our kids have handled this stress in life. They are really troopers and have become selfless, patient and sensitive people along this journey. Pray that our time in Florida will be sweet. We could use a break and I am excited to enjoy time together. Pray that our precious Ansley is healed of cancer and that it never again is in her body.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Very Big Week

Ansley has a very big week planned for 2 reasons. The first is chemo on Wednesday. Please pray that she handles it well and doesn't get really sick from it. The second is that she is celebrating her 5th birthday this week. Oh, what a joyous celebration this will be! Her life deserves celebrating in a big, big way this year! And, so, please pray for me and Matt that we can be joy-filled and happy and not emotional during this very special week. She is so excited and has many fun things planned. It is hard as her mommy to know that this birthday will take on new meaning because of her diagnosis in December. I will remember to cherish this celebration and to take it a day at a time. We are given a huge gift this year in being able to sing Happy Birthday to her once again! May we live remembering that today is a gift.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Beautiful

Tonight was one of those beautiful nights. We had a fun 4th of July and the kids got to bed quite late. As I was putting Ansley to bed, I decided to lay down with her and hold her hand. Very rarely do I do this but tonight it just felt like the thing to do. And so, I laid down with her and in about 30 seconds she was out! She had a long, fun day and was exhausted. But, then, I just couldn't leave the room. I stayed and watched her sleep. It really was amazing. Here is a little girl fighting the horrible enemy of cancer non-stop for the last 7 months and yet sleeps so soundly. She sleeps so peacefully. It's like she was saying to me as she slept, "Mommy, it's okay. God is greater and bigger and more powerful than cancer. I can trust Him and I will sleep peacefully tonight because of that truth." It has been a while since I have watched her sleep. Yes, as an infant I did it a lot but life just gets too busy and I put important things on hold. It was a good reminder tonight of the beauty of trusting, resting and waiting all from watching a 4 year old sleep. Please don't forget to take time to find those beautiful moments.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chemo and Today

Ansley has handled the chemo from a week ago better than the last couple of rounds. What this means is that there hasn't been as much vomiting, nausea and fatigue. It has been a smoother week than normal chemo weeks and for that we are grateful. I am enjoying my time with the kids tremendously this summer. Why does it take a tragedy to wake me up to the thousands of gifts right in front of my eyes everyday? The most mundane tasks have taken on new meaning. How thankful I am to have so many loads of laundry to do because this means I have 5 kiddos that are able to play and get messy and have energy to be kids! Thank goodness I have a full sink of dishes after breakfast and lunch with my 5 precious babies.
Thankfulness is in my heart today. Pray that I would remember how faithful God has been to our family through this journey. Ansley is more than halfway done with her expected chemo protocol and we look forward to the day when we can ring the bell in the clinic to signify victory over cancer!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Five great reasons to have a thankful heart today!

Chemo went great yesterday. labs were good and our sweet Morgan joined us for the day. Next chemo not until July 13th (2 days before Ansley's 5th birthday).


This message has been sent using the picture and Video service from Verizon Wireless!

To learn how you can snap pictures and capture videos with your wireless phone visit www.verizonwireless.com/picture.

Note: To play video messages sent to email, Quicktime@ 6.5 or higher is required.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Does this ever get normal?

It has been a while since I have written. We have had lots of good days lately. I would say they seem somewhat normal....I just don't really like this new normal if I am honest. There are so many days where I say to myself and God, "Can I please have our old life back? Can I please for one hour not think about what is going on inside our little girl's body?" And, of course, the answer is no. Right now, this is our life. And it has to be dealt with. And, so, we will do tomorrow when tomorrow gets here.
Today was a wonderful day. We celebrated the marriage of two very special friends and Ansley was a flower girl. A lot of "what-ifs" went through my mind as I watched our baby girl walk down the aisle.
She looked beautiful. She looked happy. She had so much fun doing it. As her mommy, though, tough questions run through my mind as to what the future will look like.

Please pray for our family this week. Chemo is on Wednesday and so we are coming up on a week of Ansley not feeling well. The chemo seems to be hitting her body harder and making her more nauseated. Please pray for patience and energy for me as I take care of her. Pray that the sickness is not as bad as it was last treatment.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Day of Mixed Emotions

In many ways, today was a dream for the mamma of a daughter with cancer. Ansley handled her port access like a champ, her counts were really good, platelet counts in the normal range, and she doesn't have to go back to clinic for 2 weeks!! So, what's the other emotion I'm feeling?? Well, as we got great news today, there are many families in clinic that did not get encouraging news. There were lots of new faces today at clinic which means this horrible disease has pressed it's way into another child's body and an entire family's life. We have seen 3 recurrences lately in kids we have gotten to know during the last 6 months. These families have been fighting much longer than we and they are starting again with chemo, radiation and procedures.

You never think this is what life is going to look like. At least it's not what I ever envisioned. And, I am sure it's not what other people have envisioned life would be like for their children. But, I am learning to accept and thank God for this trial. Not that I am thankful for cancer, but I am thankful for how God is carrying us and loving us through this time.

When you look at your kids, or spouse, or friends, make sure your heart remembers to be thankful. Sometimes we have to fight for thankfulness. We have to choose it. I have to choose it 50 million times a day right now. And, I don't get it right very much. But, I know that Ansley's cancer has made me and Matt realize what really matters in life. Every time I can rub my sweet baby girl's soft, blond hair, I am thankful. Every time I see our five precious kids playing together, I am thankful. Every time I can sit and talk and dream with my husband of 14 years, I am thankful.

But, also remember these special families that are fighting cancer once again. Remember the families that drive 2 -3 hours each way to make it to clinic once a week. And, remember the sweet people that have lost their jobs in order to care for their children who are fighting hard against cancer. This is reality for a lot of people. Doesn't it put into perspective the things in life we complain about? It sure convicts me.

So, please join our family in rejoicing and remembering.

almost done!

We don't have to come in to clinic until the next round of chemo!!!


2 weeks off!!!

praise!

Counts look great! once again, her ANC is high and platelet counts are in the normal range!!!! Huge blessings!!! Tears of joy and thankfulness streaming down this mamma's face!!!

after our break





On our way to chemo.


What a nice break we had last week!


Pray that her counts are high and port access goes well.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Little victories are oh so BIG!!!!

The last few days have been a blur. Actually, let me change that. The last 5 months have been a blur! But, just when you think you can't handle anymore, God gives a breather. This nice breather has come in a few different ways. First, Ansley's vomiting and overall yucky-ness is better today than it has been in 4 days!! She is having a big treat tonight and sleeping in her brothers' room! She hasn't felt like doing much of anything since Saturday. But, today she feels a lot more energetic. Zofran is an amazing drug! Our family was also blessed by the Dickert family. These sweet people brought gifts galore to lavish on our family for an entire month!! It has been so fun to watch Ansley get excited about asking, "I wonder what today's gift is, Momma?" She has already gotten fun stuff that we took to clinic today. Thanks isn't enough to all you sweet Dickert's!!
And, finally, clinic was great today. Ansley's labs were remarkable!!!! In fact, her counts were so good, for the first time since diagnosis, we get a week off of clinic! That means no clinic next week !! We will go the following Wed. for chemo but we have next week off! The little victories are so very big!!
Blessings to all the precious people praying. I am a tired but thankful momma tonight! Continue to plead for healing for our baby girl. We are 5 months down, 7 to go. Psalm 31:24 "Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord."

treats




Headed down to clinic with lots of fun treats thanks to the amazing Dickert Family!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

watch out...ansley is driving!

today's counts

Counts look great!!!!!!!!

Chemo has been ordered!!!!!!!

hooray!!!!!!!!!!!!!

clinic day


Back at clinic - pray the port access goes well!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Great news!

Ansley is out of surgery and everything went well. Will let you know when we are headed home. Thnx for praying!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Yahoo!!!!!

Today was a great clinic day. We got there at 9:45 and were gone by 11:30! Labs looked great. Her ANC (which is a very important number when you have cancer) was up from 480 2 weeks ago to 2,080 today! This makes surgery a go for Friday. Ansley was energetic all day long. We attempted to eat out tonight with some friends from MUSC. About 20 minutes after arriving, Ansley came up and said, "Mommy, I itch all over and my mouth really hurts. Can we please go home?" Both of those complaints are normal responses to chemo. And so, we got our food to go and headed home. So, so small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. We are thankful that the only rough spots today were itchiness and a sore mouth.

Friday morning will be an early one and our plan is to have a very low key weekend as Ansley recovers from her surgery. Thanks for continuing to ask Our Savior for perfect healing of our little girl. Rejoice with us today! Tomorrow will worry about itself...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Oh what a week!!

We are slowly getting back into the groove of early mornings, homework, laundry, work, cooking and clinic. Words can't really describe what an awesome week we had in Orlando! It was packed full of activities and we give God all the glory for allowing Ansley to feel so energetic. We met some really amazing families at Give Kids the World and I am humbled to see families fighting right along their children suffering with diseases very similar to Ansley's. Give Kids the World is a beautiful place full of hope, joy and fun. We are thankful to everyone who helped raise money through Make a Wish to get us there.

On another note, clinic is tomorrow followed by surgery on Friday to have her 2nd port placed. Please pray that the surgery is uncomplicated and that her body is able to handle another port. We have wonderful doctors and nurses at MUSC and we know God has provided all we need. A momma's heart, though, is a bit fragile at times like this so you can pray for me, too. No matter how many times she goes in for surgery, it never gets easy. This is just not how it's supposed to be. But, for now, this is what life looks like and so we press on.

I wanted to share a sweet, encouraging story with you. Ansley about 2 months ago prayed that God would bring her hair back. And, I was sad to think this request would not be answered any time soon. In the last month, Ansley's hair has begun to grow. She has hair on her head!!! Now, it's not much, but it's hair! Yesterday, Ansley and I were praying and she said, "God, thank you for answering my prayer and giving me hair again." She is seeing God and His faithfulness in the midst of her cancer. I think this taught both myself and Ansley that nothing is too big for God. No, she doesn't have long hair or even much hair, but her prayer is being answered and we are thankful.

Friday, April 22, 2011

first day!



Already having a blast!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Look Out Orlando...Here We Come!!

After a long day at clinic, we are excited beyond words that we get to leave tomorrow for Orlando!! Ansley's counts were not what we had hoped but they were slightly higher than on Monday. She was able to get chemo and have her PICC removed. It is amazing to see her be so brave while the doctors remove 2 feet of tubing from her arm! I couldn't believe how brave and strong she was during the removal of the PICC.

Please pray that this time away is full of laughter, memories, joy and relaxation. I hope that the only tears we have this week are from laughing so hard we cry. I am thankful that physically Ansley is doing well but I think the mental and emotional break from labs, chemo, clinic and central line flushings will do her so much good. Thanks to all who prayed and fasted today. I believe it made God smile to see His people trusting Him.

I will send some pictures and updates during the week. But, more than anything, I am going to savor this precious time with my crew. Who knows what tomorrow will bring other than God? I don't want to look back and regret how I spent this time. I am thankful we have been given this great gift. To all who have made this trip possible, a thousand thank yous wouldn't begin to describe how you have blessed us.

Cario, Pinckney, Citadel Rotaract, you guys are amazing!! You are the definition of self-less!! Abundant blessings to all of you.

If you could see Ansley now, it would bring a smile to your face. She had a hard time going to sleep tonight because she can't wait to start our trip tomorrow. It is so good to see her excited and looking forward to something! I think that seeing her happy is one of the greatest gifts to me and Matt right now.
With an overflowing heart of thanks,
Amy

free!!


picc free and heading home!!!!

Disney here we come!!!

almost there


Ansley taking the bandage off of her picc line. The doctor will be taking it out shortly.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Victory and Defeat

There have been days through the last 4 1/2 months that have seemed to end in victory. And then, there are days like today where all I see is defeat. Ansley went in for chemo this morning and to have her PICC line removed. Her ANC (absolute neutrophil count) was too low and so we leave this day with no chemo and still a PICC line in place. We go back to MUSC on Wednesday to see if the counts have risen enough to get chemo.

My heart feels defeated. Her counts are so low that she needs to stay inside and away from other people. We have a beautiful spring day outside and we are needing to stay inside. It seems like at every turn, there is a new issue that arises.

We want to move forward with the Make A Wish trip that is supposed to start on Thursday. I guess we will know more once we go back to the hospital on Wednesday. The doctors are saying even if she doesn't receive chemo this week, we can still go. I feel unsure about taking her to Disney with a PICC line. It is so hard to know what is the "wisest" decision when you are faced with decisions this big.

Please pray. Right now, I am not understanding how prayer works. Saints were praying for her counts today and God chose not to answer in a favorable way. It's hard to swallow. And yet, I know He is good. Not "good" in a comfy, easy, this-is-just how I would've done it way, but still good.

Kendall gave me an early Mother's Day present today. She said she wanted to give it to me early and had been waiting until I was having "one of those days". So after crying at the kitchen table, she handed me a poem she wrote entitled, "I Thank God for my Mother." How precious it was to have a reminder of why we fight each day to have God rule and reign in our lives! Kendall picked a very good day to give me a gift!

I will update on Wednesday after clinic. Please pray that God would answer the request of Ansley's counts being high enough for chemo. I am asking Jesus followers to fast with me on Wednesday if you can. Thanks brothers and sisters.



So,

Sunday, April 10, 2011

PICC lines and grins



Today was one of those days that brought lots of tears and lots of smiles. I guess that is what most of our days look like around here. We started the day with all 7 of us going to church. It is a most incredible blessing to be together to worship God. But, it is also one of the most fragile places for me. I usually end up sobbing during the music. Ansley, of course, hugs me and comforts me during my tears (she is so much stronger than me). Surrendering and trusting right now seem to be heavy on my heart and so when we sing about those things, it brings tears of both joy and fear as to what the future holds.
God has graced us with a wonderful weekend! Ansley's spirits are good, her grins are many, and her spunk never-ending it seems. All very big gifts to her mommy and daddy right now. Kendall, Morgan, Gavin and Garrett all had a great weekend as well. They bring us so much joy in the middle of trying and hard times. It is a beautiful thing to see them love and long for their baby sister to be healed.

Hopefully this week will be uneventful. Ansley will have labs drawn on Wednesday and have an infusion called IVIG. It is a long process but a necessary step on the journey. We are hoping to have high enough counts next Monday the 18th that she can go ahead and get chemo. If she is able to get chemo on Monday, the doctors will also pull her PICC line. Oh, how exciting it will be to have her little arm free from IV's and central lines. She will have about a 2 week break before another port will be placed.

We are excited beyond words about the upcoming trip to Orlando! It will bring a whole new set of emotions with it I am sure. But, sharing those memories and seeing our kids have fun will be priceless. Press on, friends. The ultimate battle has already been won!!!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bad start but great ending

It's amazing the difference a few hours can make. At about 11 o'clock today, I was done. Ansley was frustrated, angry and making both of us miserable. And then, we pick up our crew from school and voila, sweet Ansley returns! She has been a dream this afternoon. I don't know if it is related to her meds or if she just doesn't like being apart from her siblings but we ended up having a great day. Watching Kendall and Ansley color together tonight was one of the highlights of my day. I am thankful to have a loving almost 11 year old who can take on some of the "mommy" roles for me. She helped Ansley make special cards for people. So, a bad start to the day but all is ending great tonight! Her spirits have been much higher this afternoon. No mention of scars, red face or no hair. I am thinking there must be a Jesus-powered group of people praying for my girl. What I experienced today with her really is an answer to prayer. Thanks for your faithfulness~ it is humbling to say the least the way you are loving Ansley.

new day and new issues

It seems like with every new day there is a new issue as a result of Ansley's cancer. Ansley has hit a hard point where she is uncomfortable with the way she looks. She doesn't like her face being red, she doesn't like not having any hair, she gets nervous when we go places but she doesn't like being home alone with me. She is pretty much frustrated and sad a lot of the time. Yesterday, we went wig shopping. Our first wig shopping experience was a nightmare. And, so I prayed that God would allow us to find what Ansley was picturing in her mind. It was so hard and yet Ansley found exactly what her little heart was looking for. So, I am hoping that it will lift her spirits and make her feel a bit more "normal". Pray for our family. It is so hard to see your children suffer. This dreary day feels like a perfect fit for the state of my heart. Dreary and tired.

Clinic is tomorrow. We should find out how long the PICC line will be in and when the placement of the port will be.
Trusting and trusting that God will do immeasurably more than we can imagine.
Amy

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Home Sweet Home


All I have left at this point is a big sigh....and a very thankful heart. Once again, God has allowed things to go smoothly in the midst of a very hard 6 days. The PICC placement went great, chemo was done quickly and without problems, and we are home with our other precious children!! It is hard to see God working in the middle of such heartache but once the fog has lifted, I see Him clearly orchestrating all of the stuff we went through in the past 6 days. Although we are hard pressed, He is right there with us. When I cry my eyes out that my baby girl has to suffer through so many tests, surgeries, IVs and procedures, He cries with me. He never left us during these painful days at MUSC. It was hard, but not unbearable. It was not what I would choose by any means, but God is faithful through good and bad. Rejoice with us, once again. We are home together as a family. We have a tough little girl who is not easily shaken. And, we have a Heavenly Father who is with us every step of this agonizing journey.

Procedure Update

Ansley went for her PICC line placement and intrathecal chemo this morning. Everything has gone well and we are waiting in the recovery area for her. She is recovering from anesthesia and will be out soon. Thanks so much to everyone who has loved our little girl this week! Special thanks to Kim, Frank, Cory, Laurie, and Will! There is no easy way to go through all of this, but it makes it much better to have our precious Ansley so loved and protected by so many people.

We should be discharged this afternoon. Pray for our time as a family this afternoon and tonight. It will be good just to be together at home again.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

whirlwind of a weekend

We are at the end of a very long weekend. I am sitting here recounting all the events that have happened in the last 3 days. What a whirlwind! Some of them have been very positive like Ansley's fever has subsided. Some have been low points like 2 IV's blowing. We are moving forward with having a PICC placed on Wednesday. It will be a real treat to head home to be together as a family. Cancer is definitely a disease that affects a whole family. Of course, Ansley has taken the biggest hit by far but our other kids have definitely felt some pain. It is hard to have Matt and me gone all day and night. They have shown great maturity and self-control during the last 15 weeks.

We move forward trusting that God allowed these hard times and that He never leaves us while we are walking through them. We know that He loves our precious Ansley. We know that He is able to heal her body of this lymphoma. We know He loves our whole family. We know He counts our tears. I feel loved and comforted by Him tonight. I am thankful He made our Ansley so tough. She is a fighter and it was evident tonight when the nurse tried to pull off the tape of the 2nd blown IV in her arm. Ansley would have no one help her. She wanted to handle it on her own. Head strong would be a mild term for our girl!! I think she must have gotten that trait from her Daddy!!!!!!! I can hear all our friends from Palatka laughing out loud right now!! Thanks for your faithfulness in asking our Father to have mercy on our sweet Ansley.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Weekend Update


Friends,
It is so strange to be sitting in the same room as where Ansley was first diagnosed with cancer. Things are a bit calmer around here than yesterday.We still don't have an official answer as to what caused the port problem or the fever. But, what we do know is that she is no longer feverish and so something seems to be working. The port is out which means a new one has to go in. But, she needs 2 weeks of antibiotics before anything else is placed in her body.

The plan as of now is that we will be in the hospital until Wednesday. On Wednesday, Ansley will receive a PICC line instead of a new port at this point. She will have the PICC placed at the same time she has her spinal chemo. She will also receive her "normal" chemo (never thought I would say those words together). We should be able to go home late afternoon if all goes well. She will have the PICC line through the following chemo treatment and then the PICC will be removed. This should run us into mid April. After the PICC is removed, our plan is to move forward with the Make A Wish Disney trip. After we get back from Disney, she will have surgery to have the new port placed in the opposite side of her chest from the first one.

And so we wait. We wait until Wednesday when the next "big" things happen. It is hard to keep an attitude of thankfulness when we are in a small hospital room with Ansley dragging a pole connected to her IV wherever we go. But, nonetheless, we have much to be thankful for. We will update when we know more. The other kids will be coming shortly to the hospital to hang out with us for a while. Jannie and JoJo are doing a great job of keeping them occupied and happy. Thank you for your sweet messages and e-mails. They all get read and bring tears of joy to us that we have so many great friends. Pray Ansley's body continues to heal and get stronger for the next procedures on Wednesday.

Friday, March 25, 2011

smiling


After surgery, multiple sticks and pokes, she still wears a smile. i cant keep count of all the lessons she has taught me.

More news


Friends,
Ansley is out of surgery.  The doctor removed her port.  She seems in good spirits and is already smiling.  When she first woke up, her words to me were, "Thanks for being my Mommy."  I don't deserve such a precious child.  We now wait to see what the blood cultures reveal.  We have seen her temperature drop without medication which is a good sign.  Still many decisions to be made like when to replace the port so that chemo can continue on schedule. As we figure things out, we will update the blog.  As of now, it looks like the next week will be spent on 7B at MUSC Children's Hospital.  We desperately need your prayers.  Ansley is tired, along with mommy and daddy, after having a sleepless night last night in the ER.  She is already asking for her brothers and sissies to come down to be with her.  


what a trooper!



Out of surgery. What a trooper!

doing well

surgery is over.

ansley is in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (recovery room) right now.

update

in surgery having port removed.

doing well.

admitted to hospital

Dear Praying Friends, I just received this email from Amy. Please pray!

Last night, Ansley was admitted to MUSC for a fever. When they accessed her port and drew blood, there was some type of substance that came out as well. At this point, the doctors think there is infection in the central line. It was an awful night. After finding the problem with her port, they then had to give her an IV in her hand. She was miserable. So, so much for this little body to go through.

It looks like she will go into surgery in a few hours to have the port removed. Please pray that this infection can be cleared. We will update you as we find out more. There are still many unanswered questions. She is finally resting well. After a very long night of sticks and pokes, she is sleeping soundly this morning. The team of doctors are doing everything they can at this point. We just dont have all the puzzle pieces yet as to what is going on in her precious body. Thanks for caring. Thanks for praying.

"When walking through hell, just keep walking."-Churchill

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

clinic day


Wednesday morning at clinic. Please pray labs are good.
Thanks.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

speechless

There have been times before that I couldn't find the right words to say. But, Ansley having cancer has brought it to a whole new level.

Today was definitely one of those times. After getting the kids to school, Ansley and I came home and were looking at some old pictures. Ansley began to get sad over the fact that she didn't look the same anymore; specifically, her hair falling out. She said she wanted her hair to grow back soon. I told her it would but it would take a while because the medicines cause it to fall out. She cried some more. I cried with her.

We moved on to other things but eventually the conversation came up again and again and again. And with every return, her sadness grew. And then, she said to me, "Mommy, I just prayed that God would bring me my hair back." I was speechless. What do you say to a 4 year old crying out to God and asking Him to help her? I was humbled by her enormous faith and also heart broken that her request would most likely not come to pass any time soon.

How do you answer the question, "Why am I the only one who doesn't have hair?"

It just stinks to have to answer questions like this.

We are ending the day okay but still a lot of sadness in my heart for her. She is so tough and yet she hurts. She yearns to feel like herself again. Sometimes, I don't know which is harder- watching her go through physical pain or watching her heart break with emotional sadness?? Both are awful.

Pray that we would know how to answer her questions and continue to help her know how loved and precious she is not only to us, but most importantly to God.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Ansley is sporting a precious green hat made by sweet Lori Hills.
The hat was supposed to make it to clinic for another child but Ansley fell in love with it!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

all is ending well

It is the end of a very long and hard day.

What seemed like it was going to be a couple of hours at MUSC turned into 6 hours! But, all is ending very well.

Ansley started the day very sick. Vomiting in the car, head ache at 4 this morning, and arms tingling to just name a few.

The day ended with making pumpkin chocolate chip bread as a family, playing games, and reading books. Life certainly is a roller coaster these days. I am gladly taking every moment though just remembering her life is a huge gift to us!!!!

We had a scare today while having her ECHO done. It looked as though her central line had moved and was in an area of the heart it wasn't supposed to be in. After a chest x-ray, we were relieved to find out it was just a poor picture from the ECHO that had them concerned. Had it been a problem, the port would be removed surgically and another put in it's place.....NOT what we were wanting her to go through right now. Thankfully, everything is fine with her port and we were thrilled to see her heart is functioning beautifully. She is not having heart issues that can sometimes be caused by the chemo drugs!!

Today is done, almost. Ansley just came out of her room and said she was hungry. So, of course, her sweet Daddy gave her a late night snack. What a precious season of life we are in. Ansley said to me today, "Mommy, thank you for always taking care of me." Those words brought tears to my eyes as I cleaned up vomit from the car. I am learning patience and trust in a way I never have before.

Thanks for praying today.

ansley's take on the day

asking for prayer

Please pray.

Ansley vomited in the car this morning. Definitely not feeling well.

She has an EKG, ECHO, and labs at clinic today.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

13 weeks!


It's just so hard to know what to write.  Things are moving right along.  Ansley had chemo this week and completed week 13 of her treatments!  It brings me joy that she has done so well for this long.  But, at the same time, it's hard to see her nauseated, irritated, and not herself.  Not a day goes by that I am not both thankful and scared out of my mind at what the future may hold.  Life is actually pretty normal these days. The 4 older kids are enjoying school and are completing the 3rd nine week session this coming week.  They are all playing tennis for their school this spring.  So, in a lot of ways, life is carrying on.  Hard moments definitely happen like yesterday when Ansley dressed up in a spring dress, put a ring on her "wedding ring" finger, and held a bouquet of fake flowers in her hand. I about lost it just thinking about how badly I want to see her walk down the aisle one day as an adult.  Once you are hit with cancer, you think about so many seasons of life you never thought would possibly not be there.  I want to see Ansley grow and mature.  God, please give us that gift!

We are looking forward to April when we will have the blessing of going to Disney.  Ansley was granted her wish from Make-A-Wish to spend some time in Orlando.  Our whole family is really excited about this treat.
It is good to have something to look forward to right now.  It's fun to look to next month and see a big treat coming up!

We got good news on Wednesday at clinic.  The doctors found an elevated amount of protein in Ansley's spinal fluid a couple of weeks ago.  It can be due to the Methotrexate they inject during the spinal tap or it can be from something more severe.  They did a spinal on Wed just to check the protein level again and it was back to normal!  So, we are thankful that it is being caused only by the chemo drug and not from infection or something else.  

So, here we are 13 weeks in and about 39 to go.  My precious dad said, "You're 25% of the way there!"  I need some of his optimism these days.  It is definitely  going to be a marathon year.  Pray that we can press on and not grow weary.  Pray that our baby girl can find joy in these circumstances.  Actually, pray that for her mommy, too.  Thanks for caring.
 

Psalm 56:8
"You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle.  Are they not in your book?"

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

update

In the spinal tap now. doing really well. Met a new friend this morning in clinic. Sweet, sweet new family.

chemo today

At clinic.

Gavin and Ansley just about to play while we wait.

Chemo today.

Please pray all goes well.

Friday, March 4, 2011

rest, sweet one

Definitely tired today. Hopefully a restful, easy weekend. So thankful to be her parents. She is a fighter, praise God!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

what better way?

What better way to spend the morning than playing grocery store at clinic!

Monday, February 28, 2011

sweet girl

Sweet girl all dressed up for a big outing to buy groceries with mommy! having a great day together. we've painted nails, danced in the family room and done "homework" for school. remind me of these days when we have bad ones, please!!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

great joy


We have had computer issues for the last week and so I haven't been able to give updates.  Maybe it was a good thing because 7 days ago I would've depressed all of you with my words.  But, today I am writing with great joy in my heart.  We are starting to catch on to Ansley's pattern after chemo.  She is really sick and puny for the first week after chemo.  She is irritable, nauseated, in pain,tired, and just plain frustrated.  And then, at about day 8, she perks up, has energy, and wants to go and play outside.  It is almost like you are dealing with two totally different kids!  But, I am so thankful for both parts of the pattern.  My heart is heavy for her when I see her sick and exhausted.  I want to take it away from her and I want to see her act like a kid again.  And then, when I think I can't handle anymore, God brings relief.  He brings it in the form of no nausea, no tiredness, no hurting.  He doesn't give us more than we can handle!  It really is amazing to see how He works.  Doesn't this sound just like our faithful God?  He might allow something hard or uncomfortable or painful into our lives but he doesn't allow it without also bringing a blessing.  He doesn't give us more than we are able to bear.  

Our baby girl is outside right now enjoying a beautiful afternoon.  I want to remember this day when we have the bad days!  I want to remember that having her here with us everyday is a gift.  I need to remember how many rich blessings we have received as a result of her diagnosis of cancer.

A year is a long time. I am finding out just how impatient of a person I am!  Please pray that with each passing month, we will depend more and more on our unchanging and faithful God.  Pray that this year will not be wasted.  Pray that our family would remember 2011 for all that God taught us and all that God revealed to us. Thanks for walking through this with us.  


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

brave girl!

Sweet girl did a great job having her port accessed! what a tough little girl God gave us!

beautiful!

Wednesday morning and beautiful! headed to school and hospital.

Monday, February 21, 2011

please pray

Really hard day around here. Ansley is so nauseated and puny. Please, please pray she will start feeling better soon. Pray that we can continue to make it through these hard days.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

leaving

Leaving the hospital shortly.

All went well.

Tired but glad it's one more day done!

going well

Done with spinal. 2 more to go. Doing alright....had to give an IV antibiotic for infection. Everything going well.

high enough!

Labs are high enough. Just started the spinal tap. Her spirits are high. She is asleep and will wake up in about 30 minutes. 


look at that smile!

The best port day ever!!! no tears, no holding her down! what a fabulous way to start the day! thnx to everyone for praying.

Monday, February 14, 2011

so sweet

Ansley's class made a beautiful welcome back sign for her. what a precious, precious group!

happy valentine's day

Happy Valentine's Day!
Ansley is dressed and ready for her party at school!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

sleepy girl

Precious girl had a fun day playing in this beautiful weather and fell asleep in the car. Sweet dreams sweetness.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

bulldozer princess


This new path our life has taken has taught me so much.

As I said in an earlier entry, this has been the hardest road we've ever taken and yet it has been the richest journey as well.

One of the things I am having to constantly learn and re-learn is that it is okay to be broken. It is okay to cry. It's okay to hurt. It's okay to grieve. Actually, I think it's healthy. There are probably very few days where I don't break down.

And, normally, it's not that I cry because of "big" things like Ansley being in pain or nauseated or tired of taking meds. Those problems really don't happen every day.

Most of the time it's the things I have taken for granted for so many stinkin' years. Little things like walking down a hallway at school and seeing so many healthy, happy children. Or, the sweet comments when we go somewhere about her cute hats, or not being able to go to lunch with a friend because her counts are too low this week.

Sometimes, I just find it hard to remember that this is our new normal. We will have many months of cute hats, seeing other kids at school and wishing Ansley could take part in that joy of friendship and learning, and also putting lunch dates on hold. I think in someways I am grieving what life was like before 2 short months ago.

But, I am thankful to be learning these lessons. I am thankful that although there are sad, hard days, there are also many joy-filled, happy days, too. Even though there are sad days, we keep going. We thank God for giving us a tough, precious daughter. You know, when Ansley was a toddler, Matt gave her the nickname of "Bulldozer Princess." That is a perfect description of her personality!

Ansley begins the next 3-week cycle on Wednesday. We changed her chemo date from Monday to Wednesday because Ansley gets the treat of going to her pre-school class Valentine party. This is all she can talk about right now! I have to allow her to be a kid and still have fun! So, on Wed. we will go to MUSC for chemo and then come home for the med-a-thon for 5 days. This "med-a-thon" is the picture from a couple of weeks ago of all the medicines she has to take for the week.

Please pray that chemo and accessing her port go well and that she doesn't fight us in taking her medicines. Pray that the Valentine Party brings joy to her little heart. Pray for me, please, that I can be strong while there and not make a fool of myself crying!!!!!!!!!!

Trusting and waiting,
Amy and crew

Monday, February 7, 2011

clinic day



Tired girl. Only 2 hours at clinic this morning. Counts are low but nothing shocking. Chemo next Monday.