~~~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..."

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!