~~~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..."

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,


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.


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.