Saturday, July 02, 2016

Home for the 4th Independence Day for sure!


We are all home.

We moved out of the apartment yesterday, closed the door, locked it up and drove away. The van was full, as was the car, and then we went out to an asian restaurant to celebrate the fact that this chapter is closed. It's gone faster than anyone expected. The launch happened, we had some bumps but today, Abby is safely back to the little slice of this world that we call home.

It's like a really weird dream. All of the sudden I'm sitting on the porch, it's summer (when did that happen?), and life seems "normal" once again.  Abby is at the neighbors playing with her sisters, Tiffany is out at the store, I did a bit of work today and we all had pancakes together at the same table this morning.  Wow. I really can't convey the surreal aspects of this journey -it's been a wild ride.

So, here's a quick update of how we are all doing, plus a bunch of pictures.  Thank you all once again for all of your support, your prayers, your fundraisers, and so much love for our family. Thank you so much for supporting us as we have walked out this crazy last year. You all are such a blessing to our family!

As you will see below, Abby is doing great. She has broken a ton of records for how fast someone can get through a bone marrow transplant.  Out of the hospital on Day 22, released for a weekend visit somewhere around Day 43 and cleared to go home for good by Day 65 I think!  This is not typical. We weren't expecting to get back home until the end of July and instead it was the end of June.

We still have to be careful. If she gets a cold it would probably stick around for a few weeks and not be fun. She still has to wear her mask out of the house (for the next year) and she still has lot of limitations on what she can eat (they let her eat pepper now but no yogurt).

She will have a bunch of test on Day 100: A cancer test of her bone marrow, an engraftment test (to see how much of Anna's blood is there vs. Abby's, an EKG, eye test, lots of imagine, lung function, kidney, and so much more. We are praying that they all come back positive (in a good way). Probably the biggest issue at this point would be that the cancer comes back or that she gets some chronic version of Graft vs. Host disease (she's still on lots of meds to combat that for now).

But, for now we will rest. We will cook burgers, drink some cold 4th of July beverages and celebrate Abby's independence from living in Denver as one big happy family.

Enjoy the pictures, and thank you for our continued prayers for our family!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Another View from the Coast...celebrate good times, come on!

Ok, I'm hanging in Monroe, Washington alone again!  No, don't take this post as one that promotes public whining.  That's NOT my intent.  My intent is rather to CELEBRATE (cue Kool and the Gang). Abby has been released, yes, RELEASED from the "day to day" necessity to be within a few minutes from the Children's Hospital in Denver.  That means - Abby has improved so much to the point where she has been released to be able to return to some sort of semblance of normal life.  SO, to make this perfectly clear, she is home, hanging with her sisters, going for walks and bike rides, going to the store with her parents, sleeping in her own bed, going to worship on Sundays, collecting the next HUGE number of Owls (stuffed, I may add) in her room, reading, watching movies, helping with the other words, ALL NORMAL STUFF.  Is the battle over?  No, it is not!  She has clinic visits regularly to check on vital blood issues, monitor medication and generally do a "health check." She is still on a "short leash" in terms of having the hospitalization option there in case of some health issue at home (sisters or mom/dad getting ill).  Even so, put it this way, having both feet at home with the potentiality of having to return to the hospital for crisis management is an option we as a family will take all day, every day.  The amazingly miraculous nature of this is that it occurred over 30 days ahead of schedule.  That's right!  So, I'm hanging at home alone while Vicky (Nana) is visiting FOR FUN and not for the hospital/apartment rotation that dominated so much of the last six months of life.  While Abby is on this NEW plateau there is still a call to prayer and support as she weans from certain meds, continues to grow stronger and produce the kinds of cells in her body that promote health, and stays protected from the plethora of germs, bacteria, and viruses that plague our world.  I'm so proud of Abby and her courage and strength.  I'm proud of Tiff and Mark for their persistence, vulnerability, courage, and forthrightness in taking this challenge on with faith and love.  I'm proud of Lily and Anna for just being themselves...truthfully struggling at times but, overall, being so gracious and loving despite the trying moments of this journey.  I'm proud of my wife Vicky for rolling up her sleeves and jumping in head first to provide that necessary heart and love that made a difficult situation bearable.  Thanks to the Schreiber clan for their incredible support as well...Pam, Carl, Julie, Eric...they were all there in their own manner.  And the rest of our family...prayers, supportive conversation, hugs even though given from afar...all key in being sustained in heart and soul during the past months.  The war is not over yet...but battles are being won!  Praise God for that!  So, cue that video!