Saturday, December 26, 2009

A brief glimpse of our Christmas...


Cathy's side of the family...

Cousin's on Mel side of the family (Annabel was napping)

Mel's side of the family

Double Blessings....(they still look cute in their feetsy p.j's)

Meemaw and Grumpaw (Cathy's parents)
Our family with Tyler in our hearts!!!

Linzy and Derek

Annabel with her Christmas sweater from her Loma and Lanny

Tara and Derek after Christmas Eve Mass..


Meemaw with her soldier boy...

Annabel, Tara, Shauna (their cousin), Carly and Colette

Don't tell us she doesn't understand...

She is intently listening to her story...


All the way to the end...


Aunt Valeria's family, Corey and Molly


Aunt Paula and Uncle Carl


Derek


Tara


Annabel and Aunt Paula

















Thursday, December 24, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS....


Wishing all peace and joy this Christmas seasons. Thanking everyone for their love, prayers and support getting us through another year. Blessings to your families!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I think this Santa was the real deal...


Today Annabel's class took a field trip to see Santa at our local mall. Annabel was the first one in her class to have her picture with Santa. I think Santa knew she was something special because he let us take about a zillion pictures of her with him before their photographer snapped theirs. I am not sure I have ever seen a sweeter Santa. There are many more with him just looking and smiling right into her sweet eyes. Upon giving Annabel back to us he was wiping a tear from his eye. He then replied "she is such a precious little girl." Yes, I do think in that very short time she stole Santa's heart.


Annabel and Nanny Kourtni

Giving Santa her Christmas list...

I think he told her a funny story...



Annabel and her teacher, Ms. Ann

Christmas Wishes and Smiles to all...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Keep those prayers a coming...


As our soldiers were making their last stop leaving the U.S. there was a group to welcome them to Maine. We recieved a link with 150 picture of the troops arriving and this group welcomed them and took photos. What a wonderful idea and I know how excited I was to receive them. So as the holidays approach pray for all the soldiers and their spirit as they are away from families and families worry about them. We love you, Tyler!

As I mentioned in the last post Dr. B so far has received positive news. Connie today went for the result from the mass that was removed a few ago. The news was not good. She does have cancer and will need chemo. Ok, I totally cannot imagine how she will do it with all that is on her plate. Yes, her faith is very strong but her responsibilites are many. I can't imagine taking care of a special Angel and going through chemo. If anyone wants to offer words of encouragment, you can click on Mallorie Rose on Annabel's sidebar.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Being thankful...

Just a quick note of praise and thanksgiving. Dr. B went to M.D.Anderson today for her first appointment, was scheduled for surgery tomorrow. The good news is that the oncologist (thankful that she got into her so quick) think it is not cancer! She will still need surgery so please keep her in your prayers but I think not until next week. Praying that God heals and gets her back on her feet. Well, I really know he heals...

Next, thankful for our new Dr. J who is Annabel new urologist in Houston. I had all but given up hope on urology, which of course, is a big problem for Annabel. This was our 2nd visit. He is so approachable, gives us timelines and help setup appointment in the future. He recommends equipment (such as foley cath, etc) and says he will help us with Medicaid to get what is needed. The results of her CMG from last week are definitely an abnormal CMG. Says she needs the tethered cord surgery, for many reason like her body curving sideways, bowel and bladder, lung capacity. So I feel sure it is needed and he(urology) will follow up 6 weeks after to see if there is improvement in her bladder function. Only if and then he finds that it didn't work will we then revisit the vesicostomy or Mitranoff (sp) procedures. I have never felt in such good hands, with Dr. B (pedi), Dr. J (urology), Dr. J (neurosurgeon), Dr. V(pulm), and Dr. S (cardio). I am going to relax and know that God is in control and know He will surely lead us in the direction He would have us go.

Thankfulness for Connie in her recovery from surgery. She finds out the results of her surgery (mass) tomorrow afternoon. Lots of prayers for these results. Mallorie was also put in the hospital again briefly but is home and feeling well today.

Thankful for two days in a row of phone calls from my soldier, Tyler. I guess I can't let myself get spoiled. From what I hear when he is at his final destination it could be weeks, like maybe 6wks. and I not hear anything. Lets see if I still profess that I know God is in control.

Let me not close by saying how thankful for all of you! There are days I think I can't continue this blog but then I just think of these people who have come into our lives from all over the world. Praying for you all and your families.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Letting them go...so very hard!


As a mother we are taught to protect them and to keep them safe. This is what makes letting him go so hard yesterday. I admire all those that fight for our country and keep us safe. It is just easier when it is not your little boy. Of course, as you can see from the pictures, he is not our little boy any longer. In my heart he will always be my baby boy, because he is! The following pictures are him telling his goodbyes to family members.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Prayer Request and Thanksgiving...


I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Praying that your day will be filled with family, friends, food, fun and praises for all that we are so fortunate to have. God is good, or no I mean AWESOME and that He continues to bless us all. We are so lucky to live in a country that is free. Free to worship and free to roam as we may! Blessings to all your family and thanksgiving for all that have prayed for our family and our sweet Annabel.

I do have a few request for some special Angels...Yes, this will include Annabel, but two others who have touched our lives in so many ways. My friend Connie, underwent surgery yesterday for a suspicious mass in her colon area. She came through the surgery well but they will not know anything for another 8-10 days. Connie, is mommy to several (5) but to a special Angel, Mallorie Rose. She is on Annabel's sidebar. Praying that she continues to recover from her surgery and that God will give her good results from the reports. Please keep her family in your prayers. Connie has done so much for Annabel and myself. She connects us with many programs that Annabel is entitled to receive. This is her job but she carries it so much farther than her job.

As you have all heard me speak of our hero, Dr. B. They have also discovered a large mass on her ovaries, and she had lab results that came back not good at all. She has just received this news. She cares for so many with the mind and heart of Christ. So many were sickened by this news as she touches so many in our community. Not only as a wonderful physician but as a friend also.

Our third Angel who needs prayers is Annabel. Several things have been going on with Annabel, but yesterday she had hit a brick wall. She had been running a temp, not eating, diarrhea, lethargic. As soon as we brought her in Dr. B looked at me and knowing the hospital was not where anyone wanted to be, she suggested that we just put her in for the day and bolus and just pump her up with IV liquids and antibiotic. It was looking like Annabel had a type of colitis. This is happening regularly as of the last few months. When she gets down she just can get herself back up. We put her in and even though she wasn't where they wanted her to be, we were discharged home last night at 8:00. We are running her pump around the clock and hoping to keep her hydrated. We will spend this day as family and then reevaluate tomorrow. I feel we are doing everything at this point that she was getting in the hospital, except of course the care from her sweet nurses.

Please know that your families are in our prayers and that you all have a very blessed Thanksgiving Day.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"The Blind Side"...


Let me start by saying I am not a big movie goer. As a matter of fact, maybe only twice a year. Today my twins ask me to go see The Blind Side. After whining and thinking I was way too tired, I decided to go. This may have been the best movie I have ever seen. It wasn't violent, wasn't nasty, yes, emotional and also funny. I never once thought when will this be over or that I was tired of sitting. Nope, not even ever thought of going to the snack bar. I was totally into it the entire time.

Nope this is not a movie review. Something hit me early on in the movie that parallels our life with Annabel. It is not the events in the story or even the outcome. It is the emotion and the things that have changed in our life since bringing her home. I have to say for anyone who knew me prior to Annabel my life was fairly comfy. I had the family I always prayed for. When we did bring Annabel home it was not because I longed for another child in anyway. Nope, at my age I was so done. As a matter of fact, my twins will be graduating this year and then we could really be relaxing. God I truly believe thought differently. Just as in the movie, Big Mike came into his new families life, so did sweet Annabel. When I brought her home it was too be very short. This is what got me through the early days, that I wouldn't be doing this forever or even that long, no never 4 1/2 years. What kept running through my mind during the movie was like how Big Mike changed his family, Annabel has changed us all. Each and everyone in my family has been touched and forever changed by Annabel. Is she so called "normal" like the rest of us(ha), is she like the same color as us, did she take away that comfy, no trouble life I had as before??? All I can say like Big Mike in the movie is that she could not be a more perfect fit. Her "normal" is so perfect to all of us, her color is the most beautiful color we have ever seen, and even through our tough times with her health issues she has taught us so much and I know will continue to teach us.

If anyone has the chance, please go see this movie. No it is not violent, no sexual overtones, no vulgarity but just such a feel good movie. Again, I am reminded of how many who read this blog how Annabel has touched your lives also and through her life you have touched ours. Thank you.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Waiting, waiting and more waiting...






There has been much waiting on our part. I tend to be a person that like to make a list for each day and be able to cross of what I have done. It seems like for the last month my list has entailed calls to doctors to get clearance, schedule testing and then wait for days for call back. I am beyond frustrated. As anyone who has read this blog surely knows that I have also been frustrated with our urology situation. Yesterday was our visit with the new urologist, which should have been our first urologist when she was just a few months old. The wait to see him is long and I should have been patient. The visit went so well yesterday. He actually examined Annabel, when neither of the last two in almost 4 years has touched her unless in surgery. I was also shocked when he asked if it was time for me to cath her. When I answered yes, he said he want to get a urinalysis and do a culture. Wow, I was so amazed that he was going to actually acknowledge that she had infections. By Friday, he will be placing her on an antibiotic and she will stay on one until the surgery. The last urologist didn't want her on antibiotics and said she would always be positive for bacteria. He also wants her to sleep with a catherter in during the night which should help me get more sleep. He also had a very warm bedside manner which is so encouraging. I like the fact that he had a timeline and also a plan for Annabel. I had mentioned that Annabel needed urodynamic test prior to her surgery for the tethered cord. He said we should have this within two weeks and then proceed with surgery. The test she is waiting is called CMG which test for pressure in her bladder. I am curious as to why the two other urologist have never performed this test on her. So of course, for the first time I left feeling so good after a urology appointment.

I have been so blessed again with another sweet mom who is willing to donate her breastmilk to Annabel. On our way home we stopped to pick up some milk and was able to see her beautiful daughter. She is producing more milk than her daughter is needing and is so willing to share with Annabel. God has sure brought some beautiful people into my life and hers. It was such a relaxing and beautiful day and I was so grateful for our new urologist and to meet Annabel's new milk mommy.

Kourtni(our Nanny) is still diligently working to produce milk. At this time she is producing enough so that Annabel has one full feeding a day. She is listening to all the advice anyone offers as to help increase her milk production. From what we are told that this amount is good for this early.

All of the kids are doing well. Derek is still going to our local college and taking classes. Him and Linzy drop off often to entertain Annabel and I am so thankful for that. Tara is working hard and comes by each and every afternoon also to play with her. Tyler will be home for 3 days for Thanksgiving. He will return on the Friday after Thanksgiving and will leave for Iraq Dec. 4th. I think this good-bye will be incredibly hard for all of us. Major prayers will be needed for me to let him go at the airport. Carly and Colette are busy making their college visits. They have applied to six and already have received confirmation from four. Of course, not yet their number one choice. They were gone for the weekend to visit with their dad at a college about 4 hours away. The home was so quiet and it made me realize that this year is flying by and so very soon, they will only be coming home to visit. It was just yesterday that I was bringing them home from the hospital. So many time I wished they would hurry and grown up. I should have wished less and just enjoyed all the good, crazy times. I can't begin to imagine how much Annabel will miss the activities that they bring to our home.

Thank you for taking the time to catch up on Annabel and her family. The prayers as always are appreciated and I will let you know when the surgery is schedule and for specific prayer request.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Much loved little girl...



Annabel has been doing good. She is probably back up to her highest weight ever. She is eating well and her sleep habits are better, including sleeping with her oxygen. She is back at speech therapy but not at physical therapy yet. We were supposedly waiting for her to have her surgery on her back(tethered cord) but can't seem to get the necessary test that he wants first. This has been over three weeks of me making calls to the hospital to schedule them, waiting for the doctors nurses to call me back all to be told that they are working on this. I was told this could take place prior to Thanksgiving so she could recover over the holidays but there is no way now that can happen. Also, if Annabel can make it until after Christmas that is what I will hope for now. Her MRI isn't schedule until Jan 5th and I really want this first. They drs. have placed her on a priority cancellation list, but I am of little faith where this is concerned. I have been unsettled with the feeling that each day we wait to see if we will be called to make the two hour drive. It is very hard to plan anything at this point. But I am grateful that she is well. She has had no colds, runny noses and we have been free of any type of infections including UTI's. This is really a big deal. We are back to cathing her every 3 hours, also twice daily placing the gentimycin irrigation in her bladder and giving her as much liquids as we can drip in during the night. She is still taking breast milk that I am positive is the reason for the success of her weigh gain and her tummy being as good as expected.




With that said, I have blogged before about Kourtni, our new nanny. She has become more than that. I knew she had a heart for special angels in her life. I knew she would attempt to learn anything possible to help with Annabel. She is very confident and willing to do whatever is best and has become a second set of ears for me when listening to the doctors. That is what my Tara did and it is hard not to become dependant on that. So was I shocked when Kourtni suggested that she try to induce lactation so Annabel would be able to have breastmilk and eventually not worry about prescriptions from the milkbank. With that said our pediatrician is wonderful and so very quick about writing the script for her when needed so no complaint there. I sure didn't want Kourtni to feel that this was expected of her at all, but how could I not be touched that she wanted to do such a thing for Annabel. Annabel's milk mommy, Michele has been such a wonderful support for Kourtni as so has Mallories' mom, Connie. Kourtni researched how to induce lactation and began the necessary steps. From the information that she gathered we thought it would be a month before needing a pump but it wasn't. Today, Annabel recieved her first 70 cc from Kourtni. So that is what some of the pictures to follow are. It is still early but from all indications are very hopeful that she will be successful. She is so disciplined with her pumping and she still helps me with Annabel's needs. I continue to be amazed by what she wants to do to ensure that Annabel has everything possible to help her stay in the best possible health that she can.

The family continues to do well as we are all getting ready for the Thanksgiving holidays. Kourtni has been a nice fit with the family and the girls go eat and go to movies together in her off time. I want to thank my family for adjusting and being so accepting of her. But she makes it so very easy. We will have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. I want to thank everyone who contacted me via text, email and phone calls concerning Tyler and where he is stationed. So grateful that he is at Fort Bliss, not Fort Hood. But so sad and hurting for the families who were so affected by this terrible massacre. It will also bring the reality that Tyler will be leaving stateside for Kuwait then Iraq on Dec. 4th. But we will celebrate that we are together as family, that Annabel is feeling well, and that Tyler is home for a 3 day holiday...