Marathon Update, Round Two

The flu has kept me from the computer for the last week. I have not been this sick since before Abbie was even a blip on an ultrasound screen. But, the worst is definately past and it’s time to catch up.

Thursday, 11/23:
We had a nice quiet Thanksgiving at home. Debbie came and spent the day with us, which allowed me to spend most of the day in bed. Abbie enjoyed tastes of mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce.

Friday, 11/24:
Abbie just could not be satisfied today. She would demand to be put on the potty, and then cry to get off. She would want to lay on her side, and then complain about that. Debbie endured several hours of trying to make her happy before I finally realized that perhaps she was feeling the same way I was feeling…achy and miserable. We gave her some Motrin to help with the symptoms, and she calmed down.

In the afternoon Ray took the boys to the UH football team practice. My HOPE Project partner, Ellie, is married to the defensive line coach, so she coordinated this special treat. As the team was coming out to stretch and warm up Coach Jeff took the boys onto the practice field where they got to meet Colt Brennan, Leonard Peters, Ikaika Alama-Francis, Davone Bess and others. In other words, it was Warrior Fan Heaven. The players were so kind, and really took time to talk with the boys, confirming that they are the type of team I thought they were.

Saturday, 11/25

A dreaded garage sale started our day…it wasn’t the sale we dreaded so much, it was the garage. But, we conquered the cave of accumulated junk, made a few bucks and enjoyed a unique study of human behavior. Thankfully we had a rare day of Saturday nursing to help with Abbie during our sale, and afterwards when I collapsed into bed to rest up for our important evening date. She still wasn’t feeling great, but was much happier than she was on Friday. Her muscle tone has been a little higher, but I’ve not been working with her as much to protect her from my germs and because I simply can’t at this point.

Purdue was in town to play the Warriors, and even with most of my voice gone I still wanted to cheer for the guys, especially after how kind they were to the boys the day before. Like a lot of people, I find many metaphors for life on the football field. This night was no exception.

We dominated the first half and went into the lockerroom up 17-0. As the third quarter started we looked forward to more of the same, leading to another lopsided result, customary for this season. It didn’t take long to begin wondering where the team that played the first half went. Everything went wrong, the spark seemed gone, and soon enough we were trailing. I thought of our life “before” and how when everything is going along smoothly, it’s easy to project that same ease into the future…you assume things will continue as they are forever.

When the wheels fall off there are two choices as the wagon skids on the ground…put ’em back on and get going, or sit in the motionless wagon as you feel the momentum fade and bemoan your fate. In games, it’s all about momentum, and when you lose it you have to determine whether you have the strength to grab it back or whether your fate is going to be dictated to you. There are many days I feel the sparks as our wagon scrapes the ground…the systems don’t work, I get sick, life throws curveballs…and there are some days I wonder whether we can yet again drag ourselves out of the wagon, put the wheels back on and get going again.

I watched UH face the same choice, and they responded by gathering themselves together and coming back for one of the most exciting wins ever. Games like that are sickening to watch, but are fun when they are over. It may sound overly sentimental, but from their example I gather strength.

As the game drew to a close, Ellie came and grabbed the boys so she could take them down on the the field. At some point down there Kyle remembered his cell phone has a camera, so he got a picture of himself with his hero, Ikaika Alama-Francis, and got one of Leonard Peters flanked by the twins. I was again touched by the hearts of the players, who had just finished a demanding, emotional game, yet stayed on the field for a long time signing and taking pictures. After we finally got the boys back we got the breathless “first-person” reports about the players. They smiled broadly as they asked me to guess what Davone Bess’s eyeblack said…I couldn’t imagine…finally they said in unison…”One eye said ‘Jesus’ and one eye said ‘Christ’!” As a mom I rejoice when the people my children admire turn out to be admirable people!

Walking along, talking about how special it was to meet the players I said, “Boys, this is your sister blessing your lives.” Chase and Kyle understood immediately, but the twins questioned me. I said, “If Abbie hadn’t gotten hurt we never would’ve met Ellie, so we wouldn’t know Coach Jeff, and you never would’ve gotten a chance to be with “the boys” yesterday and today. This is an Abbie-blessing.” They agreed, but then RJ said, “Actually, Mom. Abbie started blessing our lives the day she was born.” Amen!

Sunday 11/26:

I was so incredibly sick today that we even had to miss the memorial service for Everett McDaniel, which broke my heart. Ray and the big boys took good care of Abbie all day.

Ray did pull up one article on the football game that caught my attention. In it Colt Brennan said something to the effect that the game did not go to the team that most believed it could win, the game went to the team that loved each other the most. Then I knew…the reason I love that team so much is that they believe the same thing that I have been whispering in Abbie’s ear all these many months…”Love Always Wins!”

Monday and Tuesday, 11/27-28

I am still so sick, and Debbie is out sick as well, which makes for interesting days. I am doing the best I can, and Abbie and I are enjoying lots of quiet time together.

I was in bed resting in the evening watching Pastor Wayne Cordiero give a message that really clicked with me. It was about appropriating God’s grace in your life. I didn’t take written notes, but the gist of it was three steps:

1. Humble yourself…do it often. I seem to do this naturally since I normally can’t walk down a sidewalk without tripping. Just when I am feeling put together and on top of things…splat, I am down on the ground. But more than that, I think being humble is just keeping an accurate perspetive of ourselves in relation to God and other people, and seeking always to have a servant heart.

2. Repent Often. This is the point that really changed the way I think about things. When I hear the word “repent” I think of big, heavy prayers, spiritual self-flagellation, and huge commitments to changes in behavior. Pastor Wayne used the Greek roots of “repent” to illustrate that all God is calling us to do is change our mind. Simple as that. When you find yourself thinking wrong, like “That guy is an idiot!”, you just catch yourself and readjust your thinking. For me, I need to repent of despair and disillusionment as often as anything. I have to “change my mind” from believing what I see and hear to believing what God has said and promised. Repentance has now become an almost continual exercise for me, and I am finding that as I take responsibility for “changing my mind” to become more like Christ’s, peace abounds.

3. Learn to strengthen yourself in the Lord. There won’t always be someone to encourage you. You won’t always get a word from someone when you need it. You have to build an independent relationship you can rely on. I have found this to be so true. Even though we have received more support than anyone else I’ve ever talked to, there are still moments in the middle of the night when I can feel alone unless I turn to the Lord in that aloneness and learn to plead my case in my own words, learn to appropriate His promises in my own faith, and learn to rest in His provision alone.

Thursday, 11/30

Finally able to get Abbie back to therapy today. We’d planned to use the tilt table the previous Friday, but I was too sick to go. We also missed PT/OT on Monday for the same reason. It’s been a while since we had Abbie up on the table, so we wanted to spend some time stretching her feet and ankles. The results of the stretching were not impressive, and I was apprehensive about what we were going to see once we had her bearing weight. Silly Mommy, I should know by now that Abbie doesn’t like prep work, she just like the real thing. When we got her up her heel came down nicely, the alignment of her feet was good, and she was much more relaxed than we expected. She also stood for a longer time than we had expected. All in all, a good session!

Friday, 12/1

Our last speech group session for the semester. Since the group is run by UH Master’s students, we will be on a break until the end of January. Abbie wasn’t as interested in participating today, but the students were still so effusive about how far she has come and and well she is doing. Since the group will not be meeting for a couple months I am probably going to take Abbie to private speech therapy sessions in the interim.

Friday evening brought the Christmas party at the Children’s hospital. I visited with most of Abbie’s physicians, and they were each so positive and encouraging. Her ENT said, “It will not surprise me at all to see her walking around one day.” How blessed we are to be surrounded with exceptional professionals!

Saturday, 12/2

I’m almost all better, Abbie is doing well, and we are looking forward to the Oregon State game tonight. Having been raised by a “Beaver Believer” this is a big night for me. It’s been fun to tease back and forth with my parents this week, and at this point I am praying the team will give me bragging rights for the whole coming year!

We have transitioned Abbie from five feeds a day to four, which has given us more flexibility during the day. The next project is to fit the fluid from the overnight drip into the daily schedule so that we can ditch the feeding pump at night.

One more note: Dr. Tennant is coming back to Honolulu, Feb 15-17. There will be a free informational lecture on the night of 2/15, while 2/16-17 will be the Biomodulator training seminar. You know what I think….GO! for more information.

Blessings and GO WARRIORS!

One thought on “Marathon Update, Round Two

  1. Thank you for sharing the “gist” of the sermon – what a blessing to have such a great reminder of how small we really are, and the need for us to be humble and focused on God in everything we do in this life! The picture of Abbie is so great – such a beautiful little girl. Thank you for sharing your faith and your family with so many!
    “Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”
    2 Corinthians 1:9-11

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