What a dilemma..I have not written because so much has been going on, and now I have to try to catch up on all the great things that have happened over the last couple of weeks! But, I do actually have photos to share (please don’t faint with surprise). Please go to http://gallery.mac.com/varafamily#10007 to see a collection recent pictures.
Of course, the biggest event of the last couple of weeks was Abbie’s 6th birthday. As for so many other moms in my situation, party planning is a tricky, and even painful proposition. We have a profound reason to celebrate, and yet it is sometimes difficult to keep the focus on what we do have rather than what we, and Abbie, are missing. So, that is my excuse for lagging in the party coordination department. I was hoping to get in the party mood by going with Abbie to a party for two of her friends, Katrina and Christa Cheshire, on 8/19. I knew Abbie would have a good time, but I had no idea how deeply both of us were about to be blessed.
We had been at the Cheshire house for only a few minutes when Katrina, Christa and their mom, Katie, told us through grins and giggles that Abbie’s birthday was being celebrated too — it was partially a surprise party for Abbie. I bit my lip to keep from crying. They had no idea the burden they had lifted from my shoulders!! And, moms don’t usually get surprised by much, so this was a sweet surprise for me as well.
Abbie got to open presents, wear a princess hat, and blow out candles with the help of all the girls. Just typing about it now is making me weep. I could have never put such a wonderful day together! What gracious and generous friends we have!!
Since then, it seems that it’s been one long celebration..there hasn’t been a day that Abbie has not received a present. I’m concerned that she may conclude that six-year-olds are on a gift-a-day program! It’s so fun now that she can really appreciate and enjoy her presents — vanity must kick in around now because she is especially partial to the hair accessories and clothes.
Dr. Tennant arrived in Honolulu on Abbie’s birthday, so I spent last Thursday – Sunday at his lectures, while my heroic husband held down the fort. A hero you say? Well, he booked me a hotel room on Friday night, where the conference was being held, so that I could sleep all night and be fresh in the morning while he was on Abbie watch all night. So, yes, “hero” in my book.
I learned SO much, yet again. I am hoping to update the “Abbie’s Healing” portion of her website in the next several weeks to reflect what we are now doing and using. But, my hope was yet again fortified, and my resolve strengthened.
We started giving Abbie 1/2 tsp of Baking Soda in her overnight drip about 3 weeks ago because it is a powerful anti-fungal. (Why that matters will be in the “Abbie’s Healing” update). It kicked her into a major healing crisis — a nice way of saying good things blooming out of stinky circumstances. We have been getting much less sleep, as she goes through periods of time when she needs a lot of suctioning and oxygen. Fortunately, these periods are tied to the time of day, and Abbie (being part Swiss) is right on the dot. For example, at 8:45pm she’s fine, cruising along on no oxygen, very comfortable. At 9:01 pm she crashes, needing up to 6 liters of oxygen and frequent suctioning, until at 11pm she settles down, comes completely off oxygen, and goes to sleep. The time of these periods coincides with the “high phase” of each of the 12 circuits in the body. Unfortunately for us, one of the circuits that has been quite active lately is the liver, which wakes from 1-3am. But, with each day, Abbie looks brighter, more beautiful (I admit my bias), with softer tone, better vision, and quicker responses. She about threw her neck out of joint nodding “no” the other day when Debbie asked if she was still five.
My birthday on 8/15 also brought a long anticipated present. Abbie’s hyperbaric oxgyen chamber arrived two days early. She has been going in the chamber every day by herself. She is very proud of this, because for the 50 previous “dives” I have always gone in with her. We attach an oxygen line to a concentrator that puts out 10 liters/minute, which she receives through a non-rebreathing mask. The chamber is also connected to a compressor, which pressurizes it to 4psi (or 1.3 atmospheres). This is a little less pressure than the commercial chamber we’ve used here in Honolulu, but the convenience of having one at home makes it possible to have Abbie dive daily.
She often comes out of the chamber babbling, which is exciting. We are also noting changes in her tone and vision. I don’t know how much is the chamber, the baking soda, or the recent addition of an iron supplement..I think probably a combination of all three. I am just thankful to have it, especially as we anticipate her surgery. I think diving will help her heal quickly afterwards, and aid in preventing secondary complications like infections.
Ray also gave me a very nice camera for my birthday. OK…well, he paid for it, and my professional-photographer sister helped me pick it (and the numerous accesories) out. Poor Ray:)! But, I am hoping that I will be able to better capture what Abbie looks like and how well she is doing. I think the web gallery is good evidence of the difference between my old camera (the b-day party pics) and the new one (the pics of Abbie alone). With the .mac gallery, I will try to post frequent pictures — even the ones that are going to be less than beautiful, like Abbie in her cast, so that you can more closely follow her progress and more specifically pray for her as we come up to this challenging time ahead.
So much more has happened, that I must give short shrift to for the sake of my hands and your eyes, but God has been pouring out blessings and grace upon us and we are so thankful! As I type Abbie is at Kahala Mall for storytime with lots of other kids, the highlight of her week. The mall is a couple blocks from our house, so Abbie is officially a mall rat, often strolling over there twice a day. This is one reason her birthday celebration has carried on so long, because even a lady at Zale’s gave her a present yesterday!
We are in a good place, relishing her smiles and happy disposition, looking forward to getting the surgery behind us and reaping the benefits of it. God truly is good..all the time!