Sunday, January 27, 2008

Things Are Great!

Sometimes I just sit and stare at my family, wondering why and how I have become so blessed by God. Ok, so there's the messy house; there are sisterly spats and downright drag-outs; there's the leaky dishwasher; and the mini-van with french fries underneath the seat right next to the few stray skittles that have been there for I-don't-know-how-long . . . But, my oh my, we're alive and we're together.

Josie had strep throat last week, and now Marissa has it. Bailey is doing her absolute BEST to try to not touch them and not get within breathing distance of them. It's only a matter of time before we find out if Bailey's going to get it, but we're going through lots of hand sanitizer. Oh, and Bailey's staying far, far away from the Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal box. Marissa poured a bowl of it yesterday and it accidentally overflowed, sending little cinnamon toast squares flying over the edges of her bowl. (I was watching her out of the corner of my eye from the computer in the living room where Bailey was standing over my shoulder.) Then Marissa just grabbed a handful out of her bowl with her fever-ridden sweaty hand and shoved it back in the box. I just whispered to Bailey, "Ohhhhh. You need to stay far, far away from the Cinnamon Toast Crunch."

Poor Rissy is so, so sweet -- even more than normal -- when she's sick. She was laying on the couch with pink cheeks and red eyes, and I said, "Well, Sweetie, you can thank Josie for this." She gave an itty-bitty laugh and said, "It's ok, Mommy. I don't mind. Now I know how bad she felt." Josie missed 3 days of school and was all worried about catching up on homework. With Bailey working so hard to catch up on an entire semester? I told her I didn't think she had anything to worry about. And she's already all caught up. Rissy doesn't want to miss any school. She's already told me today that she doesn't want me to just let her sleep in the morning. She wants me to wake her up at 7:00 to make SURE she's still sick and has to miss school, because she "might be feeling better".

Then there's Bailey. Ha! (She's standing over my shoulder again . . . she likes to do that, I guess . . . and she said, "Real nice!" Ha!) We've had a good weekend hanging out together. Yesterday we watched Rissy play in her first basketball game (with a bunch of boys!). She made the very first basket! We were so proud of her. It took everything I had not to run out in the middle of the floor and put her on my shoulders and parade her around the gym. I managed to find the strength to hold back. Then Bailey and I went to the Kopper Kettle in Morristown with all my sisters and aunt and cousin and niece and soon-to-be niece-in-law to celebrate my Mom's birthday. That was a fun girly time! And last night, our favorite med student, Matt, invited us to a talent show put on by IU med students to raise money for local clinics for the homeless and poor. During intermission, we ran into one of Bailey's anesthesiologists who took care of her during many of her cardioversions. She was amazed at how well Bailey looked. She just looked at her with her jaw dropping open. She couldn't wait to get back to the hospital and tell everyone how she's doing. She then leaned over in my ear, teary-eyed, and whispered, "You don't know how many times we wondered if we were going to get her off the table. We just prayed that 'it' wouldn't be that day." Boy, that sent a creepy feeling floating around in my stomach.


Thank God we're alive and together.

Then this morning, Bailey and I visited my Aunt Donna's church in Greenfield. She invited us to come meet a wonderful group of people who has been praying for Bailey these past several months. What wonderful people. They were so happy to see Bailey, and it was very nice to meet everyone. Thank you, Northside Christian Church, for making us feel so welcomed and for helping us get through such a challenging time in our lives.

I guess I need to get back to my laundry. Oh, yeah, there's that too. But we're alive and we're together.

Have a wonderful week!


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Jump Rope for Heart

Marissa is participating in the American Heart Association's "Jump Rope for Heart" next month to help raise money for research in heart attacks and strokes. If you would like to make a donation, please visit her personal web page:

Riss says, "Thank you!"


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Getting Back to "Normal"

Bailey's first week back to school went very well. I went back to work too, and we were both so nervous. She was nervous to see everyone again - teachers and friends - and was afraid to work through 2 semesters at once. And I was nervous halfway expecting a call from the school nurse telling me Bailey didn't feel well, but I never got one! Her half days are working out pretty well, but it's hard on Tom. He has to get up in the middle of his "night" (he works nights and doesn't get home until 6:00 in the morning) to either drop Bailey off at school or pick her up. Maybe the 1/2 days won't have to last very long.

She's doing so well - both physically and with homework. I can see a big difference in her physical strength in just 1 week at school. We went to the Y today so Marissa could shoot her basketball and break in her new basketball shoes in preparation for her first basketball practice this Friday night. And Bailey and I shot around while Josie worked with Marissa. Bailey would get a little tired and have to step aside and rest a minute, but she told me it was a "good" tired and not a "sick" tired. She said she could definitely tell a difference between a healthy tired and a sick tired. I'm so happy it was a healthy tired. I found myself having this stupid little smile on my face while staring at Bailey who was getting ready to shoot the ball. I couldn't help but think back to just 2 months ago when she was so, so sick and was 30 pounds heavier. I was truly scared for our future. She has come so far in a very short amount of time. I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with the girls - all of them! - at the gym. I am so so thankful to have each one of them here with me. I can't imagine life without them. They are such a joy - even in the midst of their occasional bickering back and forth - I thank God that he has blessed me with the best girls in the world.

I didn't feel too well today - nauseous and headache - and each of the girls came up to me at different times and hugged me to tell me they love me. How much better is life than that?

Josie is in the thick of her basketball - her first game is this week. She has found out she's on the "B" team. She was a little disappointed she's not on the "A" team, of course, but she seems to be enjoying it. And Marissa is so excited about her basketball starting. Yesterday was such a beautiful sunny day that we went to her school and played on the playground basketball courts there for a while. She's afraid she won't be as good as the other kids and won't be able to shoot as far. Her biggest fear is that she won't be able to reach the goal from the free-throw line. I told her she might very well not be able to reach it, but Josie couldn't reach it either when she started playing, and I remember when I started in the 5th grade that I couldn't reach it either. I don't know if that made her feel better, but it seems to suffice for the moment.

I'm so happy to be a mom to Bailey, Josie and Marissa.

Have a great week everyone!


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Enjoy the Pics!

Best Christmas ever!

Josie with her volleyball team.

Josie and Riss with Mickey.

Rissy with cousins Emily and Lyndie. Happy New Year!

Rissy jammin' with karaoke.

Josie helps Bailey with hair issues.

Bailey's "before" pictures taken by Dr. T.

Bailey's "after" picture taken by Dr. T

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Follow-Up Appt. Today

It was good to see the medical team again - Debbie, Dr. T and Dr. D. They were all very pleased with Bailey. (She did not get an echo - that's not until Jan. 22nd.) But all three of them asked "Are you eating?" when they first saw her. She is an itty-bitty-skinny thing. (And she IS eating! She eats lots more than she did before her surgery.) She's down to 82.5 pounds (her base weight a year ago before she got sick was 85). But her belly looks very, very good! In fact, Dr. T took an "after" shot of her side view today so he could compare it to the "before" shot that he took on his cell phone camera before her surgery. Amazing difference. She gave him grief about messing up her "Chinese scar". One of the chest tube scars from the Berlin days looked like the Chinese symbol for "laugh". It really did! And we really did like that scar. But he explained that he was just trying to use the same scar so she wouldn't have yet another one on her belly. He was just trying to be helpful! In all seriousness, he did say that he could smooth her scars out a little bit if she ever wanted him to. We kind of like making up stories, though. The best that we've come up with so far: gunshot wounds; shark attack; alien attack . . . It was quite fun visiting with him. He was obviously proud of his work ... as he should be! A truly incredible guy. Don't know where we'd be without him and Dr. D.

Dr. D even wanted to come take a look at Bailey. We didn't have a scheduled appointment with him, but it was good to see him too! No flutter in 7 weeks! Belly fluid nearly gone! (In fact, it just might be gone.) So exciting! I wish everybody could get a look at her. Just stand back and look. She's beautiful. Dr. D cut her lasix in half - he said her eyes looked a little sunken to him, and I think I agree. They directed her to eat more protein and do some muscle-building exercises. Now that they seem to have her dried out, we can work on getting some meat on her bones!

School starts Monday and I go back to work. It has been truly rewarding to not have to rush back to work after getting home from the hospital and to be at home with the girls this Christmas break. I've never ever had Christmas break off. It is fantastic! I'm thinking I might be ready to go back to work. Not sure about that, but hopeful. Ha! It will be nice to get back to a normal routine. I've been reading lots and lots of books and playing lots and lots of games with the girls and fixing low-sodium meals with Bailey.

Life is good!