Getting through more tough days…

Since that dreadful call on Christmas Eve, I have been consummed with fears and questions, both of which have yet to be relieved or answered.

Abbigail has had an MRI and ultrasound of her liver since returning from transplant and they both reveal the same differential diagnosis and affirmation of my fears. These nodules found to be growing and multiplying within her liver, aside from her never disappearing liver tumour treated with 8 cycles of chemotherapies last year, are suspect of further metastasis, PTLD (post transplant complication involving further cancer) or infection. We have consulted with liver specialists and infectious disease and they have all suggested a biopsy to evaluate a tissue sample from the “spots” to see what they are because blind treatment could result in further damage. So could time…I am pushing as hard as I can to get these procedures and tests completed as soon as possible because in my heart and my gut, I don’t feel this is “nothing to worry about” and time has only hurt our baby girl in the past.

So as Abbigail struggles most days to keep her temper under wraps, tame her irritability and muster the energy to be a kid, we are worrying and trying to get everything organized to face anything thrown our way. We thought for sure we would be enjoying a new life by now, but despite the odds we are continuously being thrown, we won’t stop fighting!

This fight is nearing three years and this past year we have received more support and generosity than ever before…than we could have ever dreamed of or prayed for. We have so many people, families and organizations to thank. We will post a formal thank you to everyone shortly and hope that everyone knows just how much each and everyone of you means to us and how much we appreciate your support; whether it be monetary, emotional or through prayers and kind words. We thank you ALL!

One of the recent fundraisers, in support of Abbigail, is the CNL Black Bears Charity Hockey Tournament being held this week. Colleagues of mine at CNL (Canadian Nuclear Laboratories – formerly AECL) have for ten years raised money, for local charities, through their annual hockey tournament.

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Last year they raised a huge amount of funds which were in support of both the Pembroke MRI fund as well as a colleague family with a child in medical fragility. Much the same this year they have again chosen the MRI fund in addition to Kisses For Abbigail. We couldn’t be more blessed and humbled by this. We would love for our family and friends to go out and support this huge team of generous and kind heart hockey enthusiasts who chose Abbigail to pray for and raise funds for this year.

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We hope that everyone has a week of fun filled ice time while we continue to look further into Abbigail’s liver tumours and we look forward to hearing about all of the fun the kids had during the festivities. Please send me photos of the event, Abbigail will one day look back on her supporters throughout her battles.

DAY -5

There are days I have to tell myself “get through the next five minutes, you can make it through five minutes,” and I did! I have been making it through years of our daughter’s cancer and OMS relapses and treatments…five minutes at a time.

Last night Abbigail and I said farewell to some families we have met and bonded with while staying at the Ronald McDonald House here in Toronto as we walked over to the hospital for her admission. We also had to kiss our family goodbye. Matthew, Nana and our two boys came for a visit this week and it was so great to be together again after two long weeks. As grateful as I am that we had those days with family, last night was quiet, lonely and sad without the commotion, noise and laughter of Abbigail playing with her brothers. Last night was also an anxious night as I sat staring at my girl as she slept peacefully beside me. Today is DAY -5 and that marks the beginning of conditioning treatments preceding the actual transplant of her stem cells.

Abbigail has a way of always making the best of every situation, her innocence hasn’t been completely robbed if her. Her heart is so big and beautiful, it shows on her face as she proudly makes her own thanksgiving apple pie in one of the children’s lounges today. I faithfully pray that these moments of pure joy and innocence continue to shine through the difficult times that lay ahead.

As I type, Abbigail sleeps through the first poisonous dose of chemotherapy, part of her pre-transplant conditioning. When she wakes up, she will likely be sick, miserable and I will have to tell her that an other fight has begun.

Up until now, despite being here for over two weeks now, she hasn’t had to remember the chemos, the pains, the nausea and vommitting. She has enjoyed making new friends and having tea parties with the occasional surgery, ultrasound and poke or procedure. She will quickly and sadly be reminded of her reality when she awakes, possibly ill and they forcibly insert an NG tube, hoping not to induce further throwing up. At that moment I will have made it through the last five minutes and I will move on to the next five…perhaps with a little less energy but never any less love or faith.

Tomorrow will be DAY -4; she will receive more chemo and it should be an uneventful day with only one chemo treatment. Sunday however promises to be difficult as she receives a very powerful immunosuppressant, much like chemo but somehow not as poisonous.

Pray for an other five minutes…that Abbigail too can get through them.

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Abundant hope, faith restored & prayers answered

Abbigail is being honoured, supported and ultimately blessed in some of the most amazing and inspiring ways lately! There have been countless amazing people who have offered their support to our family and who have followed along with us as we go through this journey.  There have also been several generous and kind hearts that have gone above and beyond just support, they have taken time out of their lives to fundraise and help our family in big ways and for that we are eternally grateful.  There are also those rare few that truly have changed our lives.

For those of you who do not know, an 11-year old local girl, who was a stranger to our family just a few short months ago, took it upon herself to raise money for Kisses for Abbigail by holding her own fundraisers. She decided that she wanted to shave her head to recognize Abbigail’s fight, honour the children past, present and future who follow similar journey’s with Childhood Cancer and to help us raise much needed awareness. Her goal was to raise $1,000 before she braved the shave, and let me share with you that she has already surpassed that goal and we couldn’t be any more proud of her!

Chanelle’s Brave Shave started out as a huge idea in such a young but immense heart of a kind generous young lady, and now it has become so much more!

She and her family held a bake sale two weeks ago and it was far beyond anyone’s expectations. Everyone who helped went above and beyond and the overwhelming support of those who went out to the event was humbling. Because of the enormous hearts and generous supporters that helped the bake sale be a success, Chanelle and her family were inspired and wanted to do more. They held their annual Snowshoeing Evening at their property this past weekend and invited anyone who wanted to help their cause to join them and make a donation to Chanelle’s Brave Shave and they again fundraised for Kisses For Abbigail with heartwarming success. We can not thank this family enough and have no words to express our gratitude towards this amazing young lady! Chanelle really is a truly wonderful girl with so much heart to share!

Now with her impending big sacrificial head shave fast approaching, I can not help but feel nervous for her! I will be honest, I am not only floored that someone would go such lengths for OUR daughter, but that this is a young lady, of only 11-years old! We can’t imagine how difficult this would be for any woman, let alone a young lady! As Abbigail’s mother, someone who sees children fighting for their lives daily, who has grieved the loss of too many young fighters, this young lady’s sacrifice of her own long locks has not only inspired me, but has touched my broken heart in such a way, that I truly now believe in the power of prayers and the goodness of man kind. Chanelle you have changed me and I think you are going to change the world someday with your inspirational heart.

I hope as you read this, that you too are affected by her humble but immense gesture and that you feel compelled to show your support and make her feel as wonderful, beautiful and amazing as she truly is! On March 7th Chanelle will be shaving her head in front of family, friends and strangers to show her support for Abbigail and her fellow fighters.  She will be doing this I am sure with angst and fear but with strength and love.  Help me show her that she is doing something greater than she even knows or understands.  Please show her your support just as you have all these months for Abbigail because she truly deserves it for what she has done for our family and what she is doing for Abbigail and so many others.  Her brave shave is more than just a fundraiser for Abbigail, it is a true testament of the kindness and selflessness of humanity.  I have never felt comfortable with asking for support, let alone directly asking for financial help but to our family this fundraiser is more than that and we truly want to make Chanelle feel great about her decision and know what a huge impact she is having on our family and our daughter’s medical care.  This is no small feat for a young 11-year old, please help us show her that her sacrifice is priceless.  Donations need not be large, a small donation with a message of encouragement will help her see what an amazing person she is.

By following this link you will not only help Abbigail on her Brave Journey through Childhood Cancer and OMS but you will be showing Chanelle that she isn’t doing this alone!

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We understand that everyone has their own battles and their own financial burdens and we do not expect you to donate, your love, prayers and compassionate support is more than generous and abundantly appreciated, so if you feel you can’t make a contribution to Chanelle’s fundraising efforts, do not feel bad, instead please show her your support for her efforts and grand gesture by leaving her a message of encouragement or if you are local and can, please attend her Brave Shave on March 7th at 3:30pm at the Miramichi Lodge in Pembroke! Imagine her face and her fears melting away when she sees so many supporters.  My dream is to fill the place to capacity to let her know how much we absolutely appreciate what she has done and what she is sacrificing.

Abbigail’s supporters give our family hope with each new comment, message, prayer and donation that we do not necessary wake up with each morning.  Our faith in our community, our friends and our family has become clearer than ever when we see how much love people have for our daughter and with each new compassionate supporter we meet, our prayers for a better future for Abbigail are answered.  You may not come with a cure but you offer Abbigail something just as precious in her life; you offer her courage and strength in knowing that she has never fought a single day alone and that no matter how long her battle may be, she will never be fighting this on her own.  For that eternal gift, we will never have enough words or praise that would do our gratitude justice.

She’s an Inspiration!

Abbigail’s brave journey is inspiring so many to be giving and thoughtful and even generous!  I was contacted by a local mom late last year, her daughter goes to the same school as our oldest son William and that is how they first heard about Kisses for Abbigail and began following her journey.  I was thrown back and absolutely stunned to hear that her daughter wanted to shave her head as a fundraiser for Kisses For Abbigail. A young girl of only 11 years old has made the conscientious decision to shave her hair off in honour of the far too many children battling cancer.  That is huge and honourable and very humbling as a mom of one of these battling children.  Chanelle you are very brave and a remarkable young woman, Sonya you should be a very proud mama bear to have raised such an amazing girl with a heart larger than she is!  Thank you Chanelle and family for all that you are doing!!!

Chanelle’s Brave Shave for Kisses For Abbigail is a fundraiser by this absolutely remarkable 11 year old young lady.  Her family and her have been following and supporting our baby’s story on Facebook and on this blog and their hearts couldn’t be any larger.  In recent years Chanelle has donated her hair to “Locks of Love,” but this time she is bravely going the extra step and shaving it all off!  Please join me in showing her much support, by watching for her photos on instagram and by leaving her a message of encouragement, as this is no small feat for such a wonderful young lady!

If you want to pledge Chanelle and support her immense efforts, please click her photo below or the link provided to support Chanelle’s Brave Shave!

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I want to thank everyone who took the time to read today’s blog entry as I re-enter the world of blogging.  It has been difficult to truly write my emotions out as we have been facing our worst fear as parents of a child battling cancer, but I thought today’s post would help ease me back in.  Thank you for following on Facebook and being patient.  Abbigail is truly blessed and our entire family appreciates all of your support!!! Thank you so much!