She continues to laugh and spread her joy!

In Abbigail’s mind, there is always laughter to be had and smiles to be shared.

Today she beamed down the halls of the hospital, waving to the many staff she has come to know and cherish; the cafeteria cook and cashier, the pharmacy assistant, the coffee shop ladies who keep mama awake and the ultrasound techs who took care of her baby cousin. She was such a proud big girl today, showing off her baby cousin and ensuring he knows his way around CHEO. While he was meeting his new doctors and having his first CHEO experience, she was doing routine central line maintenance, having her lines “unclogged” and blood work drawn for her weekly virology tests.

She doesn’t understand the details behind her diagnosis, she doesn’t know anything different than the multiple weekly visits to CHEO, treatments, surgeries, “sleepy time” (anaesthetic) and clinics. Abbigail is blessed with the naivety of a baby, not understanding why strangers are intruding in their personal space, but knowing their parents will keep them safe. Abbigail is still very much like her 4 month old baby cousin today, even at the beautiful age of almost five. She doesn’t know that she has a rare and incurable disease for which she has battled for three years and continues to. She doesn’t realize that the “medicine” that saved her life twice already, received through her central lines, aka “tubies,” is in fact chemotherapy and that it could cause future, secondary cancers, and life long, sometimes detrimental side effects. Abbigail is graced with a certain ignorance despite having her innocence robbed from her three years ago.

Tomorrow she will walk back into CHEO to have her liver scanned. It shouldn’t be long before we have more information and before we have a plan forward…something to cling onto and pray for.

Please keep her in your prayers tomorrow morning and envision a “healthier” liver for our princess. She deserves to register for kindergarten and not have to withdraw again this year.

Thank you everyone for all of the support!

Growing up with Molly Penny’s Love

Growing up in a hospital isn’t all bad.  For Abbigail, she has friends, fun and Molly.  Since the very first few days, Abbigail has found the joy within those grey walls and she brought her contagious smile no nurse could resist.  So even on those dreaded inpatient days, Abbigail was happy in the playroom, riding her cars down the halls when she couldn’t walk anymore, pulling her IV pole with her and trying to catch up to the older kids.  It is rare to see a young child on 4N with self pity.  Much like Abbigail, most of them do not know any different since their life has always been at the hospital.  Luckily though, on those difficult days where procedures were feared, and chemos were hard, Molly Penny was only a holler away.  In the halls of CHEO walks a retired ER nurse who just couldn’t stay away from our kids.  Her heart beats in the halls, she creates shrieks of joy and laughter in the waiting rooms, and she makes CHEO a home for children away from home for so long.  With the help of the amazing Child Life Specialist, Molly Penny is by far one of the reasons Abbigail has gotten through some of her darkest days and toughest tears…

Abbigail has a lifetime at this hospital behind her already and still more ahead of her.  Having a disease with no cure means just that.  We are so grateful to have Molly by our sides when we are scared, upset or just need a good old fashioned laugh or two.  She doesn’t just help Abbigail and all of the kids, she is always making sure us parents are taken care of too, whether its just a coffee or a huge loving hug.  She is a huge part of CHEO’s heart and we will always keep her in our hearts. We love you Molly!

 

This morning we are off to CHEO again, to hopefully get more answers and a clear path forward for the neuroblastoma so that we can return to focusing on the OMS and giving some quality of life back to our precious girl. Today Abbigail will enter the “big orange door” again to Nuclear Medicine where she will have an other substance injected into her veins to be imaged which is more specific to bones. She has had this scan before and it is much the same as last week’s so let’s keep our fingers crossed that she is just as brave again! Mama is very happy to be by her side today, these moments are milestones for her, just as walking, talking and going to school are for every other child, and I can’t bare to miss anymore. I don’t ever want her or the boys to doubts desire to be there for them through it all, including the darker milestones.

It is with a hopeful heart and a desire for relief for our girl that I ask you to pray and offer your good thoughts today as she faces more scans, tests and procedures.

We may walk in through the orange door with fear and uncertainty but we will walk out with faith that no matter what happens afterwards, we will get through it together.

If you take a moment to stop and listen today, you will hear the unique sound of a young girl, fighting for her life, through joy and laughter with Molly Penny and her love. Just listen…

Sponsors Needed! Stand Up with Abbigail {CN Cycle for CHEO}

20130403-131113.jpgKids like Abbigail have the miraculous ability to spread joy, even during the most trying of times. We need prayers, she’s been in the hospital more than any toddler should be this past year but today I am pleading for more than your prayer and support.

In addition to prayers, we need sponsors right now. Abbigail turns three years old in just five weeks and she’s been fighting since she was just a baby and to be brutally honest, the road cancer takes you on is lonely, expensive and scary!

In Ottawa and the area, we are lucky to have CHEO in our “backyards” to run to when our child has had a fever for days or broke a bone winning that soccer game. For some families and children it is more though…for far too many, CHEO becomes a home, a place they find comforting not daunting. For us, that is what CHEO has become and for so many other families we know too. For our kids, this hospital brings smiles to their scared little faces as they receive yet an other round of chemo or are being poked for the fifth time this week. These kids find comfort in the nurses and staff that care for them and love them. The child life specialists here make their 8 hour visit go by quickly with fun, games and often surprises of all kids. Abbigail never fails to make them smile but they do the same for her. Just last week after surgery she I soared on seeing her nurse before leaving so down we went to the clinic and Abbigail quickly smiled when she saw her lovely nurses and she walked out of there hugging a new dolly they have her to cuddle on the way home. CHEO offers comfort to these kids who sadly require weekly visits instead of weekly swim practice or soccer games. CHEO is part of who they are and for some, like Abbigail, CHEO is all they know.20130403-131420.jpg

On our journey this year we found ourselves often lost, afraid and alone. It wasn’t long before we realized the amazing organizations out there to help us. The Ronald McDonald House was our home for the three longest weeks of our life last year. That home took us in free of charge and provided us with a loving caring comforting and most importantly understanding environment where we could stay together as a family in site where Abbigail and I were. William was able to see his sister and be with us. Matthew could stay with Abbigail late at night and walk back to the house rather than drive to hotels or stay with family further away.

Candlelighters Ottawa has eased the financial burden and given our family opportunities to spend extra special time together not worrying about cancer and its woes. They pay for our parking at the hospital; which is a great burden as you may know when you calculate our weekly sometimes bi-weekly all day stays. And try sent our family to see Disney on Ice in a safe environment.

CHEO’s staff saved our daughter’s life and are still working hard to bring her back to us to this day and Ronald McDonald and Candlelighters are lifelines in this journey I couldn’t imagine not having. They know what families like us and children like Abbigail need when we do not even know yet…for that we will forever be grateful ad for this we want to give back!

On May 5th, in honor of our daughter, her fight and continuing battle and her third birthday (May 6) we are cycling/walking in the CN Cycle for CHEO as a family to raise much needed awareness for childhood cancer and funds that will directly affect children like Abbigail and her new friends! Please consider sponsoring our family and making a donation in her honour.

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Click to Sponsor Kisses For Abbigail Team either through Mama or Dada

Let’s show Abbigail we stand with her, and with ALL kids facing cancer.

 

She is my hero...help us be hers!
She is my hero…help us be hers!