Beginning the Journey
One week from tomorrow, we will be headed to Denver again for Abigail’s 7th procedure since we started our journey just over a year ago. On one hand, it feels like this has been ongoing for years and on the other, it feels like we started it all yesterday. This will be the first time I have taken Abigail for a procedure by myself. My nerves are completely shot right now.
I remember the days leading up to Abigail’s first procedure on May 8, 2013. I felt like I was going crazy. I never knew that I could experience such a broad range of emotions all at once. Anxiety, peace, fear, excitement, happiness, and sadness… all at once. I was so grateful that my husband was able to accompany Abigail and I. I knew there was no way I could do it alone. We had heard amazing things about Dr. Waner and even though we had only spoken with him by phone, we knew that we were about to put our baby girl in his hands for treatment. The plan was to fly to New York City on May 6th, meet with Dr. Waner the morning of May 7th (Abi’s first birthday!), and then take Abigail for her first procedure on May 8th.
I had always dreamed of seeing New York City. It was on my bucket list. New York City is the polar opposite of where we live. Our house is 20 minutes away from the closest anything. New York has whatever you need within a 2-4 minute walk of wherever you are. I never wanted to see it this way though. There was truly nothing enjoyable about my first time in the city. My “plan” was to have my husband come with me to help with the first trip and then I would go alone from there on out. I don’t know what I was thinking! I figured out what a crazy idea that was within minutes of arriving at the Atlanta airport. The exact moment that we went through airport security with a 1 year old in tow. The plane ride was decent. It was only about a 2.5 hour trip. Abigail did get a little fidgety but only because she was sleepy and wanted to be put in her bed to nap which wasn’t an option. When we arrived in NYC, we were completely lost. We finally figured out how to get to the Ronald McDonald House. We took a shuttle bus from the airport. It was like being in a real life NASCAR. Needless to say, by the time we arrived at the RMH, we were a little frazzled but had to get settled in and find something to eat. We learned quickly that hailing a cab in real life was not nearly as easy as it appeared to be in the movies. There we were, looking like some crazy Georgia tourists completely lost in the big city. We walked blocks and blocks, sometimes in circles but needless to say, we figured it out. After the first trip, we knew our way around and getting a ride when needed became much simpler 🙂
May 7, 2013 was Abigail’s first birthday and also the day she met her first VM Specialist. Dr. Waner decided to move forward with the planned laser procedure and that no more than the laser was necessary at that time. We left his office, had our first slices of NY Pizza and then went back to the room to get plenty of rest for the day to follow.
May 8, 2013 was the first time I carried my sweet baby girl into an Operating Room. I held her as she was put to sleep and left the room sobbing uncontrollably. I made my way to the waiting room where my husband was pacing back and forth. Neither one of us knew what to expect. We didn’t know how much pain she would or would not be in from the procedure, what her surgical wounds would look like, how the healing process would work for her, or how she would react to waking from the procedure. The procedure only took about 30 minutes. It felt like hours. When Dr. Waner came into the waiting room, we both jumped up eager to know how the procedure went and even more eager to get to Abigail before she woke. We were told that she did great and would need another procedure in 6 weeks. We then hurried to the Post Op area to see Abigail. It was so difficult seeing our sweet baby laying there. She had big red and brown spots on her cheek and was extremely swollen from the lasers. She also had some large blisters on her lip which we were told could potentially happen. It was heartbreaking. When she woke, she was very out of sorts and in pain. We did our best to comfort her, taking turns holding her and telling her that Mommy and Daddy were there, and that she was ok. As I stood there at one point, watching her Daddy rock her and kiss her forehead, I knew there was no way I could handle doing this alone.
So here I am. Sitting here tonight still trying to mentally prepare myself for doing this alone. I know I will be strong because I have to be. Abigail is counting on me. But I will admit that I am terrified. If I weren’t, I guess I wouldn’t be human. I am putting my faith in God to hold me up and give me every ounce of strength that I need to do it. Denver is still pretty new territory for me. With time though, I am sure it will become more comfortable. I fully trust Dr. Yakes and his staff. I know that Abigail is in wonderful hands and is receiving the treatment she needs right now from the best there is to give it to her. Abigail is a fighter at such a young age and we will be there every step of the way to help her win her battles. The trip next week will be one more step in our journey. And one more step to finding the strength and confidence I need to keep going.