Oh My How a Year Can Fly By
I can’t believe it has been almost a year since my last blog post. It honestly feels like it has been a few months. When I looked at the date of my last blog, I felt so slack. The truth is that the last year has been one of the hardest in my entire life. I feel selfish admitting that… After all, it has been nothing compared to what my sweet little Abi has been through. One week from tomorrow, we head back to Denver for our 15th procedure. Yes, 15th. It occurred to me on the flight home from our last procedure a few weeks ago that Abi has been on over 30 flights. 32 to be exact. I found that mind blowing for some reason. Maybe because she had just turned 3.
My sweet little Abi, who is and always will be my Smileybug, turned 3 on May 7th. May 7th also marked 2 years since beginning our journey. Every year when we celebrate her birth, we are also reminded of how long it has been since our little Smileybug began fighting the battle of her life… literally. I am also reminded of just how far God has carried us. 2 years and over a dozen procedures into this journey and God has not failed us. There have been times that I have asked Him “how” or “why”, but He has picked me up, despite my kicking and screaming, and carried me through. I am learning to ask less questions and trust in Him more and more.
I have debated how much detail I wanted to go into publicly on this blog. In many ways, it is therapeutic to write down feelings and emotions. It releases so much. I won’t go into every detail of the last year, but I will touch on a few things. I am stepping out of my comfort zone only because I hope it may help someone else. (Let me get the tissues out)
I can’t tell you how many times I have been told how “strong” I am throughout all of this. It is such a huge compliment to anyone to be told that you are strong and an inspiration. It is also a compliment that I never really felt worthy of for several reasons. First, I felt like I was (and still am) doing what any parent would do for their child. It was never a choice for me. It was my responsibility and my duty as a parent to care for Abi. I am her mother and I would walk through Hell and back for her. Second, and hardest to admit, I was crumbling inside and felt anything but strong. In the beginning, I had my weak days but as time passed I realized that on many days I wasn’t considering “weak” or “hard”, I was actually bottling up emotions inside. A few months ago, April to be exact, I learned the hard way exactly what happens when you hold emotions in for too long. I broke. Completely. I found myself laying in the floor, crying out to God to help me and telling Him I couldn’t do any of this anymore. It felt like everything around me was crumbling as I watched. I couldn’t pick the pieces up and put them back together as fast as they were falling around me. Life as I knew it was spiraling out of control. I felt more overwhelmed than I ever thought I could feel. I was watching my family hurt and suffer in different ways, watching medical bills climb faster than anyone could keep up with, my heart was aching over the loss of people in my life that I never thought could be so hateful and I was falling behind on simple daily things. All of this while trying to coordinate and reschedule travel and treatments. Abi was experiencing paralysis from her March treatment. It was the 2nd time it had happened and was very severe. We did 3 rounds of steroids and it wasn’t improving. We were told it could be up to 6 months before she healed and could even be permanent. In the meantime, treatments were put on hold until she healed completely. I felt like I was suffocating. Like I said, anything but strong. That day in April, I picked myself up off of the floor and headed to my doctor who I thank God for each and every day. I was ashamed but knew I needed to ask someone for help. I was greeted with no judgement and I began a new journey of healing. I was referred to a therapist who has also been a Godsend for me. I soon realized that the moment I picked myself up and admitted that I needed help, I was stronger than ever before. I wasn’t weak because I needed someone to listen to and help me through this, I was strong for taking care of me and admitting that I couldn’t do it all alone.
Right now I am in a better place emotionally than I have been since we began this journey. Abi continues to amaze me daily. She is such a fighter and still, despite the pain and heartache that she has known from the beginning, continues to smile and make us laugh. I had hoped she would be done with the constant treatments before she was old enough to remember all of this, but that isn’t God’s plan and I will accept that. Every time we go in for a treatment, she teaches me something new. She is such an inspiration to me. I can’t even put it into words. I wish the world could meet her. She is so smart, funny and full of life. She says words that shouldn’t be in a 3 year old’s vocabulary and she isn’t just repeating them- she understands them. We go to the park and she runs to the swings with her arms spread wide, smiling as she yells “I am tremendously excited to be here! This is absolutely amazing!” She is so full of energy and strength. She is the strong one! In the beginning, we were told to prepare for delays in her development due to all of the procedures and anesthesia. We were told to prepare for the very distinct possibility that she would need speech and occupational therapy. Nope. This kid defies all odds. She is a true miracle with a HUGE purpose.
The support, prayers and love continue to pour in. When you turn on the news you see so much bad and hurt. I have seen more love and good than bad. The world isn’t perfect but it isn’t all bad either. We still have individuals approaching us with fundraiser ideas and offering help in many different ways. One person may say, “Here is $10, it isn’t much but I hope it helps.” To me, it truly means the world! That $10 can buy Abi food for an entire day in Denver! I will never be able to express my humble gratitude for the things people have done to help us. To help my sweet little Smileybug. Without it, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Thank you all. Each and every one of you who are reading this, have helped us, have supported us and have prayed for us- Thank YOU. I never imagined this being our life and at times it has seemed unfair and frustrating but truthfully it has been beautiful. I have learned patience and faith. Faith that was once unimaginable for me is now what carries me through each day.