Abby's Journey

We'd like to invite you to read Abby's Journey from the beginning. We hope that her story may help a family who is facing the same battle with DIPG. We are praying for a cure and are praying for every child who is diagnosed with cancer.

This is Abby's story.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Hanging In There

Sorry for the lack of posts recently.
Things are returning to a somewhat normal state for us. Abby continues to do very well and is a 5 year old girl again! She is loving playing with her sisters and running around. We continue to keep a close eye on her for any symptoms of the tumor coming back and are still very vigilant about keeping sick bugs away. Since she is no longer on her chemo treatment, we are not having to check her blood work as often. Abby also loves going to her therapy appointments! She is very excited when we tell her that she gets to go to treatment. Eventually, we would like to get Abby enrolled in karate class, and Abby wants that as well! We figure that as long as she is in her therapy, she doesn't need to do karate on top of that, but it will help increase her core strength, balance and strength.
Overall, she continues to do very well and we are thankful for all of the prayers on her behalf. That reminds me... for everyone who prays for Abby, we are so thankful! Before, we asked that people pray for her tumor to shrink, and our prayers have been answered! Now, we are asking that people not only pray that the tumor shrinks, but that it will go away and not come back. We have seen the power of prayer and know that it will work, so if we get everyone together to pray that the tumor not only shrinks but goes away, we know the Lord will answer. Thanks everyone!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Abby's in the News!

KFVS 12 news article
Semissourian news article

More pictures have been added to past posts so you will want to take a peek!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Back in the routine

It has almost been a week since we returned from our great trip to Disney, and I believe we are finally getting back into our routines. We had noticed that during the last couple of days in Florida, that Abby would be complaining of headaches that would come and go throughout the day. We assumed it was due to our long days of waking up early and staying up late, but were just not sure. Since we have been home and started the girls back on their 7:30 bed times and Abby and Emily's naps, we have noticed that her headaches have subsided, thankfully. Maegan and I have found ourselves very paranoid anytime Abby tells us that she has a headache or if she does not feel well, so thankfully it has stopped!

On Sunday the 23rd, the Make-A-Wish volunteers are going to have a little party for Abby at our house, mainly for our family members. During the planing of it all, they discussed having a big party, but that was at the time when Abby's blood work was bad and she could not be around people too much. So, for safety's sake, we planned a small party. Maybe this summer we will have a bigger half-birthday party for Abby since she was not able to have a party with her friends over this year.

Mary-Beth is back into her schooling and will be starting piano lessons on Monday. Abby is upset that she is not taking lessons as well, but I told her that we would work with her at home and that Mary-Beth could help teach her what she learns too. Emily has lost ground in her potty-training battle. She was doing really well, but has since started peeing on the floor and not using the bathroom. Hopefully she starts back again soon!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Back in MO

What a week! The girls and I had a blast this past week! Monday was the Magic Kingdom, Tuesday was Universal Studios. On Wednesday we went to Sea World and it seemed like it was going to freeze! We got our picture taken with Shamu and then went in and started by feeding and petting the stingrays! It was pretty cool, you would put the food in your hand and then put it in the tank with the rays, and they would swim onto your hand and then suck the fish off of your hand! Pretty cool! Then we went and feed the dolphins! That was really cool too! The trainers brought the dolphins right up to the side and they would poke their head out of the water , we would pet their chins, and throw in a fish into their mouth. I go t some good pictures of that. I will try and get them put up soon! We then went and saw the dolphin show which was truly amazing. Watching what the trainers and dolphins can do together was really cool. Then after the show, one of the trainers had Abby and us stay after and she brought out a dolphin and taught Abby how to "train" the dolphin to speak, spin in a circle, and then to return home. She thought that was really cool!

On Thursday we went to Hollywood Studios. We saw the Beauty and the Beast show, The Voyage of the Little Mermaid, and then had a blast! The highlight of the Hollywood studio trip for me was getting to meet my alter ego- Mr. Incredible! We got to see Handy Manny, the Little Einsteins, Lots-o-love from toy story 3, and all sorts of characters. That night, we got the chance to meet up with Maegan's Aunt Amber and Uncle Bob, and her cousin Rob and his wife Lori and their daughter Ashley. We met them at the Wilderness Lodge at Disney and had a good dinner and them and it was nice to meet Rob and his family finally.

Friday, we woke up and all of the girls said that their legs were hurting and that they were tired, so we decided to bypass Animal Kingdom and stayed close. We decided to go to Gator land and check out the alligators. While we were there, Abby and Mary-Beth both wrestled an alligator and got their picture taken.

We saw an exotic and dangerous animal show and then a lot of alligators! It was a good and laid back day. We also wanted to get home to the village because there was a party with Santa Claus! We started to party and then it started to snow! There were snow princesses, snowmen, trees, and all sorts of holiday fun! We got some snow cones, cotton candy and candy canes. Our friends from the University of Maryland were there for their last night and we exchanged information with them and already have new friends on Facebook. We have also been telling everyone about Abby's blog and I wish I would have brought some of the cards for the blog. Live and learn. But we wrote it down a bunch and passed it on to many people. We truly made some new lifelong friends!

Today, we woke up and the girls got to ride the horses and the girls got cowgirl hats and had such a good time. More pictures are on a previous post.

Friday night, Maegan's brother Brian came to visit us and we spent the evening with him. It was good to see him again. The last time we saw him, Mary-Beth was a few months old. So its been a while and it was good to see him. We vowed we wouldn't wait 7 years to see each other again!

Now, we are back in St. Louis and the girls have all crashed...HARD! Maegan is ready to go to bed, and my eyes area getting heavy as well, so I apologize for any grammatical or spelling errors, or if this makes little to no sense. Good night!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

SeaWorld and Hollywood Studios

I think when we get home on Sunday all of us will sleep the entire day! We are so tired but we are having so much fun at the same time!
On Wednesday, we started out by meeting Ronald McDonald! Abby was so sweet and hugged him so much.

I remember while we were initially in the hospital with Abby and we went to the Ronald McDonald she got so upset that he wasn’t there! So today, we were just excited for her to finally get to meet him! After meeting Ronald, we went to SeaWorld and found out that it still gets a little cold in Florida! When we got there, the temperature was in the 40’s with around a 15-20 mph winds. But, the park wasn’t that crowded so that helped things out! We started off by feeding the stingrays which was really cool! 

I couldn’t talk the girls into letting the stingrays eat off of their hands, but I did it and it was pretty cool! They would just fly up and suck the fish out of your hand! The girls got a huge kick out of that! From there, we went and feed the dolphins which was really cool as well! 

They would come right up to us and let us pet them, and we would toss a fish into their mouths. Mary-Beth wanted to rub a dolphin chin, but never got herself close enough to get one, and Abby and Emily were content to just toss the fish in to the dolphins. We got to see the manatees, and then watched the dolphin show which the girls loved!  

There were acrobats doing high dives, exotic birds, and of course dolphins! After the show, one of the trainers brought one of the dolphins out and taught Abby how to make them talk, spin around, and then return home! She got a huge kick out of that and thought it was the coolest thing. SeaWorld also provided Abby and Emily with a couple of firsts: First teacup style ride, 

boat ride that goes back and forth and around in a circle, a free fall style ride that picked us up around 45 feet maybe and then dropped us some and bounced us around.  

Then, Mary-Beth, Abby and I rode Shamu Express rollercoaster! Abby’s first roller coaster! 

She did really well and was very brave. She enjoyed it so much, we brought Emily and Mary-Beth and Abby rode together, and I took Emily on her first roller coaster too! We bought the pictures of Abby’s first ride from the park and the girls did not want to get off of the ride! They had such a good time.
That night, we were able to meet Maegan’s Aunt Amber and Uncle Rob, as well as her cousin Rob and wife Lori, and their daughter Ashley at the Wilderness Resort there at Disney. It was great getting to spend some time with them and to finally meet Rob and Lori after hearing about them. Abby and Emily were so tired they fell asleep during the dinner and were out! They were so sweet!

Today, we got to meet Belle, Goofy, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and Pluto here in the village.  

Belle remembered Abby and called her by name as she walked in, as well as Mary-Beth and Emily! She gave the girls big hugs and they got to talk for a little bit. After that, we went to Hollywood Studios which was really cool! The first thing we did was watch a live play of Beauty and the Beast which was formatted to only 17 minutes! 

It was such a good play and the girls just ate it up! A little later, we saw the Voyage of the Little Mermaid, which had a laser show and plenty of effects! 

It was a very nice show that the girls just ate up and were enthralled with! We then got autographs from Handy Manny, a couple of the Little Einstein’s, and then the coolest one every, Mr. Incredible! 

He and I had a little flex off together and it was good to meet my alter-ego!

We then did a couple of other rides and then came back to the village where Santa and Mrs. Claus came and visited us today and brought the girl's presents!!  

After the girls sat on Santa’s Lap and we got some good pictures, we got to dance in the Winter Party. The girls got to meet Mayor Clayton and his wife Mrs. Mary, and they are the mayor of the Village. We then danced with many characters and played in the snow that Santa brought down with him! The girls had such a good time!
After the party, the girls were a little chilled, so we went to the ice cream parlor for some Hot Chocolate. While we were there, we got to say our good-byes to our new and good friends from the University of Maryland who came down to volunteer this week during their break. 

I have to say, we were very impressed with all of them at how much they went out of their way to not only take care of our girls, but to make us feel at ease as well. They became some of our really good friends and we look forward to keeping up with them. They are a part of a group called the Maryland Hillel and their leader/advisor is, Danny Weiss. We got to be really good friends with Danny and the students that he brought down and are already looking forward to hopefully seeing them again in the future! They are another shining star that we have seen through Abby’s endeavor that just brings hope and faith in the future, that 15 college students not only volunteered their holiday break to serve here at the village, but that they paid their own way down here and just are such good people! We are happy to call them friends and family now!
Tomorrow, we plan on spending our last full day going to Animal Kingdom and seeing what adventures are awaiting us! This week has gone by so fast!

Abby's Wishing Star

Abby's wishing star that is forever in the sky at the Castle of Miracles here at the Village!

This is just a small corner of the castle (which is huge) and each star represents a different child that has been here. Overwhelming...


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Give Kids The World Village

We are having an extraordinary time down here! Everything has been so perfect and Abby and the girls are loving every second of it! We flew in Sunday evening and were met by a greater in the airport who was holding up a sign with Abby's name. She escorted us through the airport and to our rental car (which Abby picked out- a black Dodge Nitro, nice car!) and then we came here to the village. The Give Kids the World village is a wonderful place! We finished our long day of traveling and driving with the Villages Ice Cream Palace and then crashed.

Monday morning, it was time to meet Abby's Prince!! But first, we went to the theater here in the village when we met Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Mary Poppins, and Pluto. Awesome!  We then made it to the Magic Kingdom

and went to a reserved area just for Wish Kids to relax, when Cinderella and Prince Charming came in. All of the girls were so happy to see them and to get to talk with them. They spent a good 45 min-1 hour with the girls, answering any questions they had and just talking with them. They ate it up.

Then, Cinderella asked Abigail if she had a special wish, and Abby got shy and Cinderella asked her to whisper it in her ear. Abby did, and then Cinderella looked at Prince Charming, and said that her Prince was there and he would be happy to grant her wish. The Prince then asked Abby's permission to give her a kiss, and of course she said yes. Charming then got on his knee, and took Abby's hand and gave her a kiss on her hand! Abby was beaming! She ate it up!

After meeting her Prince, we went out to the park for a little bit, and explored some of what was there. We got the girls their Princess dresses and then went to the Bippity Boppity Boutique where they received their Princess Makeover in preparation for dinner in Cinderella's Castle!

After the primping, we got to go out for a little when it started down pouring! So we rode It's A Small World and then took a break!

We then went back to the Castle and met with Cinderella again, and she remembered the girls names and was so excited to see them again! Big hugs for all of the girls! We then had an amazing dinner in the castle while meeting some of the other princesses, such as Snow White, Aeriel, Belle, and Aurora! They all mentioned how Cinderella had told them about her and then spent a lot of time with them. We are very impressed with the entire process down here! They are definitely taking care of us!

Today, we met Pablo from the Backyardigans and then it was off to Universal Studios.

We started there with Dr. Seuss' Area and I took the little girls on the The Cat in the Hat Ride, and Abby did NOT like it. She didn't like the spinning part of the ride. The girls then got their face painted and the lady did an amazing job with that.

We continued our way through and found the Harry Potter area. That place is really cool! We got some Every Flavored Jelly Beans, and some Butter Beer, ate lunch at the Three Broomsticks.

After lunch, I rode a big roller coaster and then met back up with the girls. We then went through and I finally talked Mary-Beth into riding the Flight of the Hippogriff. She was reluctant at first, but then at the end she was begging to ride it again and again!

We were all pretty exhausted by this point, so we walked our way back to the car and came to the Village to relax.  When we got here, we ran into some friends we met from breakfast who are college students volunteering from one of the University's in Maryland. They are with the Maryland Hillel and spent a lot of time entertaining our girls and being entertained! We ended up hanging out and talking with them until 9:30 when it was time for them to return to their lodging, and for us to take the girls to bed where they crashed HARD! I snuck back in 2 minutes after we kissed them good night to give Abby some of her medicine, and Emily and Abby were out COLD and Mary-Beth was almost there. They will sleep good this week, and so will Maegan and I. I am going there now.

I'll try to post again tomorrow, but if not then, I will for sure on Thursday!

More pictures will be posted later...

2 Timothy 1:7

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.