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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Micah Update & Gifts Galore

Wow, has it already been almost 4 weeks since Micah's first of two back surgeries? It hardly seems like that long but it has definitely been a journey! We've been home for 2 weeks and are just now getting into a routine--whatever that means with 3 kids! I cannot even BEGIN to express enough gratitude for all the texts, calls, cards, gifts, meals, Facebook comments, visits, etc. that we have received during this time! It has been wonderful and overwhelming at the same time--but definitely appreciated!
 Micah's post-op appointment showed us a DRASTIC change in her spine. I am floored! I've seen pictures of my child's X-rays for more almost 11 years and I've always seen the curve, always seen the problem. However, now that there is an "after" comparison, so to speak, my mind is officially blown. Here are the "Before" X-rays, taken July 26, 2012, the day before Micah's anterior spinal fusion (first surgery, well, 6th if we're really keeping count, haha):
Side view X-Ray: This shows the kyphosis, another type of spinal curvature, you can see how far it humps up top and pushes in the lumbar region.

Back view X-Ray: See 57 degree curve in just that one noticeable spot, not to mention two other curves from scoliosis that aren't as clear. All of these curves were caused by her cancerous tumor as a baby.
Now, for the "After" shots. Mind, prepare to be blown:
Front view, post surgeries: See the spine now? Unbelievable! No wonder she gained 3.5 inches!

Side view, post surgeries: Is anybody else completely baffled by the size of those screws?!?!? See how much straighter the hump part is and how straight her back is as opposed to the before shots? Crazy.
So there you have it! I must admit, I got lightheaded when Dr.Warner at Campbell Clinic showed us these side by side. Like I said, I've seen her X-rays for years, Micah has gone to her orthopedic surgeon's office every few months her entire life almost, not to mention all the X-rays she also got every time we went to St.Jude for check-ups. These pictures show us on the inside what we can already see on the outside of Micah--a beautiful straight back! She looks AMAZING!

And lastly, I want to send every single person who has brought us anything or sent cards or gifts or meals or came by to visit but I KNOW I will leave someone out and plus I don't think there are enough thank you cards to thank everyone for their prayers and acts of kindness during all of this so far--so please know that I mean this from the bottom of my heart: THANK YOU!!! Thank you all! :)
This is actually not even all of the stuff Micah has received from our awesome friends and family and even strangers! This picture does NOT do justice to show the love we have received!
 Micah is up and moving around, she has even walked a half a mile a few times and a whole mile the other day with me and her siblings! She can now officially (as of this week) get up from a lying down position on her own, which is huge since she has needed me to do this for her until now. She isn't on pain meds every 4 hours anymore, and we give it to her as needed. She even got to go to church on Sunday, though we put her in a wheelchair (thanks Abneys!) to not only keep her from having to sit in a chair that may be uncomfortable, but also to keep her from getting tired out and sore and also to protect her from accidentally getting bumped or hugged too hard. (Great Commission folks sure are HUGGERS! lol) But she really enjoyed it!!
I also took the girls to Gracie Bleu on Friday night (for Haven's good behavior at school all week and because Micah was REALLY wanting to get out of the house:
And the 3 of us ventured out again on Saturday to watch The Odd Life of Timothy Green which was very good! So the GREAT news is, Micah is getting out and getting back to normal, slowly but surely! Now she really wants to go to!
The gifts just keep on coming and we can't say thank you enough! As I am sitting here typing this blog post, yet another delivery came to the door:
How cute is this balloon bouquet from the prayer team at Premier Designs Jewelry in TX? I LOVE this company and our sweet prayer partner, Mike Glenn whom I know was responsible for sending this!
Micah's homebound teacher started coming this week and she has been working on her school work to stay caught up with her other 6th grade classmates and I know that she is getting to the point where she is going to be ready to go to school finally! It will be a few more weeks but we are getting closer! Thanks again for everyone's prayers and thoughts--God is SO good and His mercies are new every morning!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Micah's Surgeries- Mom concerns

No mom wants to see their child hurt! Every mother wants their children to be happy. Micah is my sweet happy girl and has such a fun personality everyone who meets her just loves her and loves to be around her! She is so special that way. And she is beautiful! I know that I'm her Mom and according to her "I'm SUPPOSED to say that" (insert pre-teen eye roll here) which, I'll admit, is exactly what I said to MY mom every time she told me I was beautiful! But its true, she is so beautiful and so precious! But (and I'm talking  mostly to the ladies here) do you remember as a pre-teen and a teenager ever looking in the mirror and NOT liking what you saw? Or perhaps every single time you looked in the mirror you didn't like what you saw and still don't like what you see today? It was different then, when we didn't post obnoxious duck-faced pictures on the social media for the sole purpose of everyone "liking" it or telling us to "stay beautiful, gorgeous" because it is cute and the "in" thing to do. Back then, we just had the mirror. And Satan whispering hateful lies in our ears about how imperfect we were. And how those same lies can sometimes come back to haunt us until we remind ourselves that "we are fearfully and wonderfully made" and our Father who created us created us with worth and value and BEAUTY inside and out! But yet we are in constant battle with what the media and society says is beautiful every day and I know that it is hard for many of us to truly feel wonderfully made when everything around us can tell us differently.
I say all that to say that the feelings of inadequacy and not being satisfied with our appearance is a normal--albeit inaccurate-- way to feel for most if not all women. Especially when we were transforming from girl to young lady. And this brings me to when Micah first viewed herself and her new scars in the mirror last week...
My heart broke as the realization sunk in of how much further and wider and longer these new scars are on her precious body. At almost 12, her desire is to be "normal" and I know we can all relate! She has had her scars (or as we have always called them, her "miracles") since she was one year old. And plenty of them! But she didn't care then, and even over the years as she became aware of them, it was never that bad. The first time she really even brought her largest scar up (the vertical one that was the length of her torso as a baby but a month ago was just from the lower back to between the shoulder blades) was in May when wearing her junior bridesmaids dress for my sister Melanie's wedding and she was just a little self-conscious about it. But all-in-all she really didn't seem overly concerned.
However, now that scar on her back stretches all the way up her back (well, she is bigger now so that makes sense) and the other one where her anterior fusion surgery incision is now curves around the side of her left rib cage but instead of ending there where it was barely visible from the front, it now curves down her belly a little ways. And of course a whole new chest tube scar right next to the old one that is 10 years old.
She just stood there and cried.
It was heart-breaking. I didn't tell her about the new way the incisions looked and maybe I should have before she saw them on her own. My sister Jessica pointed out to me later that this moment when she saw these marks on her body they were the WORST they will look. They will only get better. This is true! But combined with all the cuts and burns from the plastic sensors she wore during surgery, the medical tape (those clear-ish strips that will dry and fall off as her cuts heal) and lingering adhesive from all the sensory and motor pathways and monitors and IV tape (considering she had 12 IVs in 11 days, there was a LOT of tape from these, not to mention bruises left behind where the veins had busted or the IV had infiltrated, etc.) and all that other stuff they had to do to her, I'll admit it was probably a pretty upsetting thing for her to see.
Oh how I wish I could bear all these marks on my own body to spare her own little body all this trauma!!!
Yes, how I know there are worst things. Yes there could be so much more damage! She could have scars that are for more prominent and visible!  She could still HAVE the cancer that started all this mess, or worse, she could NOT have the scars to show she is a survivor! And we know what that would mean. And that's what I told her. She is a fighter! These marks are the battle scars of a survivor! We will continue to tell her that God chose her to walk this journey, because she can handle it! Because she is an inspiration to so many! Because her life will and IS making an impact for the Lord! Because she is BEAUTIFUL inside and out and these scars on her body make her even more-so because they are part of her, part of who she is, part of all she has accomplished through the grace of Jesus Christ.
But as a is heartbreaking. When my kids get a skinned knee or stitches or even just a little bruise, this mommy heart hurts because they hurt. Should an 11-year-old girl have to have so many horrible-looking scars on her body or have to have cancer as a toddler or have to have received so much chemotherapy that the side-effects will most-likely continue revealing themselves for years to come? Nope. She doesn't deserve it.
But I know of a man who they call Messiah who was beaten to a pulp and nailed through the hands and feet to a cross to suffer a criminal's death to pay for my sins and, my friends, He was innocent and undeserving. And if He requires that we bear the burden of cancer and surgeries and earthly pain to bear witness to His amazing mercy--then here we are, his servants...
Thank you, Lord, for your grace in our lives and for shining your light through Micah Grace! God heal her scars on her body nice and neat and heal her self-confidence so that she truly knows her value and worth don't come from a reflection in the mirror, but from YOU who sent your Son to die for her and the rest of us! Father, I also humbly ask that you reveal to Micah the beauty that is in her so that she doesn't focus on the scars but rather the story that they represent.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Micah's Surgeries Days 12-14

Days 12-14-
Its been "back to reality" this past several days now that Micah is at home! But wow, what an overwhelming amount of help and encouragement we have received just this week! My mother-in-law made dinner Monday night and my Aunt Polly, Oma and later Jessica (twice!!!) came by, my friend Katie brought dinner Tuesday night and most of my family came by and visited that night as well. We watched The Lorax, one of Micah's favorite movies and one she has been anxiously waiting to come out on DVD. Wednesday brought more visitors and my friend Lawanda came over and then my sweet girls Michelle and Kathy came over with a delicious supper! Angie brought over dinner tonight and I am so grateful for it all! We also have had several other friends come visit in between and I'll leave someone out if I start naming folks even more but a that risk, I have to name Natalie bearing a rose, Anna & Diane from the DAC brought a HUGE gift basket and Micah's friend Olivia and her mom Mary Helen also came by. Today my mom, Oma, Jessica and the boys all came by and who else? I know my Dad has also been by and stayed with Micah and Stone while I went and grabbed Haven. So many friends and I love it! Thank you guys for showering my sweet girl with gifts and us with food! Speaking of gifts...Uncle Jeffery and Aunt Kim (remember the ones who invited Micah to come visit and tour DC?) sent a pretty amazing "Get Well" gift that arrived Tuesday.....

Its an iPad!!!!!!!!!!!! I wish you could hear the screaming through this photo...

 Wow! I think maybe I feel a cavity coming on that needs filling...can that count as something that needs a Get Well iPad??? Haha. Micah was so dang excited, she has not put the thing down! Grandma and Papa paid for her to get a cool cover and I ordered her some accessories on Amazon. She had to immediately call Aunt Kim to thank them. What a special gift! Of course, she loves ALL the fun things she has received! We are so appreciative and these things have all helped make a tough situation go just a little bit smoother! :)