Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tests and gratitude

So much to be grateful for!

Three days in a row of trips to hospitals for tests can wear you out pretty good. But Talitha did great even with one, sometimes two IV pokes in each wrist and each foot and a needle in the back at different points during the course of those three days.

Tali's kidney and heart tests didn't show any problems. (Yay!) The MRI looks great as far as no tumors in the head and spine. (Yay!) We won't have results on the spinal tap till next week but trust that the fluid sample drawn will be cancer free. Perhaps the most exciting of all was that the hearing tests showed the best results from any test so far! (Yay!!)

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers and support. There just is no way to adequately express the gratitude we feel.

Tali is thankful for her new coat she received just in time for the very cold week and the early morning trips to Salt Lake. On both Tuesday and Wednesday she had to be sedated which means no eating or drinking in the morning. On Tuesday, she didn't even ask for food or milk from the time she woke up to the time of the MRI. Shocking as this was, it sure did make the morning much more pleasant for mom.

Thank you, Tali!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Next round of tests

The holiday season kicks off in a new way for us as we begin the week with 3-days of tests at three different hospitals.

Tomorrow (Monday) is the echocardiogram and kidney test. Talitha will start the day off with a clinic visit at the Oncology offices at the PCMC. There they will insert two IV ports--one in each wrist. Tali is old enough now to know what's about to happen when it comes to needles so there is no delayed reaction like there was last December in PICU. She does not appreciate pokes like this and is quite vocal with her feelings on the matter. (Please let the nurses find good veins the first try.)

After clinic, Audrey will take Tali across the enclosed walkway from the PCMC to the University Hospital to begin her kidney tests. From there, they will go back to the PCMC for the echocardiogram. Then back to the University Hospital to continue/finalize the kidney tests. (Please let Tali have a good night so she'll be ready for a long day ahead.)

Tuesday is another MRI. This one will be at the Riverton IHC facility. They plan to keep the IV ports in Tali's wrists (used in Monday's tests) to spare her additional pain--she will need to be sedated for the head and spinal column scans.

Wednesday will be the sedated hearing test and lumbar puncture/spinal tap at the PCMC. Again, the plan is to keep the IV ports active and use them for access on Wednesday too.

We are encouraged that after a rough week of being sick, Talitha is doing much better. We kept her home from church as a precaution because she has a lingering cough. Suppressed as it is, we are grateful her immune system is showing some spunk.

Thank you for praying for Talitha. She's getting better and improving slowly but surely.

So much to be thankful for...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What do we allow to define us?

Talitha picked up a bug that's set up shop--temporarily--in her respiratory system.

Sunday night we heard her start with some congestion and by Monday morning, you could hear it in her lungs. The thought of a hospital trip makes me cringe. So we've been doing everything we can to support her little body in reversing this sickness.

Besides Tali receiving a blessing, we've been praying, keeping her hydrated and filled with good food, good thoughts, and lots of love.

She seems to be in good spirits and plays and follows a normal routine. She tires a little more easily and doesn't resist her afternoon nap as strenuously.

Audrey was quite shocked in going back and looking at pictures of Tali when she was undergoing cancer treatments. Now that she has hair again and is putting on weight and acting so normally, it's hard to see the pictures of her in such a sick condition.

I try not to think about it too much other than to praise the Lord and remember His miracles and to look for His hand in my life. I know God carried us and made it possible to do what we could never have been able to endure on our own.

I've been thinking lately of what we allow to give definition to our lives. This journey with Talitha has of a necessity consumed a large portion of our time. The lessons that have come and keep coming are a blessing for which I'm grateful. 

However, I've noticed that when so much energy and attention is given to one area, unless we are adequately grounded, that part of life can start disproportionately coloring the whole picture, almost like painting a landscape with too few colors as if some of the colors ran out so you start using blue when you should be using yellow.

Part of the challenge then is in facing the trials of life and enduring them well without allowing the problems to define who we are. I know this may sound weird, but I'm starting to see how it could happen that if one particular challenge over-defines who you are, then when that problem passes, you could lose a sense of identity because a large part of how you defined yourself is no longer part of the picture.

A better approach would be to allow the definition of who we really are to be founded upon or closely tied to Christ and His plan of happiness for us. That way, we can build definition around something that doesn't change over time. In fact, we can trace the lines of our character, our self-worth, and what matters most to us over and over knowing that the picture most closely resembling our Lord and Savior will be wonderfully balanced and of enduring value.

In short, a problem can mold a person or a person can mold a problem. The difference is essentially the degree to which Christ is the defining role model.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I know the official holiday doesn't come till later in the month, but I just love Thanksgiving.

We've seen firsthand what a game changer gratitude can be. Like a lot of other heaven-encouraged virtues, gratitude by itself doesn't make everything smooth again but it sure does shine an illuminating light to dispel darkness and encourage hope.

Gratitude also helps remind that God really is over all.  Gratitude leads to remembering which leads to trust which leads to confidence.

Gratitude has a soothing way of dissipating worry. And since worry is a complete and utter waste of time and energy, gratitude is energizing.

I love that we recognize and celebrate Thanksgiving.

You can see by Talitha's smile that she loves this time of year too.

The weather has turned a lot cooler but Tali still insists on going outside as often as she can talk someone in to taking her outside.

Her walking is steadily improving and her love for life and people is obvious. There's just nothing quite as sweet as hearing her say "I love you."

She's gaining weight, growing hair, and trying to be about as normal in good ways as we could hope. We try not to think about upcoming MRIs and tests but you have to pay attention to the calendar even when you'd rather not.

Obvious reminders of past trauma are fading with time--e.g. hair has almost completely covered the scar on the back of Tali's head--and that's another tender mercy from God.

What I don't want to see fade is the lessons and the learning. Life can be a series of distractions and competing voices luring away from what matters most. Good vs. Evil isn't just the substance of fairy tales.

God is real. He has a real plan for our happiness. This life is not the end. Families are sacred and they can be Eternal. And what we do in this life matters. It matters now and it matters in preparation for what's to come after this life.

The miracle of trials is that things can get very focused very quickly on what matters most. And when you seek the Lord especially in the midst of trials, He makes His hand very obvious and that seems to compress the time frames for learning vital lessons.

One of the things I’ve learned is that the difference between a trial accelerating your growth instead of stunting your growth can often be traced to the choice of gratitude instead of anger or bitterness.

So much to learn and so little time, but I'm more grateful than ever for a loving Heavenly Father and the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.