Guest entry by Ms. Kylie Stamm (a.k.a. "K" and Friend Extraordinaire)
To the faithful readers who keep this page open 24/7, eagerly awaiting the latest update, I apologize for taking my time. I've had the most beautiful day with our girl, and I am grateful to John, Marcia, and Chris for allowing me to share it with her. I'm not the writer that Abi is, or as informative as Chris (my medical knowledge is limited to twelve seasons of Grey's Anatomy), but I wanted to share my observations from today.
Abi made it through her first week of chemo with grace and courage. She is so incredibly thankful to everyone who has reached out to her in support, especially this week. For updates, we met with a Social Worker who I could tell is eager to get to know Abi and her family. She very clearly wants to figure out how to best provide support and comfort to them through this undeniably challenging process, however I don't think she realizes the strength and caliber of the group at the table. It is, however, always assuring to meet more people who are authentically kind and looking out for Abi's best interests, especially to assist her in self-advocacy. In this whirlwind of a process, Abi deserves praise for doing phenomenally at that thus far.
As Joe/FIL joked to Abi and John, the two of us were a bit playful throughout the day and it's possible I deprived Abi of a nap while also doing a poor job reporting out to our trusty Care Team... but I am grateful for a day of sunshine, laughs, and quality time nonetheless.
On the nutrition end, she ate well (shout out to those #hamsandwiches) and stayed as hydrated as possible, too. John and I have submitted a request to play drinking games, water style, but it's pending approval at the moment. We also treated ourselves to Tropical Smoothie afterwards as a celebration for Abi making it through the first week and came home to a much needed Gilmore Girls marathon. John also deserves a shout out for making us an Abi-sized popcorn bowl which we devoured, 50/50. If it weren't for the whole chemo thing, it felt like a "normal" day with some healthy emotions sprinkled in, and that's a sentiment I think we both appreciated deeply.
A large part of my understanding of family and love comes from what I've had the privilege of witnessing for many years through my experience with the Rhoden family (and now the Mayers, too). There is a moment from today where Abi's other wonderful nurse, Barb, joked about how comfortable we seemed with each other. She asked if we were friends or sisters. After an exchange of playful side glances, we replied in unison, "both." Abi makes everyone feel like family, and for that, I'm thankful.
Words could never express the love, respect, admiration, and gratitude I have for Abigail. Seeing her today, I realize that while there are many things to be afraid of, there are many things that are unknown, and there are many worries that naturally emerge, you can still be brave, grounded, and hopeful, too. Abi is one of the most resilient humans I've encountered, and I'm following her lead in having faith for the rest of this journey.
Hugs to the support systems near and far,