Good morning, Army.
One day, you wake up and realize that it's been a few weeks since you updated the team. And then you realize it would take the longest entry in the history of Caring Bridge to cover everything. So let's stick with the high points today.
We wrapped up a great Thanksgiving week - not only with the chaos of Boston - but we also got to swing through New Jersey for a second celebration with Marcia's family, (including her mom - remember the "Bonus Days" entry from August?), the NJ cousins, their families, and so on.
Back to Virginia, Abi had her 14th(!) round of treatment last week. She handled it so well - as she always does. She's certainly has a very good feel for the highs and lows of treatment week, and is able to anticipate when to push it, and when to relax.
But there was no resting this weekend.
- Kylie was in town after what seemed like a long absence. Hard to explain just how good Kylie is at recharging Abi's heart/energy. We love having her, of course.
- Tanya - one of the charter Army members - held a donation only yoga fund raiser on Saturday, and raised over $900 for First Descents. It was great to see some friends after months of only communicating here. The kindness and generosity of the Army is sometimes staggering, and in this case - probably will be enough to fund a young cancer survivor's potentially life-changing week at adventure camp. Thanks to all who participated and/or donated to the cause.
- Abi has put together an advent calendar for John and Marcia, and the first three days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) involved a "Trivia and Bad Movie Night" at the Old Dominion Planetarium (who's seen "Sant Claus Conquers the Martians?" - We have!). A Saturday of yoga, hanging with friends at Commonwealth Brewing in Virginia Beach, and yesterday's highlight - Christmas Town at Bush Gardens with Nate and Jackie. We have three weeks of Advent to go - and I think it's safe to say she has a lot planned.
- Abi and John's condo is under contract, and they're hoping to close on Friday. They've somehow found the time this past week to get about 85% of their stuff moved out.
Things are not slowing down.
In addition to continuing with her Advent(ures) and getting completely out of their condo, Abi starts radiation treatment today, and it will run daily through the 22nd. We're really hopeful that this will help with the chronic back pain, but we've also been warned about some potential side effects.
So for the praying wing of the Army, please remember our girl, say a prayer or send some positive thoughts that radiation will be effective, that the side effects stay mild, and that Abi continues to pace herself (she's actually doing a pretty good job of that.)
I really could write a lot more on any one of the topics above, but that's enough for today.
Just a final note:
Our perspective on what is really important has come into sharp focus over the course of the past year, but - far and away - the most important thing I've learned is the transformational power of a grateful spirit.
Our girl remains grateful, and every day I marvel to see how being grateful changes great moments into the best moments. How it helps to shift focus off of pain and challenges, and onto joy and hope. Our girl is more grateful than ever - despite the frequent challenges - and I'm convinced that her gratefulness is a critical part of her care. That she is healthier because she's grateful.
And every member of the Army helps to keep her there.
Thank you for your prayers, positive thoughts, and your tangible support. This is an amazing group of people, and we're so fortunate to have you fighting for our precious girl.