Tomorrow, Abi wraps up round 15 of chemo. Friday, she completes her 15th radiation treatment.
It's been a decidedly mixed week.
The good: it looks like the radiation really has helped to alleviate the lower back pain that typically arrives just prior to treatment week. And it's possible that we've discovered the source of some of the upper back pain that comes and goes from time-to-time, and we're experimenting with a solution that could help make her more comfortable going forward. While the upper back pain seems to be related to her disease, we don't think it's the disease itself. Which is good.
The other: Chemo and radiation side effects piled on top of one another have made for some very real challenges. Our girl is weathering the storm, but she's fatigued, uncomfortable, and mostly just frustrated by not having more energy to devote to Christmas.
Abi shared an article on on her Facebook wall the other day. I think it sums up how she's feeling just now.
But you need to start with her opening comments:
"In case you're wondering what I've been up to for the past 11 months, I'm in the process of running up a mountain (which, as it turns out, is actually a giant treadmill) to escape a mountain lion. But the mountain lion is also on the treadmill, so it's cool. And honestly, it's a steady pace and I'm in pretty good shape. All things considered, I'm pretty lucky."
Here's the article. Definitely worth a click and a read.
Anyway, even with her reduced energy, Abi keeps us plenty busy. We've only missed one of her Advent events, and that's only because she found a better option. She's soldiering on, and making this season one to remember for everyone. (BTW - If you're here in Tidewater and looking for a great evening, I recommend hot cocoa and this. Stick with the green pins.)
More prayers and positive thoughts are always welcome as we wrap up the week, Chris and Victoria arrive, we descend on Nate and Jackie's new place, and we celebrate this great season.
Before I wrap up, though, I want to take a few minutes to recognize your incredible generosity. You're always there with a kind and encouraging word at just the right time. I'm convinced that your unending prayers are leading to daily miracles here in Virginia, as our girl's health continues to defy the expectations of our medical team.
And on top of that, you've given so much to the organizations that have meant the most to our girl.
First, members of the Army have donated $715 to Caring Bridge. Those generous donations allow Abi, and over half a million others in over 200 countries to share their journey with their own teams. We are so grateful that Caring Bridge is available to help us get the word out, especially as so many care so much for our girl.
Second, Army members have contributed over $2,300 to First Descents. Abi likes to put it this way - you've provided more than enough for at least two young cancer survivors to experience a life-changing week in nature - making life-long connections, pushing beyond the boundaries they set for themselves, and discovering that they have the power to outlive their diagnoses.
It's easy to be overwhelmed by you. You're overwhelming.
And on top of everything else that you do, perhaps the most important role you play is providing Abi and her entire support team the daily reminders of all that we have to be grateful for.
In love, gratitude, and with sincere wishes for the most blessed holiday season ever,