Wednesday, October 24, 2012

And Another One Down....

So long Valium.

We can finally add the LAST icky, yucky, potent medication to the farewell pile.  Elena officially endured her last dose of Valium tonight.  Thank GOD!

My poor, sweet girl has been on more medication in this last year than most people endure in their lifetime.  Valium, Methadone, Phenobarbital, Fentanyl, Versed, Hydrocodone.....sick.  It feels great to have closed a chapter and be able to move forward.

Speaking of moving forward, Elena has continued to make great progress over the last month.  Her head control gets better each day.  We've been working on "prop sitting", which is basically the first step to getting her to be able to sit up on her own.  Elena has been spending time each day in her "stander".  It looks like a medieval torture device, but it supports her in a standing position.  We work so hard  She endures so much.  I know all the stretching of her tight muscles is brutal.  I can see her trying so hard to hold her little head up, even when it falls, she works so hard to pick it back up.  My little girl is a fighter and she makes her Momma so very proud!

We're in the midst of ordering Elena some specialized chairs that will help support her during eating and play.  We are hopeful that these chairs can make things a little easier for her, allowing her to focus more on the task at hand and not having to support her body.

Elena's doctor (one of the many!) remains pleased with her progress and effects from the Botox injections in August.  She will re-evaluate Elena's need for more in December.  Until then, we'll keep plugging away with our therapies and pray for continued progress.

Lastly, I know many of you ask for updates with her eating.  She is still doing well.  We have seen improvements in her coordination and speed.  Our therapist just had us order a new "cup" to introduce Elena to some thickened liquids next week.  It's slow, steady progress.  But we'll take it!

Here are some specific prayer requests for all Elena's prayer warriors!
-Continued improvement with head/trunk control
-Improvement in vision, which is still a struggle for her
-Head growth
-Continued spasticity in her muscles so she can endure less Botox
-Continued progress in eating

Thanks again to all of you for your encouraging words and prayers.  As we approach the year mark of Elena's injury, we are reminded of how impossible our situation would be without your support and our faith.  Prayers have gotten us through this last year and we know they are essential for the rest of our journey!

Elena in therapy showing off her sitting up skills

Happy girl in her new purple chair

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wisdom. Power. Love

Today I was reminded of an old song I used to sing in youth group, “Our God is An Awesome God”. 

Our God is an awesome God
He reigns from heaven above
With wisdom, power and love
Our God is an awesome God

Those words rang true as I was playing the events of the last year over in my mind.  I was reflecting on some recent hurt two of my best friends are dealing with.  As I thought about their friendship, and how much they have helped me this year, my phone pinged with an email.  I moseyed my way over and checked my email.  It was an email from one of the very dear friends I was just thinking about.  This is what she wrote:

“I've been meaning to tell you a few things. First, it struck me on Monday night at Bible study that you are a good, good friend. I mean I knew that before, but the fact that you felt my loss so much that it made you cry, made me realize again how much you care about your friends and feel for them. It really drove home to me what a genuine person you are and I feel so lucky and blessed to have you as a friend. The second thing is that I wanted to say that your leap of faith in starting a Bible study is totally being blessed by God. I know that personally, not only the content of the studies but also the friendships that are being made and experiences that are being shared is nothing short of divine, and since you "submitted" to facilitating that in your home, God has done all kinds of things in people's lives. In some way, I think a lot of that even goes back to Elena...the experience you've had with her may have prompted your desire to seek God and get your friends to do the same, which in turn helped us get closer to God, which in turn will affect each of our own families and husbands and kids...there are ripple effects to everything, and I hope you can see the good effects that have come with Elena's injury, not just the bad.”

I’m not sharing this to dote on my awesome friendship skills, but to begin to pull together pieces of this grand symphony God has been writing all along.  I remember feeling very early on that great things were going to happen as part of our family’s tragedy.  And while there most definitely has been a lot of hurt and sadness as a result of Elena’s injury, it is impossible to deny seeing the good.

I didn’t just suddenly want to start a Bible Study.  This friend and I had been discussing this possibility for at least a year prior to us taking the plunge back in March (totally God's timing).  We had no idea that our small group would share in the tough life situations that several of us are going through (again, totally God's timing).  The studies that “we” chose have perfectly met our needs.  Both studies we’ve been working through seem to have flashing lights with my name on what seems like every page.  God has been fulfilling my desire for the answers I have been seeking in a not-so-subtle way.  

All of this has been a confirmation of what I’ve known since that very moment I received that call on November 3rd….I am not alone.  I (literally) cried out to God the entire drive to the hospital, the entire time I was “alone” in the ER, those heartbreakingly long days at Riley, our difficult days at home.  He heard me.  He was there.  Always.  God has carried me through the deepest, darkest, scariest time of my life.  With his “wisdom” and “power” He has orchestrated people, events, cards, emails, emotions that have alerted me to His presence through all of this not only to bring me comfort, but to prove He is in control.  What a “loving”, caring God.  I find it completely humbling that in a world filled with problems much bigger than mine, He has sent me comfort, love and encouragement, purposefully guiding me through each step.  How miraculous is that?  It is so beautiful to actually see what God has done in our lives and those who have been touched by our story.  Our God IS an awesome God.