With all the time God blessed us with, our family unit was able to return to a sense of normalcy, and we were savoring every minute. We were able to have every meal together around the table (something I will never take for granted again, especially since some of our most meaningful conversations and prayers happened here); we played, watched movies, visited family/had many visitors, had a family campout in the backyard, celebrated Father's Day and my Grandparent's 60th Wedding Anniversary and much, much more! Aaron and I went on more dates these past 3 weeks, than we probably have in the past 3 months! We took advantage of this really good month, because we don't know what the next month (let alone tomorrow) is going to hold for us. One of these dates, we celebrated our 8-year Anniversary, because it actually tomorrow, and Hazel will be in the middle of her 4th round of Chemo. We have never spent an Anniversary apart, so this is definitely difficult; but given our new reality, we were able to appreciate and cherish our celebration like never before.
In addition to all of this family time, we also had our local newspaper, The Ventura County Star, interview/photograph our family to be featured on the front page sometime this week(!) and had two separate blood drives! I feel that it is no accident that Hazel's story is spreading around the world and have been amazed at how many people God is reaching through my little daughter! For example, at today's blood drive, we had over 100 people walk through our doors and we were able to have 75 blood donations taken by CHLA! I have also been encouraged over these last few months because God continues to bring people into our lives who have walked this very path that we are on. We have met several children who were diagnosed with Neuroblastoma (many of whom began their journeys in a more difficult place than Hazel) and are not only in remission (or as we like to say NED/No Evidence of Disease), but thriving!! This has helped each of us in ways I cannot begin to describe.
As far as how Hazel has been doing, I continue to be surprised and delighted because she has been doing so well! After she finished Round #3, her nausea continued only for several days, and she returned to her usual disposition in no time! She began to have bleeding from her nose around the same time her blood counts were low, so we went in to the hospital for an outpatient blood and platelet transfusion. It's amazing how quickly she perks up after receiving blood. Thank you to those who have donated, for you are saving my daughter! We are now sitting in the hospital preparing to begin Round #4. Among the many side-effects that can occur, one that can be more difficult can arise during this round, and it is called Mucositis. In layman's terms, mouth sores. These sores can occur all along her digestive track and can be very painful. PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS, FOR I AM QUITE ANXIOUS ABOUT IT! I know my God can work miracles, so I am comforted to know that so many of His children will be praying for her this week. If she does well enough, we can return home on Friday, but if she is struggling, we will be here a little while longer. She doesn't mind at all, and is actually happy to be here! She was looking forward to "getting her bed", "cooking in the playroom" and visiting the many friends she has met (nurses and patients alike). So here's to hoping that this week goes as well as the last and we will keep you all posted! Here are a few pictures of the last few weeks:
|From today's blood drive|
|At the Oxnard Blood Drive|
|At our backyard campout!|
**FOR MORE WAYS TO HELP GO TO Here To Serve AND CLICK ON THE PARTICIPATE/VOLUNTEER BUTTON TO LOGIN TO HAZEL'S CARE COMMUNITY**