Monday, January 28, 2008

Dear to our hearts

I wanted to share with everyone a story of a family that is very dear to our hearts. This is the little boy we named Aubryella after. We were so touched by the amazing faith of his parents through all of this and the relationship they all had with our Lord Jesus Christ! His middle name is Parker and that is why we chose Parker for Aubryella's middle name.

Here's Zachary's story in a nutshell. Zachary was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma (extremely aggressive brain cancer) March 27, 2006, just 2 weeks after his second birthday. He was our only child. An MRI showed that the cancer was completely coating his entire brain, partially coating his spine and tumor cells were floating in his spinal fluid. Due to the extent of the "spread", surgery was not possible since all the cancer could not be removed. We went straight to chemo. (Brain tumor seen on CT scan Mon, cancer spread seen on MRI Tues, Broviac central line placed and spinal tap Wed, chemo started Thurs.) Zachary had 3 rounds of conventional chemo, followed by 3 rounds of high-dose chemo. During high-dose (HD) we had to live in Denver for the summer to be close to Children's Hospital in case we had any emergency complications. (We live in Greeley, 50 miles north of Denver.) It was good we lived close because the day after the first round of HD, Zachary had a terrible seizure and his life hung in the balance. He was rushed to the ER at The Children's Hospital (TCH) and was intubated and admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). They did not expect him to recover. That happened on a Thursday and he was released from the hospital the next Monday! That all happened June 1, 2006 if you want to read about it. The HD chemo literally took Zachary to the edge of life and killed ALL his bone marrow. He received 3 stem cell transplants following each round of HD to replace his bone marrow. Zachary's own stem cells were harvested on May 1 and frozen. Then the stem cell transplants were June 2, June 26, and July 14. Following HD chemo Zachary developed some complications from the brutal chemo. He developed breathing problems at the beginning of August, right after we moved back to Greeley. He was rushed to TCH in Denver Aug 12, 2006 with what the Greeley hospital diagnosed as Congestive Heart Failure. After a few days at TCH, they said he had Reactive Airways Disease (asthma precursor) and NOT CHF. Our neuro-oncologist got back into town a couple days later and said Zachary did NOT have Reactive Airways, he had damage in his lungs from the HD. So we repeated A LOT of tests and treated him for lung damage. That turned into Pulmonary Hypertension. Little Z was hospitalized 23 days in the Bone Marrow Transplant unit at TCH during Aug and Sept for pulmonary hypertension. We were told mid-August that we needed to move BACK to Denver and live there until at least the end of October (till Zachary was 100 days post-transplant following his third and final stem cell transplant).
Meanwhile, Zachary was still having monthly spinal taps to check for any cancer relapse as well as to have additional chemo injected directly into his spinal fluid. The spinal tap on Sept 27 revealed that the cancer had returned. They gave us four (terrible) choices which you can read about on our Sept 28 and 29 posts (2006). We decided to not do radiation, experimental therapy or palliative chemo (which would only extend his life but not save it). We opted to put our faith in action, move home with Zachary, and PRAY for a MIRACLE. The doctors said he had 2-4 months to live at that point.We prayed earnestly for Zachary's earthly healing but ultimately that did not happen. Zachary's condition declined over the 11 days following a severe 2-hour seizure on 11/20/06 and he went to heaven on December 1, 2006 at 10:10 a.m. We miss him terribly. His short life touched so many people and we know God used him greatly during his time on earth. Now we anxiously await being reunited with him one day in heaven.

I have added the link to their care pages if you would like to read more. I ask that you would pray for Zachary's Mom and Dad (Carla and Darin) That they would be able to get some sleep at nights.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Our New Home!

We realize in the excitement of Aubryella, we never even shared that we built her (and the rest of us) a new home, with the help of our good friends, the Ludwicks. We love our new neighborhood in Fort Collins and all 3 schools are withing walking distance. We dug a hole in June and moved in by Thanksgiving. The inside is beautiful, but we'll wait til you come visit us to show you the rest of the house.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Puzzle Piece

If you would have asked me a year ago how adopting would effect our life and our family, I wouldn't have even been able to begin to tell you the changes God had in store for us! It has brought us all so much closer together! From the mornings of cuddling in bead together, to the nights of watching her go completely silly wondering if she will ever get tired to go to bed. It has also been a reminder to us how wonderful Mikayla and Alyssa are! We are so lucky to have them!! They are always willing to do what they can to help out with Aubryella! It is almost like our life was a puzzle, with Christ in the middle and he found our one missing puzzle piece and brought it home to us! Now our puzzle is complete!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Our most precious gift from above.....