This update is a little past-due because Genevieve has been in the Philippines since early last week. Writing that makes me realize I've not tied up one huge loose end. In March I asked you to pray for her mother who had a stroke and was on a ventilator with a poor prognosis.
And then...nothing. Oops!
Well, her beautiful mother, Irene, is walking, talking, eating, smiling and blowing away expectations daily. But, there is also the reality that she cannot be left alone, for her own safety. So, with seven sisters in the Philippines, the family decided it only made sense to move her home, where they could rotate care duties rather than having Genevieve's family do it on their own. A tough trip for Genevieve, taking her beloved mommy so far away, not knowing when (if?) she will see her again. But, thank you for your powerful prayers! Irene is a walking testimony to the faithfulness of God!
A couple of weeks ago, we took Abbie to the hospital for oral surgery. We are so fortunate that we had an oral surgeon and her dentist that worked hard to coordinate their schedules so that Abbie could get a deep cleaning while under anesthesia before she got four teeth taken out.
All went very smoothly, and she ended up five teeth lighter, as her four permanent bicuspids, along with her last baby tooth were removed. As has become the routine, the most trying part of the day was getting Abbie to wake up.
She just snoozes, and snoozes....doesn't care about the ice pack on her face. Uncovering her doesn't make a difference. Begging, pleading, joking...even subjecting her to my singing. It took 2 hours for her to crack her eyes open. She was fine...just making the most of a really good nap.
It was a little bittersweet to realize that it would be the last night we would talk about hurrying to sleep so the Tooth Fairy could come. It was an especially generous visit this time!
When I got home from New Orleans I had a very honest conversation with Abbie. I told her that if any of this ever gets too hard, if she is too tired, or if she has completed everything she had come back to do, that she could go. I told her that we would be OK...yes, we would be terribly sad, but we would be happy for her to be free, dancing, running, playing, and talking, talking talking. I told her it was always up to her from now on.
It's strange how when you totally release something, that is when it can come back to you.
That conversation was spurred in large part by the increasing decline in Abbie's respiratory system, and her just looking bound up, uncomfortable and unwell. In the last two weeks I have seen all of that reverse more quickly than I'd imagined possible.
I have begun to meld ABR techniques Leonid taught me with Tennant Biotransducer treatments on the same body areas. In addition, I (finally) figured out one key thing about Abbie's body. Whenever her oxygen saturation numbers dip, her body needs water. If she begins dropping I give her 120ml of water or so, and within minutes she is fine. Using this indicator, I have been giving her more water than I ever thought she could possibly need.
The abdomen Leonid called "collapsed" is now filled out. You can feel the pneumatic pressure (the balloon) when you press on it. You can no longer see her pelvic bone sticking out.
She was getting two nebulizer treatments a day, and quite a bit of supplemental oxygen. She is not getting any nebulizer treatments anymore, and supplemental oxygen is rare as long as we give her water when her numbers drop.
Her face is changing as her cheeks seem to move back up her face, if you will. Not hanging down like jowls anymore, but up where they belong. And, we are starting to see the emergence of a real neck, not just a weak, bulging ring between her collarbone and jaw.
We've mostly been working on her face, neck and lower abdomen, as Leonid prescribed, but we are also see changes in her ribs, upper chest and back. The volume in her chest is expanding. Recall how I likened them to weak hinges that folded easily when Leonid examined her. The left one now fills my hand, nice and rounded. The right remains a little folded, but is also expanding. There are times I see her using the upper portion of her chest to breathe.
I just keep telling her, "Look how STRONG you are becoming, Abbie." I tell her because it's true, but mostly because I am addicted to the smiles it elicits.
Genevieve being gone has given me some very sweet time with Abbie. I just cannot get enough of her. Big things like horseback riding, swimming in the pool, and going to parties; little things, like reading the Psalms together all the way through, even when the day's cycle includes 89 and 119 (a marathon Psalms day:), rocking together, just feeling her beautiful skin and sensing her amazing spirit.
These days are a gift.