Thursday, September 3, 2015

Even Strong Girls Break

I get a little perturbed when people tell me or La Petite Belle to "be strong" or commend us for being so strong through this time. It's too much pressure to put on someone going through situations like this to tell them to "be strong." I just want to say back, "You be strong because I just can't right now."

Honestly ... I am not strong.
And, I'm realizing I don't want to be strong. It's exhausting. That's probably the reason why God doesn't want us to rely on our own strength anyway. It just doesn't cut it!

La Petite Belle has had some pretty emotional days the last couple of weeks; even more the last couple of days. I joke with her about how she has that 40-year-old-female DNA now, so she better be prepared for even more emotions. I can say that because I'm over forty. It's like some sappy cry-baby invades your body for good. Ah well. C'est la vie!

She had so many people telling her how strong she was and how strong she was going to be through this. Because of this, I'm pretty confident that she bottled up all of her emotions about what was happening to her. She rarely cried and if there were tears, they were brief ... usually about not being able to go to an event because of her diagnosis. But, after that, there were no tears. Really no emotions at all. She spent a long time at the beginning of our hospital time being straight-faced and all her answers were shoulder shrugs. I wondered what was going on inside her. I even suggested she talk to one of the counselors. Nope. She didn't want to do that either. Apparently, her daddy and I are good enough.

She really didn't want to talk about everything going on. We would read our devotionals at night. We would pray. I would ask about how she was doing, how she was feeling. Again ... shoulder shrugs. Then, there was the first breakdown last week where she cried for about an hour and a half, and they had to give her Benadryl to calm her down. I had never seen anything like that. But, it needed to happen. All of those bottled up feelings and emotions came rolling out. 

I thought that was it. But, ever since she's opened that door, the emotions are flowing. It's actually a beautiful thing. I believe she has really just been trying to be strong this whole time.

But, even strong girls break.

We can be as strong as we possibly can, but to no avail. There will be a breaking point. There has to be.

I took this short video after the nurse came in and said she was engrafted. I was not prepared for the tears.

As I drove from the apartment to the hospital this afternoon, I drove by the Rice University running track, where I was able to get a couple of runs in a week. This time was precious to me.

As I thought about those runs, I remembered that most of them, I ran crying. Although my body was trucking along, my heart was breaking. I would pray. I would worship. I would call out to God. I cried just thinking about those moments. 

I ran in a broken state. That's how most of us "run" every day. Broken. Trying to be strong. The difference is, I couldn't be strong through this. I clung to Jesus like I never have before. I was the picture of weak.

There were moments in the hospital room where La Petite Belle would be sleeping. And, in the darkness, I would break. I would cry. I would pray. I would call out to God.

There was no one who could help me. No words really could make a difference. I only had Jesus. I only had the hope God had given me. I only had His Word and His promises. Having those things were the only thing that provided any kind of strength. But, most of all, there were many moments of peace. I would pray for God's peace to dwell in that hospital room with us. When I was broken, I felt the arms of a mighty God and good Father holding me.

God's desire is not for us to be strong. God wants us to rely on Him for strength. We cannot do it on our own. It just doesn't work and, like I said, it's exhausting.

I mean ... you can go ahead and keep on trying, but it simply will not work forever. Just like my sweet girl broke, you will too.

It's in your moments of brokenness, moments of weakness, moments of fear, that God comes in and holds you up. When you draw near to Him, He's there. Always.
I have truly been living out "in my weakness, I am strong (He is strong)".

As this night comes to a close, there has been a lot of reflection on the last thirty-something days. And, the most precious to me are actually those times of brokenness when I just surrendered to God and said, "I can't do this." I will always remember those runs on the track and those moments in the dark.

There were many hard days. Seeing your child in pain and suffering is the most difficult thing anyone can go through. I'm not going to lie to you ... it has been pretty horrible, but it also has been pretty wonderful. God has proven Himself so faithful to us, just as He always has.

We still have quite a journey ahead. I just finished numbering our calendar to Day +100. It landed me all the way to the Saturday before Thanksgiving. I know a lot of people will think we're done and everything is fine and dandy. But, this is the most sensitive time for our girl. Her immune system is brand new, like a newborn baby. She doesn't have all the compenents you and I have, but they will be developing slowly. This brand new immune system hasn't been exposed to all the viruses, germs, and bacteria that we have all been exposed to and can fight easily. That's why she will be somewhat isolated. She can have visitors, but not a lot of people at one time. She will wear a mask wherever she goes. The only places she doesn't have to wear a mask are our vehicle and our apartment. We have to try to keep her as safe as possible from anything that could cause any type of infection in her body. After that Day +100, she can have more freedoms if she's doing well.

Check out these meds. 

Mom and Dad have lots of responsibility taking care of her. I won't go into detail of everything. It'll just bore you. We'll be tag-teaming her care and taking her to BMT clinic visits three times a week, starting tomorrow.

Today, we are celebrating. There were more tears, but good tears.

If you would like to financially support Katie's (aka La Petite Belle) journey to healing, you can find more information here:  All funds go to cover medical bills and expenses. Thank you for your prayers and support!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Day +19

It's hard to believe that yesterday we began our fifth week in the hospital.

We've become very familiar with Texas Children's Hospital and the city of Houston. We know most of the nurses by name and even seen some of their engagement pictures and pictures of their dogs. I've also become quite confident in my getting around Houston and rarely use Google maps anymore. I hate the way it sends me places anyway. If I go a different direction from the hospital to the apartment, I play a game, like "Let's See If I Can Find My Way Home." It's the most entertainment out there nowadays.

We still do a lot of waiting.
Waiting, waiting, and more waiting.

La Petite Belle has definitely improved over the week. Her blood counts are going up. We were so excited a few days ago when the doctor said her ANC was 360. It had doubled in a day. We thought if it doubled again, we could be on our way home to the Houston apartment. Well, yesterday, it did not go up again, actually down just a tad, so the doctors gave her something to boost her white blood count. We will see this morning how well it worked.

Her platelets and hemoglobin have also been climbing higher and she hasn't had a transfusion in quite some time.

Our projected date to leave the hospital was September 2nd, which marks a month in the hospital. Because her ANC did not reach 500 yesterday, we know that we will not be able to leave then, but are hoping and praying that her ANC jumps and stays where it's supposed to and then maybe we could leave by the end of the week.

La Petite Belle is still battling nausea and vomiting. There are moments in the day where she is not nauseous and feels like she can eat, but they are few and far between. She tries, but it just doesn't work a lot of the time. Most of the time, patients do still have nausea once they leave the hospital and go home with anti-nausea meds.

We are thankful that we are starting to see progress in the right direction.

She hasn't been up and out of the room very much in the last week. She's been sleeping a lot, and just honestly doesn't have the drive to get out. It doesn't mean she doesn't want to, it just takes a lot of energy. But, she is missing her little buddy, Colten. We keep planning "play dates" but neither one seems to be up to it by the end of the day. But, there have been tiny glimpses of her old personality coming out here and there. That's been a joy to see!

All of last week was a whirlwind because I needed to fly home for a women's ministry event that I'd been working on for quite some time. It was a quick flight in, and then home, but I was so blessed to see good friends and blessed by the event itself. 

I actually ended up being honored at the event, which was totally a surprise to me. What in the world?!?! It caught me totally off-guard. It made me very uncomfortable because I'm not used to that kinda stuff and I was already a ball of emotion to begin with. Honestly, as I was there at home, I felt like the only place I wanted to be was back here with La Petite Belle in that tiny, boring hospital room. I did have a couple of breakdowns even while I was home.

I mean, does this look like the face of comfortable? I like to be the one doing the honoring, But, it was extremely humbling and I am ever so grateful.

Being home helped me to see that "home" really is where your family is and at this time, we are homeless, per se. Yes, we have a home. But, our home in Louisiana is temporary. Our home in Texas is temporary. Our home at the hospital is temporary. 

I was obviously overwhelmed while I was home, seeing as at almost 11:00 at night, I drove home to my old house that I sold a couple of months ago. Yeah. I can't even remember WHERE I live. It's nuts.

I know that as we get released from the hospital, it will be a little easier on our family. Believe me, we long for that day. This has been the hardest thing we've ever faced as a family. We each have good and bad days ... La Petite Belle and her parents.

Some mornings I still have to pinch myself when I think of whether this is real or not ... Is this my life now? Is this our life now? What is to come?

La Petite Belle finally had a breakdown of her own emotions. We'd been waiting for it. Sure, there'd been tears here and there, but nothing like this. She sobbed, uncontrollably, for over an hour. She expressed so many things to me that she was feeling and at one point cried over the fact that maybe she hasn't been a good "Christian witness" to her friends. Her heart broke at the fact that her friends might go to hell. Wow. 

It made me think about myself and when was the last time I sobbed over some of my own friends who don't know Jesus. That I don't even remember.

She cried about how her friends are consumed with unimportant things right now like popularity and boys and how that's SO not important. There are a lot of friends who have abandoned her at this point. I mean ... let's face it ... this is a long time to continue to keep in touch with someone who's not around, especially for teenagers living in their own little world. Actually, the same thing happens to adults ... outta sight, outta mind. I explained that people do love her and care for her, for all of us, but do have their own lives. And, that this is a great lesson in friendship for her at such a young age. She will truly know what a good friend looks like and how to be one. Because let me tell y'all something, there is not one thing fake or phony about La Petite Belle. What you see is what you get, like it or not. And, she is the BEST friend anyone could ask for.

She also cried about wanting to get married, see her sister married and have children, and not ever wanting her parents to lose a child. It was an amazing conversation that I got to have with her.

I was able to speak the truth of God's Word to her ... that He has a plan and a future for her. Always had; always will.

After that late conversation, she got the best night's sleep she's ever had in the hospital. It was a great release off of her. The things she spoke in that conversation were some heavy things to carry deep inside. We prayed and were immediately surrounded by the peace of God. It was a great night's sleep for both of us!

Today, when you think about us, pray for peace for La Petite Belle and that her cells would start to multiply. Also, pray that her nausea would start to subside and she could get some relief. We so appreciate all your prayers and support! We look forward to being home together, as a family, more than you'll ever know.

If you would like to financially support Katie's (aka La Petite Belle) journey to healing, you can find more information here:  All funds go to cover medical bills and expenses. Thank you for your prayers and support!

Monday, August 24, 2015

What's today again?

I asked this question three times yesterday.

You really do forget what day it is. Actually you don't even care what day it is, only what number it is. As I write this, we are finishing up Day +11.

Some days are long; others go by quickly. It's hard to believe that we've been inpatient for over three weeks, and La Petite Belle and I have been away from home for over four weeks.

Our days, as I've said, are up and down. La Petite Belle can feel good one minute and then in pain or exhausted the next. Some days she can sleep almost the entire day because she says she's just so tired and weak. Other days, like yesterday, she's up and in good spirits. She was able to stay awake for most of the day yesterday and able to actually leave the room, which takes lots of energy. 

She was even able to spend some time with our new buddy, Colten. He's on Day +3 and such a little trooper! Colten's hair is starting to fall out so La Petite Belle showed him how to use the lint roller to get rid of it. They played the Wii and watched a movie, while eating a tiny bit of popcorn {six pieces to be exact - although Colten ate almost his whole bowl and wanted more}.

However, by the time we got back to our room, La Petite Belle was weak, nauseated, and simply exhausted. Things can change so quickly here.

I've been praying this whole time for God's best for my girl. 
God's best will always be better than our best!
So, wouldn't it make sense for us to pray that all the time? Yeah, I'm learning that.

With that being said, the "best" case scenario in this process is for patients with unrelated donors to get four mini-doses of a chemo drug called Methotrexate. The reason for this is that this drug helps prevent GVHD (Graft-Versus-Host Disease). GVHD is the main concern after engraftment, even more when the donor is unrelated.

Problem is a lot of patients cannot tolerate four doses of Methotrexate because of the severity of their mucositis and they only get the two or three doses. If she would've only gotten two doses, she would've been put on steroids for quite some time to fight against the GVHD. When La Petite Belle heard this, she said "Just gimme the medicine." (as in the chemo drug) She definitely is my brave, strong girl. If the patient gets the third dose, they usually can stop there without steroids, so we would've been okay with that. But, best-case scenario is that a patient take all four doses. Well ... check! Done. She was able to get the best protection they offer for GVHD.

The greatest news as of late is that they saw monocytes yesterday. Yeah ... I know, what the heck is that? Monocytes are a type of white blood cell which fight infection. They are the first ones to come back after a stem cell transplant. They counted 110. Yes! Now ... granted she has thousands and thousands to go, but things are moving in the right direction.

We continue to remain grateful and humbled by all God has done, continues to do, and will do through this journey.

After your season of suffering, God in all His grace will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. -1 Peter 5:10

If you would like to financially support Katie's (aka La Petite Belle) journey to healing, you can find more information here:  All funds go to cover medical bills and expenses. Thank you for your prayers and support!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Life stands still.

People ask me how I'm doing or what something like this feels like. The best way to explain it is that my life has stopped.

When horrible things happen in your life, it seems like time is literally standing still.

It's a place no one wants to be. It hurts. You feel trapped. It's hard to think about what's ahead. And, honestly you don't really care about what's ahead. Thinking that far in advance just becomes overwhelming, so you avoid it. At least I do.

As I sit writing this, I hear the drip of Morphine from my daughter's pump as she clicks that button over and over and over again. Knowing how much pain she's in is literally the most heart-breaking thing I have ever experienced.

Life stands still while everyone else moves on. Everyone else moves forward in their lives. And, we are left behind in this spot, in this place, trapped in this moment.

It seems like everyone around you is moving at high speed, racing ahead of you and around you like a whirlwind. But, you can't move. You're paralyzed. You want to scream, "WAIT! Hold up! Wait for me!" But, you're just left behind.

I know that there is a way out. I know that it will come. But, right now, it's hard to see.

People will comment and send me messages about how good it's going to be afterward. That is a constant. But, I do wish that people would also realize that they don't have to say that. I know that there will be relief at some point, that God will sustain us, that God will use this for good. But, I'd almost rather people say, "I know this sucks! I hate this for you," than "Everything is gonna be ok."

I know that everything will be ok, but that doesn't make it suck right now. Because it REALLY sucks right now.

Just because you're a Christ-follower doesn't mean everything in your life is gonna be flowers and rainbows. In fact, it's quite the opposite. You're going to face some hard times. But, you're also going to have some AMAZING times and live in God's blessings. I've experienced both. This, by far, being the hardest time.

I am trying to live out Scriptures like "be thankful in all circumstances," and "be content in all situations," and "when I am weak, He is strong," and "His plans for us are good." 

I'm not going to lie. It's hard. It's hard to see your child suffer.

Two nights ago, La Petite Belle and I had a great little talk. This was the night before she experienced some of her worst pain. She's been pretty quiet throughout this whole thing, not much crying, not much talking at all. Beau and I had been concerned about how she was doing mentally and emotionally. She always said she was fine.

After we read our devotional, I asked La Petite Belle, yet again, how she was feeling. Not only that, but how she was feeling about what God was doing in this.

Finally, she had an answer for me and opened up.

She said that she thought God was doing two things: giving her a testimony to share and teaching her patience. She did admit to getting irritated. I think that's where the patience thing comes in. She's irritated that she can't sleep or eat. I would be too.  She said she's "accepted this and she's over it." As in, it is what it is, now let's get on with this healing.

I'm totally with her on this because God's doing the same things in me. Patience has never been my strong suit. And, I believe God is giving my whole family a testimony to share. He shows you so many things about yourself, your life, your family, your friends, and ultimately Himself when you go through hard times.

Because of this, our lives will never be the same. This has changed us. We will be different people after this. In fact, I think we already are.

I hope you still like us afterward. I mean, we're still cool ... maybe cooler, if that's possible.

If you would like to financially support Katie's (aka La Petite Belle) journey to healing, you can find more information here:  All funds go to cover medical bills and expenses. Thank you for your prayers and support! 

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Big Day & Days to Come

Our sweet daughter's stem cell transplant started at 1:32 am on Thursday, August 13th.

We anticipated and waited all day and into the night for this precious gift. So, we were quite tired when it finally arrived.

The transplant itself was pretty anti-climactic, since it was a simple transfusion just like the ones La Petite Belle usually gets weekly. Difference is this transfusion will save her life.

Beau, K Belle, and myself surrounded La Petite Belle and prayed as her transplant began. It was very emotional for me, knowing what we've been through and how long we've waited to get here, but also knowing the hard stuff that lies ahead.

It was an exhausting night. There was lots of activity ... nurses in and out of the room, IV pumps beeping on and off throughout the night. 

La Petite Belle insisted on her sister staying the night with me that night. Actually, seeing her sister really perked her up more than we could imagine. Too bad K Belle can't stay longer. After a dose of Ativan for nausea, the sisters played Mario Bros for hours and there were some great moments of laughter, which is a common occurrence in this family that hasn't been heard quite as often.

The side effects from the chemotherapy have been pretty bad. We rotate meds to help her with the vomiting and pain throughout the day and night.

And, unfortunately the side effects linger for weeks afterward. She hasn't eaten in a week. Actually, most teenagers who go through this won't eat for weeks, even continuing to eat very little after they are released from the hospital. They just don't have an appetite. This is normal. She will be put on TPN today, which is nutrients she would normally get from food that her body needs. She will stay on that until she doesn't need it anymore. Half of the kids go home from the hospital still on TPN and half don't. We're hoping she isn't in the half who have to stay on it. 

There are other side effects that don't show up until a few days to a week after transplant. We're not looking forward to those and praying they are mild. Hair loss is one of those. That may be quite an emotional day for us. But, in the grand scheme of things, hair loss seems trivial. However, for a teenage girl, it's a big deal.

Not only is she in pain, but her vibrant personality is gone. There are tiny moments when we see that she's still in there somewhere. But, seeing her like this is really hard.
Teenagers who go through this have a really tough time. So many feelings and emotions, combined with pain is exhausting. This process requires lots of patience and perseverance. It's not a quick fix. 

It was explained to us like this:
A stem cell transplant is like planting a garden.
The first thing you have to do is pull up all the weeds and till the soil and get it ready for new seeds. The new seeds are planted. Slowly, as the garden is cared for, the seeds start to grow and bloom. Over time, a beautiful new garden will appear. That garden will be made in La Petite Belle's body using the donor cells as her own, and ultimately producing all her "own" cells.
What a beautiful illustration! 
We just have to remember a garden doesn't grow in a day. It takes time, care, and patience, I think a lot of people still don't understand that part. It's not like she has her cells now and everything is hunky-dory. It's just the start. Now, this part of the journey is just beginning.

Somewhere between Day 14 and 21, we should start to see the cells engrafted and her counts starting to come up. Until then, we wait. We have an anticipated release date from the hospital sometime during the first week of September if certain criteria are met.

The criteria for her to be able to be released is this:
1. Her ANC (ability to fight infection) must be above 500 for three days in a row
2. She can swallow oral medicine.
3. No fever for three days.

When I say "released", I mean released to the apartment here in Houston. We will not be even allowed to go home at any point until Day 100+. Like I said, we still have a long road ahead.

We are thankful that the cells are in her body, getting ready to do what they need to do for her. We are also praying for better days ahead. Thank you for praying and believing with us!

My blogging will be more scattered than before because my focus is on taking care of my girl. She requires a lot of me and I will be the main caregiver from here on out. It's difficult to even have one comprehensive thought right now, but I will keep everyone informed as much as I can.

If you would like to financially support Katie's (aka La Petite Belle) journey to healing, you can find more information here:  All funds go to cover medical bills and expenses. Thank you for your prayers and support! 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Day -2

That's where we are today - Two more days until La Petite Belle's stem cell transplant.

It has been rough since Friday.

No one can really prepare you for what aggressive chemotherapy can do to your body. Worse yet, what it can do to your child's body.

I have pretty much withdrawn from my computer and been focusing on her. She needs us constantly.

There has been nausea, vomiting, headaches, chills, and overall fatigue like you can't imagine. After only an hour into this dose of chemo on Friday, my baby girl started feeling the side effects. Beau and I had to literally carry her to the bathroom. She was unable to walk. By the end of the evening, she had spiked a fever. The fever is pretty typical and they treat it with heavy doses of antibiotics. She had a reaction to one of the antibiotics and broke out with a rash that they then had to treat with more Benadryl. She was covered petechiae from violent vomiting because her platelets were so low. Long story short ... it has been rough for the last few days.

Le Petite Belle told me she just "didn't feel like herself at all" at one point. She has a hard time describing to me exactly how she feels besides just "not herself" or "not good." 

I've had to wash her hair (yes, she still has it ... hair loss doesn't usually occur until a week or so after transplant) and bathe her. She can't really do much for herself.

The first day was definitely the worst. She was extremely pale, almost a gray color, and she was lifeless. It was a very emotional day for Beau and me, seeing our daughter like this.

Like I said, you can read about it and people can tell you about it, but you just never know it until you experience it. Everyone responds differently.

The second day of chemo, she pretty much slept the entire day due to some pretty strong medications to stop nausea and vomiting. They knocked her out. I was thankful for that. She had said some time ago that she wished she could just sleep through this whole thing. It'd be nice to sleep for a few months and then when you wake up, you're totally healed and healthy. That's probably how I would want it too.

This actually sits above her bed:

I truly believe this. God has something great in store for this girl.
She says now she doesn't even remember the first couple of days. I'm thankful for that too.

Yesterday was the first day that she really ate something since Friday morning. She has no appetite and is very sensitive to smells so doesn't allow them to bring her food tray in the room. She hasn't even eaten anything from the trays since Thursday.

She's being pumped with so much fluid that she's on a strong diuretic. They gave her over two gallons of fluid in a day just to flush out her chemo, so we are back and forth to the bathroom all day and night. She's on too many different medications to even mention. 

But, today is her last day of chemo. Thank you, Jesus!

Now ... I know we still have a long way to go, but glad that this part is behind us and we're onto the next part. It's just pushing us closer and closer to her healing.

The effects of the chemo will not end when the chemo is over, but will probably be felt up to weeks afterward, like the hair loss I mentioned. The number one concern is mouth sores and we are doing everything we can to prevent them. The mouth sores can be very painful, where patients can't eat or talk. They will give pain meds, of course, if this occurs, but I am praying that this doesn't become an issue for La Petite Belle. If you could add that to your prayers for her, that'd be great!

Tomorrow will be a rest day before the big day when she gets her new cells. 
We are all so anxious and ready for that! K Belle is flying in to be with us on Wednesday too. It's going to great to have our whole family here.

I continue to thank God every day for the favor He's given us through this process. I thank Him for this hospital, our doctors and nurses, and this wonderful donor. I also thank Him for all of you who have and continue to be a part of this story by your prayers and support. We remain extremely grateful and humbled.

The next time I post, my girl will have gotten her precious gift. The nurse says she will be pretty heavily medicated that day, but I'm hoping to be able to get a bit of video of this special day.

Until then ... thanks again for lifting her up in prayer.

If you would like to financially support Katie's (aka La Petite Belle) journey to healing, you can find more information here:  All funds go to cover medical bills and expenses. Thank you for your prayers and support!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

What's Going On ...

Well, today is Day -6.

In the world of bone marrow/stem cell transplants, the conditioning days (chemo days) are counted down in minuses up until the day of transplant, which is Day Zero. Then, the days are counted up from zero to 100.

Because I am such a visual person and I think it helps to see the bigger picture, this is hanging on our hospital wall. 
{And, also because I'm super OCD about schedules and calendars so I have marked throughout the rest of the month who is staying with her on what night ... just ignore that part, which has already changed. Darn it! I hate scratch-outs!}

I thought it would help La Petite Belle to cross out days that she completed. It takes a whole second of our 86,400 seconds we have to deal with each day. So, after the cross-out, we only have 86,399 left.

La Petite Belle is doing great! The chemo that she is currently receiving is 16 doses in four days. The chemo itself has not affected her. She did vomit Tuesday evening after receiving her anti-seizure medicine, which does make her a little nauseated. She bragged to the nurses and the doctor how that was only her third time throwing up in her life and she really didn't even know what the feeling was before she did it. She's right ... picture of health this child was.

I'm mostly praying for her to get through this next round of chemo with as little side effects as possible. She starts that drug on Friday. It's the hard one. It's the one that's going to strip her body of her T-cells, empty out her bone marrow, destroy her immune system. It's a very strong drug, extremely toxic. Scary when you know your baby is going to be getting it pumped into her body over four days.

The good news is that this regimen has been followed for many years and created by her very own doctor. Other hospitals have adopted this regimen for their own transplants. We are so blessed to have the doctor that we have and to be at this incredible facility.

With that said, Texas Children's Hospital is quite amazing. The staff goes above and beyond and there's great support here, especially in the BMT Unit. There are several organizations who work with this unit by creating ways for this stay to move along as quickly as possible.

One of the wonderful organizations, Called His Grace Foundation, has adopted this unit. They are a fantastic support to families. The foundation is named after Grace, who had a bone marrow transplant many years ago, and her family, who was local, saw the needs of the other families who weren't local during this long process. They bring a few meals each month, provide $40 for each family to Target or Walmart for needs during the week (they actually do the shopping for the family), provide chair massages for people in the unit once a week, and deliver an incredible welcome basket full of anything you think you might need for your stay. It was a tremendous blessing!

They also help with parking, which is HUGE expense, y'all. It's $12.00 a day, every day, for over 30 days. Then, you have your clinic visits about three days a week for some time. Parking will run someone about $700 when it's all said and done. Crazy, huh?

They do so much more. Go to their website for more information -

La Petite Belle's days, aside from the numerous bags of drugs being hung and labs getting drawn, have mostly been filled with lots of video-game playing and movie watching. She has developed an even greater love for word searches, which she's a master at, and crossword puzzles.

She's also in the middle of recording an original song with another organization called Purple Songs Can Fly. She brought her guitar with her so she's been strumming around quite a bit too.

There's always something going on if the kids feel well enough to participate.

We've been encouraging her to get out of her room as much as possible now while she's able, and she has been.

We don't know what the days to come hold for her. We only know what the doctors tell us. But, thank God, we have a Father, who knows exactly what's ahead. He has prepared us for this time. And, He will sustain La Petite Belle and us through it all.

If you would like to financially support Katie's (aka La Petite Belle) journey to healing, you can find more information here:  All funds go to cover medical bills and expenses. Thank you for your prayers and support! -