When we were traveling to Mississippi for Christmas, we stopped for breakfast at a Cracker Barrel and the most wonderful family sat down in the table behind us. We fell in love with them instantly! Kind, thoughtful, polite, well behaved and just loveable!
Abby is a DOLL! Please see her page HERE and become a friend online sending her wishes and messages and let her know I sent you!
PLEASE SEND HER CARDS AND MAIL at either of these addresses:
Why not send ready made scrapbook pages or mini scrapbooks for her mother to put their photos on?
Abby was first diagnosed in September 2002 at 4 months of age with bilateral retinoblastoma. She was immediately referred to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN where she underwent 6 months of chemotherapy, and has done exceptionally well. She has been able to keep both eyes and has had very little recurrent problems. She has been followed closely by the doctors at St. Jude since. She does have limited vision in her left eye due to the tumor on the retina that blocks her vision, but she makes up for it very well with perfect vision in her right eye. She has excelled in spite of her disease physically, mentally, & emotionally, and has lived a mostly normal life and most wouldn't have even known--to look at her--of her difficult start to life.
Bilateral retinoblastoma is a genetic cancer, and because of a mutation she has this gene. Neither her father nor mother are carriers of this gene, but Abby would be able to pass it down to any of her biological children should she have them.
Because of Abby's retinoblastoma, she is at a higher risk for additional malignancies. Which we found out was more than just a possibility in July of this year (2008). After having some leg pain and limping earlier in May this year, Abby received an x-ray which showed absolutely nothing wrong with the left femur which was causing her pain. The pediatrician, thankfully, was not satisfied with not finding a cause because of Abby's history and ordered an MRI which did show an abnormality in the marrow extending to the outer tissue.
Obviously her doctors at St. Jude wanted to see her immediately because of the place of the affected area, and unexplained pain, etc. The pain had been decreasing and the limping stopped in the meantime. When she got to St. Jude, they did another x-ray which showed a stress fracture, and a bone scan. They determined at that time (to our short-lived relief) that she just had a stress fracture, and we were able to go home at that time. Because of her history, and the place the fracture/pain presented itself, and other factors, it was a relief that they did not think it was cancer. She was, however, younger than any retinoblastoma patient they had diagnosed with osteosarcoma. Usually this disease doesn't present itself until 10-20 years of age. The youngest they had seen prior to Abby was 8 or 9 years old, so to have a barely 6-year-old come to them with suspicions of this second malignancy added to the hope that it was just the stress fracture. They did say they wanted to follow up with her in 6 weeks to be sure. When we came back the middle of July, another x-ray and MRI was done. It was very apparent at that point that her leg was affected by more than just a stress fracture. Opposite the fracture (which wasn't healing) there was now bone deterioration. A biopsy was deemed necessary and was performed the next day and confirmed the doctors' suspicions--Abby did in fact have osteosarcoma. Our 2-day follow-up visit turned into a daunting 8-month stay in Memphis with our family of 6 (soon to be 7) separated. Now she is facing treatments for a second cancer in her 6 few years of life.
Our God is bigger than Abby's diseases, and He has chosen us to go through this for a reason. While we aren't sure of the end product, we have seen God's hand work in our lives through Abby since she was a baby, and with this second trial we are anxious to see how He will continue to work in the lives of our whole family. Our goal through this situation is to keep our Lord and Saviour first, draw closer to Him, and to give Him the glory for the things He will do in spite of our weakness and inability to do anything about this situation. We are thankful for the daily grace that He has been and will continue to provide! We can take comfort in the fact that as we place our precious little Abby in the arms of Jesus, He will take care of her as no one else can. We gave her to Him when she was just a baby, and there is no reason for us to believe that He doesn't have great things in store for her!
Abby has since started her Chemotherapy July 22. She is also scheduled for surgery the end of September to remove the affected bone to be replaced with a prosthesis. Her chemo should continue until February 2009 as long as there aren't any setbacks (i.e. fever, infection, sickness, etc.). Please pray for her throughout the upcoming months of treatments and healing! Also, she will be joined September 2 by a new little sister who will be with her in Memphis throughout her treatments. Please pray for a smooth transition/adjustments as well!