Wednesday, September 25, 2002
Dear Family and Friends,
Hello! Christi was discharged in fair condition on Monday afternoon from Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. We are overwhelmed with the daily injections, Broviac care, medications, and fever / weight checks that we must administer. Shayne volunteered to give Christi her daily shot. During the instruction at the hospital, he asked if he could give himself an injection so he would know how bad it would hurt Christi. The nurses said that they've never had a parent give them self an injection and that Shayne was definitely going above and beyond as he injected his abdomen at our practice session. (It was like a bee sting he informed her.)
It feels ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL to be back home. (I've called the hospital twice now in a panic, but I'm doing ok - ya know....just testing the system, hee hee) Shayne was a great sport about sleeping on the hospital floor for so long, but he's sleeping much better in his own bed. We were greeted by a sparkling clean house, a mowed lawn, food in the refrigerator, cards bursting out of the mailbox and a full voice mailbox. Thank you! Thank you for your kindness and overwhelming generosity. You are absolutely amazing! We feel very blessed. I wish we could thank each and every one of you; however, I know that I will never be able to achieve that goal. Time is going by so quickly each day tending to Christi and taking care of everything that needs to be attended to here. It's killing us not being better organized, but hopefully that too will fall into place. It's really challenging to stay on top of everything and we know we cannot miss a beat!
Shayne asked Christi if he could shave his head and she said yes. When he was done she said, "Now we'll be bald twinkies!!!" She LOVES Daddy's new look. He also kept the beard that he started to grow as well as continues to wear his rosary around his neck. Cindy, our wonderful hairdresser, came out to give Christi's hair a really short trim in preparation for it falling out on Tuesday morning since Christi is not permitted to leave the house. (Thanks, Cindy!!!) Today, Mom brought Shayla back to us as we met at the beauty parlor. Cindy gave me a super, super short cut that will be easy to take care of during our hospital stays and then Shayla wanted,"hair like Mommy!" so Shayla and I are twinkies too - just like Daddy and Christi will be. We cannot thank Mom and Joe enough for taking care of Shayla for us. It's GREAT to have her back and the two girls have been on their absolute best behaviors this afternoon. (I'm still scared Shayla is going to give Christi's Broviac line a good tug and yank it out of her chest, so please pray that that does not happen! Christi's kitten was batting at the cords hanging down like they were ribbons.) Buttercup is the best therapy for Christi. She scooped her up and got her kitten to fall asleep in her "apron" (bottom of her dress) as soon as we got home on Monday. Christi treats her just like a baby and the kitten loves Christi's constant, gentle attention. (Shayla, on the other hand, gives the kitten attention of a different sort!)
I was told that I could not get Christi's ears pierced like I had hoped so that everyone would know she's a little girl. The Doctors (two, I needed a second opinion on something so important - hee hee!) told me she cannot possibly risk an infection or going out to get them pierced. At least she prefers to wear dresses, so we'll keep wearing them until it's too cold.
Shayne will be returning to work on Monday. Shayla will no longer be allowed to attend preschool. She was loving it; however, we were advised by Christi's physicians not to let Shayla be around other children because Christi's immune system is so severely weakened. We cannot risk anything being brought into the home. Christi's system cannot fight even a common cold. If she gets sick, her chemo treatments will not be kept on schedule and her survival chances will not improve. Please pray that she stays well here at home! This is our biggest concern.
Christi's been having quite a bit of stomach pain and I'm comforting her the best I can. Her teacher sent her many Arthur videos so the girl that doesn't usually watch TV (except for Magic School Bus, of course!) has been resting on the couch watching the videos. Tomorrow we'll take her back to Columbus for her procedures. We'll go every Monday and Thursday throughout this ordeal. She gets car sick in the morning and our appointments will have us leaving the house at 7:30AM. They are not able to push them back to accommodate her stomach, so please pray that she gets along ok making the bi-weekly trips. She continues to have bad dreams. Christi told me that last night monsters were chasing her and Shayla and I through a maze and we couldn't find our way out. This is so disheartening as she never had nightmares before this real one.
Shayne's Mom is taking care of our laundry. Because we're not permitted any visitors, I put 7 loads out on the porch and she claims she is happy to help. We really appreciate her and all of her work for us. Thank you dear friends for making this place clean and shiny!! Shayne's Mom came down on Sunday afternoon and informed us, "You two have unbelievable friends! You won't believe what they are doing for you!!" What a blessing to have such great friends, neighbors, coworkers, employers, family and complete strangers pulling for Christi. I still think that if this cancer can be beat by prayers alone she's going to win this fight. You are making heaven a busy place and we appreciate each and everyone of you putting this in God's hands. We feel so blessed and comforted by you all.
Finally, one of Shayne's friends from banking school at the University of Wisconsin is in the process of creating a web site for Christi. (Thanks, Eric from Michigan!!) This will allow us to update you through my "journal" entries. There will also be photos and a guest book where you can leave a message for Christi. It will be entitled, "Christi's Spirit Club" not only because we think she has a strong spirit, but also because of this warm spirit you have generated around her with your loving actions, prayers and thoughts. We feel like we're all in a club together. Thank you, thank you, thank you sooooooooooooooooooo much! It's so nice to know that we're not in this alone. Please take care of yourselves. Live and enjoy each day like it's your last and spend some extra time with your kids/family. May God bless you and keep you safe! thank you!
PS: So sorry if you've received this twice or if I've overlooked anyone. Thank you for understanding!!
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Shayne & Angela Thomas: firstname.lastname@example.org