Wednesday, February 28, 2018


This post is #15 in a year-long series ... Through this series of posts I plan to share our family's experiences during our 17-year-old daughter's year-long battle with brain cancer, which began in February of 2008. My desire is to process through the events of that year from the perspective that a decade of time has brought ... for myself, really. But if you'd like to follow along, you're welcome to join me.

As I've been writing these posts each day, I've been jogging my memory with a little journal in which I scratched down some notes as we were moving through those early days.  The last day I wrote in that journal was February 27th ... but thankfully, at that point, I began sending daily emails pretty consistently to keep people informed of Hannah's progress.

I am grateful for that little journal and those emails, because I'm afraid a great deal of Hannah's journey would have been lost in the fog of our daily shock and awe, and the rest would probably have been lost in the passage of time. 

Much of what I write in future posts will come from those emails ... and some days, I will simply post the emails verbatim, because they provide the daily details better than I can re-create them.  I'd like to do that today ...

February 28, 2008
We’ve had a good day of answered prayers and gradual progress. What a blessing to be moved into a private room last night….two babies came in to the neuro floor, and they decided to put them in a room together, so they needed our room. We did not complain! This room (#4727) has two chair beds in it, so Brad was able to stay, allowing me to sleep much better. Hannah has eaten a little bit of solid food today, and was able to take a short walk (with assistance) down the hall, and sit in a chair for a few minutes. She pretty much spends the rest of her time sleeping. We are scheduled for a physical therapy consult in the morning to see if they can help her get her neck loosened back up. So progress is slow, but steady. She is still not up to receiving visitors, so we’re going to continue to limit visitors to immediate family for now.

We will probably be coming home over the weekend, but it may not be until Monday or Tuesday. It just depends how she does. We’re in no hurry…we want her to be well when we come home. The doctor also told us that she will probably be out of school for 3-4 weeks after returning home, so we think she’ll be returning after spring break. Again, it all depends on how she does.

Tomorrow morning they will be removing the dressing from her head. Again, please pray that this goes well, and that it is not too painful for her. The P.T. appointment may be tough too, and I think she’s a little nervous about it.

Bethany seems to be doing better today. We hope she can return to school on Monday.

We are very humbled by the outpouring of love and support our family has received. You have been a blessing to us!

God is good, all the time!
Jill and Brad

February 29, 2008  (Yes, 2008 was a leap year, which just kind of added to the surreal nature of that whole time period.)

Another great day of answered prayer! A resident came by about an hour ago and removed Hannah’s dressing. The most painful part was removing the tape from the back of her neck, which took a couple of minutes, then he just ripped the rest of it off, like ripping off a band-aid. So, even though it was rather painful, it was over quickly. That is now behind us, and her incision seems to be healing really well. We had two meetings with the physical therapist today, who gave us some exercises to do to help loosen up those muscles in her neck. She also took a pretty long walk down the hallway. She didn’t particularly enjoy the physical therapy sessions, but I think it really helped Brad and I see how we can best help her get better. She was also able to eat a little more today—a chicken strip at lunch, and half of a grilled cheese sandwich for supper. She still doesn’t really feel up to receiving visitors, so we are going to continue to limit company for now.

I’m going to pass along a new prayer request tonight…we are awaiting the results of the pathology report on the tumor. The surgeon said it would be 1-2 weeks before we heard anything. The results of this report will determine whether any further treatment will be needed after Hannah is completely recovered from surgery. We are praying that removal of the tumor will be all that is needed.

Bethany continues to improve and seemed much more her old self today. We are very thankful that she is finally feeling better!

Thank you again for all your support…it means more than we can say!

God is good, all the time!
Jill and Brad

I do have to share a quick funny from Hannah's physical therapy session that day.  I mentioned in a previous post how her neck was very stiff and sore from the surgery.  One of the therapist's goals was for her to be able to turn her head from side to side (like she was shaking her head "no" very slowly).  Hannah, always a compliant child, sat in front of her and earnestly tried to turn her head ... but all she was really doing was moving her eyes from side to side.  She would say, "Am I doing it?  Am I doing it now?  I'm doing it, aren't I?"  The therapist had to tell her that no, she wasn't even close.  It aggravated her that the PT didn't think she was turning her head, because she was quite sure she was.  The therapist left us with orders to practice with her, which we did, but she never did actually turn her neck for us in a "therapy" session ... only her eyes.  Once her neck wasn't as sore anymore, she started turning her head naturally without any intervention from us.  I'll never forget how convinced she was that she was actually turning her head in those therapy sessions though!  :)

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