Hey friends, happy Monday!
We are back to normal (as normal as 2020 allows) over here today!
You guys…I have no words! Your prayers gave Ashby such peace last week! Seriously, it had been a hard few days leading up to the surgery, but the morning of, she had this amazing calm and peace that ONLY comes from the Holy Spirit. Praying for Ashby is the number one thing you can do for our family and because you did last week, she did so much better than anticipated. I cannot not give God all the glory for that and thank YOU for being faithful to pray. We were checked into the hospital by 9:30 and then the surgery began at noon. The number of texts messages from my friends and family, the prayers, the love and support…you would think that after 21 other surgeries, we’d not need this kind of encouragement, but it’s actually the opposite. With each one, it gets harder, so we appreciate the support even more. Andrew stayed in his car in the parking garage the entire day since only one parent at a time was allowed to be in the building with her. Right before they took us to the surgical floor, he came up and spent about 30 minutes with her, but then after that, we swapped spots again, and my sweet husband waited it out in the parking garage.
Ashby’s surgery went well. They didn’t get to do everything they had planned, BUT they did a lot and were also able to remove TWO nasty clots, so it was all very successful. I absolutely love her hand surgeon (and her other surgeon at the other hospital too, but this guy is my fave!!). He’s the captain of this ship and guides and directs us all as we make Ashby’s vascular malformation as safe and healthy as possible for her to live a happy life free of complications from clots and aneurysms. In pre-op, he asked Ashby what kind of cast she wanted him to put on and she said “Halloween”…well, he laughed and was like “I’ll see what I can do”. After the surgery, he joked that he was in the OR for four hours but only one of those hours was surgery and the other three was him trying to figure out how to make a Halloween cast. Bahaha! He had another fellow scrub in who he knew was “artsy” to finish it up. How cool is that?! She LOVES her jack-o-lantern cast so much!!
Ashby was out of surgery and back in our room around 4:30 on Wednesday. She and I cozied up, spent the night and then came home mid-morning on Thursday. She was in pain and sick to her stomach post-op, so I’m so happy we were there in their care. When we got home on Thursday, it was a revolving door of friends dropping goodies off on our porch. About every five minutes, someone would have dropped off Starbucks or a gift, there were pajamas left, toys, things to color, goodie bags, cookies…it was like Santa and his elves were hanging out on my street! Even though Ashby was still a bit groggy and not herself, she perked up every time I opened the door and discovered another treasure on our porch. I am so, so, so thankful for my sweet friends who orchestrated all of that!! There was even a beautiful quilt dropped off at Andrew’s office for her…it really blew my mind how many people reached out and loved on her.
I MUST GIVE A MAJOR SHOUT OUT to my sweet bestie who orchestrated all of it. I one hundred percent understand how it seems like Ashby is having “just another surgery” and it can really seem “very routine”. I totally get that!! The thing is though…to this eight year old girl, there is nothing routine about it. There is nothing simple or ordinary. Each one takes a mental and physical toll on her and for whatever reason, number 22 was the final straw that broke the camel’s back. She was not happy about this surgery and in a very sad place. Erika knew that (and was seeing that in the days leading up to the surgery), so she was calling my mom, my sister-in-law, my mother-in-law, Ashby’s speech therapist, her teacher at school, all of our friends and encouraging them to make it a huge day (I only learned about this AFTER the fact), and it was literally a parade of fun all day long. We had balloons delivered, cookies, ice cream, coffee and Starbucks goodies, crafts, toys, homemade quilts, pajamas, comfy clothes, SO MUCH that just made Ashby feel not only special but remembered as she stayed home and recovered. I love you so much, Erika!! I am so fortunate to have so many people love our kid so hard.
So, here we are today…she’s going to head back to school this morning in her cast (which she’ll wear 3 to 4 weeks). This surgery was 20 other procedures in the making. It’s pretty incredible when you stop and think about it…
The day after Ashby’s very first surgery in October 2015. During this surgery, they removed veins from her hand and upper shoulder (when you remove and/or cut away veins, you have to make sure you re-tie the ends so everything circulates) and took out two aneurysms (one near her lung). After this, we needed to have another surgeon use different techniques to shrink her veins and remove clots so we could do this again. They estimated we would do that six times…
…we did it TWENTY.
With each procedure, they not only shrunk veins, but they caught and removed numerous clots as well. After 20, they were ready to remove more veins in this last surgery. It’s all very incredible when you stop and think about it. That’s such a tremendous amount of pain to undergo in a short amount of time.
Ashby will continue to heal from this surgery, and then we’ll make a game plan moving on. I so desperately wish there was an end to all of this, but there’s not. We’re just going to conquer every step along the way as we continue to do everything we can to keep our girl safe and healthy. I am so thankful that God doesn’t reveal all the details upfront. I think Ashby and I both would have been paralyzed with fear had we known five years ago what we we had in store…each step along the way we felt the Lord walk with us, and looking back, we can see how far we’ve gone down this road. This is a long road for us to walk, but our plan is to walk it together with God by our side.
Thank you so much for your encouragement, friends. We love you all so much!! xo