Hey everyone! It's been almost 2 months since Annabelle's life changing surgery in St. Louis! It's hard to believe that we are now gearing up for surgeries 2 and 3! We will leave for St. Louis in less than 2 weeks, and she will have her next surgeries on November 13!! While we have reached our goal, and are amazed by the support of our family and friends, another round in St. Louis comes with another round of expenses, and every little bit helps! Of course, as always, if you can't spare any funds, your prayers and thoughts are most important to our sweet girl!
So what has Annabelle been up to these past two months??!! She's been working so hard in physical therapy, five days a week, to gain strength in her legs and get used to using new muscles. She's passed many new milestones, including half kneeling, sitting "criss cross applesauce", and standing unassisted up against walls.
Recently she can be found walking the halls of children's hospital in her walker. Her record so far is 300 feet. (yes, you heard me right, 300 feet!!) She walked this hunting for Halloween candy, which was quite the motivation, but she did it nonetheless, and we couldn't be prouder of our little warrior! If the next round of surgeries go as planned, her therapists, Joanna and Shanna, expect that she will be in a walker, walking around in public by Christmas. They are incredibly impressed by what a hard worker she is, and I'm blown away by her strength. (every day).
So here's to a couple more weeks of hard work, before we are back in the saddle in St. Louis and one step closer to our little girl's dream!!
Annabelle Jane is resting this morning after a long day of surgery yesterday.
We are so happy to report that everything went fabulously and that her Dr., Dr. Parks, still is extremely confident that Annabelle will be up walking with her friends in a few short months. (We are aiming for 6, but if Annabelle wants to take more time than that-- we are good with that too!)
It was a little bit of a tough morning for our girl, but they've got her on some good medication, and she's now resting comfortably.
We cannot thank all of you that have supported Annabelle during this journey. We have felt all of your love and prayers, and good vibes, every second that we have been here.
More to come from St. Louis soon!!!
2 weeks to go!
It's absurd to think that our lives, as we know them, will be so drastically changing in two short weeks!! Little Annabelle is bursting with excitement to get to St. Louis and get this party started!
People keep asking me if I'm nervous. My answer is always, yes, but I'm ready. I've been ready.
When people tell me how great she is going to do, I often think back to last Hanukkah/Christmas season when we were spending some time at our Cousins house. Annabelle was trying to keep up with all of the other kids and called me over to help her walk. I don't think that he knew I could hear him, but our wonderful Uncle Alan (our token go to Dr. in the family) said in a low voice to one of his nephews... "look at that little monkey." I thought for sure she wouldn't walk, but I bet she will be walking by the time that she is 6 years old... if for no other reason than she wants to."
I never told Alan that I overheard him, or how much his words meant to me... but I think of them now and still they bring tears to my eyes.
Annabelle is going to do great. She's got this. If for no other reason than she wants to.
What we once thought would be impossible is now a in the very near future reality for us, and it is only because of the unbelievable support we've gotten from our friends and family. You guys are simply the best of the best.
Annabelle WILL be walking by 6. And you guys made it happen!
We are almost to our goal, and SO excited at the prospect of the future. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!
Check out my facebook page for some awesome donations that we received to get us to our goal. We are also doing one more round of t-shirts, so if you didn't get one last time, now is your chance!
All our love,
R and A. (and B and J too :) )
A little note of gratitude and reflection:
I know that I start off almost everything single post with I'm so amazed.... But it seems only appropriate, since I am so truly amazed by the outpouring of love and support for our little lady Annabelle Jane.
I've been hearing a lot since we've gone public with her story about how strong I am as a parent, and how people can't imagine what it is like to have to go through something like this.... Well, while most of you may think that I am strong, I can promise you that I can only appear that way because I have the support of the most wonderful friends and family that lift me up, sometimes physically (literally picked me up off the floor- you know who you are), financially, and emotionally. I don't think an hour passes a day without hearing that Annabelle is in someone's thoughts or prayers, and it doesn't get better than that.
We, as a family, are extremely lucky to have such understanding, patient, and simply amazing friends and family. And I, as a mother, (while you may think I'm strong) am simply lucky that I was chosen to go on this crazy ride with Annabelle. She's been so optimistic and happy (in true Annabelle fashion) from the first day we went to St. Louis, that I cannot wait to see her hopes and dreams come to fruition with the completion of her surgical procedures.
To all of you that purchased t-shirts.... the order is placed and they will soon be on their way. Wear them and think of our girl, who--I promise---, will be smiling thinking of all of you.
So much love,
Hey everyone!! Just a reminder that THIS FRIDAY is the LAST DAY to order Annabelle Jane t-shirts!! If you haven't ordered them yet, please let me know what size(s) you would like. If you have ordered them, but haven't paid for them yet, please make your donation on this website by Friday!! (if you would rather write a check, contact me and we will get you taken care of!!) Please make your donation for either $15.00 per child shirt or $20.00 per adult shirt. We are so blessed by the wonderful outpouring of support we've received from our wonderful friends and family. We love you all!!
We are so blown away by our amazing friends and family! Thank you so much for everything you have done for us! Your support truly means the world to us! You may have seen on Facebook that we have super cute t-shirts available to support little Annabelle Jane during her upcoming surgeries. We are selling them for $15.00 for toddler and adult sizes and $20.00 for adult sizes. You can make a donation on this website for the cost of the tshirt and we will facilitate getting them delivered to you.
Again, words escape me with being able to communicate how thankful we are. I am so blessed to call you friends and family.
Hi! I'm Annabelle Jane. I'm almost five years old. When I was 12 months old I was diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy. My mom always says that's a fancy way of saying that I have brain damage over the part of my brain that effects muscle movement, and that my legs don't work like everyone else's.
I have been trying VERY hard to walk over the past couple of years, and have gotten very good at walking with my walker, pinky, but can't quite get my legs to take any real steps on their own just yet.
A couple of months ago I was told that I am a candidate for a selective dorsal rhizotomy. It's a surgery that will be performed in St. Louis Missouri, at St. Louis Children's Hospital. My Dr., Dr. Parks, thinks that with this surgery and lots of physical therapy (and even more thoughts and prayers) I might be able to walk, run, and do everything that I've always wanted to do ON MY OWN after surgery!
The surgery itself doesn't scare me. I am BRAVE! It does scare my momma a little though, since I will be in surgery for 8 hours and they will be cutting into the nerves of my spinal cord. I will then have a follow up surgery to lengthen my tendons and make sure my legs can get completely straights for when I start walking!
I'm very excited (and a tiny bit nervous) to get this walking party started and will carry all of my friends and family in my heart with me while I'm away getting my walking legs working!
Please keep in your thoughts and prayers this summer,
***Side note from momma***
Friends and family,
I have been so blessed to have such a wonderful support system for Annabelle Jane over the years. Words will never be enough to thank you for helping us through these last five years. It doesn't get better than any of you.
I've been so amazed by the outpouring of love and support for Annabelle as she has tackled (and beaten) obstacle after obstacle on her cerebral palsy journey. She truely is an amazing little girl, and I'm such a lucky momma to be along for the journey.
Thankfully Annabelle does have insurance that will be covering most of the cost of surgery in St. Louis. Annabelle and I will be taking multiple trips (to see multiple surgeons) to St. Louis Children's hospital this summer, and I, of course, will be staying with her in St. Luois the entire length of her surgery (we are hoping for 2-3 weeks, but that is yet to be seen). Once she is home, and the road to recovery begins, Annabelle will be in physical therapy 5 times a week. Therapy costs are mostly uninsured medical expenses.
Please use this page as a way to share Annabelle's amazing story of courage and grace under pressure. Keep her in your thoughts, get her to the top of prayer lists, and silently cheer us on as we begin this new chapter. All of your thoughts and prayers have gotten us this far, and I will never know how to say thank you for that. She's such a little fighter, and I am posititve she will come out of this serious surgery on the other side happier and healthier than she went in.