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Portrait of a Hero - Abigail

I have put off writing this specific article, because it is so close to my heart.  
This is little Abigail with her brothers and sisters.  She is the youngest in their family. Abigail's mother grew up with my girls. What follows are the words of her mother and father...

When Abigail was 19 months old, she was not feeling well for a couple of weeks. On Saturday, January 15, Annabeth noticed a lump on Abigail's lower neck near her shoulder. We took her to the urgent care and were told to take her to a children's hospital for blood work to determine what it might be. After drawing blood (which Abigail HATED), x-rays of chest and abdomen, another IV, and a CT scan, the doctors believed it to be a pediatric cancer called Neuroblastoma. The tumor starts on her left kidney/adrenal gland and works its way up through her torso, behind her heart, and surrounds her aorta artery. From looking at the images of the CT scan, it looks like the tumor takes up about 25% of her total abdomen space. That's just a guess of a number, but (this is Annabeth speaking) the thing was massive.

Posted Jan 18, 2011 5:03pm
Abigail's condition is unchanged. She is stable, but only because of so many different tubes attached throughout her body. Machines are essentially keeping her alive right now, but she is not officially on life-support because her heart is still going on its own. We've had a doctor (one of many) tell us that he feels like we should be cautiously optimistic. Other doctors I think feel differently, but nevertheless, it felt great to hear some positive news. We are heart-broken, anxious and tired. We are also at peace. The other kids seem to be doing pretty good.

Sunday afternoon. Abigail's "blanket of security" is my hair. She twists it, twirls it, combs it, holds it at any point while I'm holding her, and most often while I nurse her. I chose to cut a portion of my hair off for her to hold so that Aaron could hold her and she would stay happy. You can see the 'ponytail' on the pillow next to her.

Some days it's easy to feel strong; other days, it's something you have to work at. I wish that every morning the information that we got from the doctors was only positive. But when it's not, it sure creates practice for testing our faith.

When I start feeling stressed that her lungs are still making fluid, or that I have to produce more milk, or this and that, I stop. I stop those feelings of uncertainty, of uneasiness, of fear, of apprehension or anxiety. I once again let my Father know that I trust him. Completely. Without reservation. Beyond any limit. Nothing, not *one* thing, is beyond His control. So if you have some unnecessary stress or hurt in your life right now, give it to Him. He'll take it and give you peace. We just have to allow Him in.

Jan 28; in preparation for extubation, she was off most of her pain meds and sedation. She reached for me as best as she could with her little hands! I knew she wanted my hair, so I leaned over her and she began playing with it. Sweet, precious angel. We'll do anything for you!

Feb 20; she SMILES!!! Her smile is angelic and it lights up our whole house! Look at her beautiful skin, with only one little skin tear left from the tape.

6/11/11- such a happy girl when she's not in pain! Abigail loves stickers, and decorates herself at any opportunity. Maybe trying to cover up her scar?! What a tiny 2-year-old!

Abigails most recent update... 

Happy News, Sad news

Posted 4 hours ago
The good news:
  • got a message that Abigail's bone marrow biopsies and aspirates came back negative!! Woohoo!! The 'one' that was taken in March was negative, so we're assuming she's been that way all along.
  • just finished ROUND 5--that finishes up her induction for COG protocol. Never thought we'd go through that much chemotherapy
  • we've decided to go with Memorial Sloan-Kettering in NYC for her antibody treatment. This avoids a high-dose chemo/stem cell transplant, and their numbers are actually better. No brainer. This will probably start in September sometime.

the bad news:
  • she still has more chemo to go through. I hate, hate, hate knowing that these poisons are being pumped into her.  I hate that she gets multiple steroid infusions during chemo. It's treatment to fight a phantom...something you can't measure...something you don't know if it's doing any good....but you still 'have to' do it.
I originally typed some feelings here, but I've removed them. Maybe I'll put them back. Not sure.

Okay. I decided to not whine in public. =) For the 6 or 7 unlucky ones of you who read my original post, I guess you now know how weak I am.

I didn't go into all the details of all the surgeries, treatments, and trauma this little girl has gone through so far. Suffice it to say, she has been through a lot. Abigail is an inspiring little angel and her parents have taught me a little more about what it means to have complete trust in the Lord and His plan for each one of us!

They have a long difficult road ahead of them and I know your prayers would be appreciated!



  1. Wow, I am having trouble finding words. What a precious little girl. I can only imagine what her parents are feeling. I admire the strength to put their faith in God.

    These stories are the reason I donate to St. Jude every month. They send a picture every month of a little one that is batteling cancer. I stick it on the calender they sent with the first one. It's the only thing on my fridge. Everytime I walk past I see it. It's a reminder to me to be thankful and to pray for those beautiful babies.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. This is an awesome story. What a brave little girl and parents. That part about her mother's hair brought tears to my eyes.

  3. So touching a little girl! I am so blessed to have healthy children. Thank you for telling us about her, a precious angel.

  4. Thanks for sharing this story!

  5. I can hardly see the computer screen through my tears. The only why I ask in life is why not me. Why is this mother watching her baby suffer and not me. Only Jesus knows the story he writes for each of us. I pray his comfort knows no end for little Abigail and her family. Ok, gotta go hug my Maggie now.

  6. Wow, that was a great one. Where's my tissues???

  7. My eyes are burning with tears. My son was in the NICU for 36 days when he was born. Seeing those pictures...I know her mother's heart aches. What a brave little girl, and what a testament to the faith of this family! Thank you so much for sharing their story!

  8. Karen,
    It's been so long since I signed in, but I think you go to and then type in Forever Families in the Search for Family or Friends tab. You will need to register, but it's free.

  9. This post definitely requires a box of tissue. Thank you everyone for your kind comments!

  10. This little baby is an angel...and so is her Momma. Thank you, sweet Becky Jane, for sharing this story with us.

  11. Correction on signing in, type this instead: FamiliesForever

  12. I need a box of tissues!! What a brave little girl!!!

  13. Ohq my dear, I'm in tears. I pray for this precious sweet angel and for your family. My spirit is shaken and I'll keep you all in my thoughts.

  14. She is such a brave and courageous little girl! I really hope that the treatment works out for her... I will pray for her and her family... :'(

  15. God is an awesome God and he is the giver and taker of life...he has purposed this sweet angel...will pray continued health and above all that LOVE < GOD > will surround each member of this family ...and give HIM praise...what a glorious testimony of the goodness and power of Almighty God

  16. Sending prayers for this special angel and her family!

  17. She is so strong and beautiful! Her and her family are definitely in my prayers.

  18. good gravy, becky...that poor child and her poor mother! our prayers and thoughts are with them and you all. LOVE to you all right now- and you are allowed to have feelings, you are not weak for them, HUGS

  19. I hate that little ones have to suffer so much! What a brave little girl. It breaks my heart!

  20. She is so brave and that smile!! God and the angels are watching over her. Hang in there Abigail


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