We will always remember Ellie for her love for others, her creativity, sensitivity, and delight in life! Ellie's light has spread far and wide... may it continue to shine in our hearts.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Month of Chickenpox Continues...

Sorry I haven't written in several days. I went away on Saturday - it was nice to "get away from it all..." A friend took me out for a pedicure and manicure and lunch - it was WONDERFUL! Then out with another friend for a little shopping...a little eating...o.k., fine - a lot of eating... Other than a reprieve now and then, the days have been busy and full, and the nights long.

For the last several nights, Ellie's chickenpox has reached unbearable levels of itching. During the daytime it's manageable, but at night she's miserable. One night she only got 3 hours of sleep. Yesterday we took Ellie back to the doctor and he postponed the bone marrow biopsies until Friday (which I was hoping for!). He was very surprised to see this second outbreak of chickenpox. (I really think that it's the end of the first outbreak...just delayed.) The bulk of the pox this time are on her extremeties which is often how chickenpox ends. Unfortunately the worst of Ellie's are on the soles of her feet, so she is getting very uncomfortable.

Ellie does seem to be catching a cold, and yesterday we were all feeling a little discouraged. The cancer itself is such a big looming thing to deal with, then you add onto that the chickenpox, then throw in a cold for good measure and the pressure just keeps mounting. I got a wakeup call yesterday when Ellie came to me and asked if she would die if she got chemo while she has a cold or the chickenpox. I felt like I was watching a giant snowball (of worry and anxiety) rolling and bouncing down a hill gathering more snow on it's way, threatening to engulf us all on it's descent. So I did what any self-respecting mother would do to protect those she loves - I threw a brick wall in it's path. First I explained to Ellie that our main concern was that we didn't want sickness to keep postponing chemo - not that we were worried that she would die because of it. Then I told her that today we aren't concerned about the cancer at all. Today is not about fighting cancer and taking chemo - today is about the chickenpox. There are many many kids out there with the chickenpox - and it feels rotten - it's itchy and miserable and today we just have to get through that. Today she is just an 8 year old with itchy bumps and a runny nose. I literally felt the anxiety drain away from Ellie's body as we talked, and a funny thing happened...I felt mine do the same. Snippets of verses from Matthew chapter 6 seem to be re-playing in my head: verse 27 "Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?" (I don't think that God would mind if I mentally add "your child's life" to the verse) and verse 34 "So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today." And so even though I'm tired and emotionally spent, God's grace really is enough for today. And I don't have to worry about tomorrow because God's grace will be there when I get there. The other thing that I am sure of is that I will forget this and start to worry again. I only hope that next time I will hear God's voice in my ear sooner and throw a brick at the snowball while it's still tiny and at the top of the hill! (Yes, I do know that I live in Florida, but Christmas is coming and I've gotta get in the mood somehow...thinking cold sometimes does the trick.)

I hope you all are doing well tonight - I'm sure each one of you has your own struggles and heartaches. I wish that I could pray for each of yours the way that you have for mine, but please know that I am praying that God will wrap His loving arms around each of you and bless you greatly as He has with us. Thanks for all of your prayers and concern for us. Ellie definitely knows that she is well loved!


At 10:07 AM, Blogger Wright,Rhonda&Amber said...

Hello Skees family ,
We have been praying for Ellie and your family , we know God is in control .
Each time I read your posts and see your struggles and then see you bounce back , I see your families faith . Nobody would ever desire this ministry you have , and I know you wouldn't wish it on anybody . But you have ministered to me . God is using you to show His grace . Ellie's faith has blessed me . Let her know that what she is going through is for a purpose . All of you have blessed alot of people , people that you would have never reached any other way .
We will continue to pray for your strength . Hang in there .
Wright Shumate

At 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the last couple days I could not find my rosary which I have been praying with for Ellie each night. (Of course that didn't stop my prayers) Finally found it last night behind the bed. I have also been waiting anxiously to see an update here, as I check many times a day. My husband and I noticed that in the time I was missing my rosary there also hadn't been any new posts. He said last night "I bet now tomorrow morning there will be one", and sure enough. Of course I was hoping it wouldn't be that she still had those darn chicken pox.

I am glad you find comfort in Matthew 6:34. I do too. I also understand how easy it is to forget when you are right in the middle of worrying. I had even photoshopped this verse on one of my photos and posted it to my blog. You are welcome to to take it, print it, whatever you want to do. It may be a nice reminder. http://acatholicinsteinbach.blogspot.com/2006/11/matthew-634.html
Of course the hockey theme I'm sure may not be exactly appropriate in your situation. But I see the message portrayed nicely in it. I think about how the goalie has done his part, with the play at the other end it's all he can do to wait until it comes time again to defend his net. The rest of the teammates are doing their part. Of course we can only block shots as they come at us, worrying will not do anything to prevent the play from returning to our zone. When we realize we have done all we can do, faith allows our body and mind to rest up for the next battle, worry does quite the opposite.

At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a plaque that says, "Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength."
What a wise and great mom you are..thanks for sharing the ups and the downs. Praying for strength and continued wisdom in not only dealing with Ellie's physical needs, but for her sweet little heart and mind as well.
Lifting you up...Les

At 8:45 PM, Blogger Whatleys' World said...

Hi Sarah. Glad the new do made you feel great, and that you and John got to spend some time away, just the two of you. That sure sounds like it was nice! I can only imagine.... We prayed for you all today in our Wednesday 8:00 A.M. Fellowship Groups with our 2nd Year students. It was really good visiting with you and getting to spend atleast some time with you hearing how your family is doing. Hang in there amiga! Love ya!

At 3:51 AM, Blogger Wright,Rhonda&Amber said...

Hello Skees family,
We are continuing to pray for Ellie's healing and strength for the family.
Also I just wanted to let you know that your faith through this time has blessed us . We have seen your struggles and your hurts , but what sticks out more than anything is the grace of God in your life . Though we don't want to consider this suffering a ministry , it is . Your suffering is not in vain . I hope our light will shine as brightly as your families' has .
Wright , Rhonda & Amber Shumate

At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Melanie Miller said...

It has been such a gift to read all your entries on the blog. You have such a way with words and they are like a window into your lives and touch our hearts so deeply. Thank you for this gift.
It was also an unbelievalbe experience for me when I was able to come to Orl. and be with you all those 10 days when Ellie started her chemo. I thought perhaps I could help, and instead found myself so deeply touched to be able to witness the unbelievable strength and grace with which you & John have handled all of this. A child with cancer has to be the worst nightmare any parent can endure. You are not only dealing with it, but through your grace and wisdom, you are able to answer Ellie's questions and concerns and comfort her soul. Even while dealing with the central IV, Chemo, bandaids and now chickenpox, Ellie finds such moments of peace that she is able to hum while coloring, dance to music boxes and laugh like the beautiful little girl that she is. You are amazing and it is a gift to those of us who witness it!
Know that you are all loved and in our thoughts and prayers constantly. Love Aunt Mel


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