Around this time last year I took Abigail potty one day and noticed a dark area on her right leg. I immediately asked Jason if he had ever noticed it before and he said he wasn't sure. So I filed it away under 'things to keep an eye on.' And keep an eye I did. When a small mass turned up underneath the area I felt like I knew what we were dealing with. And when we started seeing pain and itching, I knew before we ever even made that drive to have an MRI done that there was a tumor in my daughter's leg. This is the nature of NF.
And this year, well, things are different. Do I still worry from time to time that she has a tumor somewhere? Absolutely. I sometimes feel like I am just holding my breath and waiting for the world to be rocked again. But I also feel grateful.
I have tried over and over and over again to write a beautiful heartfelt thank you to everyone who donated money, posted our badge on their blog, and posted and re-posted the fundraiser for Abigail's surgery on facebook. But I can't ever quite find the right words to portray how I feel. I doubt that this blog post will even really come close to giving you a glimpse of how thankful I am. But I am going to try.
In a week and a half my little girl will turn three. Imagine, if you will, gearing up for your child's birthday. It is a time filled with joy, excitement, remembering and recounting the past. Then imagine knowing that inside of that same child you are celebrating is something small, that is growing, and has the possibility of robbing your child of walking, running, dancing, climbing, and even life under some circumstances. Despite the festivities, and even the smile you put on your face, there is a shadow of fear that covers over the celebration. This was where we were last year. We had not yet had the MRI confirm the tumor, but we knew.
One year later, our daughter's body has a beautiful scar to remind me of the second chance she was given. Sometimes I wonder if she will grow to think the scar is ugly or unattractive. To me though, it speaks loudly of other people's generosity and love that they poured out. It tells of a God who cares so much for His children that He would move the hearts of people all over the world to make certain a little girl is given a chance to enjoy being a child. It tells the story of how our daughter, doomed to 'wait and see' if her tumor grows larger and an unknown outcome, given the gift of a surgery, paid for completely by friends, acquaintances, and more so, strangers.
So thank you. Your gifts mean more to me than I can put into words here. I will leave you with a video of Abigail dancing at church on Sunday. I'm not certain that there is a Sunday that passes where her being able to dance escapes my mind as nothing less than the beautiful miracle it is.
The other little girl you see a lot of is Abigail's best friend 'Ednie.' Yes, the aisles at church are pretty much filled with little kids dancing every week, and yes, my daughter raises her hands to worship a few times in the video. :)
Thanks so much to all of you who posted about her surgery, donated, prayed, and walked through all of this with us.