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Feb 8, 2009

Abby Update: Sunday Night

~~~ Brent: Facebook - Twitter~~~ ~~~Michelle: Facebook~~~



Things are still rough with Abby, but we have many things to be thankful for today.

First, Abby's doctor increased the amount of continuous morphine Abby is getting, so she is more comfortable and needs less extra doses of pain medicine. He also ordered a much larger boluses (extra single doses) so when she does need extra medicine she feels relief right away, instead of getting a tiny dose every 15 minutes that has little effect. It is now easier for all of us to get more sleep and it's not so traumatic for Abby to go potty and change dressings.

Abby's oncologist thought Abby would need surgery on her stomach wound and have her g-tube surgically moved to a different spot. The surgeon looked at Abby's stomach this morning and he believes that burn-like tissue around her G-Tube would heal without surgery. VERY good news. He seemed to be unquestionably confident in his evaluation. He deals with G-tubes daily, so we felt really good about his opinion.

Abby is now producing enough white blood cells to begin to heal her mouth and bottom sores (ANC 671). This is great news too. In a week or so they should be healed. Unfortunately the wounds around her g-tube will take much longer to heal.

Abby was supposed to begin her next phase of chemo (second month of delayed intensification) on Tuesday. This will have to be put off until the sores and wound around her g-tube site heal. This has to be done, but it puts her at a higher risk for relapse (the leukemia to come back) when we have to delay treatment.... that's BAD news.

For those of you who are newer to Abby's story. Abby has a genetic marker that makes her much more likely to have toxic side effects from the chemo, but she is also much more likely to relapse than leukemia patients who do not have this genetic marker. Her doctor thinks that most patients with this marker relapse because of the long breaks they need from chemo, to recover from the toxic side effects. Check out "About Abby..." if you want to know more.

We are so grateful for your prayers:
  • For great pain relief
  • The sores to heal
  • The wound on her stomach to heal quickly
  • Relief from diarrhea (the canker sores in her intestines have caused this)
  • For Abby to resume chemo soon
  • Remain cancer free

Abby's emotions are understandably raw because of the pain she is experiencing. Our normally contented and smiling girl is getting her "feelings hurt" by something a simple as a look from a stranger.

We are attempting to obtain second opinions from St. Jude and a hospital in Dallas.We have been warned that St Jude does not accept patients who have already begun their treatment elsewhere. Please pray that they will advise us., the second opinions are completed soon and that they provide clear direction and the best advice for Abby.

Brent's employer is changing insurance... that's not exactly good news either. Besides being a pain, it's going to cause some extra expense and more details to deal with. Please pray this doesn't effect Abby's treatment and for God's provision (which has never failed).

We read each of your comments and emails. We have tried many of your suggestions. Thank you so much for taking the time to advise, encourage and pray for our family.

We are so blessed that each of you have invested your time and life to care about us. Though it is NOT joyful that Abby suffers, we do "count it all joy" that God takes our most grievious trials and transforms them to blessing.

81 comments:

Jennifer said...

Was waiting to hear an update....glad that there was some good news! I will be praying for all of you and also for the insurance change ahead.

Jen

Jill said...

Still praying for you all!
Hugs, Jill

Following Him said...

PRAYERS pour out to Abby and Michelle and Brent and the rest of the family. I pray for relief to come soon too. Hang in there!
~Elyse~

The Dyess Family said...

We are continuing to lift y'all up to the Lord in our prayers!

Christy said...

So glad to hear that Abby's pain is under control. Will continue to pray for all you.

Wendy said...

Praying for this precious girl! God bless you, sweetie!

With love,
Wendy and family in Kentucky

Dana-from chaos to Grace said...

Had our Youth dept pray for you guys today! Also, posted it on my blog I just put up as well. Our God is MIGHTY!

Jessica Kerr said...

you said she is in DI. She is exactly where Ethan was when he had the Liver Toxicity that caused all those similiar symptoms. Im not trying to cyber dx but just a thought. I am glad she is feeling a bit better even if its meds. Quick healing prayers.

Stacy said...

It was a relief to read this update on Abby. After my own (mostly healthy) child, Abby is the one who is most often on my mind, in my thoughts and prayers. I just hold my child tighter and am thankful for each fiesty, defiant moment I have with her ... I hope that Abby is feeling better soon and that you all get some healthy rest.

Lara said...

It hurts so much to read about your sweet Abby, but I can't stay away- and I appreciate all your updates. I pray for her and for you all. I have three (and one on the way) and my oldest is around Abby's age. Abby's story has made me slow down and really enjoy spending time with my girls. I find it much easier to enjoy making a mess with them and ignoring the mess so I can keep enjoying our time together. They are this age only once and I realize I can't let it go because the sink is full of dishes. As always, thank you for sharing. Abby is so strong. You all must be so proud to be her parents. I'm sure she knows it too.

Lara said...

It hurts so much to read about your sweet Abby, but I can't stay away- and I appreciate all your updates. I pray for her and for you all. I have three (and one on the way) and my oldest is around Abby's age. Abby's story has made me slow down and really enjoy spending time with my girls. I find it much easier to enjoy making a mess with them and ignoring the mess so I can keep enjoying our time together. They are this age only once and I realize I can't let it go because the sink is full of dishes. As always, thank you for sharing. Abby is so strong. You all must be so proud to be her parents. I'm sure she knows it too.

Lara said...

It hurts so much to read about your sweet Abby, but I can't stay away- and I appreciate all your updates. I pray for her and for you all. I have three (and one on the way) and my oldest is around Abby's age. Abby's story has made me slow down and really enjoy spending time with my girls. I find it much easier to enjoy making a mess with them and ignoring the mess so I can keep enjoying our time together. They are this age only once and I realize I can't let it go because the sink is full of dishes. As always, thank you for sharing. Abby is so strong. You all must be so proud to be her parents. I'm sure she knows it too.

Stacie said...

My son (Gavin, age 4) is treated at Children's Medical Center of Dallas for a brain tumor (AT/RT). We felt he has received great care there.

His last round of chemo left him with HORRIBLE mucositis as well. Such a difficult thing to watch as a parent. I feel your pain and pray that she is healing quickly.

All the best,
Stacie Smith
www.smithscooptexas.blogspot.com

be_a_Mary said...

I am praying for you all!! thank you for the updates so that we can pray effectively. i cannot imagine your fatigue, but i know the will of a parent is stronger than iron. I pray the Holy Spirit fills you with supernatural endurance and power.

Jill (Sneaky Momma) said...

I am so glad that Abby is getting better pain management for the sores on her little bottom. Continuing to pray for you and your whole family.

Anonymous said...

I thank God for the good news on Abby, still trusting in God to heal this precious child. So thankful that her pain is under control and those old sores will start healing, bless her little heart. Praying for mommy and daddy too. One day, all sickness, all pain, will be wiped away, thanks to our gracious Savior. WHAT A DAY THAT WILL BE!! NO MORE SUFFERING.

Anonymous said...

Glad she is feeling better and things are starting to heal. Praying the God will continue to kill the cancer. And supernatural healing in Abby's body!

Love and Prayers,
Holly in OKC

annb said...

So happy for the good news! I continue to pray for Abby and trust in God's healing power and his unwavering guidance and love.

Jamie said...

Riggs Family, you are truly an inspiration of faith, love, and hope. During trials and tribulations, so many crumble and begin to question their faith. Thank you for sharing your story for all to witness and grown in their own faith. I'm new to your blog and reading about what Abby is going through is absolutely heart breaking. I'm so incredibly sorry to hear about all of the pain and agony she is experiencing. I pray that the Lord heals her and wraps his arms around her each and every minute and provides her the comfort that only He can. I pray for you, Michelle and Brent, that you may continue to be full of God's strength and wisdom and I pray for your other children as well. God bless you and God bless your precious angel, Abby.

Love and prayers,


Jamie

Hauswife said...

Praise God for the wonderful praise reports! Fantastic! And, thank you for the report of your and Abby's specific needs, too, so we know how to pray. We're with you in spirit and interceding for you with all our hearts!

beth said...

Hello, I just found your blog yesterday and I fell in love with Abby. She has touched my heart deeply and I've thinking about her all day. I pray that she will get better soon and for God to give Abby strength to get through this tough time. I would like to send her something special..Would you please tell me what she would like ? I know it doesn't take away all the pain she is suffering but if it would bring her joy and a smile to her face even for a minute, it would be worth it. Pls email me at k888yut@yahoo.com

Also, I don't know the entire story but if Abby has diaper sores or rash in her bottom, i would like to suggest this cream that worked wonder for my daughter. It's called CRITIC-AID THICK MOISTURE BARRIER PASTE. It's like desitin but 100% more effective as it protects the skin from more irritation. My daughter had severe diarrhea - like 20 times a day and she had such bad diaper rash that she would SCREAM bloody murder everytime you change her diaper. When she was in the hospital, they can hear her screams down the hall and it was so painful to watch her in pain that way. This cream has helped eliminate/prevent the diaper rash. Now, when she has diarrhea, I slather this cream on her bottom with every diaper change and it has prevented any rash from forming. It has worked wonders. You should be able to ask the hospital to order it, if not, I am more than happy to mail you some.

Elizabeth said...

I am praising God that Abby has not been in as much pain today and for the increase in white blood cells. I will continue to pray for strength for you and Brent. May God's tender mercies take you through each day. God bless.

Elaine said...

Continuing to pray in California.

Natalie said...

Glad to hear there are good news.

I'm confident God will take care of the rest too!

Still praying for you!

MP said...

I am so thankful that little angel (and her parents) can have a little break from the overwhelming pain she has been suffering. What strength she has! She is amazing! God Bless you all with rest!

fmattso said...

I was awake a lot this weekend having an 8 month old at my house and I shot arrow prayers to heaven every time I was awake. Still praying for Abby every day in Colorado. Brent can you send us an address where we could send a care package to Abby? My email is fmattso@yahoo.com. My daughter would love to send some fun "craps" for her good moments. Thanks! FAtih

Teri, Matt and Tatum Elana said...

Continuing to pray for your sweet girl. Thank you for updating us so often.

KM said...

Had to check once more for an update before I went to bed. Thank you so much for all the details! "Yea" for all the good news. We will pray for the requests you mentioned! You are very close to our thoughts through out the day. Praying for a peaceful, restful night for all of you.

The Q family said...

I'm so happy to hear that her white cells are high enough to begin the healing process. I will be praying that the process is sped as to not cause a lapse in treatment. I passed Abby's story on to my husband, who is stationed on the USS Abraham Lincoln. He has passed it along to the ships prayer warriors and also to all involved in the chapel and the Bible studies he leads. So, there are a lot of people praying for Abby as they float. Most of those who are praying are passing her story on to other ships so they can join. Please know that sweet Abby has changed my life forever, and your faith in all of this has also touched me in ways I could never explain. Thank you!
Angel

April said...

I had to get back up tonight and check on Abby, our family continues to lift her up in prayer for everyone of the requests you listed, and for advice from St. Jude and the other hospital..God bless your family and we continue to pray..

Maggie said...

Been thinking about and praying for Abby and your family all weekend. Will continue. Glad there is some good news to report tonight. God bless!

Ally said...

As a parent of a child who had AML (Been off treatment for 7.5 years) could they not lower the dose of chemo that she gets so the side effects arent so severe? My son has Down Syndrome and because kids with DS seem to be much more sensitive to the chemo they get 3 drugs instead of 5 over the 6 months. Just a thought! I only started following Abby's story last week and am very thankful that she is starting to feel better and her WBC count is starting to recover. Does she also get GCSF to help her white count recover?

Anonymous said...

Checking in on you and glad to hear of the increased pain relief. Her suffering(and yours)hurts ME! Praying for your requests and more.

~Lori in VA~

Summer said...

I feel such peace when I pray for Abby! I know she is in God's hands-as are you. Your updates light up my day, even when it's poor news. Thank you for allowing "us" to be a part of your life and prayer family! Trusting in his path...

d + r = haye jude fantastico said...

I woke up this morning with Abby on my heart and checked your blog. On the one hand I was overjoyed to hear that Abby got some sleep and the Doctor didn't wake her up, and on the other I was utterly shocked that you guys were SERIOUSLY joyous enough to be able to crack jokes and make the best of a long night.

It made me reconsider my life, and how I am so impatient and complain so much throughout the day. I mean, my 3 year old had a bad dream the other night and we were up for 2 hours, but he doesn't have Leukemia and we got a good amount of sleep despite that. How am I at all justified in my behaviours?

God is amazing, and through your family he is doing great things. Thank you for the daily reality checks and for sharing your precious little girl with the world.

You are being held up in prayer by people you've never met that share one glorious saviour. Don't forget that we love you guys.

The Gobble's (Lanetta) said...

so glad to have an update... thought about you and your precious Abby all day.... enlisted all prayers I can think of.. posted about Abby on my blog... and have prayed and thanked God all day for touching her... and renewing her mom and dad is a strength they've never experienced....
the trail of tears was happening just a little north of you today... right here in OK... lots of prayers going on..
many blessings... and know that we are lifting you up.. when you are to tired to pray...

Angie said...

Michelle and Brent- I'm so glad to hear Abby is a bit more comfortable. I've been praying for her and your entire family every night. When I asked my sister about the diaper cream and told her about Abby, she said that she and my five year old nephew Payton, have also been praying for Abby for a few weeks now!! What a small world we live in =)It's amazing how many lives Abby has touched!! We would love to send Abby a care package to help lift her little spirit. Would you mind posting where we can send it? Thanks so much, and may you all feel God's loving arms around you as you go through this difficult time.
Angie =)

Miss Anne said...

Holding your family and Abby close to my heart and up to God's great love.

May the days ahead be strong ones filled with blessings, smiles and healing.

xo

Kathy said...

Following your blog in Canada. Praying for God's healing and sustained comforting presence.

"Grandma Kathy"

Jessica said...

Thanks for the update. So glad to hear some good news. We continue to pray for Abby and you. Praying that her wounds heal quickly so she will be able to start up chemo again.

Julie said...

i have been praying for abby for days, even in the middle of the night. my prayers have been begging the Lord, the ONE true Jesus, to heal abby. i have been feeling particularly, strongly lead to pray that her skin will heal to be soft again... my prayers will continue tonight. thank you for the update. bless your family.

jody said...

Praying without ceasing for all of you. Hope you all get some much needed rest-and I very specifically prayed for her whte blood cells to increase and so when I read that, I just teared up and gave some praises to the Lord right out loud! will keep at it-thank you for specific things for which to pray!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the update. I have been checking off and on all afternoon and night. Our Sunday School group prayed for Abby this morning. There are some strong prayer warriors in my class. I even told them about the "faith, Hope and Joy" you talked about yesterday.

May you all get some rest so that you will be strong in your fight against this awful disease that has attacked such a beautiful little girl.

Ann Stegall
Wake Forest, NC

Ferrick said...

Glory to God!!! AMEN!!! "His love endures forever". Abby's going to beat this...because of the power of Christ that is with in her. I also believe you will awake in the morning refreshed and renewed from a good night's sleep.

Juls said...

...checking before bed for an update... Glad there are blessings... will continue to pray for your family.

..::Mrs. Staff Sergeant::.. said...

Praying for sweet Abby...

Thanks for keeping us updated.

~ Keri

Heather said...

Sending prayers your way from my make shift"chair bed" here at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles, California.We know a thing or two about g-tube infections during treatment believe me and we have seen inZoey how very painful they can be.Wwe pray that Abby's sores, as well as her g-tube quickly so she can get to her next phase.Blessings to you all and may you find peace and rest tonight.

Lynn said...

still praying in Doha for Abby...

My daughter, Abbey, sent Abby something in the mail..We hope it makes her smile!

Gina said...

I'm praying for you and Abby.

Shayne and Thomas, Hollister said...

Hello,
We are new to Abby's blog. We are quite 'old' in intercessory prayer though these blogs. It has been our privilage and blessing to pray for several young people.
It is amazing how prayer can bring strangers together and turn them into family.
We will keep checking Abby's blog, cover her with our prayers and keep you, her family, in prayer as well.
We have an awesome GOD who will hear our prayers and answer.
HE loves Abby - so much he give HIS SON for her.
Good night sweet Abby. May the loving arms of JESUS comfort you. Sleep well.
"GOD's promises are like stars. The darker the night the brighter they shine."
GOD bless.

lauren said...

It is 4 am Monday morning and I couldn't sleep thinking about Abby. I went to bed last night praying for her after reading your news from earlier on Sunday morning (been away from computer) and am up now lifting Abby and your entire family up to the Lord in prayer.

Praise God for more manageable pain control and her increased white count!

Jessica said...

Glad to hear Abby is feeling at least a little better. Hopefully all of her sores will begin to heal soon.

Thinking about Abby up here in Chicago!

-Jessica

mary said...

Hi Michelle, I am writing from Ireland. My family have been so touched by your daughter and all your family. Your faith is inspirational. I am praying for Abby. Seeing her dance has given me a wake up call today as I have been cross and grumpy with my family having received some bad news. She has given me the reality check I needed today. She is so beautiful inside and out, I really hope everything continues in a positive direction.

Lots of love from Ireland, Mary Fettes and family

Robyn said...

Continuing the prayers for Abby and your family!!

Jennifer Thomas said...

Brent, Michelle, and Abby,

My daughter Kendell and I are continuously praying for Abby's complete healing as well as peace and rest for all.

God bless!

Jennifer Thomas
Havre de Grace, MD

Kerri said...

Yay for a better pain control and a rising anc! Hoping for continued imporvement...

Vanessa said...

Praying Abby's sore heal sooner than you think so she can move on without relapse!! We're continuing to be in prayer and we rejoice with the good news!!

Liz said...

Praise God for improved pain management. It is wise for your docs to finally consider changing the pain protocol. Controlling the pain not only makes you feel a bit better, but it will significantly improve the healing process. There are some protocols that are willing to go even further and suggest giving the next dose of pain med before the pain even intensifies - this will prevent the viscious great pain and lower pain sigmoidal curve (up and down) and will also help alleviate the patients' anxiety towards pain. Instead, patient will then refocus on healing instead of the body trying to deal with all the pain. There are many schools of thought on such treatments...

Also remember the medical team is there to SERVE you - you are the patient, you have great needs that have to be met by the team. It is best if the team can leave the medical hierarchy, overconfidence, exhaustion due to crazy shifts at the patients door and put on a lot of good bedside manners and a service like attitude once they enter your room. Sometimes we have to remind them and do not be fearful to do so... I've been so grateful for everytime I opened my mouth (with graciousness of course) and reminded a doctor that I am still not completely satisfied with their service - demand that they please do more or get someone else who is willing to help.

Last night 2 year old started throwing up throughout the night - I was thankful to be up and awake with you, I was also thankful for this small opportunity to care for God's child/children. I was reminded my 2yo and Abby are gifts to us - from God. We are to care for them with God's help for as long as we can and then happily surrender them back to God. Thank you Brent, Michelle, and Abraham (Isaac's father) for this reminder.

emily said...

We will definitely be praying for these specifics! I'm thankful that she is able to rest more comfortably now. If for any reason you end up making a trip to Dallas, I would love to help in anyway that I can- hot meal, comfortable bed, carpool......I will follow along, but just wanted you to know.

Shannon of "Room for More" said...

I was up a lot last night. Whenever I was, I took Abby to the Lord in prayer. We are so glad to wake up and read about improvements. We will continue to pray from TX for your precious one!
Hugs from Houston,
Shannon & family

Darlene said...

Oh, your faith is beautiful. Your family inspires me. I always think on Abby! She is constantly in my thoughts and prayers. Last week, our little boy was in the hospital... I thought on Abby through every last bit of it. God used our visit, and has filled me with even more compassion for your sweet girl.

I love how you shared the details of Abby's care... I will know better how to pray. All of these details are so important to our Lord!

I will be praying on all of these things. We love you, Abby!

Darlene

Debbie T said...

Hi Michelle & Brent, Although I don't always leave a comment, I check your blog daily (usually 2 or 3 times, some days more!) and little Abby is constantly in my thoughts and prayers. As I was going through my pictures on my computer last night, I found one of Abby and Anna from the Dillon Guatemala weekend in 2007. Precious kiddos! It helped Anna to see that picture to realize she actually knows the little girl who we pray for. Our prayer chain at church continues to pray for Abby also. Hugs all around, DebbieT

Anonymous said...

My 3 year old son and I pray for Abby and your family every night. My heart goes out to you and I am in awe at your strength. It is clear God is by your side! Loved the "Cancer Dancer" video. Too cute! Thoughts & prayers are with you.

Sunday said...

Brent and Michelle,

So good to hear that Abby is not in as much pain. This is great news! Many of us from the listserve are praying. Will be praying also for the insurance thing. God will work it all out.

Sunday

Kristi J said...

Praying for you all!! I'm with AGCI and am #1 or #2 on the list right now for an infant girl from Ethiopia....Please know I've been praying for your family and will continue to do so...I added your Abby button to my blog...Kristi Johnson Brentwood, TN

noahandlylasmommi said...

glad to hear Abby wont need surgery for her G tube. That is great news! I will be praying for quick healing so she can start her treatment as soon as possible. Give that sweet girl a hug for me. And hug each other :)

Laura L. said...

Praying lots and lots for little Abby and your family.

Anonymous said...

I am so thankful that Abby is experiencing some relief from all the pain she has been experiencing. Will be praying for quick healing around her G tube, so her treatments can resume.

I'll also be praying that Abby and your whole family will feel all of the prayers from around the world that are being lifted up for sweet Abby!

Lindsey in MS

Christine said...

Bless her heart!

Kritter Krit said...

I was up all last night with a sick little girl. It was a good opportunity to pray often for you guys, and for Sophie.

If you don't mind saying a prayer for her today, I would really appreciate it. She has been having fevers, leg pain, no energy for the past couple of weeks, and some virus-like symptoms for the past 24-48 hours: sore throat, vomiting, cough, congestion. We're headed to the doctor this afternoon to try to get a better idea of what's going on. Please pray that it's just a strain of virus that's hung on for awhile, not something more serious. Thanks!

Praising God for the good news about Abby! Will be praying about the second opinions and for God's provisions for the financial concerns.

nikki said...

So happy to read that Abby's pain is being managed, and that her white count is going up. Praying God to continue to watch over your entire family.

Heather said...

Praise God, a little bit of relief for sweet Abby. We'll keep praying, that everything else will begin to have a brighter side as well.
stay strong,
Heather

Mom To Six said...

We are praying for your beautiful Abby and for God to continue to bless you with His peace as you await His miracle to evolve.

Ohilda

Vicky said...

Prayers and love for you and dear little Abby! Keep on, keeping on :) God bless you all.

Sarah said...

I hope the new insurance transition goes well. I'm in the middle of one myself. It's not fun at all. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

Anonymous said...

Brent, I sent you a message on facebook concerning St. Jude Hospital.
I hope today has been a better day.
God Bless you all,
Ellen

Laurie said...

Always to thankful for any bit of good news! Blessing to you all.

Alex and Jill said...

Praying for your precious family and sweet Abby. I put her blog button up on my blog to encourage others to read her story and pray. God is the Great Physician and I'm believing He will heal your baby girl!

((HUGS))

The Gotch 5 said...

You said shake it, so shake it we did just for you Abby!! Even my 12 year old son that is too old to do anything shook it!! The finest of Illinois shakin is on our blog just for YOU!!

The Gotch 5 said...

Sorry scrolled down too fast and commented on the wrong post. Meant to comment on the Get up Get on your feet post. Either way we are praying for that sweet girl and yes even dancing for her too!!

Terri said...

So glad to hear some good news!

Keeping Abby and all of you in my prayers always

Hugs
Terri