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Jul 23, 2010


From Brent

(Haven't heard from Joni S in a while. Joni, are you out there? Everything okay?)

We've been so busy with Abby, tearing out the moldy bathroom, work, etc. I've hardly blogged or written much of anything for almost a month. That is really strange and abnormal for me given that I typically write a minimum of several thousand words a day on various blogs/books (usually much more).

I'm looking forward to getting back to some writing. To kick it off, let's do an OPEN SEASON FRIDAY. For our newer blog friends, this is where we answer your questions.

Ask us whatever you want. People ask questions about Abby, our family, online business, digital photography, the Bible, Christian living, marriage, parenting, culture, personal finances... whatever...

Also for our newer friends, you may not be aware of my writing efforts. Check them out here: my books | about blogging | my personal blog | my Christian blog | my current events blog

Every day I "tweet" spiritual advice, encouragement and thought provoking original comments. If you are interested in being challenged and refreshed by those, follow me on Twitter here.

Leave your question in this Question Linky. We'll answer them this weekend.

Jul 21, 2010

Photo Caption

From Brent

Can you help us with a caption for this picture? I'll pick the one I like the best and maybe send you a little surprise...

Yes, that is a ballet class. Yes that is Landis in the middle of it. Caption?

Leave your caption on this Linky Tools Picture Caption list:

Jul 18, 2010

Abby Update

From Michelle:

I'm sorry it has taken me so long to update. There has been a lot going on in the Riggs house, so it was hard to know where to start.

Abby's headaches have been gone for 2 weeks now AND she has adjusted to the new dose of Topamax. When they first increased it she was very tired and it was difficult for her to concentrate. Now, she is no longer taking naps and is making a lot of progress in her school work. Abby loves to learn and Landis has been joining in the fun, too.

Since her headaches are gone, we are beginning to decrease the dose of her pain medications. Hopefully, this will help her have more energy for summer fun.

For the last 5 days Abby has been taking steroids (Prednisone) as part of her chemo regimen. Most parents hate them because they tend to make kids very emotional and ravenously hungry. They are thankful they are treating the cancer but it makes for one tough week for their kiddos. When Abby is on them it they also help her breathe much easier, so she has more energy during the day and sleep is more restful. Tough week or not, it is the safest week so I love them.

How are the fevers? She is still having them, but since all of the blood cultures have been negative, they are letting us go longer between ER visits. Abby gets to wait 72 hours between visits and then we only go in if her temperature over 101. We've been a week without a hospital run. Yeah!

The mold in our bathroom is gone and the work to repair the damage is in full swing. Our church has stood beside us for two years. Watching the men of our congregation work to fix this problem has been a visual reminder of God's love. We are truly blessed.

Thank you for continuing to pray for Abby and for the other children who are sick, too.

From Brent

Thanks for all your wonderful comments and concern for Abby. We've had a couple of vicious comments (such as "you want Abby to stay sick so you can keep getting free stuff and attention" or "if you don't like what happens at the hospital, why don't you stop treatment and let her die?") but we are blessed to have a hundred loving responses for every ugly one. You guys are great. I trust that we'll be a blessing to you and your family for many many years.

We realize out of the hundreds of posts we've written, not every one of them will be full of joy or devoid of any frustration or fatigue-produced misperceptions. Sometimes we are a bit amazed at how ready some people are to jump on any tiny sound of complaint or negativity, or to assign some grossly sinful motives to our life. We are also amazed that anyone who holds such an opinion of us (like those in the ugly comments above) would even waste their time reading our blog. Such is life...

A couple of quick things:

ONE - There is a single mom in Minnesota with a bad case of fibromyalgia. She could really get some relief with a Tempurpedic or Select Comfort Bed. Does anyone out there sell either of those or know someone who does who might be able to get her employee pricing or a humongous discount? She is on an extremely limited budget. If yes, holler at me, and I'll hook you up with her -

TWO - I know you gals love the kind of clothes and things that are being offered in this adoption raffle, so hop on over and check it out here. You can help someone adopt and win some beautiful stuff in the process.

And finally, some pics for you:

Yes, Abby and Landis really do play this well together. They have their moments, but about 99% of the time, they are inseparable and play, play, play for hours at a time together.

Abby praying in dance class. We love her instructor and class because they teach modesty, respect and reverence for God.

Jul 10, 2010

Abby Mold Update

From Brent

Some gracious brothers from our church came over today and helped me tear out the moldy bathroom. It took 4 of us about 3 hours. Not too bad. Taught me a lesson too...

Normally I just do all this kind of stuff by myself and it would have taken me 10-12 hours to do it by myself. But stubborn me would have done it because I don't like to inconvenience others or ask them for their time. Lesson: sometimes we have to humble ourselves and ask for help. The flip side of that is this: there are lots of people who would love to help, they just have to know there is a need. They can't know of a need, if no one asks.

Which brings me to another point.

Someone wrote a nasty comment criticizing us (and Christian bloggers in general) about "asking for stuff all the time", (ie. prayers, advice, help with adoptions, etc.). They characterized the Riggs family specifically as an example of moochers and beggars, always wanting people to "help" them. (Note: it's particularly interesting to be accused of this when my own friends have chastised me more than once recently for not asking for and accepting more help during this overwhelming situation)

Besides the obvious (why do you read our blog if you have that low an opinion of us or Christianity?) what they don't consider (or maybe know because we don't get on our blog and say "look what we did") is:
  1. How much of our own life, energy, emotions and time is given to help others (which is a considerable amount and that's all I will say about that).
  2. We are rabid believers in personal responsibility and never DEPEND ON or EXPECT help with an "I deserve" mentality that is so prevalent today. Anyone who has read our blogs or my books AT ALL knows we work hard, live modestly and invest our life in others.
  3. How many decades we've been the ones GIVING THE HELP (time, money, energy, advice, support, care, etc), and God has blessed us in return with support we need during this particularly difficult time of cancer for our family ("you reap what you sow"... sound familiar?)
The primary reason I mention the nasty comment (submitted by the always brave "anonymous" of course) is to take the opportunity to say "thank you" and brag about you (okay, and maybe I felt a little defensive too).

We've come to realize that our blog friends have a wealth of great advice, experience and ideas... and you are totally unselfish with it. It would be stupid not to ASK you fine folks for your advice, suggestions and HELP (especially given the amount of times people have expressed their desire to help but just didn't know what they could do).

Since Abby got sick, we've solved problems, fixed things, accomplished things, and made a lot of this much less painful because of "help" (in all forms) from our gracious blogging and Christianity family. If that's "begging", then call me a beggar. If that's not Christianity and/or "goodness" in action, I don't what is. Perhaps "Anonymous" has neither given nor received the blessing of brotherly love where HELPING and receiving help is a way of life.

By the way, never hesitate to ask us for help. If we can we will. We always have.

Here was the mold on the drywall after we pulled the tile off the shower/tub. The drywall all the way around the tub area looked like this.

I’m wondering if this is why I’ve (Brent) been sick every 3-4 months for the past 3 years. I used to get “upper respiratory” about once every three years; now I get sick every 3 or so MONTHS like clockwork. We hope this mold removal will solve the mystery with Abby, and maybe be the end of my own chronic cycle.

Thanks so much to Meeksy, Evan and Scott for coming over today and making quick work of this mess. And a HUGE thank you to all involved in this project to help Abby; the mold testing, the ideas, the time, the materials, labor… we are SO blessed to have such wonderful friends.

Jul 8, 2010

Abby Update

From Michelle:

Abby is still having fevers that are high enough to land us in ER for blood cultures. As an added "bonus" the ER is filled with "doctors is training" who ask her a lot of questions that annoy the crud out of Abby. Why grownup strangers care about her pee and poop baffles her. A couple of the doctors have been wonderful with her but you never know which one is going to walk through the door.

Thankfully,her white blood cell count remains high enough to avoid being admitted. When you are admitted an even larger crowd of big people in white coats show up to ask you the very same questions all over again.

Last night her lungs were were pretty junky but I think they sound a little better today. [Okay so as soon as I finish typing that Abby has a coughing fit in the next room. Go figure.]

Tomorrow (Friday) Abby will be receiving IV chemo and a an IV antibiotic. According to the leukemia protocol Abby is following, they are supposed to increase the dose of the chemo Abby gets daily. Giving Abby more chemo when she is having daily fevers and fighting pneumonia is a little unsettling to me. Abby's white blood cell count has crashed many times after they have increased her medications. Please pray for wisdom for all who are involved making decisions.

I really wish they would do a CT scan to rule our a fungal infection. I hate handing her chemo every night without evaluating her better. I have watched too many kiddos get into real trouble when they were fighting infections when their bone marrow unable to produce enough cells.

Abby's immune system is fighting hard now, but their goal is to find a high enough dose of chemo to keep her from producing so many white blood cells.

Thank you for praying for Abby while she was at dance camp. Dancing for half a day was a stretch for her but she was thrilled to be there. I will post more pictures soon but I wanted to share one of my favorites with your tonight.

Jul 4, 2010

Abby Udpate

From Michelle:

Abby's lungs are worse today than they were on Friday. They are filling with fluid and making things tough on her. Since she is still making a lot of white blood cells, we were allowed to go home. Fortunately, she is not contagious to others.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday Abby is supposed to be at dance camp. Abby is very excited about going. She longs to do things that healthy children take for granted. I am planning on taking her but will be staying at the studio "just in case" Abby needs help.

Last year we got a call, after Abby was dressed for dance camp, saying there was a bacteria growing in her blood and we needed to take her to the hospital immediately. I am praying that this year Abby will be able to have fun and learn a little.

Thank you for continuing to pray for Abby and asking others to pray as well. We are weary but blessed.

From Brent

Abby is back at home. She feels awful. All she does is sleep and is just kind of a ghost of herself nowadays. I hate to see her this way.

We went out into our yard to watch some fireworks going off around us but were ATTACKED by swarms of mosquitoes. We are 3 days into a predicted 14 day stretch of rain coming from the hurricane/storm that landed in Mexico and swept north. I felt dozens of them on me. When I got in the house, I killed a dozen of them still feasting on my legs (my blood is very sweet; made mostly of sugar...).

By the time another solid week of rain ends we are going to have a bonafide epidemic of mosquitoes. Abby and Hannah are particularly affected by them. They get huge bumps and welts with every bite.

Thanks for your kind comments and love for our family.

Abby, Etc, Etc.

From Brent

It's a holiday and a weekend, blah, blah, blah.

Abby is on her way back to the hospital, yada, yada, yada.

Please pray etc. etc. etc.

Forgive me... we're just really tired of this being our entire life. No loss of joy; no crisis of faith; not whining... just WEARY of Abby being sick every single day and our family being isolated. We'll keep you updated. Thank you for loving Abby and our family.