Created to Celebrate

Our family recently had the opportunity to help organize and enjoy one of the most fun celebrations ever — a huge birthday party. Our friend, Tim, has been battling cancer for 2 years and why wait…instead, just celebrate.

opTIMism — We were definitely optimistic that the cake would be a “loaves and fishes situation” and it wasn’t. The early bird gets the cake!

The balloons, burgers and cake are nice, sure. Yet, how about getting to talk to 500 of your favorite friends in one night??!? The money we raised with free-will donation buckets and a short auction is good, but how much better is knowing that people love you and support you from near and far??!? Multiple people approached me after the event and said we should have an opportunity to build up a community member like this once a month, or at least quarterly.

Surround yourself!

So, why not? Don’t wait until a friend has cancer. Don’t wait until your life will be less hectic and the weather looks to be perfect. God promised us that this life would be full of problems (John 16:33) but he also wants us to rejoice in our days (Psalm 118:24). I encourage you to think of someone you want to celebrate, text a few friends to help plan a get-together, and don’t wait. Just celebrate!

So much support.

Update on Ava

It has been 7 years since Ava became unbuckled from our side-by-side and tumbled out. She suffered nerve avulsions in her right brachial plexus which means she basically had her nerves that control her right arm pulled out of her spine.

I didn’t get a single picture of Ava at the hospital. Too much on my mind. Hanging out by the Ohio River after her appointment, it is easy to see the way she always has her arm in this supinated position.

While her all-day nerve transfer surgery 3 months later eventually provided lots of gains including shoulder stabilization, bicep function, and external rotation, it did not provide for lifting her wrist, rotating her hand, or any finger function.

Her first surgery was very time dependent, but her next one isn’t. The next step is an osteotomy. It means to cut bones. She can’t rotate her arm so now her hand always is in a position of carrying a waiter’s tray. It actually has supinated even past that as it gets tighter and tighter the more she grows. The only way to make it look less noticeable as well as have some hand-to-hand function is to cut the bones and reposition them with a plate and screws. It involves a 3 or 4 hour surgery, an overnight stay, a cast from her biceps to her fingertips for 5 weeks, then a check for bone growth and removal of cast and pins. A little tendon transferring would happen too, with hopes to gain the ability to open her hand.

This surgery also involves fusing the wrist because Ava didn’t regain the ability to lift her wrist as we had hoped. All the fusions and plates and things seem so final to Joe and he is still hopeful for some type of better outcome. I really just want to get it done. As Ava is 11 years old, she should really have a lot of opinion on the matter, but it is hard to believe she really understands what is going on when she is highly motivated by the prospect of receiving a water bottle post-surgery!

I am most excited at the thought of even a little finger function post-surgery. The surgeon thought perhaps the ability to maybe press the enter key while keyboarding or the ability to pass an item from one hand to the other. It all depends on the sensation within her fingertips because without that, her brain won’t ever signal that it is an option. If I squeeze hard, she will notice on some of her fingers so I am so hopeful for at least something.

We appreciate the overwhelming support for our family over the past seven years. It has made all the difference for us as we weigh our options and try to do what is best for Ava.