Wednesday, July 25, 2007

When you wish upon a starfish

Thank you to everyone who sent good birthday wishes--watching them pile up yesterday was just wonderful. At work yesterday afternoon, while we were all gathered around a wickedly delicious black forest cake, someone asked about how I was celebrating and I mentioned how excited I was to be heading to Missouri to Sahara's party. The woman asked why, and I gave her the 15-second version of Sahara's year.

"What a tragedy," she said.

"No," I explained, "what a miracle. She's here with us...we're having a party!" I can't think of a better reason to celebrate.

Hello, everyone!
What a beautiful day we had...Sahara's 13th birthday. From start to finish, it was great. Everywhere we went, people gave good wishes to her, and it made her very happy. Special thanks to each and every one of you who sent cards, balloons, the gorgeous fruit, gifts and helped make this day a wonderful one!!!

Our house is so full of balloons that the cats are totally freaking out. LOL. And the SWEETS...WOW. So much good stuff to eat that I may just give up cooking for a couple of days and live on sugar alone. :) (Helaine, you reaaaally shouldn't have...but thank you!!!!!) And MORE thanks to Packy, Susan and Ally, we love you all!!!

We are so lucky to have great hospitals, doctors and nurses here in Cape. We do business with both Southeast and St. Francis, and everybody we deal with is so great. We visited both places today and were met with balloons, cards, candy, a cake from My Daddy's Cheesecake, and a giant vat of orange jello, which happens to be one of Sahara's favorite things. She claims that St. Francis makes the best jello on the planet. The staff knows she loves it, so they got her a BIG container of it...the look on Sahara's face was priceless. What a cool and fun thing to do!

Thanks to all of you for giving Sahara lots of smiles today!

We went to horseback riding tonight and it was great.They went riding around outside in the fields near the was a gorgeous afternoon and it felt so good to be out in the country. And they had cupcakes!!! We are going to miss riding so much these next few weeks, and can't wait until they start having lessons again at the end of August.

Sahara wanted hotdogs on the grill and macaroni and cheese for her birthday dinner. HA...and I have been lucky enough to find low sodium, all natural hotdogs.What a hoot. I make her mac & cheese with Swiss cheese, so that cuts down on the salt as well. I am now a boring authority on all things low-sodium, so I apologize who anyone who has the misfortune to have to listen to me. LOL.

Sahara's so excited about the party that she can't hardly stand it. I tried to send out as many invitations as I could by email, and a few through the regular mail, but I know I have missed some friends and teachers. So let me officially invite Sahara's wonderful classmates and teachers, from Alma Schrader, CMS, CJHS, Community Day and Christian School! And there's a certain favorite principal that she's hoping will make an appearance, and I don't have his phone number or email! Mr. Ellis, please come if you can!!!

Sahara's Under the Sea Birthday Party
Cape Elks Club, 6-10 pm, Friday night
No gifts please!

I wouldn't have gotten a fraction of this done if it hadn't been for Caroline, Maria and Ashlyn. Ladies, YOU ROCK, and I thank you so much for your help with names and email addresses!!!

Finally, I just have to say, "What a year." One year ago today we were faced with the awful truth and a grim prognosis. She was not expected to live to see her 13th birthday - and the fact that she DID makes my heart burst with joy and pride.

Sahara has taught me so much this past year...patience, diligence, how to keep fighting and NEVER, EVER give up. She is still able to laugh, joke, be sassy and smart alecky, and I am SO grateful. She gives Shannon such a hard time these days, and it is a riot.

I've been teased a lot about having a teenager now...about the rebellious tendencies and the gravitation towards random piercing and tattooing. LOL. I just laugh and say if she wants to get pierced or tattooed, we'll go with her and do the same. HA!! She can pretty much do anything she wants...because thank GOD, she is ALIVE!!!!

And we are thankful for each day that she continues to beat the odds. We are thankful for the prayers from all of YOU that have helped get us through some really dark days. Her birthday is, for us, another day of thanksgiving. And maybe, just maybe, next year she'll be free of this stupid tumor.

Thanks again to everyone for helping us celebrate!
With love,