Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mama bear roars... and gentle requests for your prayers

Amy and I are clearly sisters from another life. As I was bellowing on the site early this morning, she was sending me this message for all of you. I know it may seem harsh and that people mean well. But it is critically important that everyone do the right thing here.

I've got two people I want to recognize here: first, the jackass who is sending hundreds of spam emails from this site. May you rot. And second, the fool who started the email chains claiming she knows where Sahara is... and sharing that misinformation. The stinkeye for you.

One last thing: during Sahara's journey, we've become aware of so many kids who are fighting brainstem tumors. One of them, a darling little girl from southeast Missouri named Brooke Williams, lost her battle yesterday morning. Brooke's mom was sweet enough to keep Sahara in her prayers and even posted here when Sahara had surgery. For those of you who have a moment, please stop by this family's site and leave a note of support. The website is:

Thanks, everyone. Here's Amy!

Hello everyone,
I feel I need to address something...there's some misinformation floating around (again). First of all, we're still asking that folks respect our privacy for the time being as we work our way through this journey. We're not ready to divulge everything yet, but we eventually will, I'm sure.

However, I want to let you all know that we are NOT in LA, and that Dr. Lazareff did NOT perform Sahara's surgery. As we have mentioned before, if you don't see it here on the blog or hear it directly from Shannon or me, you may or may not be getting factual information. Our only family representative, if you will, is Pamela. So please, realize that if you don't get it from the blog or from the Aldridges, it may not be accurate. It is very frustrating to us when this happens.

Our hearts go out to the family of Brooke Williams in Perryville, MO. If you have an opportunity to support this family, please do...they lost their beautiful daughter Saturday morning to a DIPG brain tumor, which is what Sahara was diagnosed as having initially. Little Brooke no longer suffers, but her family will never be the same. Please lift them up in prayer.

I "officially" met a really sweet gal today. She's from Memphis and understands my sweet tea addiction. :) It's so funny...we've said hi in passing and given each other the knowing smile that parents give each other when their kids are in surgery or in the ICU. Yesterday she posted on our blog, and today I went back to the PICU and had a real conversation with her. I knew it was her even before I saw her sitting there...beside her precious little 4 month old girl.

You see, Macy had surgery the same day as Sahara, only hers was open heart surgery. This little angel has been hospitalized for 3 1/2 months of her short life. So if you don't mind, and have an extra moment, I'd like to ask for the magnificent prayer chain we have for Sahara to offer up some words for this little girl. She deserves the opportunity to grow up and have a wonderful life...just like so many others we know. All of our children need constant prayer. Thank you. :)

On the recovery front...we're moving right along and Sahara's doing better each day! Today was tough at first, though. Shannon flew home early Saturday morning. Sahara just bawled when he left - first time she's cried in ages. That was hard to watch, but she got better as the day progressed. He made it home safe and sound. It's so weird without him here...we've all become this solid unit, working together side by side in all we do. We miss him and can't wait for the day we can go home.

Last night Shannon and I went out for our anniversary dinner. It's not technically until the 29th, but he won't be here then. It's the second time we've spent our anniversary apart. We had a really nice meal at PF Chang's, and really enjoyed our little break. It was great. :)

The verdict is in about what comes next for Sahara. The words all parents of sick kids hate: watch and wait. We're going to get another MRI in in a few months to see what's going on. It is our hope that they got all of the bad cells...the ones that could cause this monster to start growing again. Maybe, just maybe, it will wither and die. But if it doesn't, they say at that point we can consider other treatment options. We just don't know at this point. Our doctor as well as the oncology doctors concur that they do not want to "overtreat" her at this point - they want to get her healthy again, get the weight off, get her off of the decadron...and get her walking again.

We like that plan. So for now, our focus is to thank GOD that she made it through the surgery, is healing incredibly fast, and is making improvements more quickly than anyone here can believe. Next stop: rehab!

On Monday, Sahara will begin a hard core neuro rehab program. They are telling us that with the strides she has made in healing that they see no reason that she shouldn't be able to walk again! We are so excited for her, and she's starting to have more hope herself. I can only imagine what's it's like to feel as she does...when so many things have been taken away from her, it must be so difficult for her to believe that she can get them back. We're trying to get her to set some goals...she says she wants to to to the mall with her friends, play in the yard with the dogs, and walk off the airplane when we eventually go home.

What happy days those will they are lofty goals, but in a few weeks' time, I bet this girl will reach them.

Today was a first for was the first time the two of us have ventured out by ourselves to explore the hospital. I took her for a long ride in the wheelchair and she really enjoyed it. Today the hospital...someday, HAWAII!!! (That's one of our future plans...a long family vacation in Hawaii. :)

That's about it for now. This week should get really interesting, so I'm looking forward to posting more good things soon. Thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers; we appreciate them now more than ever!

With love,