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Friday, October 7, 2011


I'm sorry for the most of you have already figured out, Avery's MRI was not what we were hoping for.  As a matter of fact it's worse than we could have thought.  Avery's scans show she has tumors in both her head and her spine.  Hard to believe considering the spunk and attitude, as well as the progress we see every day.  This is recurrence number 2.  At this point, the only hope for cure is radiation and at her age they generally avoid it at all costs.  They have learned, the hard way, that a child that receives radiation this early in life has devastating consequences through out the rest of their lives.  Jeremy and I are at loss...once again we've been posed the question of what to do with our child and once again we have to make a ridiculously hard decision with no help from anyone but our faith and each other.  This is even worse than feeling helpless as a parent.  At least when you are helpless, you have no control and can feel better about the outcomes.  When you are forced to make a decision, its something that you will live with for the rest of your life.  Why we've been chosen to walk this path I question everyday.  Why we continue to take hit after hit is something I'll never understand while we are here on this earth.  It's my job to have faith, to believe, to trust....but I gotta tell you -- this SUCKS.

We drove home on Wednesday night - desperate to sleep in our own beds, and to find some comfort in being home.  The night was restless for all of us.  We didn't sleep for obvious reasons.  Avery didn't sleep because we fed her chocolate covered doughnuts at 10:30 pm to keep her happy.  Yesterday we took her to aquatic therapy - which she loves.  So much, actually that we decided to get a short term membership to the local community center that has a fabulous pool for her to play in.  Afterwards, her and I went to see my acupuncturist - desperate times call for desperate measures.  After the lady lectured me on sugar (note chocolate doughnuts) in her diet and why it causes internal issues.... I watched as she did some massage therapy on Avery and the proceeded to poke her with needles.  Now keep in mind this kid gets poked - A LOT... so a few tiny needles should be nothing for her.  But she was actually a little ticked about it, however I quickly discovered that the irritation lay in the fact that we were holding her down rather than the needles themselves.   I was then told she would eat a lot, pee and poo a lot and then sleep a ton.  I don't know much about western medicine and I certainly don't know anything about eastern medicine, but wouldn't you know that kid has gone to bathroom so many times today it's ridiculous and her appetite was incredible today.  We've decided whatever can help her body in whatever way, we will do.  Oh and she slept like a rock last night.  Crazy Chinese Medicine is a go...

Today we met with our Oncology team at Childrens Mercy here in Kansas City.  It was disappointing walking back into the clinic after being away for so long.  Luckily the nursing staff still recognized her with all her hair. We spoke with our Oncologist and then another one that leads the Clinical Trial team at CMH.  Dr Neville will be taking us on as we've decided to enroll her in yet another study. This one is merely a time provider -- if it works.  It is out patient, meaning we will be taking her in each day to the clinic for a few hours to receive this new chemo regimen.  Normal side effects apply.  Vomiting, loss of appetite, drop in counts, and hair loss are all possible and likely.  Good thing she is planning on being Rapunzle for Halloween and I bought a wig.  Psycho cleaning Jenn and Jeremy will once again emerge, and we will be somewhat limited on visitors, especially sick ones.  It's been a fantastic break from those things these last few months, but back to the grind.  The hope is that this chemo regemine will give us as much time with her as possible.  Like the ICE treatment we did last fall and spring, this will not cure Avery.  It may not even help at all.  But we've decided to try it for the time being so we can squeak out every last once of time that we can with her.  From this point forward we will move forward making every moment count.  I suggest you do the same if you want some of those moments to include her.  We really thought that the treatment in NYC would have bought more than a few months...maybe a year.  It was a shock once again for us all, the dr's and the nurses included, that she had growth and actual tumors.  We have slid into a state of numbness again...

In the mean time, Avery continues to be her normal self.  Bossy and sweet, reserved and chatty all at the same time.  Strong willed is the term the therapists keep using.  We will continue to take her to therapies so we can increase her vocabulary and help us help her, especially in pain management.  Tumors can create awful pain in her head and spine as they grow and we need to make sure we manage that as best we can.  She has such a high tolerance to pain, and that makes it even harder to help her.  We are hoping we can teach her the difference so that we can manage it.  We are also going to make sure we do as much as we can with her while she feels well.  We've expedited her Make a Wish process and in 2-3 weeks we will be taking her to Disney World.  She has become so found of that "Tangled" movie we thought it only fitting we should go see Rapunzel in person.  Keeping busy will keep us sane, so we plan to pack as much fun as tolerable in over the next few weeks.  If you have any ideas - let me know. 

We have asked a lot of you all over these last 21 months...constant prayer, lots of fruit snacks, and a lot of finger crossing -- we ask that you continue as Jeremy and I really need it now.  A year ago they told us she wouldn't make it to Christmas without doing something aggressive.  Today they are giving us the same chances.  Miracles do happen, prayers do get answered...but God has the plan and we all just need to wait and see what it is...reality.

Jenn & Jeremy & Avery


  1. You guys have been through so much..we love you and Avery will be in our nightly prayers.

    Love Amanda and Quinten

  2. We will continue to pray for that sweet girl and you and Jeremy as well. God chose amazing parents to raise such an amazing little girl. You inspire so many with your strength. We've never met you or Avery but we follow her story closely and she has touched our lives! Reminds me every time I read your posts to slow down and enjoy the simple things just as you do every chocolate donuts! God bless you guys!!

  3. This grandma will continue to pray for all of you. You are an amazing couple and amazing parents to be there for each other,and for Avery. You are doing a great job, no one could ask for a better Mom & Dad. Hugs and Prayers to you all. You are all in my thoughts daily.
    Just another Grandma

  4. jenn, i know you have said how much she likes water, so when in FL at disney world try and see if you can take her to discovery cove to swim with the dolphins!! Its an amazing experience!

  5. We will keep praying....we love you guys

  6. Jennifer, Jeremy and Avery Anne,
    We continue to pray for a miracle and the gift of time. May God give you all of his blessings and grace.Love Auntie Lori and Uncle Bob, Maple Jo and BlackJack. ((((HUG))))

  7. I am so glad you have a place to share your joy, anger, hurt and hope. I continue to pray for the miracle that you all deserve.
    Keep your faith, it is the one thing you can always fall back on.

    Lucy Hough

  8. We pray for your family daily and will keep doing so. We have never meet you, but follow your story from the Dooley's and the blog.And it feels like we know you. I have been doing Relay for Life for some time now. This year my husband and I put little cutie Avery at the top of our list. I bought her t-shirt to wear for that special night along with luminaries in honor of her. I will continue to do so. Your little girl is such a fighter and so strong. She truly puts a smile on our faces and inspires us all. We commend you for your tough fights and tougher fights yet to come which you will make it though. FAITH , HOPE, LOVE will help you. God bless you and your family.

  9. You are in our thoughts and prayers as always. We as you did not want this kind of news. May God guide you in this process and may he bless Avey as well as the two of you.
    God Bless
    Keith and Diane

  10. No words can express the heartache that I feel, as I think of your beautiful and spunky little pumpkin, and her potentially limited time with us. She is a gift to each and every person that has had the privilege to meet her and I will be praying like crazy for a miracle! Your hope and strength are inspiring. Thoughts, prayers and hugs in abundance to you!

  11. You don't know me and probably never will, but I will pray for your family and your dear little girl. My daughter and her husband had to make a difficult decision for their little girl, my precious granddaugther, Audrey. She was born with a very rare neuromuscular disease and we lost her 3 years ago at age 6 years. We all used to pray for a miracle for her as well, then one day my daughter said to me, Mom, I have my miracle, I have had Audrey in my life and was given the honor of being her mommy. We then prayed for the strength to do what ever it was we had to do to get through each day. You too have your miracle, your most precious gift from God. How lucky you are that He chose you to be Avery's mommy and daddy. Draw strength from your faith. May God Bless you, your family and your dear Avery.

  12. This is truly heartbreaking in so many capacities. Although I don't know you or your family, I found myself waking up two times last night to pray. On my way home from work, I was consumed in prayer. Little Avery is a beautiful and precious blessing and she has my heart. Keep the faith!

  13. Dear Heavenly Father, we know how much you love little Avery and that healing to those that belong to you was paid for at the Cross with Jesus precious blood. Just as your awesome Holy Spirit spoke when we prayed for Lexie's healing saying "she will be healed, as if, it had never happened", Father we speak that same promise over little Avery now, and further proclaim from Psalm 118 "Avery Christiansen will Live and not die! And what the enemy has meant for evil, will be turned by you Father, for her good (Gen 50:20)!" Father let this all be a witness of your power and love, and of the power of prayer to the one true God, creater of all the universe, Elohim, Yahweh, Jehovah Rapha (healer), Jehovah Nissi (our battle Fighter). In the name of Jesus, name above all names. Amen!

    Prayer by: Pam Gomer
    Shared with you by: Beth Mayhew (Meri & Madi's great aunt)

  14. Prayers, prayers, and more prayers.

  15. I cannot imagine the heartache you feel as parents. The decision choices shouldn't be 'a rock' or 'a hard place'. You are right that it is all in the hands of the God Almighty. He has not forgotten about you nor has He forsaken you. He has already made all the plans and is already there for whatever you need whenever you need it. I hope you guys have an incredible time at Disney World. I will lift you as parents and Avery up to God's throne of mercy.