Hi all! Hope this finds you all doing well. We are good here. I went back to work for 2 days this week and then I'll be back full time next week (well full time is going to be only 4 days for the summer...I'm going to enjoy my Mondays and Wednesdays off!). So far Tuesday was a good day back...I'm also working on Thursday. I told Jon it's a good thing that I like what I do 'cause I had that feeling that I always got the last day of summer break as a kid...I don't want to go back to school...so Monday night I laid in bed telling Jon...I don't want to go back to work! But really...I do...I think it will be good to get back into some sort of routine and it will be good to get out of the house and have a social life...'cause after all that is a big part of my job!:) Anyway...today was a good day. A week ago we got a letter in the mail from Emmalee's surgeon, Dr. Burkhardt. It basically said that he'd been thinking about Emmalee and that if we ever wanted to get together or if we had any questions, we could feel free to call him. So we decided that it would be good to see him, not that we had any major questions for him, but almost just to have a bit of closure with him. You see, after Emmalee's surgery he ended up going out of town on a well deserved vacation with his family, so he wasn't around when Emma passed away. He checked in everyday and was well aware of what was going on but I'm sure it wasn't the same for him as if he were actually there...not that he could have done anything else for her...we know that. We were just hoping that our situation didn't damper his vacation at all. Well we met with him today and I told Jon that I was kind of nervous...nervous for him and us I guess...maybe it's just because of the subject matter...I didn't know if it would become emotional to talk about again or if we'd find out something we'd rather not know. But it went really good...we really just wanted to communicate to him that we know he did his best and that we didn't blame him for anything. I know my biggest comfort comes from knowing that God was in control that day...the whole day....He had plans for Emmalee's life and for ours...He knew exactly how many days Emma would spend here on earth...and He will continue to be here for us to help us get through this time. We did find out that her esophagus problem was bit more of a problem than we thought...it was actually a lot more narrow than it should be so even though they did connect it, it was pretty thin and who knows if she would have had problems later on with that...he said she probably would have needed more reconstructive surgery on that...poor little thing...and then we talked about the clots she was forming...not exactly sure why she was forming clots...every one's body is different....and her brain damage was pretty significant...not sure her heart would have worked anyway with the amount of damage that was done. But none of this matters anyway...it's good for us to know all this but it doesn't make a difference because our little girl is perfect now. She won't ever have to endure another surgery...she won't have to worry about having heart problems...she won't have to worry period! So that's about all that's going on for us. When we were up there we were able to run into a few of her nurses and another doctor...it was so good to see them again! We really enjoyed all the people we met up there...God gave us an amazing opportunity to meet some amazing people and for that we will be forever grateful to Him for that! Well I'd better run for now. Take care....thanks for all the encouraging notes you've been sending to me in my e-mail box...I'm working on replying to everyone so bear with me! But keep them coming...they make me smile knowing that you all have been touched by our little Emmalee! Love you all!
Oh three more things:
1. Please pray for a couple we met while we were down at Mayo. They are still there...their names are Ryan and Lora. Lora gave birth to their daughter, Ruth, early because they found cancer in Lora's brain and needed to start her on treatment. Ruth is doing good...gaining weight like crazy! Lora is in the middle of her treatments and she seems to be doing good with them, meaning they seem to be working on the cancer, but I think it's taking a toll on the rest of her body. I'll put the link to her Caring Bridge page on here...hopefully it works! But I know they would greatly appreciate all your prayers for healing for Lora's body and for Ruth to keep gaining weight and staying healthy! Here it is: http://caringbridge.org/visit/lorakesselhon
2. Please pray for Christian singer Steven Curtis Chapman and his family. Their little girl was killed in their driveway when she was struck by an SUV driven by one of her older brothers...total accident...and a tragic one. We know what it's like to lose your little girl but they will also be dealing with helping their son cope with it as well. Steven Curtis is one of the most talented singers and songwriters around...his words in his songs are so meaningful and have helped me along this road. At Emma's funeral we actually had someone sing one of his songs called "With Hope"....the lyrics go...We can cry with hope. We can say good-bye with hope. 'Cause we know our good-byes are not the end. And it goes on from there...they have a website as well and I'll post it too. I just know that prayers work to help get through the loss and to give you the strength to get through to make it to the other side. It's a process...let's keep praying:) Here's his website: http://www.stevencurtischapman.com/
3. I keep forgetting to mention this. If you all think of it, start saving your pop can tabs. While we were living at the Ronald McDonald House we learned how valuable these are. The tabs contain pure aluminum so they make the most money by just collecting these. The house in Rochester alone makes $10,000 a year from people bringing in their tabs...so they do go to a great cause and help so much to make the Houses a success...I know we sure appreciated all they did for us and it was so nice to have a nice and reasonable place to stay...and a place to come "home" to after a long day at the hospital. If you live around here you can always drop them off to us either at our home or at my work and we can take care of getting them there. Thanks for taking the time to do this to make a difference in families lives!