Twenty-three Months Old

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~Twenty-three Months Old~

Twenty-three months.  Wow.  I can hardly believe we are only a few short weeks from celebrating two years with our sweet girl ~ this year has flown by so quickly.  The last month has been busy, to say the least.  We have yet to have a month without doctor appointments, but this month was especially busy with various appointments each week on top of her regular therapies.  Included in those was a pretty important MRI which resulted in some heavy decision making for our family, but we will share more details about that in just a bit.  Despite the craziness, we managed to pack in a trip to the pumpkin patch as well as a unique little farmers’ market, and we generally just enjoyed our time together as we were able.

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~My Size Pumpkin~

Noelle added some fun tricks to her repertoire in the forms of sticking out her tongue with a “lalala” {when asked where her tongue is} and placing both hands on her head when asked where her hair is {although that one does not entirely count since this is also the “answer” given in response to where is her nose, eyes, ears…anything besides her tongue}.  She continued to make strides in her ability to eat some new things through occupational therapy and also added to her capabilities in physical therapy by learning to come down the stairs by herself, get to a standing position without assistance, and walk.  Yes, as of today, she is WALKING!!!

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~First Pumpkin Patch Trip~

She has taken a couple of steps a few times over the past three months and has no trouble pushing an object while walking behind it, but she has struggled to reach the point of being able to “take off” and gain the consistency needed to make one step after another completely on her own.  But today, on her twenty-third month “birthday,” it all came together as she worked with Beth, her physical therapist; and we could not be more thrilled for her to reach this incredible milestone.  We never doubted that she would walk, but because she has been on the verge of it for so many weeks, we were beginning to be concerned that she would not be able to do it completely on her own until after her surgery.  But I am getting ahead of myself and need to back up and explain…

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~Early Morning MRI Go Time~

Six months ago, Noelle had an MRI performed on her spine, confirming that her spinal cord was indeed tethered as well as revealing a growing cyst that was of great concern.  It was the cyst that caused us to be repeating the MRI again so soon since the tethered spinal cord was not presenting an issue at the time.  The procedure was similar to that of six months prior, although it took quite a bit longer due to Noelle’s issues with anesthesia {last time she stopped breathing, and they had to remove her from the machine during the procedure}.  Thankfully, while our waiting time was significantly increased, she never stopped breathing and handled things well overall, although it was early evening before she began to truly act like herself again.

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~Sweet, groggy smiles after the MRI~

We were extremely grateful to learn that the cyst had not increased in size {it had possibly decreased by a millimeter or two}; but after reading the MRI images and examining Noelle in person, her neurosurgeon recommended that it was time for us to proceed with the surgery to de-tether her spinal cord.  It was not a decision we had to make immediately as it was not an emergency situation; but Noelle’s improper attempts at walking were revealing extreme weakness and thus tightness in the muscles typically used for walking, strongly indicating that the tethered spinal cord was creating the issue and not allowing things to function normally for her.

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~Very groggy, but still ready to bust out of here!~

We spent several days in prayer to God and in consultation with her physical therapist and other trusted friends/medical professionals, finally reaching the conclusion that it was the right time for us to move forward with the surgery.  We will continue to share more as the time approaches and more details are made available to us, but she is currently scheduled for surgery on December 13th, and we truly appreciate your continued prayers for our precious girl.

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~A little more coherent, waiting for the results~

But for today and the next few weeks, we have decided to simply enjoy these precious milestones that continue to occur in her life, peacefully trusting that God is continuing to guide and uphold us on this incredible journey.  I had originally thought that I would do some sort of thanksgiving challenge through the month of November, as I did last year; but while time has not allowed for that much writing during these busy days, it has not changed the realization of how God has reshaped our hearts as we have traveled this path.  The attitude of a grateful heart is not simply for November, and I am forever grateful that He is teaching us to marvel at the small things while recognizing Him through it.  This “big” 16 lb. girl who came to us in such a tiny package has been the instrument of grace to us in more ways than I could ever hope to capture in word; but we bear the marks in our changing lives, and for that we say, “Thank you, Lord.”  Celebrating twenty-three months could not be sweeter…

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~With thankful hearts…~

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7 Responses to Twenty-three Months Old

  1. Cynthia Ruble November 9, 2013 at 8:13 AM #

    Jill, This is such a wonderful and thrilling testimony. I noticed her walking with her Daddy on Sunday. It has and continues to be a journey for you and for all of us. Our faith is way to small. Thank you for encouraging us to greater faith and praise. LC

    • Jill November 12, 2013 at 9:37 PM #

      Thank you for your encouragement, Cynthia. God continually reveals to us how small our faith is, and I am so grateful for the daily reminder of His faithfulness to us through Noelle. It is a constant challenge and conviction to us and puts us in awe of Him daily.

  2. Sheryl Welsh November 9, 2013 at 11:41 AM #

    Thank you for continuing to share Noelle’s story with us. She truly is a miracle and blessing. We continue to keep all of you in our prayers.(We are friends of Bob & Martha Alexander).

    • Jill November 12, 2013 at 9:38 PM #

      Thank you so much for continuing to pray for us…it means more than we could ever say in words!

  3. Kristie Yerk Randolph November 9, 2013 at 12:08 PM #

    Congratulations on walking, Noelle! Jill, she is beautiful, as are your words of trust and thankfulness to our Savior. We will be praying for surgery!

    • Jill November 12, 2013 at 9:39 PM #

      Thank you so much, Kristie! We are thrilled to watch her taking these timid steps and truly appreciate your prayers for the surgery. We look forward to the day we can see you again and she can play with your sweet boys!

  4. Terry Hardy November 9, 2013 at 9:46 PM #

    We will certainly be in prayer for your precious daughter! You have so much to be thankful for!

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