It is hard to believe that it has been a month since Abby’s hair became a portable object. A big thanks to all of you who helped us wig out with inspiring texts, calls, silly photos, etc. Those of you who know Abby, know that her curls are her pride and glory and you gave us tremendous strength and courage as our journey became extra personal. To celebrate your love, we’ve posted a few pictures of your colorful, loving and even spooky hair. A special thank you to my Aunt Kiki and Aunt Candy who held Abby’s hand during her wig day – you are a true model of inner-beauty for us. Among the beautiful people we now consider our friends, is Anton Schoenbacher, Abby’s wigmaker. You can learn about Anton’s story to get a glimpse of the unsung heroes that devote their life’s energy to cancer patients.
Abby’s first 5-day in-patient treatment came and went. She approached her stay with much ruach (hebrew word for spirit), love and grace and the entire 6th floor of UWMC loved the “kiki” board celebrating these amazing qualities and helping Abby feel more at home while in a hospital room for 5 days. Abby’s platinum team of doctors and nurses were amazing. It really is a small, connected world, our lead nurse was someone I grew up with at Herzl and Camp Solomon Schecter.
The treatment itself was a bit gentler on Abby than she expected and the actual chemotherapy was only 1 hour each day. This gave Abby a lot of time and energy to visit with many of you and indulge in all the magazines, cookbooks and uplifting texts and e-mails you shared with her. One of the highlights of her week was being able to join her Seattle 12 Wexner cohorts remotely for their monthly study session. #ThanksWex. In true Abby fashion, she used time in between visits and resting to outfit the family with knit hats and has plans to explore some other projects. Jaren and Miri loved visiting Abby and on the morning of her discharge we surprised her and the 6th floor nurses with a kid-made Valentine’s Day pancake breakfast.
Abby’s energy rebounded well the week after, but the compressed week of recovery just wasn’t enough to keep her on her treatment schedule. This gave us an unexpected extra week to be normal around the house – the first real down time we’ve had since December. For our bike racing friends, the feeling was analogous to that first chance to sit up and catch a breath after a very intense race start. Treatment resumed Monday and we’re shifting back into our big ring.
Our focus has been aided by our close friends Maya Hasson, Tracy Brazg, Tamar Benzikry-Stern, Beth Balkany, Joe Goldberg and Melodie Schneider, who have stepped up to help us channel and implement your many offers of support. Thanks to those of you who signed up at www.AbbysArmy.org, Abby and I are now able to let Maya, Tracy, Tamar, Beth, Joe, Melodie and others collaborate directly with all of you in ways that are personal, focused and helpful. With your support we’ve already secured consistent childcare, squared away a sustainable meal plan, and are getting some help around the house. It’s all going a long way to make things feel a bit more normal and giving us some solid ground to stand on. While many of our core needs are getting organized, here are some immediate needs.
- Check-in – If you only have a minute, send her a text (206) 605-2976 or e-mail (email@example.com) or give her a call. She’d love to hear what you are up to from time-to-time.
- Walks – If you’ve got 30-60 minutes and want to enjoy the sun and blooming flowers in our neighborhood, come join Abby for a walk.
- Visits & Rides– Abby has lots of medical appointments these days and if you’ve got more time to spare, she’d love to have you give her a ride to her next appointment or keep her company during her 1-Day and 5-Day stays. To make this easy for you, we’ve updated the Visit Abby page to include her up-to-date treatment schedule as well as sign up for rides. Her next 5-day appointment is currently scheduled for 3/16-21st.
For Jaren and Miri:
- Weekend Playdates – The kids are really enjoying spending time with friends on a weekend and we’re finding this gives us a chance to catch up on the backlog of house work. Mornings (10am – 1pm) seems to be the best window for everyone.
Many of you have asked about sharing www.AbbysArmy.org with friends, family and our community at large and we would be honored if you’d like to share our journey with others and give us the opportunity to continue to celebrate you, Abby’s Army, throughout this experience.
Thanks again for everything you do for our family and for keeping us in your thoughts, prayers and meditations. There are some very fun and creative things brewing that we can’t wait to share with you in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!
Love and healing,
Justin, Abby, Jaren and Miri