Abby's Journey Archive


Abby's Portrait, by Lance Fairchild

Over the years, our family has gone to Lance Fairchild in Tucson ( to do family photo shoots. He did our wedding and my sister's wedding, as well as lots of other family photo sessions. He's a fantastic photographer.

So when we got ready to do Abby's BMT process we decided it would be a good time to do another portrait session. The pictures turned out fantastic, and Lance gave us permission to include the attached portrait of Abby.

06:03 PM, 29 Jul 2005 by C. R. Oldham Permalink | Comments (1) | Attach Photo

Home, at last

Just a quick post to say that we are all home again. For some reason, it took a moving van to get all our stuff here, even though it took only a pickup truck to take us to Tucson. :-)

All the kids have been just ecstatic to be in their own house again.

Abby has an oncologist appointment tomorrow at 9:00 AM just to reestablish her with her "regular" doctors. We will be scheduling an MRI for as soon as possible to see where we are at. We continue to pray that she would be free from tumor progression.

12:13 AM, 29 Jul 2005 by C. R. Oldham Permalink | Comments (0) | Attach Photo

Miss you

Grandpa and Grandma are going to miss having Abby so close.

Abby's Grandpa Chuck and Grandma Virginia have been very kind and generous to us while we have stayed in Tucson. It has been such a blessing to have them just up the road, and they have watched our kids countless hours while we have been here (not to mention all the times they have come to stay with us in Chandler while Abby has been having treatment there). They are going to miss having Abby her brothers and sisters so close.

04:28 PM, 26 Jul 2005 by C. R. Oldham Permalink | Comments (0) | Attach Photo

This week

Abby's labs today came back great. Dr. Graham has discontinued her IV nutrition. He wants to see her one more time on Wednesday and then we are free to go home! She will continue to be seen regularly by our oncologists at Banner. She will also have an MRI early next week. We'll spend the next few days packing and getting our vacation home here back in order.

Thanks again for your prayers during this part of Abby's journey. We constantly felt covered in prayers.

04:08 AM, 26 Jul 2005 by Amy Oldham Permalink | Comments (0) | Attach Photo

Eating a little

Scolding Daddy

Frozen peas

Manicure time


Abby is eating a little bit every meal. She is requesting more of a variety of foods. She seems to be extremely sensitive to smells so we're trying to keep strong smells at the table to a minimum. This way Abby doesn't have to eat in the other room!

We got a call from the clinic on Friday saying that Abby didn't have to come to her appointment on Saturday. So, we have enjoyed a break since Thursday. We will go into clinic on Monday to check her labs and discuss our departure date. We hope it will be sometime this week.

Abby had a special treat yesterday. She went for a manicure with her cousin, Haley and her Aunt Shelly. We have been promising her a manicure for quite some time now. She expressed some concern earlier in the week about how much a manicure would cost and I joked with her that we could afford it because she has saved us quite a lot of money on haircuts this past year. She giggled and has passed that little joke on to a few people. I love that she can laugh about not having any hair!

Thank you for continuing to lift us up in prayer.

01:45 PM, 24 Jul 2005 by Amy Oldham Permalink | Comments (0) | Attach Photo

TPN reduced

Today at clinic Dr. Graham reduced Abby's TPN, in hopes that her appetite would grow some on its own. She will be getting TPN only every other day now, instead of every day. This is so exciting for her because it means she will be able to go a whole 36 hours without being connected to anything at all!

Also her counts are beginning to go up a little bit on their own. Her platelets went up a whole 3 points from our last clinic visit on Tuesday until today.

Abby has been asking for Chinese food for 2 days now. We've been waiting to fulfill her wish because her food cravings can change moment to moment, but she seems to have settled on it, so we are seeking out the local Pei Wei takeaway for sweet and sour chicken and white rice.

10:47 PM, 21 Jul 2005 by C. R. Oldham Permalink | Comments (0) | Attach Photo

Steady Progress

We had a call from one of our close friends today which prompted me to write this update. Abby is doing great, her platelet count has been steady now for 3 days. She's needed no transfusions since she left the hospital, and the doctors have been so pleased with her progress that they are only requiring her to be in clinic about every other day.

Abby is still on TPN, we are really praying her appetite will come back. She said some things yesterday that made us think that her sense of taste is returning. Her energy level is still not the best, though we did have a little family outing yesterday where she walked with us to the Rincon market (but rode on the way back).

Please also pray that she will not catch anything from the rest our kids. Josiah came home from camp with a sore throat and fever, and immediately gave it to Daniel. Nobody else has it yet, though.

All we are waiting for to be allowed to return home is for her to make her own platelets and to be eating. We know every day we stay here is because God wants us to--we are content here in Tucson with family, but it seems like every day one of our kids asks when we are going home to "the Chandler house."

As in the past, it seems like we have reached a major milestone having completed the treatment with so few complications, but in some ways it is a false sense of security. We still pray daily that the chemotherapy will have done its job. We won't know for another 2-3 weeks (when we have our next MRI) if she has had any more tumor progression. Functionally she is fine, not complaining of any symptom that could be traced to more tumor growth, so for that we praise God and are very thankful.

Thank you, thank you, thank you all for keeping us in your prayers.

10:26 PM, 18 Jul 2005 by C. R. Oldham Permalink | Comments (0) | Attach Photo


Daily exercise

Nurse Barb

Abby's door


Welcome Home

Reading together

We pulled in our driveway of the rental at 1 pm...what a great feeling! Abby was disconnected from her IV lines at around 10:30 this morning and spent the next hour bouncing around the room enjoying her freedom.

She still feels nauseous and is not very interested in eating. We are told that the Malphalan will do that and to expect another few weeks before she is eating normally. We will be delivering IV nutrition for 18 hours a day on a portable pump until Abby is eating again. Abby is also taking various antibiotics, anti-viral and anti-fungal medications...just call us Oldhams pharmacy.

We will get to return to Chandler as soon as Abby is eating and she is producing her own platelets. Her platelet count today was stable so she may indeed already be recovering those. We'll see her labs tomorrow. Dr. Graham said that Abby has "very strong" bone marrow and is discharging sooner than most patients. We say Abby has a "very strong" God and many faithful prayer warriors. Praise you, Lord for answered prayers.


09:03 PM, 12 Jul 2005 by Amy Oldham Permalink | Comments (3) | Attach Photo

Neutrophil sightings and going home

Abby's counts went up quite a bit last night so Dr. Graham says we can tentatively plan for a discharge on Tuesday. We will still have to stay in town because Abby will continue to need transfusions for the next few weeks, but she will be "home" with us! This news brought a smile to Abby's face...she was a little mellow after saying good-bye to big brother, Josiah. He's off to camp for the week.

This morning Abby decided to do some dancing instead of walking laps. We have a DVD with the dances from her recital so she put on her ballet shoes and started dancing. Abby, the IV pole and I even made a ring during the ballet dance and twirled around in a circle. She had a good time and smiled when she thought of her dance teacher and all her dance friends.

We are so thankful to God for His care during this portion of Abby's treatment. He has been so good to us! He has answered our prayers for protection from infections and Abby's continued good spirits.

11:27 PM, 10 Jul 2005 by Amy Oldham Permalink | Comments (0) | Attach Photo

A few counts

Abby has a very, tiny number of white blood cell counts today. This should signal the beginning of the upward crawl :) She's having pretty good days and nights. She seems to be asking for fewer pain and anti-nausea medications as well.

Abby giggled today when one of her doctors said that good behavior will make her counts go up quicker. We decided that if little sister, Elizabeth were trying to raise her counts, they might not go up quite as fast.

06:52 PM, 08 Jul 2005 by Amy Oldham Permalink | Comments (0) | Attach Photo

Hitting bottom

Abby hit zero counts yesterday so we're at the worst of her days now. She is handling the mucocitis well. We were able to start her on a pain medication that doesn't have the side-effect of itching like the morphine and it seems to be working for Abby, praise God. She's still in a lot of pain, but she keeps amazing us. She slept most of the day today so she missed doing her morning laps. I got her up this evening to see how many laps I could convince her to do. Even though it took a lot of effort, she stuck with it for all 16! What we all find even more amazing is that Abby does all her walking up on her toes in her ballet shoes! She is developing some great muscles and everyone on the unit is in awe.

We see occasional smiles from Abby which brings joy to our hearts because we know it must be hard to consider smiling when she feels so awful. She smiles most when we tell her funny things that Daniel and Elizabeth say and do. She also got a very big smile when she saw pictures of her new baby cousin, Axel, who was born on June 13. She thinks he's as cute as Elizabeth :)

We pray with expectation that in a few days her counts will begin to recover. God has been so good to us and we thank Him for that. Please continue to pray that she will develop no infections while her counts are down.

04:51 AM, 06 Jul 2005 by Amy Oldham Permalink | Comments (3) | Attach Photo

Decending counts

Abby's white blood cell counts have gradually gone down in the last few days. She is experiencing some throat pain which requires occasional pain medication, but she remains in good spirits. We will begin IV nutrition tonight since she is taking in so few calories with the little she is eating. Other than that, our routine is about the same.

Please pray for the family of Abby's next door neighbor in the hospital. Their 8 year old girl passed away this afternoon from transplant complications.

11:36 PM, 02 Jul 2005 by Amy Oldham Permalink | Comments (1) | Attach Photo



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