Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thankful for Heroes

Thankful and very blessed to be surrounded by real, live heroes.

My very first hero is my Mother. Not only has she overcome numerous obstacles in her life, in doing so she taught my brother and me about determination, perseverance, success, values, importance of family, unconditional love and compassion for others. She has embraced all of her grandchildren and has made no exception for Mia. She traveled with us when we first went to Cincinnati for our initial week long evaluation, lent a helping hand with Mia's morning procedures when Dave was out of town, learned how to assist the nurse so that Dave and I could go on vacation last year, stayed with me at Ronald MacDonald House and since Mia's surgery she has learned about her care so that Mia can spend the night at her house. Mia's medical needs do not stop her from taking Mia places and doing all the things she would do with any of her grandkids. She amazed me one day when I picked up Mia and she said, "She looked "mucusy" so I flushed her and had her drink more water." Not only is it a wonderful feeling for me, knowing Mom is able to assess Mia's medical needs and take care of them, it allows Mia to have time with Grammy like all the other kids, independent of me.

Next, of course, Miss Mia!! When I sit back and think of where she started, where she is today and all she has been through to get here, I couldn't be more proud of her! Not only does she face her challenges, she conquers them with grace! She is so brave, so resilient, so inspirational! Her bright smile and positive nature make me strive to be the best person I can be each and every day. She reminds me to count the smallest of blessings and take nothing for granted. She has shown me strength I never knew existed. Looking at her, I am reminded that life is unpredictable and fragile and we need to hold on to hope, faith and unconditional love!

Finally, I thank those heroes big and small who touch my life every day! Heroes who give selflessly, radiate hope, heal, cure, protect, teach, spread kindness, fight for better tomorrows and shine in the face of adversity and loss. I can name so many.  This year has redefined "hero" for me. It's not always the one who has climbed the highest mountain, braved the toughest storm or won the biggest battle. It is, in fact, the ordinary person who makes this world a better place by the way he/she lives life, making the most of each  and every day no matter how good or bad the day may be! They can be 1 or 101. They can be loud or quiet. Look around. They are everywhere if you wish to see them.

Happy Thanksgiving and happy birthday Mom, Mia and Gabriella!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Super Strong!

THE picture of the year! These two ladies have earned every bit of their accolades! Miss Mia continues to amaze and inspire everyone she meets. To meet her, you would never know what she has endured and how she has conquered all of life's challenges thrown at her from the day she was born. Her strength is much beyond her years!!!

Miss Magliocca's amazing dedication, compassion, and love for her students is not only admirable but a beautiful example of teaching with heart. We were very blessed to be a part of her first year of teaching and know she will have many years to touch the lives of children that walk through her classroom door.

Since my last post, Mia has grown up so much.  Her last catheter was removed June 4th and so was her immense anxiety. Within 24 hours we were able to lift her shirt and look at her belly without any flinching or pull back! She began a new chapter in her life. Now accepting of her new body, she is self-cathing! We couldn't be more moved by her ability to be independent. It is amazing!

On the other side of her recovery, we can finally say it was worth it. Although, "worth" is still a strong word for me. "Worth" doesn't seems to coincide with so much pain and suffering. However, it was an amazing transformation to watch and we are so thankful that the hard part is behind us!!! Her quality of life has definitely been changed for the better!

We are all enjoying a wonderful summer together. No matter what the weather is like, for us, this summer is perfect in so many ways.

Thank you all for carrying us through a difficult time! Thank you also for all who joined us for our annual Stroll for Strong. We had just over 80 members representing Mia's Marchers!!! A true example of how blessed we are!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Almost There!!

I can't believe it has been a month since my last post. They say no news is good news! I will say it hasn't been easy but we are in a much better place than we were a month ago. In fact, I've started this post at least four times. Each time I erased what was previously written and begin again because each week was a little better than the one before.

Even in a better place, Mia has nights she is up with nightmares and spasms and is hard to resettle.  The remaining catheter causes much discomfort and anxiety.  Thankfully, this last catheter comes out June 4th. We cannot wait!!! We think once that is out, Mia will move forward and be less anxious about her belly. There will be no more tubes taped to her body and she will be able to take baths again, lay on her belly, run without worrying about pulling the tube and so much more. This means Dave and I can also let go of some anxiety! I can't wait to be able to hug her close without worrying about her tube!

Mia has adjusted very well to cathing thanks to some wonderful nurses, phenomenal support from school and Mia's amazing strength and acceptance. Dave and I have also adjusted to cathing. Once Mia's anxiety decreased ours followed suit. I think it's safe to say that when you are comfortable enough to cath in the car, you have reached a new level of acceptance and performance.

We have begun to celebrate once again with friends and family! We are ready to begin our new chapter.

The older kids have resumed play dates and sleepovers and are mostly well adjusted to our new norm. We still are working a few things out, mostly with Nick. He says our family balance is not right because of the nurses. Keep in mind, the nurses only come 3 evenings from 3:30-7 so that I can attend Nick's track meets and run errands. Nick is literally home for about an hour, two max, when they are here. Samantha, on the other hand, loves having them and so do Gab and Mia. Samantha said they are so nice and she likes when they are here. Gab and Mia count down the days until they come! We told Nick this is only temporary. We will be done with nursing the second week in July. 

This roller coaster was a tough one to ride but we didn't fall off! We are all still here. Still hanging on. Still loving each day God has given us.

Thankful to be in a better place, we continually pray for friends back at the Ronald McDonald House who continue to struggle. Our prayer is that they too can move to a better place along their journey. One thing is for sure, this experience has left me questioning my faith more than ever. I have seen kids endure so much pain and suffering that it is very difficult to accept this as God's plan.   Not only was it difficult to watch Mia's suffering, but to witness child after child suffer in ways no one should have to. Imagine a two year old whose side effects from cancer treatment are so severe that his skin cracks, bleeds, weeps and his eyes are sewn shut in order to avoid infection and hopefully save his vision. In addition, they partially paralyzed his body in order to allow it to rest while healing. A sixteen year old, healthy and athletic, contracts a virus and in a matter of two days loses his heart. He is being kept alive by an artificial, mechanical heart and needs to remain until a heart becomes available (could be two weeks, could be two years, could be more). The stories are numerous! It's an entire hospital full of children fighting through illness, injury, disease, and surgery. A whole house full of families able to find smiles though the pain. I do see God's work in the generous volunteers, the love of all who share a common theme and the smiles of so many children who find beauty and joy among pain and suffering. These are the things that fill my mind as we count our blessings and move forward in our journey... happy to be in a better place...wishing for so many others to be here with us.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Finding our new "normal"

I intended to post much sooner but every day seemed crazier than the one before! Between phone calls, getting Mia's new medical supplies in order, visitors, visits to schools and everyday happenings of the whole family, it took a full week to unpack! I still have not finished sending "thank yous" so if you have not received one yet, please know it will hopefully be on its way soon!

When we arrived home last Saturday, all the kids were waiting for us in the driveway. Gabriella was so anxious to hug Mia that she climbed in the car and began unbuckling her before Dave or I opened our doors! The rest of the night they were inseparable. They immediately went into their room and began making up for lost time. The girls are so happy to be back together!!! For me, it was heaven hugging my other kids again! 

Two days before we came home, while in the hospital, we learned how to cath Mia through her new "port"/stoma (the Mitrofanoff). This process, while not painful but a little uncomfortable, left Mia hysterical! She needs to be cathed every two hours so every two hours were dreaded by all! Thankfully, we had WONDERFUL nurses this week (two who took care of Mia at Daystar!) who helped Mia work through much of her anxiety. She went from screaming to helping in just one day! Thank you Monica! Although she is trying to accept her new body and life, she has a long way to go. She asks the same questions daily. "Why did God make me like this?" "Why do I have stoma?" "What is this for?" "How long will we have to cath?" The questions go on and on. 

Being home has definitely helped Mia's spirits and mine, however, it also has its challenges.  Home, and everyone at home, is the same but Mia is different. Because Mia is hooked to a urine bag at night she cannot get out of bed without one of us. We have a baby monitor set up so we can hear when she gets up. She continues to have spasms at night which wake her and her anxiety comes out at all times throughout the night. She will wake with all of those same questions. It is like having a new born all over again! Because we have to cath every two hours, our daily activities/schedules need to work around that as well. It's just a matter of finding our new normal.

As usual, Mia continues to amazes all of us! Although she is working through anxiety and varying emotions, she wants so much for things to be normal again. "Normal" includes going to school! Yes, she wanted to get on that bus with her sister this week! Thursday morning she decided she wanted to go, ride the bus, attend school and ride the bus back home. No half day for this girl! No rides from mom. I was nervous but also know that the quicker she gets back to her old routine, with her new changes included, the quicker she will accept things as being what they are. She went to school Thursday and Friday but did have a meltdown Friday afternoon. All the questions began and tears were flowing. She said, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to cry but sometimes I just randomly cry. I don't know why!" Again, school and friends haven't changed yet she has. She will have to find her new normal at school as well! We are blessed to have our Plank North Family helping every step of the way! Mia is so happy to be back with Mrs. Roumpapas.

So much for this little girl to process and accept yet she continues to smile and push forward! 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Oh, the Power of Prayer!

Thank you all for praying so hard. Mia's procedure went well. There are no leaks and all looks good!!! Mia has had many tears today but it is going to take time for her to get used to cathing her bladder. She still has another 6-8 weeks of healing.  The remaining catheter will be removed after that and additional testing will tell us more about her new bladder function and health of her kidney.

With that being said.....we should be on our way home Saturday!!!! Dave asked earlier why I used the word "should". I have learned things can change at any given minute so I am afraid to use definitive words. However, that is the current plan and we continue to pray that there will be no surprises.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Guardian Angels!!!

Calling all of Mia's guardian angels! Tomorrow Mia will have one last procedure here to remove  two of the remaining three catheters, the last one will be taken out in Rochester. They will test to make sure there are no leaks in her new augmented bladder. Then, we will begin cathing her every 1-2 hours. Please pray that all has healed with no leaks and cathing will go smoothly. Mia does not understand her new body and is very anxious. Tomorrow will be traumatizing for her and me.

I just pray that everything looks healthy and we can stay on track for going home Saturday! The rest of her healing, mentally and physically, will just take time! My healing will take weeks of wine and bubble baths!!

Love to all and hope to see my friends and family very soon! Thank you again for keeping us in your prayers. The power of prayer is amazing!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Love and Laughter are the Best Medicines Around

Monday brought Grammy, Uncle Curtis, Aunt Lissy and Mia's 3 cousins. It began with huge hugs and tears from all and ended this morning in a very similar way. The days were precious and made the week fly by. Mia lit up every time her cousins came to see her! Mia has almost slept through the last two nights, with just minor interruptions. Of course Grammy was her bed partner and now I wonder what tonight will bring. The funny thing is Grammy snores (sorry mom, had to share) and I can't believe Mia was able to sleep through that. The only thing I can figure is that it must be good "white noise" for Mia which means I had better start learning how to snore!

It was a wonderful week! Mom stayed with me at the Ronald McDonald House and was a huge help, especially emotionally! Mia LOVED having her around and so did I. I miss her already! My brother, sister-in-law and kids stayed at a less than ideal campground about 30 minutes away. They made and brought dinner to us each night so we could all eat together. After dinner, the kids played in the playroom with some of our new friends here. Mia LOVED that and I was able to enjoy a much needed visit. The kids enjoyed the good weather on the playground and we even packed in a trip to the zoo. My brother, who has earned the title "Golden Child", celebrated his birthday yesterday by giving ME the best gift family! His partner in crime, "the Golden Sister-in-Law" gave up her school break to be with us. I am so very blessed and grateful.

To make the week even better, Mia's teacher, Miss Magliocca gave up her school break to visit as well! Wow!! Mia is one loved little girl and I am one blessed momma!  Miss Magliocca and Mia played hide-and-seek, pool, bowling and so much more! They even designed a Hero cape together that Mia will have made for her through a local organization. They will return this upcoming week to reveal all the capes and their heroes! Mia was looking forward to Miss Magliocca's visit for days! To have your teacher visit is like the coolest thing EVER! And to know she drove 8 hours to see you....well, that's just awesome!!!! I cannot forget to mention Miss Magliocca's wonderful friend Mr. Powers, who made the trip with her for a child he had never met! 

Day by day is how we will get through our last week! The end is in sight and having a countdown helps. Mia knows when dad comes in 6 days, we are very close to going home!! Praying the next week goes by quickly and with continued progress. We do have one more visitor, the EASTER BUNNY of course!!!

Happy Easter to all and thank you again for all the prayers!

Friday, March 27, 2015

We are full of Sunshine!

Notice anything, besides the crazy baseball head? Miss Mia got her NGtube out yesterday. I tried to post the good news last night but the internet was down. 
I am very excited and nervous at the same time. They want her to gain weight this week or they may put it back in.  I really have to get her to eat. If only Mia's appetite took after mine we would have no worries!!!! Still, we are happy to report the good news and hope this helps move us forward!

In addition, my phone rang at 8am. Music to my ears!! We are scheduled for her last surgical procedure that will allow us to come home! Thursday, April 9th she will have two of her remaining three catheters removed. She will be admitted overnight, Dave and I will get trained in cathing and if we pass our test, they will send us on our way! The last catheter will be taken out by her urologist at home after 3-4 weeks. How wonderful to start my day with that great news AND dad comes to spend a few days with us today too. Best day so far!

We can definitely hold on for two more weeks! Look at all the love we have!!! 
This is only a small portion! Mia has had cards and packages from friends near and far, people she doesn't even know. Dave and my friends from grammar school, high school and college have sent cards and packages, as well as our school and work friends and family from home. Of course Mia has touched many hearts here as well. We met a wonderful family here at the Ronald McDonald House, who of course have their own story of why they are here, who showered Mia with their love and surprise goodies. This beautiful woman said to Mia, "How can you love someone you just met so much? I don't know but I love you Mia! I will never forget you. You will always have a special place in my heart." It was so moving. We are blessed beyond words. Mia is so loved it is amazing!

Once Dave leaves, my mom comes for a visit with my brother, sister-in-law and the three kids. AND...Mia's teacher is coming!!! Mia is very excited! What a lucky kid to have her teacher drive 8 hours and give up her Spring break to visit Miss Mia. Just amazing to me! Looks like the sun is shining and God is knowing exactly what we need!

Some have asked about Nicolas, Samantha and Gabriella coming down. I know it seems crazy that they aren't coming too but we just think it isn't a good idea for Mia. Trust me, I would give anything to hug them and kiss them all over but Mia is finally in good spirits. If they come and she cannot go home with them, it will crush her! Hopefully, they will all come down to get us and bring us home! 

Thank you again for all the prayers and support!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Pictures and Perspective

Although Mia is still apprehensive and anxious about much of her day, she is definitely more comfortable and recovering better here at the Ronald McDonald House than at the hospital, . You know she is not her "mayor" self when she is not interacting with anyone other than me. She does not like to eat in the big dining room with everyone else and she leaves the playrooms when other kids come in. The nice thing about being here is there are many distractions! I can usually find a quiet place and an activity that works. There is a Little Tykes computer with Trudy, Sammy and Bailly's Playhouses, an arcade room, puppet theater, 3 different playrooms, a library, the playground and sometimes she will partake in guests that come with therapy dogs or musical instruments! Once she gets into a groove of playing, she is fine!

Check out this groove in our room!

 Of course, we love being in our bed with our stuffed animals!

A visit from Nonno and Nonna brings Mia smiles!

 The weather was even nice enough for us to go on the playground with them! 

Thank you Darrin for this colorful, soft package! She loves it!

Mia loves the butterfly pig by the playground!
As you can see, Mia has been busy and smiley!!! Although we are both very homesick, we know we our time here is a blessing in many ways. I have met some wonderful families and am constantly reminded that our journey is only one of many, some of which are undoubtedly more difficult and longer than ours. I really gain perspective when I talk to the families here. Like the mom across from us who has been here since October with her beautiful 21 month old daughter who has an inoperable brain tumor. Thankfully, although they can never fully remove the tumor, it is one she can live with but it will always have to be watched. This mom has a three year old son back home with her husband. Another couple has been here since January with their six year old daughter fighting a brain tumor, and have left their other kids back home in California. Yet another mom has been here since October with her 18 year old daughter who is waiting for her second bone marrow transplant. Everyone here has a story. Every child has been through so much and their strength is like no other! Through it all, they manage to smile and make us smile. When I heard we were still three weeks away from coming home, it broke my heart and then I saw my neighbor! Perspective, although sad, keeps me grounded.

So, I ask not only for prayers for Miss Mia but all children here and around the world that need God's healing and blessings. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

On the Road to Recovery

We made it to the Ronald McDonald House Saturday evening. It was crazy! We opened all our boxes of medical supplies, took inventory, organized, set up a white board with a schedule and had visiting nurse services supervise my ability to run Mia's feedings. I passed!!! The first night was exhausting and Mia and I were both overwhelmed. Thankfully Aunt Leigh was here to help us through it all! I have been very lucky to have help even with Dave back home! 

Although Mia did not sleep well Saturday night, Sunday proved to be a much better day and night! Mia and Aunt Leigh played on the computer and in the puppet theater while I did some much needed laundry and ran back and forth to the hospital for additional medical supplies. We all had some smiles and even some laughs throughout the day!

I heard Monday was suppose to reach 73 degrees. Since the zoo is walking distance from the Ronald McDonald House and I had someone to help me in case of any emergency, I decided a trip to the zoo was just what the doctor ordered!

It's amazing what a little sunshine and being around the company of animals can do for the soul. Not to mention the two beautiful girls in these pictures! It was a wonderful day! We will be so sad to see Aunt Leigh leave tomorrow! I think it is safe to say, the Ronald McDonald House may be the perfect medicine for Miss Mia and me!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Ronald McDonald House, Here We Come!

I am extremely happy to report that we are getting out of this place today! Yes, the discharge papers are being put together as I type! We will be moving across the street to the Ronald McDonald House, where Mia may feel less anxious and can mend her spirits.

Some have asked how we could have gone from bad to good in such a short time. As you may recall, Mia has been medically well all along. The two things we were working on were Mia's nutrition and anxiety/emotional distress. Since Mia now has the NGtube, all her nutritional needs will be met through overnight feeds. They are delivering the feeding supplies over to the Ronald McDonald House so I am set to administer that there. Obviously, being out of the hospital, around less strangers and experiencing less poking and prodding should decrease her anxiety. The home feel of the Ronald McDonald House and cool playrooms should help improve her spirits. I know it will improve mine!

In all honesty, as much as I am very excited to be out of here, there is medical comfort and security being around doctors and nurses 24/7. Mia still has three tubes sewn into her abdomen that I have to care for and the NGtube. I have a list of instructions for caring for her sites, draining her tubes and now doing her nightly feeds. Boxes of medical supplies, medications and an IV pole are awaiting our arrival. My heart skipped a few beats when the nurse asked, "So, do you know how to put the NGtube back in if it comes out?" Is she crazy? Yes, it's called call 911!!! It took 4 people and a music therapist to put this one in. I am just going to assume that with all the prayers being said for Mia, no tubes are coming out, no fevers are brewing and no one is aspirating!!!

Saying goodbye to some of our awesome nurses was difficult!

Now we are praying for peace and strength for Miss Mia and continued healing so that we can come home soon.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Just Not a Great Day

I could say today was just plain awful but there are always some positives to help overcome the negatives! By far, the scale was tipped negative for me but it was made much easier with my sister-in-law here. Not only is she an awesome support for me, Mia loves doing crafts and playing games with her.
Mia escaped from the floor and went for a wheelchair ride with us down to the cafeteria. Even though she slept through it all, it was nice to escape. A music therapist came to help Mia get her tube in. He was great and before the tube went in, Mia had a great time and made some awesome music with him!

Yes, I said tube. Mia worked really hard to avoid it but unfortunately, she didn't quite get there. She was very brave and music therapy helped quite a bit. Mia did gag and throw up. This was after a long day already. Mia had an xray in the morning followed by an enema and  a very resistant walk and visit to the playroom. Then, at bedtime we were told she needed another enema! Yup, on the toilet for another hour. Followed by....wait....yes, more vomit! Mia was finally able to relax in her bed around 10. 

 Tomorrow is another day.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Maybe a Successful Escape

Mia and I have been working extremely hard to avoid the tube. I am very happy to report that we were able to escape it yesterday, however, they are still threatening. You can be sure that we are fighting back! Right now I am trying to convince the surgeon that if we have daily calorie, protein and fluid goals to meet, we will meet them. Once we leave here, it will be much easier to get Mia to eat and drink. Hopefully we will know more later today. Pins. And. Needles.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Not Getting out Anytime Soon

At the beginning of the week it was looking like we could bust out of here today or tomorrow. Yeah, not so much anymore! The doctors are less than pleased with Miss Mia's diet. She is lacking the proteins and fluids needed to heal properly after this complex of a surgery. The concern is that the incisions will open without proper nutrition. In Mia terms, she has done well with eating but her terms are just not going to cut it.

So, what this means is that she will need a new NGtube. This time, she won't be under anesthesia when they place the tube. Once the tube is in she will continue to eat by mouth throughout the day and receive supplement nutrition overnight through the NGtube. She will continue to get fluids through her IV. Obviously, we want everything to heal completely so we are trying to look at this as a step in the right direction but I know I will have to convince myself of that as I listen to her pleading cries yet another time.

I also worry about what this does to Mia's mental state. Tuesday she had a great day and played in the playroom for almost 2 hours. She wasn't as resistant to walking as she has been. She looked great with so many smiles all day.  Yesterday was a different story. She had to be forced for every walk and she did not want to go to the playroom at all. I was able to get her to smile with her nurse after she received her new monkey from her cousins back home.

On the bright side, Ronald MacDonald House called yesterday and we have a room! That is one less thing I have to worry about! We can go right across the street when she is discharged! Plus, she loves it there!!!! Many have asked for an address, here it is:
350 Erkenbrecher Ave., room 69
Cincinnati, OH 45229
As always, thank you for all the love, support and prayers!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Divide and Conquer

Last night Dave left Cincinnati to return back home to the other kids. My mom has been living at our house for the last two weeks. She has done an amazing job, as usual, but  having both Dave and me gone is beginning to take its toll on them. Although this was the plan all along, Dave was hoping to see Mia discharged before he left. I most certainly would have loved that as well but at least Mia was  in a better place. She needs to increase her intake of both liquids and solids before they will even think about sending us "home" but all aspects of her recovery are going well.

"Home" for Mia and me means staying here at either a hotel or the Ronald MacDonald House until her post op appointment which they haven't scheduled yet (usually 4-6 weeks after surgery). We are hoping to get a room at the Ronald MacDonald House across the street from the hospital but, in the two weeks we have been here, nothing has come available. We have a hotel room 10 minutes from the hospital that we will use in the meantime. Keeping our fingers crossed!

With just me here helping Mia, blog posts and texts may be less frequent! Believe it or not, there are so many people to see and so many tasks to complete that we rarely fit everything in. I also have no one to take shifts with so I will definitely be sleeping when I can and trying to fit showers in. I am so grateful to my sister-in-law and best friend who will each be coming to keep me company beginning Wednesday and ending next Tuesday.

Thank you again for all the support and prayers. We are constantly moving forward!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Taking Time to Smell the Flowers

Mia has the cheeriest room on the floor! Thank you Borkowski Family for this beautiful arrangement. Today we could actually take a few minutes to smell those gorgeous flowers. Mia had a good day! She had sips of milk and water, couple licks of a popsicle and a few spoonfuls of chocolate ice cream! She did some crafts in bed and resisted leaving the room with a little less gusto!

We are extremely thankful for Mia's progress. We visit the chapel whenever we get a chance, at least once a day, and thank God for carrying us through this difficult process. We ask that Mia continue to move forward in her healing. We are overwhelmed and humbled by everyone's support and generosity. God's love surrounds us everywhere and cradles us like a warm blanket. It is amazing how in even the most difficult of times, our hearts are extraordinarily full!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Cautiously Turning a Corner

We began the day with great news!!!!!
 No more NGtube!!!! As you can see, Mia hadn't quite made up her mind about getting that thing out but Dave and I were doing the happy dance!

Next, Mia took a walk, read to her tutor, and ventured out into the play room. After all that commotion, she was exhausted and took a great afternoon nap. Mia still has a tremendous amount of anxiety about getting out of the bed and leaving the room. We are slowly working on that! Today, Mia didn't have to stand or walk to see her special visitor, he came to her.
Meet Eli! What a great way to cheer up a child who is hurting in many ways! Love dogs (not getting one though).

We ended the day with great news that she is cleared for liquids. That means popsicles!!! Funny thing is now that she can drink, she doesn't want to. Of course this is all very normal. Can you believe I did not get a picture of her first sip (sorry Julie). Just not enough hands.

Finally, Mia had special visitors from home, Nonno and Nonna. They brought cards and care packages from cousins and Plank North. That really brought some smiles.
 Thank for the lucky headband!
And bubbles to cheer everyone up!