Update – 1/30/2007

Hannah continues to do very well at home. She is our constant reminder that God is in control. Not us. We cannot control how much she eats, if she swallows all of her medicine, or how she feels. At every mealtime we find ourselves praying that she would just finish her bottle. We get nervous when she doesn’t seem hungry and ecstatic when she is starving. Our faith is constantly being tested! But we continue to believe and trust that God is taking care of her and is mending her heart. Today we received a write-up from her cardiologist with details of her condition thus far. We were reminded that she has come such a long way in a very short period of time. Her shortening fractions on December 15th were listed as 0%, which is literally impossible because she was alive. God has had His hand on her from the very beginning. Although her “numbers” still aren’t that great, HE IS. We are believing for a good report from her cardiologist in New Orleans on Thursday, so please keep us in your prayers. Our appointment is at 3:30 pm. Tomorrow we are attending a meeting about an upcoming fundraiser for the Pediatric Cardiology Foundation. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to get involved and help raise awareness in the community. We’ll provide more details as the event is planned. Thank you to Doug and Danielle for blessing us with dinner Monday night! You guys are awesome!

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”Psalm 46:1

“Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46: 10

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith– of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proven genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” I Peter 1: 6-7

Update – 1/26/2007

Hannah had another good check-up with her cardiologist today! She now weighs 13 pounds, 10 ounces, so she gained another 9 ounces since last week. This is almost the size that she was before she got sick. We are so thankful that she is hungry, eating well, and getting chunky again! The ultrasound that they did today looked the same as it did 2 weeks ago. Her shortening fractions were still measured between 9 and 13%. While we were hoping to see more progress, we know that it just takes time for the heart to heal and regain function. (It could take up to 2 years, according to the doctors.) The good thing is that since we had decreased one medication and stopped another, she remained stable and has been able to handle those changes. So that same medication was decreased again today, and she will be off of it by the end of next week. The other 6 medications that she’s taking will remain the same for quite a while. But 6 is certainly better than 10, so we are making slow progress. We have an appointment with her cardiologist from Ochsner in New Orleans next Thursday at 3:30, and we will see her BR cardiologist in two more weeks. We continue to pray that her heart will heal over time but thank God that she feels good and is doing so well at home. Praise God for our little “rolling” miracle! (She’ll be a walking miracle in a few months!)

On a side note…please pray for my wrist to heal! I (Lori) have somehow managed to develop “De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis.” Basically, the tendons located on the thumb side of my right wrist are inflamed and irritated, causing a lot of pain. This Thursday I went to the doctor and they put a splint on my wrist. So now I can’t bend it at all! This has made life at home very interesting. I’m on a few medications, so hopefully it will clear up soon. Hannah really requires two arms and two hands! Just another bump in the road, though. Things could always be worse! What does God’s word say…

“Do everything without complaining or arguing.” Philippians 2:14

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Philippians 4:11

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Update – 1/24/2007

Hannah hasn’t missed a beat after being in the hospital for 3 weeks. She is SO active and is developmentally right where she should be. She reaches out for everything she sees, enjoys rolling over with a little assistance, and is working on sitting up by herself. She is practicing all kinds of new sounds and is more alert than ever. She puts absolutely everything in her mouth, so we are anticipating a few teeth to sprout up soon. We’ve started her back on cereal twice a day, and very soon we will start vegetables. We’ve got a supply of carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash ready to go. She hasn’t had any trouble gaining weight, that’s for sure. She looks plump again and her cheeks are rosy like they used to be. We can’t say enough good things about how well she seems to be doing. What a miracle! To think that just a few weeks ago she was critically ill, on a ventilator, and “probably” needing a heart transplant. Only God could have brought her this far in such a short amount of time. We thank Him for guiding her doctors and nurses in making the best medical decisions to get her back to health. They have been awesome. We are believing for positive, dramatic results on her ultrasound this Friday. We pray that her heart will continue to regain its function and that she will get off her medications one by one.  We know that our God is able! Special thanks to DeLynn for blessing us with lasagna and the works. It was wonderful!!!!

Update – 1/21/2007

We finally celebrated Christmas! We may have had fried porkchops in the hospital cafeteria on Christmas Day, but we finally had a real Christmas dinner with turkey, ham, and chocolate cream pie. We had a wonderful day yesterday with the whole family here. Paw Paw and Mimi Mills came, along with Brian, Karen, and little cousins Elizabeth and Molly from Beaumont. And Pammie and Poppie Smith were here too. It was so fun getting everyone together in Baton Rouge to celebrate. And boy did we have much to celebrate! Greg and I felt VERY blessed being able to spend Christmas with Hannah, even if it was a month late! The meaning of Christmas is always the same no matter when it is celebrated! So while we were thankful for the birth of Christ, we were also so thankful to have a healthy Hannah home with us. Two awesome miracles! She has been doing extremely well at home and is still eating like a horse. She was wide-eyed as we opened presents, just taking it all in and enjoying every second. The best Christmas gift we’ve ever had. We are still believing for her complete healing and know that God is watching over her. Some of our favorite verses from Psalm 91…

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” (vs. 4)

“For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” (vs. 11)

“Because He loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue Him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (vs. 14-16)

To many more Merry Christmases! New pictures coming soon…

Update – 1/19/2007

Hannah got a good report from the cardiologist today! He said that she still looked great and was very impressed by her weight gain. He decreased two of her medications, one of which we will stop giving her on Monday. One down, 7 to go! We were surprised that he didn’t feel it necessary to do an ultrasound today, but he said they’ll probably do one next week. That just gives us even more time to improve. And all the bloodwork came back fine. Praise God! The best part of our visit was this- he talked to Hannah’s cardiologist from Ochsner, and he has apparently been talking to 2 world-renown experts on cardiomyopathy. These doctors specialize in this condition and have done tons of research on it. After hearing all the deatils of Hannah’s condition and progress, BOTH of them said that she would not need a transplant, and that she would be FINE! Wow. Amen. This is what we have been believing, but to hear those words from these experts was music to our ears. Apparently her cardiologist from Ochsner was astounded by their beliefs, because her “numbers” on the ultrasounds are still low, but we say Hallelujah that he is amazed. Let him be astounded. Let him question how this could be. Let there be no other explanation to her improvement than God alone. We give Him ALL the glory. He is faithful, He is faithful, He is faithful. And by His stripes, Hannah IS healed. Tomorrow will be a very special day for us- we are celebrating Christmas. The tree is miraculously still green, and all the Mills and Smiths are coming over for dinner and gifts. We have much to celebrate and be thankful for!

Update – 1/18/2007

Hannah went to the pediatrician today for some lab work.  Everyone was amazed by how good she looks!  She now weighs 13lbs 8oz — she has gained over a pound in one week!  Her pediatrician was very impressed by her progress.  In spite of being in the hospital for almost a month, she has pretty much kept up with hitting her milestones!  Praise God!

We go to the cardiologist again tomorrow for another ultrasound and checkup.  Please pray that the ultrasound would show noticeable improvements in her heart function, and that her heart has become smaller.  In spite of all the medication she’s on, and all the incredible doctors who are looking after her, we give God 100% of the glory for this miracle!  He has orchestrated every single detail as we have gone through this test, and He has walked with us (and continues to walk with us) every step of the way.  He is so faithful to His children!

Update – 1/16/2007

Hannah in her chairHannah is still doing great! No news is good news. You would never know anything was wrong with her unless you looked at our kitchen counter and saw all the medications. We did have to use the syringe again this morning to get them all down, but we’ll do whatever it takes! Her cardiologist is hoping to get her off 2 of them in the next couple of weeks. Of course, we are believing that she will be off ALL of them in the name of Jesus! What a glorious day when they look at her ultrasound and say, “This is a perfectly normal heart.” We believe that day is coming.We’d like to say a special thanks to the Healing Place Church Helps Ministry for blessing us with meals. Thank you Jennifer & Jason Laird and Mary Sylvest. The food was wonderful! It was so nice to not worry about dinner.

The power of prayer and our Almighty God has been so evident throughout this whole experience. We’d like to share two other local stories that have touched our hearts, and they desperately need your prayers as well. One is a 14 year-old girl from Central, LA. Her site password is hospital. (http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/shelbymagee) The other is a young father here in Baton Rouge. (http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/brianhess) And please keep Lanie’s family in your prayers for continued strength and peace after losing their daughter. Thank you for your constant support.

Hannah on the bed

Update – 1/15/2007

Whew! Just when we were settling back into our routine, Hannah decided to have her 6 month growth spurt. Surprise! She is constantly hungry- a bottomless pit! No more worries that she’s getting enough calories. She’s getting plenty! This growth spurt couldn’t have come at a better time. It’ll definitely help her gain weight back more quickly. Her face is looking much rounder. Even though we are up quite a bit at night feeding her, we are praising God that she is hungry. Never again will we complain about lack of sleep from getting up with Hannah. It is a joy to hear her cry out at night from down the hall. We are so thankful that she is eating, playing, sleeping, and taking all of her medicine. Thank you, Lord! This Thursday we’ll visit her pediatrician to have some bloodwork done, and then Friday is our appointment with the cardiologist again. We’ll be seeing him weekly for at least the next 4-6 weeks. Keep praying that the ultrasounds will continue to show progress, and that God will give her doctors wisdom to help them make the best decisions for her care. May God continue to heal her little heart. He is faithful and He is in control. His Word says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 4:6-7

(Greg talking now)
I just wanted to add something to what Lori said above.  I’m no expert by any means, and I haven’t confirmed this with the doctors.  We KNOW by faith that Hannah is being miraculously healed by the touch of God, but I think that her increased appetite is very good physical evidence that this is in fact taking place.  Remember, we first took her to the doctor because her appetite had decreased.  Why did it decrease?  Because her heart was in such poor condition that it couldn’t handle the job of digesting food.  So now the corollary: her appetite has increased — her heart CAN handle the job of digesting food.  Her heart function is definitely improving!  But, of course, we already knew this!  PRAISE GOD!  What an awesome, faithful God we serve!  He “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.”  Ephesians 3:20

Update – 1/13/2007

Hannah continues to have really good days at home.  She is eating well and playing like a normal child.  We’ve become slightly paranoid about…well, just about everything.  Yesterday she got really upset because she couldn’t fall asleep for her nap.  Once she settled down a little, she finally fell asleep, but was still taking deep breaths and sobbing since she had been crying so hard.  This lasted about 45 minutes — longer than any other time before.  We called the cardiologist, who assured us that as long as her breathing rate seemed normal and she felt ok (no fever), everything would be fine.  I guess we are both just being really cautious right now, since we just returned home this week.  I (Greg) am also feeling a little under the weather, so I’m trying to limit my exposure to Hannah (just in case).

We received some sad news yesterday from a family we had gotten to know while we were at the hospital.  This couple has a six-year-old girl named Lanie, who was in the PICU with a severe case of strep which had spread throughout her body, affecting her blood stream and organs.  They were told she would be in PICU for 6 months to a year, and that she would lose her hands and feet.  Even after making some improvements, Lanie passed away rather suddenly on Wednesday.  Her funeral was today.  They have a younger boy, and they are trying to explain all this to him.  Please pray for this sweet couple, Mickey and Ginger, that God would give them His peace that passes all understanding.  They lifted us up in prayer along with their prayers for Lanie.  Pray that God would give them the strength they need to get through this.