Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Reflecting and celebrating

It is that "Christmas concert" time of year. We have the privilege of being part of a wonderful church community that loves to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. This year the girls were involved in the Christmas production. This is a photo of Victoria and a friend from school in their costumes. 

When I reflect on this photo, and indeed the year of 2015, I am so grateful for the people God has bought into our lives to walk this seemingly long journey with each of us. Family, friends, church community, school community, neighbours, medical professionals, charities and support groups. 

But one of the things I am most grateful for is the friends He has surrounded Victoria with. The friends, who when they are at an ice-skating party (a little challenging for Victoria), rally around her and encourage her. The friends that stay behind to help her get changed after school swimming lessons. The friends that cheered her on as she ran the 200m alone at the zone athletics. The friends that run to her aid if she falls, or is struggling in the play ground. The friends that put prayer cards in at church that say, 'please heal my friend Victoria.'  

As Victoria gets older and her world widens, it is these friends who will help her to get through the challenges and cheer her on. Thank you Jesus that you meet every need in our lives, especially the need for encouragement and friends.

Of course Victoria wasn't the only daughter in the Christmas production. Alexandra was a chicken.... and loved being a chicken.

Charlotte had a couple of roles, including being Santa's helper to meet and greet people, and hand out lolly bags to the children.

We have a feeling that drama, in some shape or form, is definitely going to be part of Charlotte's life. Her ability to make people smile and laugh is a blessing to many, and a testimony of God's grace and power to restore people's lives to joy. Charlotte, as have all our children, has been greatly impacted by Victoria's illness. But praise God, that with His grace, each of them, in their own way, have found a way to cope with the pain and empathy they feel towards their sister.

Marshall's deep connection with his sister Alexandra has enabled him to find laughter again within our family. This term he has been helping out in the kindergarten room on a Friday afternoon, something that both he and Alexandra have enjoyed. Again, the school community has been wonderful in helping restore and meet the needs of our children as individuals.

Moving on to something different, what a surprise we got when we walked past the Bank of Queensland branch in a local shopping centre. Look who we saw on the wall ....

If you are looking to do something different for a Christmas gift this year, why not consider making a donation to many of the charities that support children and families of children with cancer. Here are a few who have had a huge positive impact on our family - Camp Quality, Redkite, Harry's House, The Kid's Cancer Project and the Starlight Children's Foundation. We are so grateful to everyone who donates to these charities and volunteers their time to make the programs come to life. They have all played an integral part in the emotional well being of our family.

Over the past few months I have been participating in a Redkite telegroup specifically for parents with children a brain tumour. While it was sometimes very confronting and emotional, it was good (?) to hear what parents in similar situations had to share about their journeys. The 'on-goingness' of the impacts of brain tumours is extremely challenging both physically and emotionally for the child and carers.

In Victoria's case, she continues to do an hour of leg and arm stretches most days. We have learnt over the past year or so, that if this regime is interrupted even for only two or three weeks, the degradation in Victoria's functionality regarding walking and left arm and hand use is significant, and pain becomes an increasing reality in her daily life. So we are grateful for the funding from NDIA to have a support therapist come up to four times a week to help with the stretches. At our last appointment with the physio, she said that Victoria's hamstrings were the best she had ever seen them! Another thing to thank God for.

However the leg length differentiation is becoming more of an issue. Victoria now has her left shoes built up by 1 cm. The physio has requested that we are start the process of seeing a pediatric orthopedic surgeon with the view to  Victoria having an operation around the onset of puberty to slow the growth of her right leg (something about a staple being put in the growth plate), so the left leg can catch up. We are being responsible parents and following the directions of the physio, but we would ask at the same time, for prayers for her left leg, foot, arm and hand to grow supernaturally, to the point where there is no difference between right and left. We know that all things are possible with our God. 

Thank you for continuing to stand with us believing for complete healing in Victoria and that throughout this journey her faith in God and her understanding of His love for her will grow.

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal life (everlasting life). John 3: 16 AMP

We are so grateful for your prayers, support and encouragement. As you can see by the photos above, God has been faithful and indeed we are living the life Jesus promised, and living it to the full, despite the circumstances. 

We pray that you and your family will have a fun and peaceful Christmas season.

PS: Victoria's next scan is on the 18th January, and we will get the results on 20th January.

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