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Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Hardest Week of Our Lives

Last week was a nightmare. A bad dream that we just wanted someone to pinch us and wake us up from. It all started on Monday, when Jake saw Hannah's arm tremble ever so slightly as she reached for something. And then again when her leg would shake as she stood still. We tried to brush it off thinking just maybe she was doing it to get a reaction out of us...especially since she had a lot of big girl changes as of late (potty training, no more nursery at church) But as soon as Jake pointed it out to me, I started noticing it too.

When she woke up on Tuesday she was walking with an abnormally lazy gait. She would bump into things and fall down. What scared me the most was when I watched her try to eat a bowl of cereal and her arm started shaking as she brought it to her mouth and she couldn't keep the cereal on her spoon. Following some tearful embraces Jake and I immediately called her pediatrician and they recommended that we go straight to the ER.

Hannah spent 10 hours on Tuesday in the Emergency Room. She was examined by multiple doctors and neurologists. They ordered an MRI, blood tests, Lumbar Puncture, the whole works. She had to go all day without eating or drinking anything because she had to be put under anesthesia for the MRI. She did amazing when they put the IV in, not even flinching or shedding a tear. The hardest part was having to tell her she couldn't have something to eat or drink even when she repeatedly told us how hungry and thirsty she was.

She was admitted to the hospital and spent 4 long days there. Every test they ran came back negative. No tumors or lesions on the brain, no viral infection, nothing that gives a definitive diagnosis. But the doctors are pretty sure she is suffering from a rare post infectious illness called Acute Cerebellar Ataxia. They believe a viral infection somehow reached her brain and her cerebellum got caught in the crossfire. Within 3 days she went from running and jumping to not being able to walk, play, or perform normal everyday tasks.

Hearing your little girl scream "I want to walk!" as she crumbles to the ground after another failed attempt to use her legs is beyond heartbreaking. Watching your daughter lose her coordination and fine motor skills when you can do nothing about it is torture. When Hannah notices our tears she says in the most tender voice "I'm so sorry". What does this perfect little angel have to be sorry for? We wish more than anything that we could just take her place. No 3 year old deserves to go through such a struggle.

We yearn for the day's when we worried about stuff like a broken car, potty training, getting kids down for naps, Jake's busy medical school schedule, or what to cook for dinner. The stupid things that seemed so important went inconsequential in a matter of seconds. Now all we want is for Hannah to continue recovering so that she can walk again. So that she can play with her little brother and run around the house like a crazy person. We want to hear the pitter patter of her feet as she runs up and down the stairs, or the sound of her happy voice giggling through our home again.

Most children recover from ACA within 10-12 days. But sometimes it can last weeks, even months. Hannah was admitted into the hospital again yesterday because some of her symptoms were getting worse. I'm not posting this to receive pity, but I just know that we have so many wonderful friends out there who can pray for her because at the moment all we can do is hope and pray for a swift recovery. So if you are reading this, please take a moment to pray for our little Hannah. Please.