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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.

16 comments:

Jennifer said...

I'm so sorry about what is happening to little Hannah. I will continue to pray for her. She will be better soon! Love you guys.

Leslee said...

So sorry to hear about this Gretchen! I can't even imagine what you guys and Hannah are going through! I hope that she is able to recover quickly. We will be praying for her!

Rach said...

I love you to piecies, Gretchen. You, Hannah, and Jake are certainly in our prayers.

Brittany said...

I'm so sorry to hear this. Your family will definitely be in our prayers. Here's to a speedy recovery.

Aja said...

I'm so sorry to hear this Gretchen. I will be sending good thoughts in your direction. Hang in there you guys. <3

Nika said...

That is so scary for you. It must be terrifying. I hope and pray that her brain and body can go grow strong again very soon. You are enduring this trail so well and I am sure you just wish it was you instead of her.

Janneke said...

Oh Gretchen!!! I'm so sorry that this has your life turned upside down right now. I will keep Hannah and the rest of you guys in my prayers. You are strong and you guys will make it through this and will learn so much about life because of it.

Mike & Marla said...

We will be praying for sweet Hannah.

Samantha said...

Oh Gretchen, this sounds like a parent's worst nightmare. I am so sorry. That would be so, so heartbreaking. What a trooper though. We'll pray for her. Keep us updated.

Amber said...

Dear Gretchen I am so sorry I will be praying for your little Princess! I cant even begin to imagine God bless Amber

Brynn said...

Oh my goodness Gretch, I am so sorry you had to experience that as mother. It was heartwrenching, even to me! And I know it must have been extremely difficult to watch her go through that. I think everytime something happens to our children, we would rather it be us, than them. Hannah is a beautiful, sweet, strong daughter of God, and she is so lucky to have a mother as strong as you. We will keep your family in our prayers, and in our hearts. We miss you guys, please keep us posted!

Bethany and Scott said...

That is so scary!! We will definitely keep little Hannah in our prayers and all the rest of your family!! We hope the best for you all.

Meredith said...

Oh Gretchen....I am so sorry. Your poor beautiful little girl. We are praying for her over here as well. I hope that you are getting the rest, love and support that you need as you face this trying time with her. I wish that children didn't have to go through things like this but it sounds like she is very brave and she has two great parents to see her through this. Hang in there.

Lacey Anderson said...

Hey Gretch and Jake,

I have been praying for your little Hannah. I miss you so much. I hope everything is okay. Please know that I have been thinking about you a lot and praying for you.

Love,

Lace

Alicia said...

I am so sorry you and your sweet family had to go through such a trial. I am also sorry that I didn't see this post until now when I saw that your sweet girl returned home. The Lord really does take care of those who love Him! I know that!!

You are wonderful, and I am grateful that you guys have your little girl back home.

Alicia (from clogging, a long, long, time ago!)

Jenni Lynn said...

Oh my goodness, this is so sad and scarey. How is Hannah doing now? I hope she is recovering, how scarey! Prayers for your family!