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God is Good

I’m having a tough time keeping up with life these days. I will try to start posting more frequently, so you guys don’t have to wade through my own personal versions of War and Peace.

Among other things, one extremely important duty I have while all this is going on is to make sure my wife has a family to come home to. Rachael had a little mini-implosion the other day. It started with a simple argument with her sister and ballooned up into the actual root of the problem. She had been nasty to her sister all day, so I sent her to bed early and told her she had 5 minutes to figure out a good reason why it was ok for her to be mean to her sister.

I waited for 4 minutes, figuring I’d have to wait for her to quit crying to get her to calm down.

I walked in, she was sitting on the bed, crying, and a little panicky. She argued with me that she hadn’t had enough time to come up with a reason.

I gave her that extra minute.

I sat in silence. She sobbed and watched the clock.

When it was time, her teary, runny-nosed response was, “Dad, I’m sorry. I just want this to be over and to have mom home. I’m done.”

She waited unsure as to how I’d react.

I told her that that was the best response to that question ever and gave her a big hug.

We both sat there and sobbed a little. I held her and rocked back and forth. I told her that we all wanted that more than anything, and we’ll get that soon. I PROMISED her we’d get that soon. But, in the meantime she couldn’t take things out on her sister or her brother or her grandma.

I told her that when she was feeling like that, it’s ok to talk about it instead of just being angry and treating the people she loves badly.

I wanted her to come up with the answer. Yes, I know she’s 8, but she’s a very smart 8. If I let her answer with her standard, “I don’t know” we would’ve had a repeat performance. I told her that it’s healthy to talk and to cry and to get things off her chest.

I asked her the following:

“Who’s the strongest woman you know?” Mom.

“Who’s getting better every day?” Mom.

“Who has His hands around us and is protecting our family daily?” God.

“Who is going to keep our family together?” God.

She didn’t pause on any of those answers. This is Anissa’s amazing little “mini-me” and she’s raised her right.

Earlier in the evening, I told Anissa that Rachael was having problems. I had asked her if I should deal with it hard or soft. Anissa told me to go soft because she’s been through so much.

I now know I’m going to get my family back. I’m positive of that. It’s like I can see it through the Macy’s store window. It’s got a big price tag that I can’t quite afford yet, but it’s something I can work toward. It won’t be the same as it was, but, that’s kinda what life changing events do.

For the past few weeks, Anissa’s been working on the assumption of a 5 step program: Wake up. Get out of hospital. Get out of nursing home. Get out of rehab facility. Get home.

So, let me tell you guys about step 4.

Actually, before I do that, let me back up a bit first and make a somewhat controversial statement.

You all know we’ve been down the pediatric cancer road already. Well, going through pediatric cancer at All Children’s and now CHOA, is like going through hell in a Cadillac. It’s no fun, but they do their best to help you along the way and to make you as comfortable as they can, from the top down, at every level of the respective organizations and in as many aspects as possible. It’s filled with people who aren’t just doing a job, instead they have careers, and, most importantly, they care.

Another thing about pediatric cancer is that the kids know they are sick, but they have no pre-conceived notions as to the possible outcomes. If you tell an adult they have cancer, they understand that it’s a grim situation. If you tell a kid they have cancer, they still want to be a kid.

As soon as I walked in to tour what would become Anissa’s new rehab facility, I was at peace. In truth, I didn’t need to see all of the facility, I just needed to feel the energy that exudes from this place and their staff. I toured it anyway. It’s flippin awesome. It’s a team that will let me take my hands off the wheel (and maybe get some sleep) for a little bit, because they absolutely care.

It gives hope. It’s Disney for recovery.

And her therapy team, we’ll call them, Ariel (ST), Belle (OT), and, Jasmine (PT), is EXACTLY who she needs right now.


Because Anissa is starting to progress at an impressive speed.

She’s now officially on normal liquids and ground foods. She’s starting to get around pretty decently in a wheel chair. She’s learning new ways to do normal things. She’s stood. She actually walked the other day. It was with a lot of help, and she had to throw her right leg in front of her, but she still walked. They are working her extremely hard, and she’s responding, very well.

Remember when I said there were holes in her memory you could drive an Oldsmobile through? She’s quickly connecting the dots and filling those holes. We’re down to holes you could ride a bike through, and that is shrinking.  I’m starting to ask her parenting questions. We’re joking about things and goofing off. We’re wading through pictures and she’s telling us about them.

She does get tired, and when that happens, she’s not as sharp. But that’s to be expected.

There hasn’t been a whole lot of purposeful movement on her right side yet, and I’m starting to get worried about that. Physically/mechanically there’s nothing wrong. We’ve just got to figure out how to get her mind to tell her leg and arm to move again. You can feel her trying at times, and at other times, not so much.

By my count, there have been several God granted miracles on this journey: The fact that she lived, the fact that she’s cognitive enough to be a mom again, and soon, the fact that so many have come together around the world to help my family in this. Is it wrong to ask for one more? Is it wrong to ask that her right leg and arm start to gain some purposeful movement? God being infinite, I don’t think it is. I’ll take her cognition level over movement any day of the week, but I keep going back to the “Things will work out” response that I got when I prayed about this way back when. I have faith that, in the coming days, something big will happen and she’ll start moving that right side again.

Today is my son’s 12th birthday. We’re going to spend it together up in the rehab facility. I’ve reserved a room for us to celebrate, and the gifts have been wrapped. On February 1 it’s Anissa’s birthday. I’ve already got something big planned for that, and it heavily involves Ariel, Belle, and Jasmine.  We’re in the “sweet spot” of our year, family celebration-wise:  Nathaniel, mom, me, anniversary.  If that special gift were coming, now is definitely the time.

I’m praying for it and giving thanks for how far we’ve come daily.

119 Comments on “God is Good”

  1. #1 submom
    on Jan 28th, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    I am still thinking of you all often. I decided to check in today because, I don’t know why, the coverage of Haiti reminded me of Anissa. I don’t know her. I didn’t know her before this. But based on what I have learned about her from all the blog posts praying for her, urging people to pray for her, I know that she would have been doing something, urging people to do something, probably leading a drive, a movement, to help Haiti. I am so happy to hear that she is making progress. She is strong. You are strong. Your children sound like they have inherited the strength from both of you. You are going to get out of this together.

  2. #2 blissfully caffeinated
    on Jan 29th, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    So, so AMAZING. This one left me in tears. I’m so happy for your family that mama bear will soon be back home where she belongs. Thank you for the update!!!

  3. #3 Stacey
    on Jan 29th, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    The combo of the power of prayer and the power/strength of Anissa is an amazing amazing thing.

    I’m so happy to hear she’s progressing and Happy Early Birthday to her!

  4. #4 mamaspeak
    on Jan 30th, 2010 at 3:05 am

    So glad to hear such good news. I don’t know Anissa personally, but I’ve been following your story (we have many blogger friends in common). We (my family and I) have been praying for you all, and will continue to. You all are an inspiration.

  5. #5 gloria
    on Jan 30th, 2010 at 1:33 pm


    I have been following Anissa’s progress and am just so glad to hear the about her progress. I am just so inspired by your family, and by anissa. Her strength and determination is truely admirable.

    Hearts and Prayers all the way from singapore!

  6. #6 Caroline aka Morningside Mom
    on Jan 30th, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Anissa, I’m thinking about you all the time. All the time I tell you. Be well. Get well. Much love.

  7. #7 Susan
    on Jan 30th, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    I came to your blog through Heather Spohr and have been thinking about your family. I will ask God to continue to bless Anissa with recovery, and pray for strength and guidance for all of you, including all of her caregivers.

    on Jan 31st, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    here’s to another end to a week, more progress, more moments, more new, and more learned..and heres to a good start to this week. “measuring progress in moments, not minutes.”

  9. #9 JC Little
    on Feb 1st, 2010 at 2:24 am

    Happy Birthday Anissa, on the 1st of February – Aquarians are amazing!

  10. #10 Dawn Tucker
    on Feb 1st, 2010 at 5:19 am

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANISSA!! Boy, this is gonna be a strange one huh? But it’s fabulous to read of all the progress you’re making and I’m praying that, on a different level, this will be one of your best ones yet. I’m sitting here just knowing in my heart that God’s doing great things with that body of yours. (And yeah, I can hear Pete and a few jealous girlfriends thinking he didn’t do a bad job of putting it together first time round!!).

    Anyway Anissa, I’m wishing you joy and love today and always. Enjoy seeing family and friends that I’m sure are all around you – and know you are being sent lots of love across the pond! xxx

  11. #11 Amy Nasworthy
    on Feb 1st, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Annisa, happy birthday to you!!
    I hope you have a great day!!

  12. #12 Sarah
    on Feb 1st, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Happy Birthday Anissa!! I am still praying for all of you.

  13. #13 VH
    on Feb 1st, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Happy Birthday and continued prayers

  14. #14 Dawn
    on Feb 1st, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Continuing to pray for you and wish you all the health and healing in the world. Happy Birthday, Anissa!

  15. #15 ClassyMommy
    on Feb 1st, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Happy Birthday Anissa! Thinking of you and your family daily. And Peter thanks for always sharing so much of this journey with us – I hope that all the positive thoughts everyone around the world is sending you will give you the final miracles you need. xo colleen

  16. #16 Beechbaby
    on Feb 1st, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    I found my way to your wife’s site through the Barefoot Foodie site and I’m sitting on my couch counting my blessings that I did.
    You have managed, through your site, to make me count my blessings again! (I DO mange to do this once in a while but not like I really should!) You, your family and friends have an amazing outlook on life. And I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers.
    And I’m probably a little late but please wish your son a happy birthday from Jacksonville, FL!!

  17. #17 Amy S.
    on Feb 2nd, 2010 at 2:24 am

    became a fan of your site through Heather Sphor. Wishing Annisa the best on her birthday. I know you’re incredibly busy please keep us posted. Thanks:)

  18. #18 Charlene Kingsley
    on Feb 3rd, 2010 at 11:39 am

    I am praying for your family! Way to go Peyton!

    Charlene Kingsley

  19. #19 Cindy C.
    on Feb 3rd, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    Still praying for you all.