Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

We had a wonderful Christmas this year! Joseph and Abby got in the mood to celebrate Jesus' birth early on as they were sheep in our church's Christmas play. It was so sweet to see them sing their hearts out. Something wonderful happened. Joseph was baptized in our church. It was a happy day and our family came to be with us for this special event.

We are all happy to have a break from school. Joseph's break started a little early because he came down with a random virus. We went down to Charleston to be checked over and he was released to come home and rest, but no school for the remainder of the week. He enjoyed the rest and being able to sleep in! Grandma came for a visit and we baked some Christmas cookies. What a mess (but lots of fun)!

We took the kids ice skating for the first time! Calvary Kids For Christ had 60 skaters on the ice. They loved seeing all their church friends there. Staying up on the ice was a challenge, but they did not give up easily! We were slipping and sliding all over the place!
Abby gets a little help from her daddy!
Joseph never gave up! He had fun trying something new & different!
We are so happy to welcome 2010 and are praying for a happy, healthy, and blessed New Year filled with many more new experiences! Joseph's next clinic appt. is scheduled for Jan. 29th. Please pray that all is well and that he continues to have a healthy heart. Please say a prayer for our donor family that the New Year brings them peace, love, and joy. Their gift of life gave us another year with our precious son. We continue to be in awe of this miracle we have been given.

Hugs to you!
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Our little witch and alien from outer space wish you a Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Home & Ready to Trick-Or-Treat!

Joseph was discharged on Thursday afternoon. We are home now and ready to go trick-or-treating! We spent the morning carving pumpkins. Now we have to get some Halloween candy. I'll post their costumes later so you can see them, they are so proud. Here is a peak at Joseph's, but Abby will be sporting a friendly witch later tonight. :) They were especially proud to dress Max in a ghost t-shirt. Joseph feels good, we just have to make sure he stays hydrated. We'll take water with us when we go tonight.
Looks like Abby and Stephen were having fun while Joseph and I were at MUSC.
Happy Halloween! Thanks for your prayers and a big thank you to the folks at MUSC for taking great care of Joseph and getting him well in time to be home for the fun.
Love to all,
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Latest on JoJo

I'll try to catch you up so speed. Joseph went back to school near the end of September and has had a good year so far! He is learning a lot and loves to read. His favorite subject is science, just like his daddy. :)
Last week, he got sick with the flu. Fever, chills, bodyaches, vomiting, and diarrhea. He began taking Tamiflu right away but just kept getting sicker and sicker. On Saturday, we ended up being admitted to MUSC (our home away from home) so they could get things under control. He was dehydrated and very ill. Lots of fluids and nausea medication has brought him back around. They did a heart cath Monday to rule out rejection. We have the results.......no rejection! Thank God!

He woke up yesterday feeling much better. Then, yesterday afternoon, he took a turn for the worse. Symptoms were back and just as bad as before. He was miserable. They are waiting for results from a blood culture to make sure there is no infection in his blood stream. He is receiving IV antibiotics for now and we will decide what happens next once the 2nd blood culture comes back. His electrolytes are still a little off so they are replenishing them as needed.
I will tell you that he is in the best possible care. Nothing goes unnoticed. His doctors and nurses are all about kids. He loves them. There is NO PLACE we'd rather be when he is sick. They will probably have to push me out of here while I'm still asking, "Are you sure he's okay? Are you sure? Are you sure?" :)
Thank you for keeping up with our little fighter. He has shown us this week that he still has more strength and courage than we do, and we take our lead from him.
Love to you all,
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigial

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Joseph is heading to 3rd grade!

We made it Charleston for Joseph's biopsy. He had a really hard time taking the premeds before going into the cath lab. We are going to try something different next time. He's never had anxiety like this before! :(

But, the day ended on a very positive note. Amanda called Joseph's rejection episode "resolved." That was music to our ears! His heart pressures look great, his blood work was awesome, his rejection level is ZERO. The best news came for Joseph when they told him he could head back to school! :) He is so excited! We are packing his book bag as we speak! This will be the first day of school for him! We are going to get a haircut and last minute supplies that he needs. We are looking forward to this because he wants it so bad.

After the cath, we walked over to a research lab with Dr. Hsia. He introduced us to a team of Dr.s and scientists who have been doing research on cardiomyopathy. Joseph's very heart is in this research lab and many of them have been studying it. His story inspires them to keep the research going and why they are there. Their discoveries and developments could potentially benefit Joseph personally. Isn't that an amazing thought? They told us a little about some things they are working on right now that could make early detection of rejection a simple and promising thing! We are looking forward to hearing more about that.

Thank you for checking in on us. We are happy to be home and are looking forward to sharing some third grade stories with you!

Heart hugs,
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Monday, September 7, 2009

Not Yet...

We had labs drawn Friday week...our normal (wonderful) "Mrs. Suzie" wasn't there when Joseph went in. The blood they drew clotted and we didn't find out for almost a week that they couldn't use it! Ugghhh!!! Stephen rushed him to the lab at McLeod so we'd get the results before this weekend in hopes he could go back to school tomorrow. Well, as it turns out, it didn't matter about the initial delay or the rush for retesting because Joseph's immune system still isn't strong enough to mix and mingle in a public setting. So, no public school for him just yet. I know I sound impatient. Please don't think I am complaining. I certainly would never want to rush him into something his body is not ready for...I just want him to be a "normal" kid and get to do all the things that are important to him. School is definitely at the top of his list! Too bad this didn't happen in April when he has spring fever and can't wait to get out of school! :) Ironic, isn't it...he wants to go... and Abby wants to stay. :)

So, his next biopsy is this Friday, Sept. 11th. Please start praying for good results for Joseph. Please join us in praying for a "circle of protection" around him, so that when he does go back to school he can stay as healthy as possible. The seasonal flu and the swine flu do have us a bit concerned. Pray for his donor family as well. I know they would love to know that a part of their loved one is doing well and still beats life into the heart of a child.

Thanks for checking in on us. I hope to be reporting good news on Friday!
Love to you all,
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Sunday, August 30, 2009

School Days

Abby started 5K at Carver and loves her teacher. She, however, does not like the whole concept of school........getting up early and staying all day. Every day she wakes up and tells me she is not going to school today. :) I tell her about all the exciting things she will do there and all the friends she'll get to see. She doesn't really buy into that kind of talk. I asked her to help me get something out of the car one morning and she looked at me as serious as could be and said, "I'm not falling for that, Mommy." I had to choke back a laugh! :) She cried everyday for 7 days straight but finally seemed to turn the curve on day 8. Thank goodness!

Joseph is receiving home bound instruction from his 3rd grade teacher. We are so excited that she offered to do it! He is getting to know her and she is telling him about their class and who is in there. He is real excited and anxious to go back. He is filling his days in creative ways (putting puzzles together, building with Legos, and writing a "mystery novel"). He wants an old fashioned typewriter so he can write more books. *Nurse Joy, Joseph and my mom finished the pirate ship you gave him! Thank you so much, they had tons of fun doing that! I'll try to post a picture soon so you can see it! He has already made his Halloween costume! He wants to be a ghost. He is taking a New Christian class and has enjoyed that also.

I am working full time for the first time since Joseph was born. I am really enjoying being back in the classroom teaching 4th grade! I am getting to know my students and enjoy the independence and enthusiasm of the 4th graders. They are a fun bunch to work with! My school is very supportive and the staff is very positive. I am thankful for these things! While I work, the grandparents have pitched in and are taking turns staying home with Joseph. He has loved spending time with them, so it has been a win-win situation! They help him with his school lessons and do the fun puzzles and things with him. This week his "Grandma Greenwood" wants to start teaching him to play the piano. Grandmama Cribb is in charge of making costumes. He knows she likes to sew. I can't wait to see what they come up with!

All in all, I think we are making the most of the situation. We will be so happy when he is back to himself and able to enjoy the outside world again! He is getting cabin fever! I can't blame him! Thank you for all your prayers and don't forget to continue to pray for our donor family. I'll try to post again soon when we get lab results from Friday's blood work.

Until next time,
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Friday, August 14, 2009

Great News!

Joseph did great today at MUSC! He had labs drawn first and was very brave. Then he went to the Peds Cardiology Clinic and somehow got a Nestle Crunch Bar out of the deal?!? Nurse Caroline says he's going to be a lawyer someday. :) He can talk you into almost anything! The good news is his chest sounded wonderful.......no gallop sound like they heard before. The best news was that his echo showed great improvement. His numbers were better than they were last April! Dr. Forbus actually used the words "fantastic" and "awesome"! Music to our ears!! He will not be able to start school quite yet. His blood counts are heading in the right direction, but they're not quite where they need to be. We'll reevaluate in about 2 weeks. Thanks for checking in! Keep praying that his blood counts will continue to head in the right direction so he can start school and we can schedule his baptism.
Heart hugs,
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Check Up This Friday

Well, not much to report this week. Joseph is doing well. His sweet little face is swollen from the prednisone and he's eating us out of house and home! We got a call from Transplant saying that his Prograf levels (anti-rejection medicine) had dropped from Sat. to Mon. We are trying to figure out this mystery. The yo yo in the numbers can be confusing and concerning. We will be at MUSC this Friday for labs and a Cardiology Clinic Appt. We are hoping and praying his heart function and pressures all look good or better. We will be making decisions about when Joseph can start school and when he can be baptised. He is going to be very upset if he can't start on time. He told me tonight that "you just can't miss the first day of school!". We shall see. We'll just look up for all these answers. Pray for our sweet little guy that things will start to get back to "normal" for him real soon! Our hearts break for him when he hits these bumps in the road. He's a strong boy, though, so if anybody can do it, he can!

Here's a fitting verse: Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Mathew 19:26

Love to All,
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Plan

The plan for now is to have labs drawn at 8:30 in the morning right here in Florence. Then we will wait and see the results. If all is well, we will head to Charleston on Friday for a peds cardiology clinic appt. where they will do an echocardiogram, EKG, and draw more labs. Joseph's not going to be real happy with all the pokes he'll be getting this week. Say a special prayer for him that he won't get too scared or frustrated with the situation.

I just found this Bible verse and couldn't help but share it with you tonight. It made me think of sweet Joseph who is waiting to be baptised...it was scheduled before all this happened. He told our pastor that he asked Jesus into his heart and he wants everyone to know. God willing, nothing will stop him now, and everyone will know that he is a child of God. What a happy day that will be! How perfect this verse is for him!

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26)

Love to all!
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Home Sweet Home

We made it home this evening around 5:30 pm! We had a special friend bring over dinner and now we are heading to sleep in our own beds! I can post more about "the plan" after I've had a good night's sleep. Good night!
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Friday, August 7, 2009

Pesky T-Cells

So.......Joseph's T-Cells went up overnight and were around 80. Dr. Ringewald said that was very possible and he might expect it to do that. They want it to be below 25. Joseph will start another round of Thymoglobulin later today so we know we'll be here for at least one more night. That's fine by us considering we thought we'd be here for at least another week! They will test his counts in the morning and make a plan from there. We just can't believe how far we've come in such a short time. What a roller coaster ride. It was very reminiscent of two years ago, but this time I think we were more comfortable with the whole process. Joseph was alert and commuinicating this time which made things more bearable as well. We are hopeful that we can keep Joseph infection free during the next few months. Frequent handwashing, staying away from anyone with illness, and staying away from crowded places are once again Dr.'s orders. We are old pros at that anyway so it won't be too difficult. Thank you for checking in! We hope to see you all back in Florence really soon!

Heart hugs,
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Thursday, August 6, 2009

This is Incredible!

So..........Dr. Ringewald came by at the end of the day. Nothing like waiting 'til the last minute to get news of how your child is! :) Anyway, it's incredible.....on a scale from 0 - 4 with zero being no rejection and 4 being total rejection, Joseph's level is 0!!!!!!! Can you believe it?? I couldn't believe my ears. They are so pleased and surprised! The Thymoglobulin seemed to be very a stubborn process but it did the job! We are unbelievably grateful for the way this rejection episode has turned around. It's beyond belief to us! Dr. Ringewald stated he would have been "happy as a clam" with a level of 2! I thought Abby was all about the drama but apparently Joseph likes to take things up a notch, he's just sneakier about it! :) We love him so much and are so happy to share this great news with you. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your kind words. Praise God for the great news!!

Here's a verse that helped us through the worry....
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Late Wednesday Update

I would have updated earlier but it's been a real busy day for me. Stephen needed to head home for the day to take care of some things and I've been really busy with both my kids. We went to the atrium 3 times today! Abby went with him each time and that did her heart good. Joseph's cath is scheduled for first case, so he might be heading to the cath lab around 7:30 AM. We are hoping and praying that his biopsy and heart cath will show improvements in his heart and no rejection. Please pray for good results! Stephen and I are staying positive and looking forward to the day we walk out of here again with Joseph and Abby holding our hands.

I have 2 Bible verses I'd like to share with you tonight:

I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

"But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you."
Psalm 39:7

Good night ya'll!
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tuesday Update

Joseph went to the Atrium this morning and played with his cousins this afternoon. Now, he is resting and watching a movie (Eragon). He has very stubborn bone marrow so they are going up on his dosage of Thymoglobulin and he will start a new 6 hour run of it later today. His T Cells are still active! Geesh........they just don't give up, do they? We've learned so much about the body's immune system this week, more than we cared to know to be quite honest.

Let's pray specifically that his immune system will just calm down and stop fighting his heart. Let's pray that Abby will stop worrying about her JoJo. Let's pray for the doctors and nurses who are taking care of him. Let's pray that Joseph's spirits stay up. Pray for peace for all of us that surpasses all understanding.

Thank you for your prayers.
Love to all,
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Monday, August 3, 2009

Monday Evening Update

Dr. Ringewald came by this evening and said Joseph looks great. He also said that his 3 beat run of VTach (irregular heart rhythm)was probably because his heart is a little sensitive right now with everything that's going on and it's common with what he's experienced and not to worry. I admit, the word VTach brings back feelings of panic and anxiety and Dr. Ringewald figured that freaked us out a little, for good reason. The next biopsy is still scheduled for Thursday. Joseph is still receiving his Thymoglobulin right now and is getting ready to take his night time meds. The good news is he recently learned to take pills so it's not half as hard for him to get down all the meds like it was two years ago! :) Abby has enjoyed visiting her JoJo tonight and has been working really hard to make cards for him so he'll get better really quickly. She's really worried about him so we're trying to let her spend plenty of time with him to ease her fears. It seems to be helping. Thank you for praying for us and sending us messages. They lift our spirits when we are feeling down or scared. Love you all!
Heart Hugs,
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Monday Morning Update

Good morning all. Thought I'd post a quick update earlier in the day this time...sorry I waited so long yesterday. The hospital can be a very busy place! I know you may be worried about our little man. Joseph developed a fever last night and didn't feel good. But, the good news is his fever is already gone and now he feels fine. :) We all think it was just an adverse reaction to the Thymoglobulin. It didn't last long, thank goodness. He had one 3 beat run of PVC's, which means a little irregular heartbeat. But the good news is it only happened once and they will do an EKG this morning.

Did I tell you that when Stephen was driving to meet us in Charleston Thursday night he saw a rainbow? We both think that was a good sign of things to come. :)

Joseph's main complaint about the hospital is not how he feels or that he is scared. Nope, he's just bored. He is decorating the big window in his room with the solar system. He's making it out of Bendaroose (As Seen on TV). :) I told him we'd better find a science book, because it's been forever since I've had to align the solar system. Between Google and Nurse Caroline.......we'll get the project done. He lives for the time that the Atrium is open. So, for now we are watching the clock waiting for the doors to swing open and let us in! :) I'll post later in the day to give you an update from the docs.

We don't understand why these things happen, but this Bible verse brings us peace.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Rom 8.28)

Heart Hugs,
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hanging In There

Joseph is hanging in there! He feels good today and we are so thankful for that. He just started his second round of Thymoglobulin to wipe out his T Cells. So far, that is going well and he is not having any reactions. We spoke to the doctors and they are pleased with what they see so far. The next biopsy is scheduled for Thursday. That will help us know if the treatment is working. Joseph just informed me to write that he feels great, not good! So there you have it from the patient himself! :)

Thank you for your prayers. We feel your love and support.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Love to you all!
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Watching & Waiting

Joseph has had a better day. He started the immunosupressant regimen and has had no side effects, which is great. Now we just watch and wait. He was pretty comfortable all day and the pain in his side has decreased tremendously since relieving his body of so much fluid. He is once again getting spoiled here by the sweet nurses and wonderful doctors. He had some very special visitors today and that lifted his spirits quite a bit! Abby was really excited to see him. She bought him a special present and brought it in proudly to her big brother. She gave him a big hug and told him she hopes he gets better soon. Joseph was able to put on a mask and they rolled him into the atrium to play for a while. The atrium is wonderful and is a "safe zone" where doctors are not allowed! He and Stephen built a fort out of wooden blocks, played X- Box 360, and made a really cute craft project out of popsicle sticks and cotton balls that he wants to hang in his room. He is so funny, he said to us tonight that he doesn't understand why he's still in the hospital since his side doesn't hurt anymore! :) If it was only that simple! He is ready to go home and so are we. But, we'll stay as long as it takes to get him better.

We want to thank everyone for their prayers, and we hope you continue to pray that his treatment will stop the rejection so Joseph can be restored to full health. We want our vibrant little boy back at home, riding his bike around the neighborhood, and chasing his little sister until she screams.

... For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy1:7

Friday, July 31, 2009

Cath Update

This is Hayley, one of Angela's friends. She asked me to post an update about Joseph, so here goes. The good news is that the heart function and pressures in Joseph's heart are better than the doctors thought. They were expecting them to be much worse and were "pleasantly surprised" with the results. The fluid around his liver has also decreased, which is another good thing. The not-so-good news is that the cath biopsy report came back with a high rejection levels Rejection levels are measured from 0-4 with 0 being no rejection and 4 being total rejection. The increments are 0, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4. Joseph's level was 3b. The rejection is still treatable with medicine. They have started him on another strong medicine that will totally wipe out his immune system, so that his body will quit fighting against the transplanted heart. This will make Joseph more susceptible to infections and he will have to be isolated for awhile. It is all just a waiting game and Angela said that she will know more details later. Please continue to pray for Joseph to respond to the medicines without any side effects. Also, remember to keep Angela, Stephen and Abby in your prayers.

A bump In The Road

So.........we hit a bump in the road.

We had a few concerns yesterday about Joseph. He was tired, had a pain in his side, and diarrhea. He hadn't been feeling well for a couple of days. Abby and I took him to the doctor, thinking it was possible appendicitis or something. We called transplant (to be on the safe side) to let them know of our concerns. They wanted to be safe and take a look at him, so on a moment's notice, we were headed for Charleston to get him checked out. Unexpectedly, we were told that Joseph's liver was enlarged and they expected that it might be his heart that was sick (the R word we never wanted to hear........Rejection). They did an echocardiagram and an EKG, then an x-ray. They confirmed it was his heart and we needed to admit him to the PCICU to start fighting the rejection. The plan is to be aggressive to stop the rejection or damage that can occur or has occurred. Dr. Ringewald said to expect at least a 3-5 day stay in the hospital, then steroid treatment at home for a month or two if all goes well. He was 1st case in the cath lab this morning. He is out of the cath and resting comfortably at this time.

11:00 AM

Just spoke with Dr. Ringewald.... Joseph's heart cath this morning was better than he expected. His initial procedure showed that his pressures are a little worse than his last cath (in April), but better than he was expecting. His blood flow is showing a little worse than the last cath, but better than he was expecting. After a night of Lasix drip Joseph's liver is almost back to normal size. :) They are hoping that the Milrinone they give to help his heart squeeze will no longer be needed after a day or two. :) We will get biopsy results back this afternoon and will know more about what is going on inside his precious heart.

This is the plan for now: Thymoglobulin (immunosuppressant), steroid drip, Lasix (to rid him of fluid), Milrinone (to help the heart squeeze), Prograf, and other usual supplements. After we get biopsy results this afternoon we will monitor and adjust his treatment as needed.

We are feeling hopeful that we caught this in time. Thank God we came in yesterday when we did! One more day could have made a HUGE difference!

Hopefully, now that we are here and he is being treated with such knowledge, skill, and care...they will be able to reverse this condition and restore him to full health.

Please keep the prayers coming. It is so uplifting to know that people are praying for our wonderful little boy. He is such a blessing to us. We are always learning and growing in our faith because he is our little reminder of all that is good in this world and no matter where we are or what we are doing, God is right here with us every step of the way.

Love to All,
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Wet 'N Wild!

Just had to share these fun summer photos with you!

Joseph and Abby are taking the plunge! They can both swim now! Things just got a lot more interesting in our pool. It's one crazy game, contest, or challenge after another!

Nothing is as fun as a day at the beach!
Joseph is saying, "Come on in, the water is fine!"
Abby practices writing her name in the sand...she is getting ready for kindergarten!

Hope you all had a Happy 4th of July! We spent the day in the pool, grilling, and shooting fireworks! It was a great day for us! We were happy to celebrate the freedom to do anything we want! Joseph's good health continues and we are so thankful for these happy times! Love to you all!
Until next time,
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer Fun!

Collin M. Smith, a very talented photographer here in Florence, has started a unique charity to help raise money for Children's Miracle Network. We did our part to support the project and I just really had to share with you this picture of Joseph in an all out belly laugh! :) Priceless!

We are definitely on a summer schedule around here...late to bed, late to rise. Kids just don't feel like going to bed when it's still light outside! I can't say I blame them...I'm always up late these days too! Let's see, we've been pretty busy lately swimming almost every day. Joseph finished up his baseball season and had an end of season celebration at the Splash Pad. My kids had never been there before and LOVED IT!! We attended Vacation Bible School at our church. I was so honored during this week to witness two students become christians and proclaim their faith in Christ. As adults, we have SO much to learn from children. To see faith in Christ through the eyes of a child is such a blessing! God really knew what He was doing when he blessed our world with children!

Speaking of children who are a blessing...we went to Fundaygo a couple of weeks ago to attend a fundraiser for a child who has a terrible disease called cancer. It was heart warming to see all the support they recieved. It brought back to our minds the days when everyone rallied around our family to get us through those tough times with Joseph. This little boy's name is Kole Miller and he is a precious little boy with a monster to defeat. You can read more about him at www.caringbridge.org/visit/kolemiller or http://www.kolemiller.com/. Please include him and his family in your prayers. It was good for Joseph and Abby to see Kole since we pray for him every single night. I told Joseph that's what lots of kids and parents did for him when he was sick! There is a "spirit night" for Kole at the Chic-Fil-A on Irby Street tonight from 5-8pm if you live in Florence and can make it! Eat in or drive through to help raise funds for Kole. Hope to see you there!

Joseph is doing great physically! He isn't holding anything back and to watch him be "normal" still completely amazes us after all this time. We can thank our donor family for that! They gave him this most wonderful summer season! The doctors, nurses, and transplant team at MUSC is responsible for his amazing outcome as well! I recently read an article about MUSC that I'd like to share with you. They deserve this recognition.
You can access it at the following URL:http://www.scbizmag.com/content/view/123104/1/

We are looking forward to what the rest of the summer has to offer! When summer is over, Abby starts 5K! Break out the Kleenex!

Until next time,
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Monday, June 1, 2009

Joseph Made His Wish!

I just can't believe I have waited so long to update Joseph's blog! We have been so busy having fun and leading a "normal" life! We have had a wonderful spring with Joseph turning 8, he and Abby starting baseball, and now the school year is coming to a close! Gosh, I'm in shock over the fact that Joseph will be in third grade next year! He finishes up the school year this week! He had beach day at school yesterday where they enjoyed most of the day outside with their books and puzzles and things. They finished the day with water balloons and popsicles. It was hot!!! I am really looking forward to sleeping in a little this summer. Well, as much as two little kids will let me! :)

I just wanted to share a little bit about Joseph's wish that was granted by the Make A Wish Foundation. Joseph's wish was to go to Disney World. We went and stayed where all the "Wish Kids" stay...Give Kids The World Village. It is a magical place that completely spoils kids for the week they are there. There was a Castle of Miracles, a beautiful carousel, pony rides, a Winter Wonderland Party complete with a visit from Santa and snowflakes, a Pirates and Princess Party, a gift fairy that visited every day, and a life size Candy Land playground and party! These are just to name a few. It was the best week you can imagine. It was just what my family needed...happy, happy times and new memories. We are all still talking about it! We did have one bad thing happen...Joseph came down with the flu the day after we visited the Magic Kingdom! He was so sick. I admit I got a little scared for him because he couldn't hold anything down. We spent one morning at Urgent Care and then a day in the Pediatric E.R. at the Children's Hospital in downtown Orlando. Joseph was dehydrated and weak, had fever and chills. They took great care of him at the hospital and gave him medicine for nausea. Thirty minutes after this wonder drug was administered, Joseph's condition turned around completely. They did blood work, xrays, and an EKG. They confirmed that he had type B flu. He recovered quickly and we continued our vacation as if nothing had happened! We extended our stay by two days so we were happy and the kids were still able to do all they wanted to! We just can't thank the Make A Wish Foundation enough and the staff (plus volunteers) at GKTW Village for the kindness and wonderful treatment we received while there. It was a once in a lifetime experience. I wish we could go back and do it all over again.

Thank you for continuing to keep us in your prayers. Please don't forget our donor family. They need your prayers even more than we do. Thanks for checking in!

Until next time,

Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Joseph Officially Turns 8!

Abby's impersonation of a porcupine!

Conditions were just right at Joseph's 8th birthday party to make Abby's hair stand on end! We grilled hotdogs, roasted marshmallows around the fire pit, and played games in the back yard! Joseph had a few friends sleep over after the party. It was just what he wanted to do to celebrate.

Roasting Marshmallows!

Celebrating with friends and family!

The day after his party we took the birthday boy to lunch at Red Bone Alley (his favorite restaurant) and then off to pick out a new big boy bike!

I want to thank those of you who still are praying for our little guy and for our family. God has bestowed many blessings on us along the way! We want to thank our donor family for this special time with our sweet boy. He is growing and changing every day and we are so blessed to be on this journey with him.

Until next time......
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

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Monday, April 13, 2009

A Happy Heart!

As of today it's been 2 years since Joseph received his miracle, his gift of life, his second chance. We couldn't be any more grateful than we are today for the health and happiness we've enjoyed in these last 2 years. We went down to Charleston for his 2 year biopsy and received a glowing health report! His heart is still beautiful and continues to be everything he needs. We drove down on Thursday night and stayed in a beautiful old Charleston Inn. Thank you, Sally, for such a special treat! Abby ended up with an earache in the middle of the night and we found a wonderful Dr. on Calhoun St. who said she has allergies, but no ear infection. So, both my kids are having reactions to seasonal allergies. We were juggling kids that day to say the least. But we made it through with great news on all fronts. Joseph doesn't have to go back for another biopsy for 6 months!!! Whew...we've come a long way!

This week is our spring break. We don't have any specific plans other than having fun together!

We went to my mom and dad's after church for Easter lunch. We had an egg hunt and Joseph opened birthday presents! His 8th birthday is this Saturday, April 18th. It was so much fun to be with family. He's been playing with his gifts all day. Tonight, to celebrate his 2 year "transplantiversary" we are having pizza and playing Wii games ... Joseph's choice of course! I borrowed that word from my friend Beth who saw it on another blog (cfhusband.blogspot.com) that both of us follow. It's a very uplifting blog if you want to check it out.

As for our donor family, we are hoping that they have found some sort of comfort today in knowing that their choice to donate life has given such a bright future to another child of God. Joseph's sister would be lost without him. His parent's would be devestated looking at his empty room. His cousins would only have their memories of countless hours at Grandma's house playing at the fort. His Aunt Ann would miss baking him chocolate cakes! His friends would be missing his love of dinosaurs and his sweet disposition. Our church would have one less earthly example of the miracles God still performs today. None of us can imagine a world without our JoJo in it. So, thank you, donor family for this priceless gift. We pray for you all the time. We hope to meet you one day.

Thanks for checking in! We love your support and prayers for our family.
Until next time...

Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Taste of Spring

We recently had a taste of spring! For days the sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and our spirits were soaring! Joseph and I packed our bags and headed to Raleigh to meet up with our buddies from Richmond, Jack and Beth! Joseph and Jack have known each other since birth. We started a playgroup when they were teeny tiny babies. One of our cutest memories from those days is when Jack reached over to steal JoJo's pacifier! It just looked so good he couldn't resist! Where has the time gone? They aren't stealing pacifiers anymore....no way. These big boys are playing miniature golf, laser tag, Nintendo DS, and arcade games. That's what this fun weekend had in store.

Joseph is doing great. We have absolutely no complaints. His next biopsy will be on April 10th, just before his 2 year heart anniversary and his 8th birthday! We are hoping to celebrate in a big way! Abby and I travel to Sumter once a month to get Joseph's medicine while he is in school. So, on this particular day, we went on a field trip to Swan Lake afterwards and invited our little friend Emily to go with us. Don't tell Emily she's little though. She tells us all the time that she's a big girl! She was so proud of her bag of bread to feed the ducks, geese, and swans. We fed our feathery friends and walked around soaking in the springlike weather. Abby and "Emmy" decided that geese are bossy little birds!
We continue to remember our donor family in our thoughts and prayers each day. Without them, Joseph would not have been able to reunite with his oldest friend in the world. We thank God for his continued protection over Joseph and for the opportunities he sends our way to enjoy the world around us. What a wonderful world it is. Thank you God for granting us these two healthy years. Hug your kids tighter today and thank God for the blessings He has given you.

Thank you for checking in on our little miracle man.

Until next time....Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Flu Season Is Here

We have had some good times lately. We had a long weekend since Mon. was Pres. Day. We went to visit our best friends in Atlanta. Margaret and Joseph have been best buds since birth pretty much. Sam and Abby are the same age. Their little one, Charlie, just enjoys coming along for the ride. We went to a museum that had a dinosaur exhibit and the kids were especially excited about the IMAX film we saw called "Dinosaurs Alive!" Our most fun time was probably going to Build-A-Bear Workshop! Joseph got a monkey with a monkey sound and a heartbeat. Abby got a bunny with a lullaby sound. That sound doesn't do the magic of putting her to sleep easily like I had hoped. She's still our little night owl. On Sunday, we went to the Atlanta Zoo. The baby panda was a big hit for everyone. We were having fun but Abby came down with a fever. Then she really started coughing. I took her to the Dr. on Tues. morning to find out she has the flu. I tried not to panic (worrying Joseph might catch it). They called MUSC and Joseph was prescribed 2 antiviral meds. I am hoping and praying it will protect him. I'm on one as well. So far, Joseph is holding his own. We take great precaution with him and so far he has been healthier than the rest of us! Thank God for that! He started Tae Kwon Do a few weeks ago and is having a great time with that. I posted a pic. of him posing in his uniform. It's so much fun watching him enjoying something new. We are grateful to our donor family for these happy times. Can you tell by the pictures how much he has grown??? He's not "little JoJo Greenwood" anymore.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Snowy Day

We just can't believe it actually snowed! Joseph had a biopsy scheduled in Charleston on Tuesday morning. I wanted to stay home so my kids could see it snow. The last time we saw snow, Abby was only a few days old and we were living in Richmond, VA. If we stayed home and rescheduled our appt. it would probably just rain........if we went to Charleston, surely it would snow in Florence. The appt. had already been rescheduled twice, so...we decided to keep our appointment and get Joseph's cath done. My prediction was right! We went to Charleston and it snowed in Florence. So...we hurried home after Joseph's cath and our neighborhood was loaded with snow! We tried to take Dr.'s advice and "take it easy for the next couple of days", but the white stuff just kept calling! We bundled up and went out to play in the snow! Abby and Joseph had a wonderful time! They each built their own snowman and Joseph had to make a snow angel! Joseph also put an MUSC cap on his snowman in honor of his buddies there. The icing on the cake was that Joseph got an excellent report from Dr. Ringewald! He is scheduled to come back in 3 months......that will be Joseph's birthday and his 2nd anniversary with his new heart! That just amazes us. Where has the time gone? We have enjoyed this time with him, that is for sure.

Speaking of icing and cakes...Abby turned 5 years old on Jan. 19th! She had a tinkerbell party and had a big time celebrating with her family and friends. It's just so hard to believe she's 5 now! It was bittersweet for her mommy and daddy! She got her first bicycle. Thanks for checking in with us. Please keep us in your prayers, along with our donor family.
Until next time...
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, Abigail

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! We are so excited about 2009...lots to look forward to! Joseph is going to make his wish from the Make A Wish foundation. We will hopefully meet with them soon and let you know what his big wish is!
We have a change of plans for his biopsy that was scheduled for this Friday, Jan. 9th. He has a yucky winter cold so they have postponed his cath lab until Jan. 23rd. He missed a couple days of school but is back now and trying to beat this thing. Colds can be so miserable! Say some prayers that all is well with his precious new heart!

We hope this New Year brings you all the health and happiness you can stand! God bless!

Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail