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Friday, April 30, 2010

Making the organ donation decision for a child

Today is the last day of National Donate Life Month. I truly hope the 8 entries I made this month in honor of organ donation helped you understand or learn one thing about organ donation that you didn't know. National Donate Life month may be officially over... but every month of every year is organ donation awareness for us, and always an opportunity for you to consider that commitment.


I sat in front of a doctor on May 11, 2009 and was told the only way Gabriella would see her 10th birthday is if she gets a new heart, and that was a rough and hopeful estimate. I was faced with the tragic reality that my 4 year old, already potentially at the halfway point in her life, was going to die if action was not taken. It was not with a naive heart that I agreed to the process in May, nor was it when I signed that paperwork in February for consent. I knew what it would take for my child to live. But as I stated before and I remind myself frequently, a child was not going to die to save Gabriella. A child was going to die and in turn Gabriella would be saved.

Organ donation is the greatest gift anyone can receive. No amount of money could buy a gift more significant than re-life. In our case, it will allow Gabriella to experience things she may never. Starting school, going on a date, driving a car, attending prom, finding her soul mate, and the list goes on. The potential she will have with her story and testimony to change the lives of others is the greatest opportunity, and it will be my goal in life to ensure the importance of this event will never be forgotten. She will be given an opportunity to live a life that, with transplant, she wouldn't survive to see.

In the same way Gabriella's life will flourish and thrive, another mother will sit and live with the fact that her child was never able to experience those same things Gabriella is given a chance to experience. Another mother will be faced with the tragic reality that her child is not able to be saved due to an illness or trauma. Another mother will sit in front of a doctor who will have a consent in hand to harvest their child's organs for donation. A mother who either carried this child in her womb or adopted them and they became part of her heart, and never thought it could happen to her. She will need to make that decision, in the heat of the moment, and at the height of grief.

Before you knew about Gabriella, could you have said 'yes' so easily?

Had that mother and/or father thought about what decision they would make for their child? This wasn't exactly something they put in the "What to Expect" books. Your OB-GYN won't add it to the list of choices to make with birth plans, feeding and diapering decisions. Your pediatrician won't bring it up at your well-baby visits. Your momma friends most likely will not bring it up in playgroup or coffee dates. You cannot sign a child up with DonateLife, nor can you add it to their license. Making this decision takes planning, communication and preparation on the sole effort of the parents.

I posted an entry from a sweet friend Lara on my blog on February 14. She lost her child at a very young age to a tragic accident. But the words she typed are imprinted onto my heart when I think of Gabriella's donor family. "The loss of your child will not go away and your gift will not bring her back, but I would never, ever, ever wish the pain of a lost child on my very worst enemy. What a wonderful feeling to know that you have spared another family that pain."

I urge you to please do one very important thing for Gabriella's cause this coming month. Days speed past us, work schedules clog up the day, evenings are rushed with dinner and bedtimes, weekends with sports and gatherings. But PLEASE dedicate a few minutes to Gabriella and talk with your child's other parent about what decision you would make on organ donation for your child, given you were caught in such a tragic circumstance. If you aren't yet a parent, talk with your spouse about the future. Mention it to your siblings with kids, or your best friend, and tell them how important this decision is to make as a precaution. If you are a faithful person, pray about it. We make decisions for our kids on a daily basis, and this one is no less important to consider. When you make your decision, it is important to share it with family. Inform grandparents, aunts and uncles, or anyone close to you, of the decision you made. Communicating your wishes is the best way to make it 'official' for a minor.

Please let us know that you promise to sit and have this discussion with your spouse or loved one! Regardless of the decision you make, taking the time to communicate it is key. We'd love to know that people are committing to discussing this very important and personal topic to us!
2 to 3% of the National Donor Registry consists of children under the age of consent... 17 years old. As of today, there are 1,803 children listed for an organ in the United States.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gabriella's arm

OK! Good news! Loma Linda approved the med today that out rehab doctor prescribed Gabriella last week! You can read more about that appointment on the Journeys in Speech post from last week.

He prescribed Baclofen for her, and Loma Linda feels it to be a safe pre-transplant med. Her arm issue is what he called spasticity, which is where the nerves tell the muscles to constantly contract. The doctor seems to think her stroke damage might have slightly affected the basal ganglia... in turn causing this spasticity. This explains why her fingers are most often curled, especially when she goes to isolate her fine motor skill finger movement. She curls her fingers to pinch at something small or hold something in her hand, and he told us it is because they are over tightening. It is something that is present in people with cerebal palsy or multiple sclerosis... but in Gabriella's case is an acquired disorder in result of her stroke.

As I read about Spasticity, I am discovering that it does in fact involve speech in some cases. This makes me want to go to the pharmacy and fill the Rx, like, now. I can't wait to see what this does to help her! And for the record, yes, I have done research on the med myself... :)

Speaking of speech... here are Gabriellas 3 newest words! Excuse her super amazing hair. She can't help how awesome it is in the mornings.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

NDLM - Simple ways to help now

Besides registering officially to become a donor, you can help now in a very simple way!

Donating your blood is the simplest way to help save another life with minimal time and effort. If everyone spent that 45 minutes to an hour twice a year donating their blood, we can make a substantial difference in the blood supply in the US.

Just one pint of blood can help several people by separating it into 4 different essential elements. Every 3 seconds, someone needs blood, but only 3% of America donates. 4.5 million Americans would die each year without life saving blood transfusions. The need is high!!!

Almost anyone can donate blood! You must be healthy, over 110lbs and over 17 years old. And the best way to approach donation is to go with a friend. Not only are you alone in the process, but you have just added to the supply of blood for others!

Best of all, you can earn points for donating, just like a credit card! United Blood services offer a rewards system to help you earn thank you gifts with the Hero In Me program. Visit their website for more information on the rewards program, locations near you and more information on blood donation:

Along with the United Blood Services, the Red Cross also had a search engine for donating:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Loma Linda April Appointment

Thursday, Gabriella and I got up early and flew to Ontario, CA for her monthly clinic appointment at Loma Linda. Deepest thanks to an anonymous donor, Gabriella flew for free which helped a ton! Being gone for so long back in March was difficult, not only emotionally but financially, so a quick and cheap turn around trip was perfect for April.

We met with a doctor we had not yet met yet, but he knew all of Gabriella's story. The best thing is how connected their whole transplant team is. Regardless of the size of their program, they all work together so closely that they are all familiar with the kids. This doctor is the ICU doctor who will tend to Gabriella post-transplant, and I add him to my list of amazing doctors at Loma Linda! We spoke in more detail than a normal visit about her situation. Since Restrictive Cardiomyopathy is the rarest form of childhood cardiomyopathy, there is still so much to be learned about it. He said most kids with heart defects wait until things get severe to critical before they list for transplant, which is why you will normally see kids on feeding tubes, oxygen, etc, in the stories of heart kids. They try and get mileage out of the old heart before jumping to transplant. Post-transplant is nothing to take lightly... many people think the problems fixed, but it is just an entirely new set of serious lifetime issues. RCM (and other heart defectes) can cause Pulmonary Hypertension... basically can harm the lungs. Let this get serious enough, and treatment becomes very difficult. With RCM, it is a near definite that this effect on the lungs will be severe and fast, and he is now applying this scenario to Gabriella. Combine that with the high risk for sudden cardiac death associated with Restrictive Cardiomyopathy, the general opinion is "getting mileage" out of her heart is definitely not the smartest option.

What do we do about this? Well, he wants to do another heart cath. Typically, their protocol (as well as most other transplant centers) is to have this cath done every 6 months while in the preparation or waiting stages for transplant. Gabriella had her stroke, which halted that from happening at the 6 months mark. Tomorrow will be one year since her first one, so I knew this was coming. Doing a heart cath will check for any signs of pulmonary issues, which will better help them to treat her at transplant instead of going in to find a surprise issue. My immediate fear is another stroke. We talked about that fear, and he is not taking it lightly. We have to decide what the smartest of 2 evils is. Do a cath to better prepare for transplant but risk another stroke? Or skip the cath and eliminate added stroke risk but walk into surprises at transplant? I am not in opposition to the cath whatsoever, but I need to make sure we are all fully aware of this stroke risk and that doctors have a plan set in motion before we do it on how to prevent or treat any clots that might develop. You know me... I'm "that" mom that will question and investigate everything.

The next part of this hard decision is listing. He thinks Gabriella needs to be bumped to a 1B from level 2 listing, being a bit higher in 'importance' for lack of a better word. I am sure the cath will do a lot of the deciding for them, but this might be a decision they make prior to cath. Since her cardiomyopathy is still a very cloudy diagnosis for the pediatric heart worlds and so much is unknown, he thinks the safer bet is to list her higher. Her heart is unpredictable to even these amazing surgeons who have been playing with hearts for decades. And for the same reasons I said earlier about not waiting for transplant, listing as a level 2 doesn't make things go any quicker for her.

He is taking it before the transplant team this week. He said that he thinks Gabriella's situation needs to be looked at a bit closer and in more detail since this has stretched far beyond our original expectations last summer. They will be getting back to me and hopefully we can make the best choice together for the best interest of Gabriella. And of course, I will share the results as we have them.

And the best part of yesterday was hanging out with our new friends. I was introduced to Shannon and 2 girls before our last trip and we met up back in March. We spent the later part of the day just hanging out which was a super nice way to perk up our dreary appointment. We were having such a nice time we got sidetracked and we almost missed our flight! But I performed a travel miracle and made it there on time, only to find out our flight was delayed.... lol.

Journeys in Speech

Tuesday I went and registered Gabriella at our local elementary school with hopes of getting in-home services for both therapy and schooling. I am planning on homeschooling her for Kindergarten anyways, since she won't be able to start when all the kids do in July or attend a public school setting for a while. She qualifies and things look great, but everything is was put on a sort of "hold" until we get back from transplant....

I go to my PO Box to grab the mail, to find another denial from the Department of Developmental Disabilities. We have been trying to get her accepted through them to get her an Augmentative Communication Device and also for some possible additional therapy support. This ACD is a little computer that will allow Gabriella to choose different symbols to formulate a sentence and will speak it for her. Not only will it help her to express what she is trying to say to people who don't get her special way of talking, but it will also assist her in learning to speak again in the proper way by speaking the words she is trying to communicating and her mimicking them. We are continuously denied because they do not consider loss of speech/ apraxia &aphasia, a developmental issue. According to them, she it would be an issue if she had never been able to speak... makes sense, right? Not. They took the blurp from her Speech Eval that she was behaving age appropriate as a marker that she was comparable to her peers. The feelings I felt when I got the repeat denial are not rated for this blog... so I'll just leave you to your imagination.

I got my wheels moving right away and contacted the hag who denied us to let her know what I thought of her and her desk job, gathered my appeals information, made an appointment with her rehabilitation doctor, and researched angles to help me fight.

Today we went to see the Rehab doctor. Thank goodness we got in so quickly. Like myself, he was pretty much disgusted that they would not approve Gabriella. He got me the name and number of an organization that should be able to help us get evaluated for the device, but also is writing his appointment notes to be worded in a way that the state will approve her. It is all in how they word things. The doctor stated exactly what I've been saying..... that Gabriella is most definitely not at the level of other kids her age. Yes, she is doing AMAZING and compared to 7 months ago, she is a true miracle in her recovery. But stand her next to another 5 year old and there is no need for a professional to tell you that she is now extremely delayed. And there is no way to tell is she is on track for her alphabet, reading and writing because she cannot communicate... as far as we know she doesn't know any of that and is learning it right now like it is the first time. Also, no one knows how this will affect her long term. Many times, people with a brain injury like hers have difficulty reading and writing. How can someone self-suffice if they cannot communicate, read or write? Thats not a disability? Basically, what the state wants is for you to get to the point of no return before they help, instead of assisting in the real-time treatment of a child. That, I'm not satisfied with.

He also told me to peruse the school system and their evaluations now. It seems as if they cannot deny her the treatment, so I am going to push to get it all started. There is a chance too that they may be able to supply her with a device through the school system, given there haven't been major cutbacks to that area of the district.

So we have a few options now. I have a doctor in my corner to advocate for Gabriella, and have an organization I can contact for help or at least tips on fighting for this... as well as the school system I am going to push on.

Besides the business part of our appointment, the doctor was impressed with Gabriella. He discovered something with her arm... and I wish I could remember what he called it right now, but basically that her muscles and nerves are contradicting themselves. When her muscle contracts to make a movement or a fine motor skill, she has something prohibiting that motion from being carried out properly. He prescribed me a medication that should help with relaxing this action to help her retrain her hand to work properly, without affecting her heart or ability to undergo surgery. I am in complete awe of his ability to diagnose this (I didn't know there was anything to even diagnose!), and it sounds like it might be something we can improve on! And he also said there is a slight chance it might help her speech by relaxing her mouth nerves/muscle contradiction from holding back the sounds her mouth is trying to make. Once I get his notes and see what it was exactly, I will repost because it was seriously fascinating, and it sounds very vague as I type this here. Next step is I have to call Loma Linda and see if they will approve her to take this medication... but I am really wanting to give it a try!

Like I told my mother in law today, I'll fight for this little girl until the day I die.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

NDLM - How to become a donor

Whether you are religious or not, wealthy or poor, the one thing we all share in common as living beings is that we will all die. We secure certain things to prepare for that event. Some people have their funeral paid for and every detail chosen. Some people write a will to delegate out their possessions to people they love. Some people purchase life insurance to their family is left with an inheritance.

Becoming a donor is like securing life insurance or writing a will. You are preparing a decision, in the event of your death, you want something to happen. Can you imagine, that not only did you secure financial security and delegate your items to people you loved, but you also can potentially save the lives of 50 people??

It is simple to become a donor. You can click on the banner below and register with Donate Life America. You can register while renewing your drivers license. You can carry a Donor Card in your wallet. And regardless of which form you use to register, inform your family of your decision. While telling them about your decision and why you chose that, you are planting the seed for others to become donors!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Another year cooler...

I told my neice I was one year cooler and one year smarter. She questioned the smarter part. I'm SO glad she didn't question the cooler part.... ;)

When I turned 27, I threw this big hissyfit. I had a "hard time" with 27 and wasn't all that thrilled about my birthday. I was also anticipating Gabriella's heart cath, which was done April 24 last year. On my birthday last year, Gabriella was not yet diagnosed. She was 'healthy'.

Before I turned 27 last year, I thought I had problems. I thought I had stress. I thought complaining was the way to cope. I knew God, but relied on my own path and plan in life.

Today, I turn 28. There has never been a birthday where I feel I actually GREW up in the previous year than this. I have learned so much about life in a way I don't think I could have ever learned given our journey with Gabriella's heart didn't happen. I learned so much about myself. I faced and OVERCAME so many demons and issues within me. I found a deeper and more passionate relationship with God. Those 3 things I learned alone changed my life. It changed my marriage, motherhood, my relationships and friendships. It changed everything from the way I pray to the way I spend money. It changed my opinions on people and diversity and life. It changed the way I 'stress' over issues and is a reminder that complaining serves no purpose.

So, today I am celebrating another year of life. I am praising God for another year HE has given me, and another year to learn more. I am praising Him for another year with my kids, and being allowed to care for Gabriella.

So for your entertainment, here are some pictures of me as a wee little toehead!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fabric fundraising

I have mentioned in the distant past my little business, MaggieMoo Designs. I used to make nursing covers, burp cloths, diaper bags, etc etc etc. I had to slow down the process when Gabriella was diagnosed and things came to a screeching halt last summer when we started transplant testing. I have a few things in my shop because they just haven't sold yet, but other than that, I am only really making custom Tutu's now because they do not require a big sewing setup for me. I loved making my momma and baby things! I did shows and sold to places all over the world! I am excited to pick it up again one day.

SINCE I had to quit my sewing business, I was faced with the harsh reality of how much excess fabric I had! I have one bin of prints I wanted to keep for the future, but have been selling more of the fabric online. I've sold almost 80 pieces so far! I just posted the balance of what I have to sell and listed it all on my destash shop. All of the funds raised from selling my fabric goes into Gabriella's medical PayPal account... so it is somewhat of a fundraiser I guess!

SO, my point.... if you use fabric or know anyone who does, please check out my destash shop! I think the coolest is if I can sell it ALL before we get the heart call! So spread the word, and help me get rid of all of this fabric!

Fabric, anyone?

I have mentioned in the distant past my little business, MaggieMoo Designs. I used to make nursing covers, burp cloths, diaper bags, etc etc etc. I had to slow down the process when Gabriella was diagnosed and things came to a screeching halt last summer when we started transplant testing. I have a few things in my shop because they just haven't sold yet, but other than that, I am only really making custom Tutu's now because they do not require a big sewing setup for me. I loved making my momma and baby things! I did shows and sold to places all over the world! I am excited to pick it up again one day.

SINCE I had to quit my sewing business, I was faced with the harsh reality of how much excess fabric I had! I have one bin of prints I wanted to keep for the future, but have been selling more of the fabric online. I've sold almost 80 pieces so far! I just posted the balance of what I have to sell and listed it all on my destash shop. All of the funds raised from selling my fabric goes into Gabriella's medical PayPal account... so it is somewhat of a fundraiser I guess!

SO, my point.... if you use fabric or know anyone who does, please check out my destash shop! I think the coolest is if I can sell it ALL before we get the heart call! So spread the word, and help me get rid of all of this fabric!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

On the edge: Megans Story

Want to hear an amazing story?

I just discovered Megan. She has been struggling with heart issues since March 2002. She was diagnosed with Myocarditis (a virus that attacks the heart) and heart failure.

She lived a semi-normal life (with limited strenuous activity) all the way to November 2009 when she was told she was in heart failure. She is now 22, and has been waiting transplant as a 1B listing since February 4.

This past weekend was seeming like the end of the road. Her father says on Saturday morning at 750am "Megan is again fighting for every breath."
  • 3pm, they had to do an emergency procedure to stop infection and assist her breathing. She was placed on a temporary respirator.
  • 650pm he posted that she was improving with just a little oxygen.
  • 920pm he wrote a cry for prayer that she become better in the event a heart become available.
  • 40 minutes later, Megan's family got the notice that a donor heart for her was matched!!!!!!! Her dad writes: "10:00pm 'PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW'. We went from "Megan is too sick to receive a transplant" to "WE HAVE A HEART" in 12 hours. Only God can work a miracle like this. Thank You Jesus!!!"
God stretched this family to the very edge of their faith, them thinking they were about to loose their daughter. They were in a cold, dark valley... with doctors telling them she was too weak for transplant. But their faith never ceased, and nothing was too big for their God...

I feel like this story is a great way to start the week. I had a talk recently with another heart mom, and we spoke of how quickly you 'grow-up' when you are faced with an instance like ours. And how life just looks different in general. Responses, reactions, opinions.... they all change, and it is nothing I can describe so instead I just try and live my life to be a reflection of it. And I hope through Gabriella's blog, as well as hearing stories like Megan's family and their immense and pure faith, you too can have hope that God always provides and He always comforts, IF you put your heart and life in His hands.

And as always, may I please remind you to pray for the family that DID loose their child, that in turn Megan, and so many others the donor's organs went to, could live. God is provider. And God is comforter. May the family find peace in their incredible gift and choice.

And a news story done:

Friday, April 16, 2010

NDLM - Understanding death before donation

How do they get the organs? Obviously, someone has passed away... but there is so much more to it. So many questions I had. There is a site that has a great, in depth description of the process for harvesting organs. I encourage you to check it out!!! Gift of a Lifetime

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Current Statistics

The funny thing is that we all know Gabriella is practically next. Tonight was a huge reminder of how quickly this will come. Today is day 63 on the transplant list...... But for giggles and consistency, here is the most current statistics.
(all information according to

As of April 14, 2010 there are 3,175 people (adults and children) in the United States waiting for a heart.

(OPTN data from April 9, 2010)

There are 89 kids waiting for a heart in the age category 1 to 5 years in the whole United States.
There are 21 one to five year olds waiting for a heart in Gabriella's blood type of A.
6 listed as a Level 1A
1 listed as a Level 1B
2 listed as a Level 2 (Gabriella's status)
12 inactive on the list

Region 5: Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah
There are 14 kids ages 1 to 5 waiting for a heart in the Region 5.
There are 3 one to five year old kids matching her blood type of A in Region 5.
0 listed as a Level 1A
0 listed as a Level 1B
1 listed as a Level 2 (Gabriella)
2 inactive on the list

About our false alarm

Well, Gabriella's sparkly heart is still in waiting...

Gabriella was secondary on the offer, meaning another transplant team and kid was given that heart as primary offer. The heart did match Gabriella and would have been a good heart for her, but the other kid may have been listed higher or waited longer.

The deal with primary vs. secondary.... If the primary team decided their candidate for the heart was not healthy enough or they couldn't travel to get the heart, they would pass on the offer and it would go to Gabriella, the secondary kid.

When we got the original call, it was exactly as she told me it would be. She said "Hi Kristi, it's Cheri, how is Gabriella doing?" and I knew it was the call.... I replied that she was great, healthy and doing good. She then went on to tell me about the heart offer and Gabriella's secondary status. She then told me not to panic or start arranging anything yet. YEAH RIGHT. So when we hung up, I called Paul and got him home from work. I started packing the remainder of our bags and getting things in line. Family came over to man their stations (taking PJ and getting my van from the hangar). As much as I prepared and played it out in my head, I wasn't pepared for the emotions I was going to feel.

I got the call about an hour ago that the primary team was going through with taking the offer and our transplant team declined backup status. Backup status meaning they would take the heart if the Primary decided last minute they didn't want it. They declined backup status because the time crunch would be too much to get the heart and Gabriella there in time last minute, or if the heart was turned down by the primary team because it was bad we wouldn't take it anyways.

So we wait more, for His timing. God is an amazing God and His timing is more than perfect. The emotions I feel right now are hard to explain, even for my blogging tendencies. Normally I can express what I am trying to convey through words on here, since I can sit and ponder my emotions while typing. But this feeling is inexplicable. I can say though that SOMEONE out there is getting their new sparkly heart tonight, and God decided they needed it more than Gabriella tonight. And I know another mother out there was as much in a panic as I was getting things arranged. I also know that whether Gabriella or the primary child got this heart, someone lost their child tonight, and I cannot help to place my heart with them in their evening of grieving.

Thank you to everyone's tweets, Facebook messages and texts... I love you all. The support system we have is incredible and I think everyone should envy the magnitude of amazing people we have in our lives. :)

Possible Heart Offer

We have a possible heart offer.

Gabriella is not primary but it is a match. Please be in prayer for us, and the family who lost their child. We will know more in a while and I will update.

Honestly. I'm freaking out. As prepared as I was, I wasn't prepared for the feelings I have right now.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

NDLM - Living Donation

Donate Life America has some fantastic information on living donation. I follow a friend online who requires a new liver. She was matched to a living donor, and she should be getting her new liver in July! Someone took that step and sacrifice to give a partial organ to someone in need. Now, Ricky will be able to enjoy taking her daughter to school or grocery shopping, enjoy a cool sunny morning without waking up in pain, and be part of something like no other! Here is some information from the Living Donor page on Donate Life America. Be sure to visit their page for more information on ways to participate!

Who can be a living donor?
While many people are willing to be living donors, not everyone has the qualities necessary to participate in living donation. Donors must be chosen carefully in order to avoid outcomes that are medically and psychologically unsatisfactory.

While the individual circumstances of each potential donor are discussed privately and tested to determine compatibility, all potential donors must be genuinely willing to donate, physically fit, in good general health; and free from high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease and heart disease.

Individuals considered for living donation are usually between 18-60 years of age. Gender and race are not factors in determining a successful match.

Types of living donation
Although not all transplant centers perform all types, living donation has expanded to include many variations since the practice began in 1954, including:

Related - Blood relatives of transplant candidates including brothers, sisters, parents, children (over 18 years of age), aunts, uncles, cousins, half brothers & sisters, nieces and nephews.

Non-Related - Individuals emotionally close to, but not related by blood to transplant candidates, including spouses, in-law relatives, close friends, coworkers, neighbors or other acquaintances.

Non-Directed - Individuals who are not related to or known by the recipient, but make their donation purely out of selfless motives. This type of donation is also referred to as anonymous, altruistic, altruistic stranger, and stranger-to-stranger living donation.

Paired Donation - Consists of two kidney donor/recipient pairs whose blood types are not compatible. The two recipients trade donors so that each recipient can receive a kidney with a compatible blood type. Once the evaluations of all donors and recipients are completed, the two kidney transplant operations are scheduled to occur simultaneously.

Kidney Donor Waiting List Exchange - If a paired exchange cannot be found, living donors in certain areas of the country may be eligible for living kidney donor list exchange. In this type of exchange, a kidney donor who is not compatible with their intended recipient offers to donate to a stranger on the waiting list. In return, the intended recipient advances on the waiting list for a deceased donor kidney. This type of living donation is also referred to as list-paired exchange and living donor/deceased exchange.

Blood Type Incompatible - This type of donation allows candidates to receive a kidney from a living donor who has an incompatible blood type. To prevent immediate rejection of the kidney, recipients undergo plasmapheresis treatments before and after the transplant to remove harmful antibodies from the blood, as well as the removal of the spleen at the time of transplant.

Positive Crossmatch - The positive crossmatch process is similar to the process used for ABO-incompatible living-donor kidney transplants, where patients can receive kidneys from living donors with blood types incompatible with their own. Similarly, treating patients with plasmapheresis also greatly reduces the chance of organ rejection in patients with elevated antibody levels. Previously, these elevated antibody levels made tissue rejection almost certain. Positive crossmatch live donor kidney transplants are usually only performed if no other live donors (with a negative crossmatch) exist.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hakuna Matata

(photo taken at Disneyland, California by Pixie Hollow)

If you looked at my albums from our SoCal trip, you probably already saw this picture. I spiced it up a bit on Photoshop and had to repost it.

I can't help but be reminded of the amazing intricate detail God put into this flower. And if he put so much into this short lived tiny hidden treasure I almost walked right past, can you imagine his love for US? It actually reminded me of a few verses I have always loved from the book of Matthew and makes my heart smile.
Matthew 6: 25-34 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

NDLM - Organ Matching

I posted back in March an entry all about organ matching. It can be found HERE.

I also found a great read from Donate Life America that lays it all out very simply! Check it out HERE.

Some interesting tidbits from Donate Life America:
  • A living organ donor can give a kidney, or a portion of the liver, lung, intestine, or pancreas
  • A deceased organ donor can give kidneys, pancreas, liver, lungs, heart, intestinal organs
  • Only 30% of kids who need a transplant actually get it
  • Unlike organs, tissues can be donated up to 24 hours after a person's heart has stopped beating.
  • Every 11 minutes another name is added to the national organ transplant waiting list.
  • An average of 18 people die each day from the lack of available organs for transplant.
  • In 2008, there were 7,984 deceased organ donors and 6,218 living organ donors resulting in 27,961 organ transplants.
  • 90% of Americans say they support donation, but only 30% know the essential steps to take to be a donor.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

More kiddos get sparkly

It seems like such a flood lately.... first Penny on March 31, then Mason on April 4.....

Laura in Texas, who was diagnosed with Dialated Cardiomyopathy (a more common cardiomyopathy found in children than Gabriella's Restrictive) is in surgery tonight getting her sparkly new heart.

Carter in Tennessee, will be going in at 5am tomorrow for his transplant!

I ask my prayer warriors to be praying! Pray for the hands of the surgeons, the strength of the children, peace for the parents, and comfort for the donor families!

NDLM - Religious Views on Donation

Reposting this for my National Donate Life Month series!

I thought this information to be highly interesting!!! (Read the Seventh Day Adventist position, this is the faith base of the hospital Gabriella will be at!)

AME & AME Zion (African Methodist Episcopal)
Organ and tissue donation is viewed as an act of neighborly love and charity by these denominations. They encourage all members to support donation as a way of helping others.

The Amish consent to donation if they know it is for the health and welfare of the transplant recipient. They believe that since God created the human body, it is God who heals. However, they are not forbidden from using modern medical services, including surgery, hospitalization, dental work, anesthesia, blood transfusions, or immunization.

Assembly of God
The Church has no official policy regarding donation. The decision to donate is left up to the individual. Donation is highly supported by the denomination.

Though Baptists generally believe that organ and tissue donation and transplantation are ultimately matters of personal conscience, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, adopted a resolution in 1988 encouraging physicians to request organ donation in appropriate circumstances and to '...encourage voluntarism regarding organ donations in the spirit of stewardship, compassion for the needs of others and alleviating suffering.' Other Baptist groups have supported organ and tissue donation as an act of charity and leave the decision to donate up to the individual.

Buddhists believe organ donation is a matter that should be left to an individual's conscience. Reverend Gyomay Masao Kubose, president and founder of The Buddhist Temple of Chicago and a practicing minister, says, “We honor those people who donate their bodies and organs to the advancement of medical science and to saving lives.” The importance of letting loved ones know your wishes is stressed.

Catholics view organ donation as an act of charity, fraternal love and self sacrifice. Transplants are ethically and morally acceptable to the Vatican. Pope John Paul II stated, "The Catholic Church would promote the fact that there is a need for organ donors and that Christians should accept this as a “challenge to their generosity and fraternal love” so long as ethical principles are followed."

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
The Christian Church encourages organ and tissue donation, stating that we were created for God's glory and for sharing God's love. A 1985 resolution, adopted by the General Assembly, encourages “members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to enroll as organ donors and prayerfully support those who have received an organ transplant."

The Church of Christ, Scientist
Christian Scientists do not take a specific position on transplants or organ donation. They normally rely on spiritual, rather than medical means for healing. Organ and tissue donation is an issue that is left to the individual church member.

The Episcopal Church recognizes the life-giving benefits of organ, blood, and tissue donation. All Christians are encouraged to become organ, blood, and tissue donors "as part of their ministry to others in the name of Christ, who gave His life that we may have life in its fullness."

Greek Orthodox
According to Reverend Dr. Milton Efthimiou, Director of the Department of Church and Society for the Greek Orthodox Church of North and South America, "The Greek Orthodox Church is not opposed to organ donation as long as the organs and tissue in question are used to better human life, i.e., for transplantation or for research that will lead to improvements in the treatment and prevention of disease."

Gypsies tend to be against organ donation. Although they have no formal resolution, their opposition is associated with their belief in the after-life. Gypsies believe that for one year after a person dies, the soul retraces its steps. All parts of the body must remain intact because the soul maintains a physical shape.

Hindus are not prohibited by religious law from donating their organs, according to the Hindu Temple Society of North America. In fact, Hindu mythology includes stories in which parts of the human body are used for the benefit of other humans and society. The act is an individual decision.

Independent Conservative Evangelical
Generally, Evangelicals have had no opposition to organ and tissue donation. Donation is an individual decision.

Muslims believe in the principle of saving human lives, and permit organ transplants as a means of achieving that noble end.

Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses believe donation is a matter best left to an individual's conscience. All organs and tissue, however, must be completely drained of blood before transplantation.

All four branches of Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist) support and encourage donation. Said Orthodox Rabbi Moses Tendier, "if one is in the position to donate an organ to save another's life, it's obligatory to do so, even if the donor never knows who the beneficiary will be. The basic principle of Jewish ethics - 'the infinite worth of the human being' - also includes donation of corneas, since eyesight restoration is considered a life-saving operation." In 1991, the Rabbinical Council of America (Orthodox) approved organ donations as permissible, and even required, from brain-dead patients. The reform movement looks upon the transplant program favorably. Rabbi Richard Address, Director of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations Bio-Ethics Committee, stated that, "Judaic Responsa materials provide a positive approach and by and large the North American Reform Jewish community approves of transplantation."

In 1984, the Lutheran Church in America passed a resolution stating that donation contributes to the well-being of humanity and can be " expression of sacrificial love for a neighbor in need." They call on members to consider donating organs and to make any necessary family and legal arrangements, including the use of a signed donor card.

Mennonites have no formal position on donation, but are not opposed to it. They leave the decision to the individual or his/her family.

The Moravian Church has made no statement addressing organ and tissue donation or transplantation. Robert E. Sawyer, President, Provincial Elders Conference, Moravian Church of America, Southern Province, states, “There is nothing in our doctrine or policy that would prevent a Moravian pastor from assisting a family in making a decision to donate or not to donate an organ.” It is, therefore, a matter of individual choice.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints considers the decision to donate organs a selfless act that often results in great benefit and the decision to donate for medical purposes, or the decision to authorize donation from a deceased family member is made by the individual or deceased member's family. The Church states that the decision should be made after receiving competent medical counsel and confirmation through prayer.

Pentecostals leave the decision to donate up to the individual.

Presbyterians encourage and endorse donation. It's an individual's right to make decisions regarding his or her own body.

Seventh-Day Adventist
Donation and transplantation are strongly encouraged. Seventh-Day Adventists have many transplant hospitals, including Loma Linda in California, which specializes in pediatric heart transplantation.

In Shinto, the dead body is considered impure and dangerous, and thus quite powerful. Injuring a dead body is a serious crime. It is difficult to obtain consent from bereaved families for organ donation or dissection for medical education or pathological anatomy because Shintos relate donation to injuring a dead body. Families are concerned that they not injure the itai, the relationship between the dead person and the bereaved people.

Society of Friends (Quakers)
Quakers do not have an official position. They believe that organ and tissue donation is an individual decision.

Unitarian Universalist
Organ and tissue donation is widely supported by Unitarian Universalists. They view it as an act of love and selfless giving.

United Church of Christ
Reverend Jay Lintner stated, “United Church of Christ people, churches and agencies are extremely and overwhelmingly supportive of organ sharing. The General Synod has never spoken to this issue because, in general, the Synod speaks on more controversial issues, and there is no controversy about organ sharing, just as there is no controversy about blood donation in the denomination. While the General Synod has never spoken about blood donation, blood donation rooms have been set up at several General Synods. Similarly, any organized effort to get the General Synod delegates or individual churches to sign organ donation cards would meet with generally positive responses.”

United Methodist
The United Methodist Church issued a policy statement regarding organ and tissue donation. In it, they state that, "The United Methodist Church recognizes the life-giving benefits of organ and tissue donation, and thereby encourages all Christians to become organ and tissue donors by signing and carrying cards or driver's licenses, attesting to their commitment of such organs upon their death, to those in need, as a part of their ministry to others in the name of Christ, who gave his life that we might have life in its fullness.” A 1992 resolution states, “Donation is to be encouraged, assuming appropriate safeguards against hastening death and determination of death by reliable criteria." The resolution further states, “Pastoral-care persons should be willing to explore these options as a normal part of conversation with patients and their families.”



Uneventful and more waiting thoughts...

Sure enough, as I post this, things will be sure to change. But I write this willing to take that risk. HAHA!

Things have been uneventful! We have everything set up for transplant. Bags packed, transportation, backup transportation... the only thing is the move. Once we get our stuff into our apartment, I am READY to go. Yes, yes... I do know God has His own plan. I'm just PLEADING with him to let me at l east get the boxes in the door before I go!

A random funny... when we speak about Gabriella getting her new sparkly heart, her immediate response is her own special explanation about how she will be able to ride roller coasters again. That girl... she is a FIRECRACKER!

We went to monthly Cardiology visit Monday, and love going in to see all of our friends! Dr Alhadheri said everything was stable with last month. Her enlargement was the same, the mitral valve leakage seems to be the same, the function is the same. THANK goodness. Same is SO much better than decreased or worse. I mentioned to the ECHO tech that I am still sitting on hope for a miracle. She wasn't sitting on my same thought pattern, and said that deep Myocardial Bridging she has isn't going to get any better. I am sure her heart is going to be an interesting one to study post-transplant! As I have said in the past, the 'heart failure' with Restrictive Cardiomyopathy is not a slow failure like some other heart conditions. It's typically not a slow failure. The main and most common symptom in kids with RCM is sudden cardiac death, so every day her heart stays the same is another day we are clear of THAT symptom. And once we get this new sparkly heart, there will be no more fear of loosing her suddenly.

That being said, I have had fears of that lately. I have been plagued with fears and thoughts of loosing her before her heart comes. And I have had extreme heartache for the donor family and what they will inevitably experience, when thinking of losing my own child. The thoughts in my head have been overwhelming. I know, and have experienced many times in life, that the more you draw closer to God the more the devil wants to intercede. And I know the fears and negative emotions I have been feeling is just that. I turn it into positive and find myself praying multiple times during the day for the donor family. Praying God give them special moments to hold onto. Praying they take lots of pictures as a FAMILY as a normal habit (I am a huge family picture advocate, being that I lost my dad at 13 and had few pictures with him). Praying that whomever this child may be, that they do not suffer in the end moments of their life. Praying that the donor family has a faith in God, not because of us but because of the comfort I personally know a personal relationship with God can provide in loss. Praying for the mother's heart who will be robbed of her time with the child she grew in her womb.

There will be times when my excitement and joy of Gabriella's new life will just overflow, but it will never be without the grieving in my heart for the donor. Just as my excitement for Mason and Penny getting their hearts this past week has been joyful. But there is few more aware of the loss it took to make these little lives thrive than Mason and Penny's parents... and we will be soon to join in experiencing what this means.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Gabriella's Heart blog goes Carbon Neutral

I was lead to realize by a blog I follow that an average blog with 15,000 visits per month can generate 8lb of carbon emissions a year!

My blog averages 6,300 visits per month (via, but that means my blog is still generating 3.6lbs of carbon emissions!

On the flipside, a tree can absorb 11lbs of carbon emissions! I am sure if you add my readers who read my blog in a feed reader, my Disney planning blog, and my 2 Etsy shops... I contribute to more than that 3.6lbs.

A company named kaudDA has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant trees in an effort to offset the carbon footprint of bloggers Plumas National Forest in Northern California (NorCal- one of my favorite places in the country).

I have submitted my blog commitment, and will display the below posted badge in my sidebar, therefore kaufDA is planting a tree in my blog’s name. Sure, it's small, but imagine if every blogger did this! Every tiny step each person makes for our children's future will add up to be a bigger change.

If you’d like your blog to go carbon neutral, check out the instructions on kaufDA’s site.

carbon neutral coupon with

Gabriella Bands - Ordering Info

Gabriella Bands!!! As seen previously on my blog, they have been worn by friends, family and even sports figures! It is my goal for everyone who has come into contact with Gabriella either in person or through prayer, to have one of these bands.

The red and blue colors of the band symbolize Congenital Heart Defects. The wording on the bands is a simple statement, but we feel it is more of a reminder: PRAY FOR GABRIELLA.

Each band is $2, and that includes shipping. All the payments for the bands are being depositied directly into our PayPal account and used for all the same transplant related expenses as any past donations.

Do you sport a Gabriella band yet??

Do you have a Gabriella Band? If not, you definetly need one. And if you do, you definetly need to get your friends and family wearing them!!!! There are over 1000 bands out there in the world... help me get the rest out there!!

There's no better way to start conversation, spread the word for prayer and raise awareness of the importance of organ donation than to proudly wear a Gabriella Band!

You can get the ordering info here: GABRIELLA BANDS

Monday, April 5, 2010

Presidential Proclamation - National Donate Life Month


The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release April 01, 2010
Presidential Proclamation - National Donate Life Month


As Americans, we can demonstrate our commitment to one another in the most difficult of circumstances through organ, tissue, stem cell, and blood donation. During National Donate Life Month, we honor donors who provide others with a second chance for a healthy life and encourage more Americans to share this precious gift.

Today, over 100,000 Americans await donation on the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network waiting list. Many will receive a lifesaving transplant, but, for some, help will not come fast enough. Whether they are coping with kidney failure or recovering from severe injuries, these individuals' lives depend on the compassion of a loved one or a complete stranger. Across our country, we face a shortage of donors and an urgent need for help. We must respond with the spirit of generosity that has always defined our national character.

Each organ or tissue donor can save many lives, and becoming one is simple: join your State's donor registry, indicate your decision on your driver's license, and inform loved ones of your decision. There is no age limit for donors, and because some conditions and blood types are more common in certain ethnic and racial populations, the Department of Health and Human Services especially encourages minorities to consider donation.

Visit to learn more about the urgent need for donors and to find resources on how to donate. Together, we can save lives and give hope to countless American families.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 2010 as National Donate Life Month. I call upon health care professionals, volunteers, educators, government agencies, faith-based and community groups, and private organizations to join forces to boost the number of organ, tissue, blood, and stem cell donors throughout our Nation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.


New Badge/Icon

Our Princess is growing so quickly...

I have updated the web badge to support Gabriella's Heart website. If you have a blog or webpage, and would like to add or update your Gabriella icon, please grab the new link below!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Mason gets sparkly!

Have you heard the news?!

The little sweetheart, Mason, I mentioned just a few days ago as the only other 1-5 year old A+ blood type kiddo waiting for a heart in Region 5...... GOT HIS NEW HEART TODAY!

Mason received an Easter Miracle. I love how his Mom writes on her blog:
The most tears I have shed this day are in gratitude for our donor family. On this Easter morning they had to say goodbye to their sweet child. They donated their child's heart on Easter almost like our Savior sacrificed his life for us. He then resurrected on Easter just like our Mason has been given a new chance at life this day. I will be forever grateful to this family and pray that they will know of the joy they have brought to our family. I pray that on each Easter they will think of the gift of life they have shared with our family!
I have spent the entire day with my heart focused on Mason, and the family that gave him new life. I haven't yet been this invested in someone's process who got their new sparkly heart as Miracle Mason, but it has given me a glimpse in such a different way of what it is going to feel like.... that eternal connection to this completely unknown family who has saved your child.


Just this past week, I was emailing with Summer, Mason's mom. I told her Mason was helping me sleep at night. Knowing he was the other kiddo in the UNOS transplant database with Gabriella in their category gave me peace to sleep because I knew Mason would get the call first. I said this to her, copied directly from my email "But when Mason gets his heart, I'll be back in insomnia mode." HAHAHAHA! So, raise your glasses to my insomnia, which is returning tonight!

Dear Mason, You are truly a miracle. You have defeated the odds, and defied the lines drawn for you. The few months the doctors gave you to live have turned into decades of life. You draw your OWN lines and set your OWN odds... and I pray that is something you use as a tool to reach other people's hearts!

NDLM - Myths of Organ Donation

Organ donation: Don't let these 10 myths confuse you

By Mayo Clinic staff
Enough people to populate a small city — nearly 100,000 — are on the U.S. organ transplant waiting list, waiting for an organ donation. On an average day, about 77 people receive organ transplants. But thousands more never get that call from their transplant center saying a suitable donor organ — and a second chance at life — has been found.

It can be hard to think about what's going to happen to your body after you die, let alone donating your organs and tissue. But being an organ donor is a generous and worthwhile decision that can be a lifesaver. Understanding organ donation can make you feel better about your choice. If you've delayed your decision to be a donor because of possibly inaccurate information, here are answers to some common organ donation myths and concerns.

Myth No. 1. If I agree to donate my organs, my doctor or the emergency room staff won't work as hard to save my life. They'll remove my organs as soon as possible to save somebody else.
Reality. When you go to the hospital for treatment, doctors focus on saving your life — not somebody else's. You'll be seen by a doctor whose specialty most closely matches your particular emergency. The doctor in charge of your care has nothing to do with transplantation.

Myth No. 2. Maybe I won't really be dead when they sign my death certificate. It'll be too late for me if they've taken my organs for transplantation. I might have otherwise recovered.
Reality. Although it's a popular topic in the tabloids, in reality, people don't start to wiggle a toe after they're declared dead. In fact, people who have agreed to organ donation are given more tests to determine that they are truly dead than are those who haven't agreed to organ donation.

Myth No. 3. Organ donation is against my religion.
Reality. Organ donation is consistent with the beliefs of most religions. This includes Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam and most branches of Judaism. If you're unsure of or uncomfortable with your faith's position on donation, ask a member of your clergy. Another option is to check the federal Web site, which provides religious views on organ donation and transplantation by denomination.

Myth No. 4. I'm under age 18. I'm too young to make this decision.
Reality. That's true, in a legal sense. But your parents can authorize this decision. You can express to your parents your wish to donate, and your parents can give their consent knowing that it's what you wanted. Children, too, are in need of organ transplants, and they usually need organs smaller than those an adult can provide.

Myth No. 5. I want my loved one to have an open-casket funeral. That can't happen if his or her organs or tissues have been donated.
Reality. Organ and tissue donation doesn't interfere with having an open-casket funeral. The donor's body is clothed for burial, so there are no visible signs of organ or tissue donation. For eye donation, an artificial eye is inserted, the lids are closed, and no one can tell any difference. For bone donation, a rod is inserted where bone is removed. With skin donation, a very thin layer of skin similar to a sunburn peel is taken from the donor's back. Because the donor is clothed and lying on his or her back in the casket, no one can see any difference.

Myth No. 6. I'm too old to donate. Nobody would want my organs.
Reality. There's no defined cutoff age for donating organs. Organs have been successfully transplanted from donors in their 70s and 80s. The decision to use your organs is based on strict medical criteria, not age. Don't disqualify yourself prematurely. Let the doctors decide at your time of death whether your organs and tissues are suitable for transplantation.

Myth No. 7. I'm not in the greatest health, and my eyesight is poor. Nobody would want my organs or tissues.
Reality. Very few medical conditions automatically disqualify you from donating organs. The decision to use an organ is based on strict medical criteria. It may turn out that certain organs are not suitable for transplantation, but other organs and tissues may be fine. Don't disqualify yourself prematurely. Only medical professionals at the time of your death can determine whether your organs are suitable for transplantation.

Myth No. 8. I would like to donate one of my kidneys now, rather than wait until my death. But I hear you can't do that unless you're a close family member of someone in need.
Reality. While that used to be the case, it isn't any longer. Whether it's a distant family member, friend or complete stranger you want to help, you can donate a kidney through certain transplant centers.

If you decide to become a living donor, you will undergo extensive questioning to ensure that you are aware of the risks and make sure you're giving away your kidney out of pure goodwill and not in return for financial gain. You will also undergo testing to determine that your kidneys are in good shape and that you can live a healthy life with just one kidney.

You can also donate blood or bone marrow during your lifetime. Contact your local chapter of the American Red Cross for details on where you can donate or sign up.

Myth No. 9. Rich, famous and powerful people always seem to move to the front of the line when they need a donor organ. There's no way to ensure that my organs will go to those who've waited the longest or are the neediest.
Reality. The rich and famous aren't given priority when it comes to allocating organs. It may seem that way because of the amount of publicity generated when celebrities receive a transplant, but they are treated no differently from anyone else. In fact, the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the organization responsible for maintaining the national organ transplant network, subjects all celebrity transplants to an internal audit to make sure the organ allocation was appropriate.

Myth No. 10. My family will be charged if I donate my organs.
Reality. The organ donor's family is never charged for donating. The family is charged for the cost of all final efforts to save your life, and those costs are sometimes misinterpreted as costs related to organ donation. Costs for organ removal go to the transplant recipient.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

National Donate Life Month

April 1 kicks off National Donate Life Month, or as I might refer to it occasionally, NDLM. I plan on making multiple entries this month solely dedicated to information and education on donation from both the donor and recipient aspect, so get ready!

Though April's focus is Donate Life Month, this is a year round, decade after decade, growing necessity. Do you have any questions you want to ask that I can address in the posts to come? Please, go to and ask me anything!! I have learned so much through Gabriella's journey, and am still learning, so if I don't have the answer I will consult my fabulous resources who do!

And please take a moment to add a Twibbon to your Twitter or Facebook avatar bu visiting here: