Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday, October 16th....We Are HOME!!!

Hope's Sisters dressed up like Elmo and Cookie Monster and took Hope for several rides in a wagon around the 6th floor. Elmo and Cookie Monster were also given the opportunity to visit other heart patients and bring some laughter and excitement to them!
Hope managed to smile even through her pain and she is surrounded by the many stuffed animals that were sent to her room.....there were more, if you can believe it, but I couldn't fit them all in the picture.
We are thrilled to be home with Hopey! The hospital almost didn't release her, because the lower part of her left lung is still collapsed a bit. We convinced them, however, that she would do MUCH better at home. YEH!!! Consequently, we were trained on some respiratory therapy techniques and sent on our way.
We were able to ask some questions about the echo cardiogram today.....the aneurysm that was located on Hopey's heart, in particular. All I can say is we received many different opinions, some very optimistic and some very negative. In a nutshell, her condition is an anomaly. No one has ever seen anything quite like it. So, understandably, the doctors are concerned, but also unable to give a definitive prognosis. The surgeon, this afternoon, said: "Think of it like this....Hope's heart is makes her even more special". I like that positive attitude, so I have renamed the aneurysm (I have always hated that term anyway). It will now "officially" be called, "Hope's Love Balloon", since it expands and contracts with every beat of her sweet heart. She already had a Love Shack, and now she has a Love Balloon, too! Perfect.
Our plan of action is to responsibly follow up with regular echo cardiogram appointments to allow the cardiologists to watch the "Love Balloon" for growth and change. Meanwhile, the medical staff will continue to debate whether anything needs to be done or even can be done about it, and they will do research and attempt to find another case in the US that might mirror Hope's in some way to give them a point of reference.
Please know Chappy and I are united in our decision to trust the Lord completely with Hope. We had made that decision, as you know, before her surgery on Monday, and we have not faltered. While it was our desire to return home today with no further heart issues for Hopey, that was obviously not God's plan or purpose. He is not finished with this journey yet. The Lord has called Hope to this task, and we have been called, as her parents, to walk beside her. You, friends, I believe, have been sent by the Father for Hopey as well...... to cover her in prayer. I am hopeful that each time you hear the word "HOPE" used in a phrase or song, you will be prompted to breathe a word of prayer for little Hopey.....just a simple, "Father, Bless little Hope". Each faith-filled "breath" will then be used by the heavenlies to wash over her heart and continue to bring protection and healing.....this is the picture I have in my mind.
You see, this isn't about Hope at all. It is about each of us and what we can learn from a child......a disabled child who cannot even speak but says so much to everyone she comes in contact with. She continues to teach me and others through her strength and trust......her perserverance and joyful spirit.....her eager acceptance of different kinds of people and her willingness to be a friend to all who extend a hand to her. The elation I feel this evening, knowing she is safe and sound at home, is more than I can impart. Thank you, Jesus!
As we were about to leave the hospital today, a lady came in to clean our room. She didn't have alot to say to me, but had plenty of encouraging words and bright smiles for Hopey. At first Hope didn't respond to her. Throughout Hope's hospital stay, she feared many of the doctors and nurses since they always seemed to come with the stick of a needle or a prod of a finger. Often, the pain was just overwhelming for her. Eventually, Hope realized this lady was different and just wanted to be her friend. After sweeping the floor, the lady turned to walk out of the room. Just before leaving, however, she turned to me and simply said: "Your little girl is a soldier".
I couldn't speak.....words wouldn't come, but tears did. She left. That was my message today. It was a short one, but it was mighty clear. God's calling for Hopey is for her to be a little soldier. Why? I don't know. Possibly because He knows she will carry out her calling so beautifully. Finishing Strong! Managing to smile through the pain! That's it......Hope is a little soldier in this life......but in the Kingdom to more heart defect, and no more pain......she'll speak with clarity, she'll run with strong legs, and her hands will no longer be limited.
Thank you, Father, for choosing each of us to welcome home your little soldier today. May we have a "ticker tape" parade in our hearts....full of praise and thanksgiving! Hope fought her battle with great courage. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to pray for her, and in doing so, empowering angels to surround her and protect her in all of her ways! Thank you for Your plan to use the weak to confound the strong, and thank you for the journey. May we glorify You in all we do as we answer "yes" to Your call! I believe in You.....Oh, sweet Jesus, I believe! Amen.


  1. Praise the Lord Hope is Home! I cannot imagine the party going on in your home tonight & what a way to leave the hospital. Elmo & Cookie Monster you are the best big sisters & I'm sure you brought lots of joy to many kids. We will continue to pray for Hope's Love balloon & for her to continue to recover from all she has been through this week. You are a strong soldier Hope & you & your family are teaching us all more than you will ever know. We love you. Welcome home Hope! Love, Stacey, Neil, Parker & Payton Miller

  2. Thank you for allowing us to be on this journey with you. Knowing that God has enabled her to be home with you so soon gives us great joy. That the "love balloon" is still there is not the outcome we would have chosen, but as you have said, "We do not know God's plans or purposes." Perhaps it is the calling of all of us who have allowed her into our hearts in such a special way to continue to shroud her in prayer and see God work in his special ways. She will always be in our hearts and prayers. How blessed I feel to have that privilege. We pray for continued and complete healing. May His angels indeed surround her at all times and protect her from all harm. May you all be filled with His love and peace. Love, Lois and Bob

  3. Thanks be to God! Way to go Hope! Way to be there Hollis family!
    We always look forward to reading your blog and include you in our prayers every night. This blog has really allowed us to focus our requests, and to ask others to pray for the same. Much love from the Easterlys!

  4. Look at that beautiful smile!! So glad to hear you are home! Still praying from KY!

  5. I was just STUNNED when I read the news that y'all are home! I had not seen an update since Thursday's, and I was beginning to get more concerned.....But Colby awakened me early this AM, and I thought I would just check in for a second...NEVER expecting this!!!

    I can't begin to imagine your joy in bringing your girl home....And I know that she will continue to improve daily now that she is back in her little nest with her loving family surrounding her!!

    I can relate to having a child with a "unique" condition....Having never been able to specifically diagnose Colby, we have gone through the last (almost) 25 years labeling it the "Colby Syndrome"....Having your child's profile published in genetics journals all over the world and still coming up with "no diagnosis, therefore, no prognosis" can be very trying....It is difficult being "unique"....But in a way, it has allowed my faith to grow....The "expectations" for normalcy aren't there....Only the hope.....

    I would love to see you continue to write about your girl....I regularly follow a half a dozen blogs similar to your's, but I must say, your words are truly some of the most inspirational I have ever read....It has helped me more than you will ever know....

    Still praying for Hope and your entire family....And I appreciate your letting me be a part of this...

    God Bless...

    Cyndi Wilson

  6. Look what I found, a computer. How is Hope feeling today? I am worried about coming to visit Hope, I have a touch of a sore throat and a headache this morning. I do not want to be the one to bring any kind of bug around her. I want to come visit sooooo badly. I want to hug each and every one of you and just let you know that there are many of us prayer warriors out here on your side. I am torn. I will pray about it and see how I feel throughout the day.

  7. When I looked at the blog this morning I couldn't believe that she is already home. "Soldier" is a very good name for her. I will continue to pray for all of your family. All of you are very special. May God continue to bless each of you every day. Hope is a very precious little girl and she has touched me in a very special way. Our God is awesome!

  8. Oh she is such a doll. So glad you are home. I hope that she is able to rest a little better at home and has a very speedy recovery.

  9. Hope and all of you have been in our prayers this past week. We have been keeping up to date via this blog every day to check on her.

    We will continue to lift up Hope and all of your family in our prayers.

    Last Sunday, Judie brought a picture of Hope and placed it at the front of the church to remind all of us of the sweet little girl for whom we have been praying.

    God is speaking through you to us, and we are grateful for the many blessings that WE have received from these words this week. God is using little Hope to touch many people.

    Shelia and David Welch
    Friends of Judy and Myers at the Spartanburg ARP Church