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Word for Word: Blog soothes family's pain amid health crises

On July 13, 2006, Anissa Mayhew, a mother of three living in Brandon, answered an excruciating phone call. Her youngest, Peyton, 2 at the time, had been diagnosed with leukemia. Soon, the first post on appeared. She started writing to keep family and friends familiar with Peyton's progress, but it evolved into her hobby and her therapy. A way to keep her faith and spread it. • On Nov. 17, Peter Mayhew got a call from his wife. "Something's wrong with me," Anissa said. "I'm at a restaurant and just collapsed." Anissa, 34, had suffered a stroke. Peter got on the blog three days later and wrote a post called, "I'm going to need a little help on this one . . ." • Two days later, 42,438 people found their way to the Web site. — David Gardner, Times correspondent

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Day 1 Life Changing

Jul 13th, 2006 by Peter. 1 comment

Our entire world stopped.

We awoke to a phone call from our doctor saying we needed to pack a bag and take our daughter up to All Children's Hospital immediately. We dropped our other 2 kids off at my mom's and left.

On the way there, my wife and I were in tears, and Peyton was in pain. Usually she likes to bounce around and basically be a kid. She just wanted her dad to carry her the whole way.

Once in the doctor's office at ACH, we were told that yes, she did have Leukemia. . . .

Her mom stayed with her and I went home to be with Nathaniel and Rachael.

That was the longest night of my life. I took both of my kids in our bed and I think I finally crashed around 5 am. Just laid there, numb.

Three years

Jul 13th, 2009 by Anissa. 66 comments

Today marks three years to the day that Peyton was diagnosed with Leukemia.

Our most craptastic anniversary.

Over the past 36 months, I've kept a Bible verse in the header of this site.

It was three years ago TODAY that verse came into my life.

I was curled up in one of those awesomely comfortable hospital chairs *snort*, just looking at Peyton. All curled up in her large hospital bed, looking small and vulnerable in a way I'd never seen before. I remember tracking all the lines and IV's that tethered her to the bed … whispering which was antibiotic, which one was fluids, which one was platelets … learning the words, memorizing the order, my mind holding tight to one of the few things I could understand. . . .

When the nurse came in later to check on us, I asked for a Bible.

It was the sorriest Bible I'd ever seen. . . .

A whole chunk of it just FELL.OUT.ONTO.THE.FLOOR.

I remember thinking "Wonderful, the Bible fell apart, that's got to be a GREAT sign."

And I bent over to retrieve the scattered pages and my eyes caught one verse on one page.

Romans 12:12.

Rejoice in hope,

Be patient in tribulation,

Be constant in prayer.

I can't say that it comforted me, that it filled me with the knowledge that everything would be OK and confidence that we could do this.

But that verse spoke to me and clarified that although there was nothing I could do for my daughter's body, I could do these things … and God would handle the rest.

Although I will never tell you that my faith keeps the fear at bay or my anger under control, it's what has kept me from giving up and allowed me to get out of bed every morning (well, most mornings).

It's been what allows us to keep laughing, keep living thought it.

I'm going to need a little help on this one . . .

Nov 20th, 2009 by Peter. 369 comments

This site has seen my family through many good times and bad in the past. It's time to dust it off and re-purpose it a bit. . . .

On Tuesday, Anissa suffered a massive stroke. Then had another one sometime after the first MRI.

I was speechless and in some form of shock (still am) when the ER doctor told me this. How could this be? I was chatting with her not an hour ago. . . .

News of the second stroke was definitely not encouraging. The first ER doctor said something about 20% survival rate, and he pretty much expected her to go anytime soon. (Understand that's what I heard/interpretted . . . in shock . . . may not be exactly what he said). . . .

I'm going to need to lean on you all. I'm not as strong as she is.


Still waiting.

Nov 24th, 2009 by mayhewp.

I'm having a rough go of it today . . .

So, this morning, I woke up needing some encouragement. I was looking for a particular post Anissa did about me. I just spent the past 20 minutes or so scrolling around her website and can't find the one I'm looking for, but what I did find was laughter. It was like scrolling through a scrapbook, and I could hear those words coming out of her mouth.

Yesterday they turned the breathing machine down to its lowest setting. A good sign. For about 10 hours, she was essentially breathing on her own, and was just exhausted at the end of it. There were some moments of encouragement. I'm 100% positive she saw us and was trying to communicate with us. She kept her eyes open for a good 2 hours. We THINK that's because she was uncomfortable and unable to sleep. We gave her some meds for that. I was hoping for fireworks. I told her that we were going to get up. 1-2-3, get up. She tried. Lifted her head, arched her back and pushed with all her might.

Not yet. Not even close, but the encouraging thing is she's trying.

Peyton's having the toughest time these days. She misses her mom. She used to sneak her way into our bed and crawl in between us. As a parent, you sometimes turn a blind eye to things . . . this was one of ours. Last night, I got to hold onto Peyton for most of the night. Not as good as her mommy, but it got us through.

Word for Word is an occasional feature excerpting passages of interest from books, magazines, Web sites and other sources. The text may be edited for space but the original spelling, grammar and punctuation are unchanged.

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Word for Word: Blog soothes family's pain amid health crises 11/28/09 [Last modified: Sunday, November 29, 2009 12:30pm]
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