Meet the McNeil Family

Meet the McNeil Family

Thursday, November 6, 2008

100,000

I am very excited.  I have a little stat counter on my blog.  It keeps tallies of how many people visited per day, new visitors and repeats, and it even has a map so I can see where people are accessing my blog.  It's been just a fun little feature, but I am very excited today.  Today it will hit the 100,000 mark!!  That doesn't mean that 100,000 people have seen the blog, but it does mean that the website has been looked at that many times.  That is incredible!

When I look back to starting this about 18 months ago, it began as a way to keep my family and friends updated on the kids.  We moved to London, so I thought it would be a way to keep us all closer.

Then this past spring, when the doctor appointments got more serious and the diagnosis was given for both Waverly & Oliver, the blog took on a new role.  It became a place for me to cry, scream, vent, beg, plead, remember, wish, hope, dream, pray, talk, share, laugh....all rolled into one.

I remember March when the doctors told us that Waverly had MPS III.  I remember asking them if it was serious, if she was going to die from it.  Our wonderful young female doctor took Waverly's hand and started playing with her.  She had tears in her eyes as she showed Wavey a pen and paper.  I knew.  I wept and life would never be the same again for us.

I remember April, standing on Oxford Street in London, only 2 blocks from the embassy, when that same doctor called to tell me that Oliver's tests results were back.  All she said was "I'm sorry".  I knew.  I fell on the sidewalk, holding Waverly's hand and looking at Oliver sitting in the stroller.

I think back to May, when we visited Duke.  I remember the pain in having Waverly denied the cord blood transplant, but Oliver offered it.  I remember the agony - by far the most difficult decision I have ever had to make - of whether or not we would pursue the risky treatment.  It took Matt and I weeks to decide.  I spent every night in tears, stressed beyond imagination at the paths before us. And then when we came to our decision, we never looked back.  We have never regretted our decision and there was such unity in it for us.

It has been such a journey.  There were moments when I didn't think that I could continue and take the next step.  I know there is much in store for us and there will be many more times that I will lack the strength to move on.  But this blog is a reminder that we are loved, we have not been forgotten.  My children are making an impact on the world around them.  They have changed Matt and I in a powerful way.  It is my prayer that they will change your hearts, too.

Thank you for celebrating this small milestone with me.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank YOU for the gift of sharing your story with us.

I've seen information that states that those of us who don't read, lose the ability to empathize. We simply aren't exposed to worlds outside our door. Through the written word, not the videos, our minds are more able to understand lives that are not our own.

You are eloquent,and while I am sure you didn't choose to be a teacher in this capacity, that is what you are.

Thank you for opening your doors to us.

Your children are blessed to have been given to parents such as you.

(and I still want to blow razzberries on Oliver's tummy.)

Lauren said...

You are indeed loved! By friends and strangers alike. Thank you for sharing your story so bravely with us. It helps us to know how to pray for you, especially if it's been a particularly hard day. You are right in saying that your children are making an impact on the world. They are making an impact on me.

sarahdv17 said...

Shannon... you are such a strong woman. Reading your recap just serves as a reminder of all you have gone through in the last 18 months. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us and giving us the opportunity to know Waverly and Oliver and to see beautiful pictures of them. Your blog is a blessing to me.

Christy said...

Beautifully written from a beautiful soul and beautiful mother of a beautiful family.

fern said...

Your kids are adorable and I'm so honored to be among your readers. I appreciate that you are willing to share the kids -- and yourself -- with us.

in a world surrounded by men said...

I'm a TU grad who heard of you through the TU grapevine.

I am praying Eph. 3:16-19 for your family.

Your children are beautiful and true gifts from God.

rubberpoultry said...

You and your kids have changed our hearts Shannon. I am inspired every day when I come here and read your blog. I only hope I can be as good a parent to my children that you have been for yours.

I know we will never be able to take away the pain you and Matt are feeling, but I hope on the worst days knowing that so many care so deeply about you all can help ease it in some small way.

You guys inspire me, thank you for your commitment to this blog.

Jason

Laura said...

Shannon, I'm sitting here in tears in our kitchen in Qatar. Yes, my dear friend, your children ARE making an impact on the world around them. Our Lord is using them to call us all to great creativity in finding ways to serve and love you all. I do not know why he has permitted such suffering in your lives, but I do know that this suffering has unbelievable power in his hands. Seriously, friend, keep writing. We will continue to shed tears with you.

Valerie said...

Shannon, Your words are always...perfect. Know that your family is in our hearts.

Anonymous said...

I hope you know that the legacy you are creating about your family is so far reaching. I am a stranger, with no ties to you, and yet your children have changed my life.
Nothing I can say will make what is ahead of you easier, but please know that there are many here with you on the journey, and that Waverly and Oliver have made major impacts on the world.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

i agree with what everyone has said thus far. Shannon, you and your family are truly amazing and inspiring. I think of Wavy and Oliver and You and Matt everyday in some way. Theres a dog at reid park i befriended named bear and of course it reminded me of ollie dancing to the show. There is a cafe named Waverly, and a Waverly place here in tucson, that every time i pass, i smile. Thank you again and again for sharing yourselves with us, your pain and your triumphs. Your wonderful children and your truly honest and beautiful words have made such an impact on all of us. We are all crying and laughing right along with you :)

Anonymous said...

Matt and Shannon,
Thanks for letting us be part of this long journey with you. There's a song that's been in my head for days, and you have been on my heart as it plays again and again in my mind. Margaret Becker wrote it, and Kristyn Getty sings it. I want to share the words with you.
Kristen (Taylor) Deese

Jesus, draw me ever nearer
As I labor through the storm
You have called me to this passage
And I’ll follow, though I’m worn

(Chorus)
May the journey bring a blessing
May I rise on wings of faith
And at the end of my heart’s testing
In your likeness let me wake

Jesus, hold me through the tempest
Keep my spirit staid and sure
And when the midnight meets the morning
Let me love you even more

May the treasures of the trial
Build within me as I go
And at the end of this long passage
Let me leave them at your throne

Kathy Porter said...

Shannon, everytime I read your blog I am blessed by your courage and strength to keep going forward, exporing new treatments and new services. What an amazing story you tell from your heart. You touch so many of our hearts and give us reason to "get beyond ourselves" and give. Happy Birthday Beautiful Lady.

Whitney said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful children with complete strangers. We pray for you daily and hope you can one day find peace. You are so courageous and I admire your ability to be a wonderful mother. You have inspired me on many occasions!

Anonymous said...

You are inspiring me! Hang in there!

Jen said...

Shannon--I have been "lurking" on your blog since March. (I think JoEllen Hummel first posted about you and I linked from there.) Your story amazes me. I have cried with you, rejoiced with you, and enjoyed seeing God work in your sweet family. Thank you for your courage in sharing your story--even the hard, sad, and "ugly" parts--with all of us. Thank you for being open and honest so we can pray and so we can know that it hurts and that's okay and so we can know that you are clinging to God. Please know I am praying and checking in regularly. May God continue to bless you and your family in amazing and unbelievable ways. We will probably never meet here on earth but I am eagerly anticipating heaven, when we can say hello and I can see Waverly and Oliver, perfectly whole for eternity! Jen

The Fischer Family said...

I don't know you but I thank you for sharing your story with us! I check in regularly to read about your wonderful family and I thank you for educating the rest of us on this horrible disease! I pray that God will bless you and your children as you continue on this journey!

Frugal Vet Tech said...

If this appears twice, my apologies. I wrote one comment and it seems to have disappeared.

Thank you for sharing your story with us and allowing us to cry, laugh, and pray along with you. I love seeing pictures of your beautiful children. Some days I cry when I read your blog and wish there was something, anything, I could do to make things easier for you. Other days I laugh and smile at the stories you share of Waverly and Oliver's latest antics. Again, thank you for sharing your story.

angi jones said...

No, thank YOU for sharing your story/family with us!

I've heard the song "yours" by Steven Curtis Chapman many times, but after reading your blog that has become my daily reminder of your family - Each time I hear it, I pray for you.

"Hope like the sun is fading, They're waiting for a cure no one can find. And I hear children's voices singing, Of a God who heals and rescues and restores"

Anonymous said...

I was given your blog from my parents. I keep you in my prayers. I think you live near me, not sure. I live in Fairfax, VA. I used to babysit for 13 years. If you ever need a break let me know at no cost. In his grip, Katie (katielynn168@yahoo.com)

Hummel Family said...

Thanks to you for being so open to all of us! WE DO CARE for you and your precious family!

PRAYING!
JoEllen Hummel

Anonymous said...

Matt and Shannon,

Wow! Keep allowing God to use you in the midst of this grief. I continue to prayerfully follow your journey. Kendra (my wife) and I lost a son (17 months old) in 2004 unexpectedly to pneumonia induced hemolytic uremic syndrome. He was sick a total of 6 days. We had 6 hours between diagnosis and his passing. I am not saying this other than to note that we have had to grieve. Your grief is your grief and is totally unique and must be done your way. We grieved, still do in different ways, like you are and will. This, though heavy, is a gem of the process for all effected by these circumstances. Keep looking for God sightings in the midst of this struggle. Thanks for being completely and sometimes horrifically and beautifully honest, do not ever stop. God is honored even when you don't realize it.

Matt Ohime (TU)

Cari said...

We were at Duke this summer and our doctor told us about a family with 2 newly diagnosed children with Sanfilippo that had come to be screened for transplant. He told me that only the younger of the 2 was a candidate for transplant and that he could only imagine the difficult decision that was left on their shoulders. The thought of enduring the news of this diagnosis twice is unimaginable. We have been through it once and it was devastating. I have only just found your blog and read the most recent post but it (and your children) are beautiful. I admire your courage.