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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My heart and mind....

It is time for me to be honest. I have sugar coated so many of my emotions throughout this ordeal. How do I even begin to describe what I am feeling? I am angry, disappointed, frustrated, mad, anxious, confused…..the list could go on. I am not saying that any new mother or her family should have to experience this but I am angry it has to be me and mine. I am angry that we spent 72 days in the NICU, came so far, fought so hard and now this. I am mad that my daughter has to go through this and in all honesty, I am mad that I have to go through it.

At the same time, I am relieved. I am relieved that my sweet girl is not feeling pain in her eye right now. I am relieved that this cancer is confined to her eye and the eye wall. I am relieved that she will have the eye removed in plenty of time for her brain to accommodate it. I am relieved that she will function normally and that no one will know she has a fake eye unless she chooses to tell them.

While I have not responded to many of you, I have read every blog comment, every Facebook message, and every email that has been sent to me. In all honesty, the words do not make anything better, but they have been such an encouragement. I am fully aware that you all hurt with me. You all wish things were different. You all wish you could take this pain away from me and my daughter. I know that one day I will go back and read all of the comments that have been left here and the emails that so many have sent me. I am so thankful for the support and friendship of each of you and of so many others.

While I know this is difficult for me and for my family, I know that it could be so much worse, and that things have been worse for so many other people that I know or that I hear of through other people. For that, I am grateful and I do not take my daughter’s life and health for granted. Clearly, just like any parent, I want what is best for my child. I want her to be healthy; I want her to be happy; I want her to be compassionate; I want her to love all people; I want her to know that she is loved; I want her to be accepting of people who are different; I want her to make a difference in her world somehow and in some way. While the dreams I have had for my child may have to be re-cast in some ways, none of those dreams do. She can be all of those things and do all of those things despite this bump in the road, and most likely will be able to do so even better than her own mother!

As for the update, we have decided to have the surgery here in Atlanta on Tuesday, March 2. She will spend Tuesday night in the hospital and then will come home on Wednesday. We will most likely spend Tuesday night on the cancer ward of children’s hospital. I will be reminded of just how lucky and blessed we are on that night. We will get to go home. She will be fitted for her new eye about 6 weeks later. Of course, I will continue to put updates here but wanted each of you to know what is going on and to also know what my heart and head are feeling tonight.


  1. Thanks for sharing this Brittany...You all are in my prayers.

  2. To our dear Sweet Brittany and Joe,

    Those of us who love and adore the two of you and Kitt so dearly are also feeling all of the same emotions that you expressed. If we could take on your pain so you wouldn't suffer, we would in a heartbeat. But we can't. We are trying to be strong for you just as you are being so very strong for your baby girls. Yet, it was important that you expressed those emotions as they are real and expected. A truly strong person does talk about their feelings. From the first day you were hospitalized, you have been through so much. No matter how exhausted or scared you were, you and Joe were by those girls every single day.

    And, for this past week as you went from doctor to doctor and watched little Kitt be examined and then to learn the sad news, you immediately went into action to find the best doctor and procedure for Kitt. I witnessed how devoted you both were to doing everything in this world to help Kitt.

    There is no doubt that the next few months will be very difficult for you and for those of us who love you. Yet, I have great hope and faith that we will look back on these days as the dark days before the glorious ones where Kitt and Garet will be happy and bouncy and full of life. I envision them with the same zest for life that you and Joe have.

    Remember how greatly loved you all are!


  3. Brittney, I truly appreciate you honest outpouring of would have to be a robot to feel otherwise... When I first heard the diagnosis i could hardly believe it... A precious child in the daycare had the SAME thing! She was diagnosed just before her 3rd birthday... Her parents chose Miami for the surgery. They drove back & forth for examinations & follow-ups. The mother quit her job to stay home & take care of her little girl. Once a week I went to her house to spend time with Lindsey so her mother could get out of the house. I THOUGHT I was doing it for Lindsey & her mother...Actually, it was my blessing... Lindsey was a happy little girl who took the whole thing in stride. I ended up cherishing Tuesdays just to be with her! She has since moved & I hear she is doing great. She has even popped out her eye to impress her friends...!!! I think because she was so young when it all happened she never thought to make it into a drama. The adults in her life took their cues from her...
    I am telling you all this as a message of let you know of someone who went through the same thing & is now thriving!
    For you right now...the only way through it - is through it... Praise God you can find support as you honestly pour out your heart... You & your family are truly loved by many...we will all continue to pray...

  4. P.S. Sorry I misspelled Brittany... :(

  5. Your courage and perseverance is more than a testimony but a profound example of what it takes to endure adversity. Thanks for your transparency.
    Gerald Bell

  6. I'm proud of you for being so honest!

  7. brittany - i think it took a lot of courage for you to put that all out there, but know that EVERY SINGLE ONE of those feelings are real and justified. you have been so strong for your girls - it's ok to admit your frustration, fear and anger.

    i do believe that God will lead you through it...

    many nugs and prayers

  8. Britt,

    Of course you feel those things. You should! And I'd encourage you to continue to own them. This day will pass, Kitt will be a wonderful charmer with huge brown eyes, and you will remember this time as a season. I hope that you'll be able to remember it for how hard it was and how that shaped you as a mom. As Michelle said, the only way through it, is THROUGH it. Embrace the hardship and continue to advocate for your daughter. You are doing all the right things.


  9. Brittany,
    Andrew and I, as well as our whole church, are praying for you guys. We're here if you need anything.

  10. Brittany. You are brave and your feelings/emotions are completely justified. Please know that my prayers are with you and that you have support anytime you need it. Jen

  11. Joe and Brittany - Just know our thoughts and prayers are with you. You are two very strong people, strong in your faith, strong in your love of each other and especially those girls. You will come through this...

    Betsy & Bill Crittenden

  12. Brittany,
    This is Kim Vermilyea (Ward...I worked with you at GA camp!). I know we haven't talked in a long time, but I heard about the situation as a prayer request from Donna Gunter. I wanted to send you a quick message and let you know that I am praying for your family, for Kitt, and for you as her mother. I know it doesn't help, and I will not claim to understand all that you are going through and feeling, but I wanted to tell you about my son. Carter is 3 months old and was born without his left hand and part of his arm. I only tell you this to tell you I feel I may understand some of your feelings as a mother and having to rethink your dreams for your child...not everyone understands, but maybe I partly do. I am praying for you these days.