Friday, February 22, 2019


Good day friends. Ava picked up a bad cold, and we've been tackling it ever since. She started coughing Sunday, and it grew worse so Monday night we started her asthma regimen. (Steroids, Atrovent inhaler, and Albuterol treatments) I kept her home from school on Tuesday, but she loves school so much she went back on Wednesday. It was late start due to weather, and we decided I would pick her up for lunch to check on her and get her medicines. Her cough got worse, so I made her stay home Thursday.

I called the Pulmonary clinic in Iowa City yesterday and asked if we could do antibiotics. (That has been her plan forever. We try the regimen, and in 5-6 days she's not better we do medicines.) It had not been five days, but I worry with the weekend coming. They asked if we would take her to our local hospital for a chest x-ray. We headed out there around 5:00 with the go-ahead of the hospital. It's always a strange experience when we run into medical people that have never seem CDH (congenital diaphragmatic hernia, her birth defect) The x-ray techition asked a lot of questions. Ava and I are pros so they don't need to go through the process of explaining it all but we are patient and just listen. He thought she was 14 so was shocked to find out she was only 12. He was in awe of all his medical training she could even breathe with half a diaphragm. He said, "It takes so many muscles just to take a breath." Yes, she is a miracle!

The doctor finally called at 9:30 last night to tell us her x-ray looked good. He wanted her to try nasal saline spray. (Okay.) So we did. I will give him am update today. I'd like antibiotics on standby in case she needs them.

We do pray for her left side as you can see. It looks odd. There is no sign of diaphragm there. Scar tissue id likely holding things down. We trust her to let us know if she doesn't feel well and we already have plans if she reherniates.

This morning she seems a little better. I made her get up and take her medicines. She's on the couch now. I will get her homework so she won't get behind. Here she is this morning.

We would love some extra prayers. Thanks for dropping by.

Terri and Ava

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Back Pain- Scoliosis related.

Hello Everyone. Ava is doing well. I'm so proud of her continuing to make the honor roll — what a huge accomplishment. How many people can say they get ALL "A's"?

She has been having some back pain on and off with too much activity, so today we went to her Orthopedic doctor — Dr. Weinstein in Iowa City. Our weather was has been bad here. We have a lot of snow and yesterday we got rain. Then it snowed another few inches. (Ten to twelve inched of snow.) The roads were terrible. Brian drove and powered through. He drives this half this route everyday for work. The entire highway disappeared most of the two your drive. I closed my eyes and prayed and prayed that God would get us there safely- and he did!

Good news her curve is stable, holding at 26 as it was 6 months ago. We were so relieved. He thinks she is having muscle pain due to scoliosis. She's going to ice it 3 times a day and take Aleve for 10 days.

Here were a few pictures of today. She had to do a full bone scan and a hand scan.

She weighed 100 pounds finally!! Her height stayed the same 5'6.

Her x-ray today.

Her left diaphragm looks stable as well. It differs from her last scan but it looks better. We keep a close eye on that left side wall. Scar tissue in many doctors opinions, is all that is holding it together.

Whenever we go to the hospital, it brings so many memories back to the surface. We are so blessed to have her healthy today. There were so many times that she was so sick and fragile. She's getting so tall and so grown up. She has such a sweetheart and tender spirit. God has taken her so far. She's our Miracle!

Thanks for taking the time to drop by and check on Ava. So many of you have been instrumental in praying for her health and her life. Brian and I appreciate it very much.

-Terri Helmick

Friday, November 2, 2018


Hello Ava friends. She was doing so well being healthy, but of course, she always seems to catch a bad cold around Halloween. This year was no different. She started coughing October 25th. She still ended up going to her school dance, so that was good. (Brian and I chaperoned it.) Crazy 6th graders!

I hope you all had a great Halloween. Ava was Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad.

Yes, Harley gets treatments too!

Brian and I dress up too. We were none other than Woody and Jessie from Toy Story. We totally surprised Ava, and she was very shocked, to say the least! We always have fun.

I took her to the doctor and sure enough, she had bronchitis. She got an antibiotic, and we continued to do her asthma regimen. Thankfully she is much better today.

Here she was getting a breathing treatment. We brought out her old dog to help her be able to breathe better.

She looks so little here in that picture. She's much taller than me now. Like 4 inches last I checked! Please keep her in your prayers and as always, thanks for stopping by!


Monday, September 24, 2018

Pulmonary and GI check ups

Hello everyone! Ava has been doing so well. She needed her annual pulmonary and GI checkups, so today was the day! I was glad Brian was able to go with us. She was also able to get her flu shot as well. We had her take it in the leg this year. Last year hr arm was sore for a week or longer. I don't know if they hit a nerve or what but she was not thrilled about getting one this year.

First thing of the day was the dreaded lung function test. She has to take a huge deep breath and then blow all the air out of her lungs. She did good in the end!

Ava keeping herself busy...

She is 5'6 and growing. She weighs 96 pounds. This is good for her. 

The Nurse Practitioner was so impressed with how Ava looked. She was shocked she had grown so much. Looking back from last year she became a little over 4 inches! That is crazy. She also praised us for being such great parents who advocate and always stay on top of things. It is nice when the healthcare team recognizes us. It's God's grace that Ava has come this far. We give Him the Praise! 

We also saw her GI doctor. She refilled her Prevacid and Zantac for reflux. She was happy that Ava liked school and that she was healthy. Having a boring check up was excellent. We will take boring ANY DAY!

Thanks for stopping by. We thank you for your love, support, and prayers.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Heart Catherization

Hello friends. Ava woke ready to tackle this procedure head on. She was super calm and was not worried at all. I, on the other hand, was worried but felt like it was in God's hands. We got to the hospital at about 6:30 am. She had her same silly attitude. You gotta love her joyous and carefree spirit. Her smile lights my heart. I felt a little calmer since she was in such a good mood. She brought her penguin along for the ride!

We got checked in and went to her room. She changed into the gown. She was still so calm. (Of Course, we have to get a selfie!) I love this little lady so much!

Calm and collected... so peaceful.

It's so hard to see your child go through tests, procedures, and surgeries. It just doesn't seem fair.

I had to take a couple deep breathes and pray that God would help us through all of this. Kate was Ava's nurse, and she was so gentle and kind. She tried two times very carefully to get an IV started, but with no luck. So then the anesthesiologist assistant, Andrew came in and wanted to look her over as well. He too couldn't seem to find one that would work so they decided to take her back and give her a little laughing gas to lessen the pain so that they could get one in. I asked if I could walk back with them and he agreed. (I've always walked her back.) She is older, but I felt I needed to say I love you to her just right before she went in the procedure room.

Next, we waited. My mother came, and that helped get my mind off of worrying. They gave us a pager and would text us updates. First one was, "We got access to the vein and have started the procedure." Then about an hour and a few minutes after we got another one saying, " We are finishing up, and she will be done soon. All went well."

When they strolled her in they were all saying how great she did. She did not look medicated, and I was a little confused. Katelyn, her NP, said that she did awesomely. They told us that they started by using laughing gas to get her sleepy and relaxed while they got her IV line in. She said Ava was giggling. (No surprise there!) They then asked her if she felt alright and she said she did. They asked her if she wanted any medicine and she said no that she was fine.

Going into this procedure, we had discussed with her that there were two options. Light sedation- doing the procedure with medicine to calm her and her other choice was heavy sedation- this meant doing it while being on the ventilator. We were persuading her to do the light sedation.

Well apparently to Ava there was a third option (God's calming medicine.) She did it with no sedation at all. I was just blown away that she did it with no drugs besides the first initial laughing gas. She got confused and thought that sedation meant that she would need to be on the ventilator and she told us that she wasn't interested in that. Leave it to Ava to come up with her own way of doing it.

God calmed her! We were so happy to hear the news from the doctor that her heart looked great and that all her pressures were in the normal ranges. She had no problems with her heart and no pulmonary hypertension. Praise the Lord! He gave us yet another miracle today.

So with no medicine used she was able to drink and eat right away. She got out of the bed and into the chair. It was under an hour after her heart cath that we were leaving the hospital. I was just so humbled and felt so blessed! Thank you for all your prayers. She does have to rest for a few days. But then she can return to normal activities.

I was able to ask for an image. This is Ava's beautiful, loving, caring and giving heart!

Grandma D came and brought her a little gift. That made her day. I'm so thankful for my mom!

She got the royal treatment with a ride to the car. She enjoyed that. She looks so grown up! Where did my baby girl go?

Her heart catheterization went much better than we expected. This little lady is as tough as they come. I'm so proud of her. She tackled it with such grace and was not intimidated by any of it. She remembered everything about the procedure and said that she could feel the line inside of her but that it didn't bother her at all. I'm so lucky to call her my daughter. I'm thrilled she sailed through this so good... thanks to God. He was indeed the real medicine. He gave her the peace that exceeded any medication the doctors could ever give her. (Less risk and fewer complications!) Praise His Name! We love and thank Him! Thanks again for your thoughts, well wishes, and prayers.