5:45 PM: What an amazing day. Sophie's last clinic visit was today and it went great. We never thought today would come, but we can officially say we're done (thought there's a little part of me that always wants to add "we hope"--we don't want to jinx ourselves). Elisabeth spent the night with a friend and the rest of us got up early (4:30), picked up our friend Frankie, and drove to Chapel Hill. They had a record number of sedations to do (19 kids), but Sophie was 4th in line, so it didn't take long. We met with the doctor, who gave us lots of paperwork (outlining her history) and contact information for the hospital in Texas where Sophie will do her follow-up (Covenant in Lubbock). Sophie sat in Frankie's lap to get her IV (one poke!), and she did great. She handled sedation very well, woke up fairly quickly, and immediately ate two packages of cheese grits, a container of pudding, and lots of saltine crackers (her new obsession). We hung out so we could hear the preliminary results (Dr. Gold said everything looks good so far), and then we said our goodbyes (accompanied by lots of hugs).
As amazing as today was, it is hard to say goodbye to the people who saved our daughter's life. It's also always hard to be at the clinic hearing other people's bad news (we spent a fair amount of time talking with a mom whose son relapsed last month after nearly 2 1/2 years of treatment--he was diagnosed just one month after Sophie) and seeing pictures of kids we know didn't make it. We are lucky to be coming out the other end of this with a healthy child and an intact family.
Goodbyes in general are hard. We had our last worship service at Wesley Chapel on Sunday, and there were lots of people there to say goodbye to (church members and friends from the community). Elisabeth is having an especially difficult time with goodbyes, and her tears were contagious. Sophie doesn't seem the least bit concerned about the move (doesn't really get it, I guess) and is just happily moving through these days, untouched by stress or anxiety. She was staying with our friend Allison on Sunday night, and Sophie snuggled up to say, "I love you." When Allison said she loved Sophie too, Sophie said, "Everyone loves me. It's because I'm so cute!" She lost her first tooth on Friday (pulled it herself) and goes around showing off her new smile to everyone she sees.
Every night this week, we are having dinner with various friends (which is so incredibly helpful since most of our kitchen stuff is packed up), and we have lots of offers to watch the girls so we can concentrate on packing and loading. It's been an amazing outpouring of support. We also met the new pastor (and his wife) who will be serving this church, and I really liked them. It's good to know that the church will be in good hands.
Meanwhile, we are surrounded by boxes at home, and more than once we've had to open up a box to find something we had already packed up (for example, we accidentally packed up the numbing cream we use for Sophie before we take her to clinic). Even though we are living out of boxes, there are still tons of odds and ends that still need to be packed up, and it seems like there's something more to pack everywhere we look. Not to mention getting rid of food in the refrigerator and the final cleaning that needs to happen. The truck arrives tomorrow, and we'll have it until Friday. We have lots of people coming at 6:00 tomorrow to help load, and we hope we can take care of most of it then. That will leave Thursday and Friday to take care of the leftovers and make sure that the items we have planned to take in the cars will actually fit.
We plan to leave Saturday afternoon (after Elisabeth's piano recital--not that she has been practicing!), and we'll take both cars (cats in one, kids in the other). Night 1: Asheville, NC. Night 2: Williamsburg, KY (visiting Randall's dad). Nights 3 & 4: Clarksville, TN (visiting Randall's mom). Night 5: Fort Smith AK. Night 6: Amarillo, TX (almost there!). We arrive at our new home (feeling mostly refreshed having driven only 80 miles) on Friday morning, June 15. Randall's first church service will be June 17, and the moving van is supposed to arrive on Monday, June 18.