Whatever Wednesday

Each Wednesday we post links from the previous week that touch on special needs adoption. Our hope is that these small snapshots provide you with a glimpse of life after adopting through China’s waiting child program… both the long-term blessings and the challenges that come with parenting a child with special needs. We also hope to raise awareness about a variety of special needs.

A few things…adoptive momma (China) Karen at Always In My Heart… on privacy and blogging about her childrens’ various special needs, plus some details about life with spina bifida

Update: God is GREAT!!!an adoptive momma (China) at Room For At Least One More… a momma shares how her daughter’s recent cleft palate surgery went

Griefadoptive momma (domestic and foster care) Julie Martindale at Not Just An Ordinary Life… processing her son’s recent diagnosis, a momma clings to God’s lessons

What’s Up?adoptive momma (China) Nicole at The Story of My E’s… one mom shares how life changed from homeschooling to public schooling for a few of her children in order to better meet their special needs

Luke adoptive momma (China) Nicole at The Baker Sweet’s… sharing her thoughts after a recent visit to the Kennedy Krieger Institute

An acronymadoptive momma (China) Kristi at Fireworks & Fireflies… more news about her daughter’s glaucoma, the implications of that new diagnosis with other known medical conditions and what the future looks like

Happy 2nd Forever Family Day!adoptive momma (China) Kim at Musings from Kim K… two years in pictures, including photos of her daughter post-open heart surgery

What Happens?

Special needs sound so scary to many. And truthfully, the known special needs can be pretty overwhelming. But what if there is some unknown special need? Something that isn’t discovered until your child is home?

One of the main purposes of this blog is to advocate for special needs kids and talk truthfully about special needs. So what does happen when a surprise diagnosis comes up? As a mom to a few special needs kids, this last week we found ourselves in that exact situation. A surprise life-changing diagnosis!

For starters, we look back now rather dumbfounded…how was it that we didn’t figure it all out sooner or even just suspect that our newest daughter was hearing impaired? {Of course, in our defense, the truth is that for 8 years while Jubilee lived in China no one else seemed to have a clue either!} We just didn’t put two and two together at all.

Not that knowing Jubilee was hearing impaired would have changed anything. It wouldn’t have. She was ours from the moment we saw her little face on the agency website. BUT still. A surprise is a surprise and having a daughter who is hearing impaired definitely means a “new normal”.

So what did we do when we learned of this surprise diagnosis? What would you do? How did we feel? How are we processing it all? What does it mean?


Jubilee with little sis Elizabeth {they think they are twins!}

Here’s what we have found so far……..the moment we learned that Jubilee was hearing impaired – our love for her grew exponentially. No kidding. We feel we could not love her anymore. Since we came home on December 24th the bonding process had been ever-so-slowly moving forward…but suddenly it sped to completion. Our hearts knit with hers in a deeply profound way. We were amazed that in one incredible instant a few words spoken by an audiologist and everything completely changed. Jubilee is ours. She needs us. She’s counting on us. It is almost unexplainable.

We are so thankful for this breakthrough. Jubilee needed us to know that she could not hear us talking. She needed us to know that the reason she was not learning English was because she was only reading our lips and how could she read our lips when she doesn’t know English? We had no way of knowing. She had no way of telling.

We cannot thank the Lord enough for doctors, tests, and yes, even for a surprise diagnosis. It knit us together as a family even more than we already were….it made us determined to work together so that Jubilee understands God’s deep love for her just the way she is.

It will all be okay. The Lord has always been faithful to us. He’s not about to forget us now. Infact we are confident that He has been working behind the scenes on Jubilee and our behalf to prepare our entire family for this. We are taking one day at a time and one decision at a time and He will be faihfully walking by our side each step of the way.

Braxton

by Tamera, mom to Braxton from China with an SN of limb difference

Yesterday we awoke before the crack of dawn. This was a big day indeed. Braxton and I were headed to Shriners Hospital to receive his first prosthetic leg. It was merely 5:00am when we headed out and yet Braxton was wide eyed and quiet in the still of the early morning hour. As we drove the now familiar highway, he periodically asked questions revealing his mixture of emotions varying from excitement to uncertainty and disbelief to daring to dream. After four and a half years of tackling the world so differently from most of his peers, Braxton found himself on the brink of new opportunities and countless possibilities. A prosthetic leg. Wow, it has been a long journey to get here. I have dreamed of this day since we first saw Braxton’s captivating, orphaned face in a picture on a waiting child list in March of 2008. And now nearly two years later, his dream… our dream… is being realized.

While we were driving, I too, had many emotions and questions running through my mind. Fear, uncertainty, excitement, anticipation, joy. Questions like – Would he be able to walk? Would he cooperate? Would he like the prosthetic or be overcome by this ensuing fear that is so normal? Will he reject it or embrace it? I decided to take all of these thoughts and emotions captive and bring my every fear to the Lord. He is so faithful and He met me right there in our car on that highway and gave me a confident peace – a peace that I knew that no matter what today’s obstacles entailed, He would see us through.

When we arrived at the hospital, the sun was coming over the horizon and the morning felt promising. I decided to jump in with both feet and believe that we would see some miracles today. Braxton and Bryce joined me and the excitement was building. We made our way up to that little room on the second floor with big mirrors, parallel bars for learning to walk, and a history of previous children learning to put one foot in front of another. As soon as Mr. Dan from prosthetics walked in the door, Braxton pressed “Do you have my prosthetic? Can I try it? Is it ready, cuz I am!” Mr. Dan looked shocked at Braxton’s readiness since during our visit two weeks prior Braxton had many tears mixed with whining and complaining as he was so fearful of the whole experience. With no delay, Mr. Dan brought out and presented the new prosthetic leg fully armored with the Disney character Lightning McQueen and a lever for bending the working knee. Braxton squealed with delight and asked to put it on. Within no time, we were learning the many little maneuvers required in order to put on the prosthesis.

Then the big moment. Like a little warrior girded up for battle, Braxton stood timidly for the first time on two shoes. Next, Mr. Dan picked him up and took him to the parallel bars. These bars are significant for me as I am the mama of a competitive gymnast who propels his athletic body with great strength and technique around these types of bars. Now my youngest son at the age of 4 ½ gripped these bars for the first time and would inspire and awe me with equally amazing athletic potential – he would take his first steps.

Better than anything I had ever dreamed was the feeling that I experienced when I saw Braxton grab those bars and bravely take his first steps. Sweet, miraculous victory – God is so good!


Braxton has a long road ahead of him as he learns to walk and maybe even one day run. As he learns, he will fall. When he falls, Bryan and I will continue to urge him to get back up, dust himself off, and try again as we cheer him on. It will continue to be a journey with obstacles and road blocks, free-ways and toll booths, highways and speed bumps, setbacks and victories… but isn’t that how we all get through this journey called life? I am confident that our Great BIG God will continue to help us show Braxton how to maneuver through this new course of his journey.

Yesterday our son not only took his first steps in learning to walk; he also took huge strides in learning to believe, to hope, and to dream! Don’t you love a good story of victory and overcoming the impossible? Me too! But, we vow never to forget that there is a price that was paid before the victory could occur (sound like any other story you may have heard). There was an amputation, a second surgery for wound control, and more surgery to come. There was loss, pain, grief, fear, phantom pains, a spica cast, a stinky stump, stitches and more stitches. There were many miles and hours in the car where Braxton watched the Disney movie Cars at least 237 times as Tamera listened to inspiring speakers like James Cecy, John Piper and John MacArthur on CD for hours on end while traveling in the dark of the early morning. There were many hours waiting, many professionals planning, superb surgeons’ gentle hands and notable expertise, several tears and tantrums, multiple tubs of PlayDoh and several dozen stickers. There were many prayers whispered and several cries out to the Lord. Many words of encouragement from friends and family and much patience splashed with tolerance from Braxton’s siblings were also in the mix. A leg was amputated and now a new form of mobility is possible. We are blessed to parent little Braxton as his life is a constant reminder to us that all there is always a price for freedom and there is always a sacrifice in victory.

We have learned that Braxton’s physical disability does not define him. Limbs are truly overrated. What defines him is that he is our son – a significant and vital part of Team Wong. What defines him is that he is a courageous little boy who trusts his GREAT BIG GOD and in Him alone there is sweet, miraculous victory.

Good News Bad News

Disclaimer: After being home from China one week, my mushy jet lagged brain is having trouble coming up with something profound and beautiful. So it is what it is, folks!

In special needs adoption, there is a lot of good news & bad news. (What am I saying? In LIFE there is a lot of good news & bad news, amen?)

Good news: More special needs children are being adopted.
Bad news: A few agencies are being less ethical in the process.

Good news: The U.S. is trying to make the paperwork as thorough as possible to prevent unethical procedures.
Bad news: It adds lots of time to the waiting for your child to come home.

I could go on and on.

I guess I’ve been thinking about good news and bad news a lot these last few days. We have been home from China one week. It has been one more roller coaster of good news/bad news.

Good news: Your son is delightful!
Bad news: His heart is very sick.

Sigh.

Thankfully, good news and bad news does not define our days unless we allow it.

I have heard more than one mom say that her child’s special need does not define her child. AMEN to that. I think we can expand that perspective to everything else in life. The only things that define us are what we CHOOSE to define us. If I ALLOW bad news to define my days, I choose despair. If I ALLOW my faith in a miracle-making God to define me, I choose hope.

Today, I choose hope.

Bad news: Some things in life require taking a huge risk.
Good news: It is worth the risk!

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One Hundred Good Wishes

One Hundred Good Wishes is where community supports adoptive families. It is a free fundraising web-based tool for adoptive families seeking to raise partial or full support for their adoptions. One Hundred Good Wishes website was inspired by the Northern Chinese tradition called Bai Jia Bei, or “100 Good Wishes” quilt – a tradition which engages others in the celebration of a new life. Like the tradition, adoptive families can use this site to not only share their adoption journey and gather good wishes as a keepsake, but also to use as a resource to raise support for their adoption endeavor.

How does it work? If you are in the process of adopting and are homestudy-approved, then you can set up a FREE One Hundred Good Wishes page to raise financial support for your adoption! Create a One Hundred Good Wishes page with a bio, explaining your adoption endeavor and your fundraising goal. Invite friends, family, and others to visit your page and give a good wish. Those who visit your page can leave a good wish message, upload a picture, and give a monetary donation. Donations are made directly to your PayPal account and there are no fees to use the One Hundred Good Wishes service.


Even if you are not currently in process of adopting, please help spread the word to other families that may be interested in fundraising for their adoption. Visit the website and join One Hundred Good Wishes on Facebook!

it’s all from the waist down

Fu Gao Mei’s legs, sent in an update from China
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(The post below was written a few weeks ago on my blog, Tell Her This).

Yesterday was our first spinal defects clinic, where we met with her entire ‘team’, including her neurosurgeon, urologist, pediatrician, orthopedist, developmental psychologist (or was he a psychiatrist??), physical therapy, social worker, gastroenterology specialist, and her nurse practitioner who connected us to all of these people. It was here we discussed and learned about her condition, and the complications that have arisen from it, and how to manage them head to toe (or more aptly in her case, waist to toe).

We walked away with so much information it may take me some time to process all of it. Thankfully they are sending us a full written report of all the aspects of her care that we reviewed. I was impressed with this comprehensive approach and am grateful we are able to use this facility rather than the one here in our town (they don’t have a spinal defects clinic anymore, unfortunately). It’s nice that the members of the team are talking to each other, keeping her goals comprehensive while they each focus on their area of expertise.

Here’s what we know.

The neurosurgeon suspects she has a myelocystocele as there is still a pocket of cerebrospinal fluid (a fluid filled cyst) at the base of her spine. From what I’ve read, it won’t be possible to know definitely if this is her actual diagnosis. She also has tethering of her spinal cord, which for the time being we are just “watching”. I am considering a second opinion as apparently the tethering is pretty significant. And though we are certain her brain is not affected, we will do a base-line MRI in the next month (scheduled now for end of March).

The orthopedist wasn’t overly concerned about immediately addressing her contractures, but I disagree. Call it instinct, but I feel the sooner we begin working on correction, the better. She cannot wear any shoes since none of them stay on- and while the social aspects of this are absolutely relevant, I’m more worried about the practicality of foot covering :O) We’ve had our coldest winter in years and it’s been a struggle keeping her feet warm. Not only that, but she’s really active and is out on the jungle gym with her peers, not to mention crawling everywhere- so shoes will better protect her feet from injury. I got the feeling (as much as I find this doctor to be incredibly nice) that he believed my main concern was whether or not Ellis could wear “pretty shoes”. At any rate, Monday at P.T. I will begin talking to her therapist about how I go about beginning the process of serial casting (this was recommended by 3 people we met with yesterday, surgery being a last resort). ** Clarification since you see the photo above, she does not have a clubbed left foot, she is possibly missing tendons on the ankle or they are ineffective. You can see her right foot is contracted pretty severely (points downward), often referred to as “foot drop” **

We learned from the developmental specialist what we already knew: she’s shy. He suspects she may be the type that is so “brainy” that she will lack in the more “normal” range of social skills, though he’s not that concerned. I was as shy as she was. I have no worries at all. Once she opens up to you… well, you’re IN like Flynn (not QQ! Though I swear I would have stolen that name if didn’t belong to such a great friend’s kiddo). We also learned that we are her primary speech therapists, and hearing it from that perspective really opened up how important my role is- not just as her mom, but as her teacher.

With the GI specialist, we talked about potty training and we’ll make that a part of her routine in hopes of achieving “social” continence, since she has a neurogenic bowel (though sometimes she does tell us when she needs to “cho cho“- I’d say 60% of the time or more).

Physical therapy made sure we were connected with the right people here in our town to begin serial casting. They checked how she was doing in general and basically talked about her improvements since we’ve come home.

Her urologist (who I absolutely found to be thorough, concise, & patient) talked about the results of all her testing last week. This is what we were most anxious to hear about. And the news, well, it was disappointing, but not something we can’t manage. First, she doesn’t void on her own at all. A neurogenic bladder, unlike ours, is cone shaped and rippled with muscle along the outside. Due to the interruption of nerve signals from the spina bifida, when her bladder begins to contract to “go”, her urethral sphincter closes- which is common with her condition. Normally, as we void, that sphincter automatically relaxes. So, at most, she leaks urine. We will begin intermittent catheterization within the next week or so (we go back for a separate appt next week). **update: We’ve been cathing now for 2 weeks** It’s necessary she be cathed in order to prevent infection from non-sterile urine being present in her bladder (which is what happens when you have urinary retention or residuals that are very high after voiding). Since she’s had 2 known very severe infections (UTI’s) with a big bug, and then one less severe bug, along with many high fevers, this is crucial. And she’ll learn to cath on her own, probably fairly quickly I suspect since she is a “can do” kinda girl :O)

As for her kidneys, well, we knew she had some reflux into her left kidney, but not how much. We were told it was a Grade 3-4 (which is moderate to high). Not so good. I asked about the amount of damage that can be caused by that- especially in light of the fact that she’s never been cathed and likely has had this issue for the 4 years prior to coming into our lives. He said there was still a lot of “healthy” tissue and that he didn’t suspect she would ever need dialysis. However, what damage has been done is irreversible.

We also learned she has hydronephrosis of the right kidney (and this kidney is smaller than her left kidney). What was baffling to the doctor was that her ureter appeared normal, so there is a chance that there is some other cause of the swelling- a primary obstruction that is not related to her bladder. For the time being, we’ll assume it’s her bladder due to her history, and with daily medication and catheterization, he hopes to see improvement on her next renal ultrasound in 3 months.

She’ll not only be on medication to help relax her bladder (so she can hold more urine, preventing the back flow), but also on a low dose antibiotic indefinitely to prevent and treat colonization with various bacteria. This wouldn’t be necessary if she didn’t have a higher grade of reflux into her left kidney. Thank goodness this amazing daughter of ours is such a trooper at taking any and all medicine, even the worst of it, in fact.

We have our challenges ahead and will one day be facing surgery for her bladder, but probably not until she’s school aged. We were informed that she will probably face detethering of her spinal cord at some point, if not multiple times, in her life. She may have to have tendon releases done surgically if the casting isn’t successful. And depending on how well we can manage her bowel, there also may be a procedure in her future for that.

But every single bit… all of it… will be worth it to help our perfect little girl live a life that is independent, and as fully functioning as possible.

She’ll be guiding us most of the way, I would imagine. She has that way about her.

Yesterday, as we were leaving the clinic, I asked her:

“Did you have a good day today?”

M-n-M: “Yep”

Me: “Is everyday a good day?”

M-n-M: “Yep”.

I’ll take that to the bank with her any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Whatever Wednesday

Each Wednesday we post links from the previous week that touch on special needs adoption. Our hope is that these small snapshots provide you with a glimpse of life after adopting through China’s waiting child program… both the long-term blessings and the challenges that come with parenting a child with special needs. We also hope to raise awareness about a variety of special needs.

the mishapadoptive momma (China) Kris at Tell Her This… a momma describes the huge impact of something that the local director calls “a slight mishap”

A reminder
adoptive momma (China) Sandra at The Daily Grind… recent test results show a momma that she needs to make a few changes with her daughter, who is mainstreamed with a cochlear implant

our current stateadoptive momma (China) Kristi at Fireworks & Fireflies… describing their transition during the first month home and an upcoming appointment with a pediatric ophthalmologist

“She talks funny!” adoptive momma (China) Chris at Layers of Life… a recent classroom discussion between two young children about cleft palate

The Negotiator foster mom living in China Carrie at Love Grows Here: The New Day Foster Home Blog… a funny story that also happens to describe some of the dental challenges one can face due to poor nutrition

SN List Rule Changes: The End Resultsadoptive momma (China) the Rumor Queen at China Adopt Talk… describing three hypothetical situations with the new rules in place

Sign the Petition!!!!adoptive sister (China) Emily at Twice in 2010… a link to the petition for vaccine waivers and why this is important, especially for children adopted through the special needs program

The Scent Of Love

When I was little, my mother would sometimes bake cookies before I came home from school. I’d smell the chocolate and sugar and vanilla as I walked into the house, and when I saw my mother standing at the top of the stairs, I felt the love she had put into my afternoon snack.

If love has a scent, for me it is that.

For my older four children, I think the scent of love is the fabric softener sheets I put in the laundry. Sometimes I catch them inhaling deeply as I hand them a load of still-warm towels. “This smells so good, Mom,” they always say, and I smile and think that one day they will be adults and they will catch a whiff of fabric softener and they will remember my fingers brushing theirs as I handed them freshly washed laundry. Perhaps, too, they will remember the yeasty scent of home made bread. It is something we make together often, the kids and I. Many hands measuring and kneading and shaping. Many eyes pressed to the oven door as loaves rise and brown and send out the scent of comfort and patience and anticipation. One day they will bake their own loaves of homemade bread, and they will remember how my love carried them through childhood and adolesence and on into adulthood.

For my youngest daughter, the scent of love is much different.

We stood, you see, me and my little girl, on the curb just outside the grocery store. A car passed by, bathing us in a white cloud of exhaust. I wrinkled my nose at the stench. Disgusting. Filthy. Horrible. Those were the words I was thinking.

“That smells good, Mommy.” Cheeky said, her comment taking me by surprise.

“What?” I asked, knowing she couldn’t be talking about the horrible cloud of exhaust.

“I don’t know.” She responded, and she frowned, lifting her head and inhaling deeply. “It smells like Chongqing.”

And I saw a thousand memories in her face.

Just a few days later, we went for a walk. Me and the entire crew. We walked down our road toward the school and the library. The day felt like spring, and I am sure we all felt renewed. An old truck chugged up from behind us, its engine spitting out a thick gray cloud of pollution as it passed.

“Gross!” My four older kids cried, with various over-exaggerations of coughing and gagging.

“What?” Said Cheeky, her head tilted to the side as she breathed deeply. “It smells good.”

And she reached for my hand, squeezing tightly. “It smells like Chongqing.”

She didn’t say more, but I heard her unspoken words. Words that come from something deep inside my precious girl. Words that I know are there but that she cannot yet put her mind to. Exhaust is not just the smell of the packed and hectic city she was born in. It is not simply the memory of a place she once lived. For Cheeky, exhaust is like chocolate chip cookies and fabric softener and home baked bread. It is the scent of home and the feeling of love that goes with that.

Eight months after bringing my daughter to her new life, I am struck anew by all she has left behind. Familiar faces, familiar arms, familiar laughter and voices. The sounds and feel and scent of all she had ever known.

And I crouch down on the road with her, I lift my own face to that cloud of exhaust, and I picture China Mom holding my daughter’s hand. I picture China family walking along the busy streets of Chongqing, guiding the white-haired beauty they were loving for another family. I feel their love as surely as my daughter does, and I take it in, drinking it deep into my heart.

“That,” I say, as I hold her hand and look into her clear blue eyes. “Is the smell of your China home. And when you are an adult and you walk down the street and you smell that smell, you will think of your family there and you will remember how much they loved you.”

“Really?” She asks and smiles.

“Of course.” I say, wrapping my arms around her as my other children skip ahead, still coughing up the billowing gray smoke.

And Cheeky leans in close, and she presses her face to my old leather coat and inhales deeply.

And I wonder if perhaps one day that will be the scent of my love for her.

The photos above are Cheeky on her last day in Chongqing and on her first big hike in fresh Washington air. The ones below were taken those same days. The juxtopostion of old life and new is striking and reminds me that to truly love my daughter I must always strive to value and maintain the memories of her other home.

shared list changes

March 8, 2010

The CCAA has made an announcement regarding the process in which families will be able to lock in files of children on the shared list.

From the statement, the CCAA addresses the frustration of agencies to be able to lock in files for families already LID, due to the overwhelming traffic when a new shared list is released. In order to relieve some of the backlog of families waiting to be matched who are already LID, the CCAA is now enforcing a policy that LID only families have preference when a new shared list is released. Only LID families will be allowed to lock in a child who has been on the shared list for less than a month.

Additionally, up to 72 hours may be allowed for potential families to decide whether or not to permanently lock a child’s file.

Parties, Cell Phones, and Mercenaries: A Hep B Primer

Have you read many medical journals? Have you perused through any articles in the Journal of Gastroenterology? Let me tell you, I’m not completely convinced they’re written in English. So when my big kids started asking questions about their sister’s hepatitis, I had to get creative. If you happen to be a pediatric gastroenterologist/hepatologist, just look away.

There’s a party going on in Cholita’s liver. It’s been going on most likely since she was born. These party-goers (Hepatitis B virus) are not the type your parents would want at their house. One look at them, and you know they’re trouble.
The dad sitting on the porch (immune system) is unfortunately clueless. This is a newbie dad (a baby’s immune system) and he just hasn’t had enough life experience to know a bad actor when he sees one…..Seem like nice young men….. A more experienced dad (adult’s immune system) would have seen these guys coming from a mile away and gotten rid of them before they could even step foot through the picket fence (acute infection= less than 6 months).
But this dad is naive and the thugs soon have a rip roaring party going on in the liver house. The partiers are having such a great time, they keep texting their friends (replication) and pretty soon the house is bursting at the seams (high viral load). So the party goes on and things start to get a bit messy (inflammation). Dad continues to think all is hunky dory (immune tolerant phase). This can go on for years.
Eventually, Dad wises up and when he does, he’s not pleased with what he sees. He grabs his water gun and starts shooting. Unfortunately, these thugs have jumped onto the backs of his sweet little babies–the liver cells. So, he’s shooting at the thugs, but when he hits a thug, he also hits a liver cell. Virus thugs and liver cell babies are falling in large numbers (high ALT). Thankfully this dad has LOTS of liver cell babies and when one of them goes down, another one grows and takes its place. He keeps shooting and the party seems to be clearing out (viral load going down). Unfortunately, the thugs don’t really want to leave. They love the liver house and keep texting their friends. It’s an all out battle (immune clearance stage). Can the immune system dad shoot faster than the virus thugs can text? Sometimes he can, but most often he can’t.
The immune system dad is working hard, killing off thugs in large numbers, but sometimes he needs to rest. Sometimes he needs to refill his water gun. When that happens, the thugs go into texting overdrive. Dad comes back with his full water gun and sees that the party is even bigger than before. And so the battle goes on. With thugs and liver cells dropping like flies, you can imagine that the carnage gets a bit messy and the liver house is starting to show some wear and tear (fibrosis). Poor dad isn’t making progress and the neighbors are complaining, so we need to send in reinforcements. We have two options: mercenaries (interferon) or cell phone smashers (antivirals).

The mercenaries are well-muscled killing machines. They make dad’s water gun look seriously wimpy. Now, we like having Rambo on our side, but frankly, he makes us a little nervous too. He’s shooting away at the virus thugs and mowing them down in great numbers, but he’s also a little unstable and sometimes he shoots at completely innocent party-goers, just hanging out at the punch bowl (platelets, neutrophils, red blood cells, etc.). Anyway, what we hope the mercenaries can do is put an end to this party all together (stop replication, HBeAg-). The very BEST thing that could happen would be if the mercenaries, with the help of dad and his water pistol, could wipe the thugs out so thoroughly that a permanent guard is placed on the porch (surface antibodies) and the party can never start again.

If mercenaries aren’t your cup of tea, there’s also the option of the cell phone smashers. They’re trying to stop all of this texting-your-friends nonsense (replication). The only problem with this, is that the thugs are determined to keep the party going. Maybe you can smash most of the cell phones, but now a few have showed up with steel-plated cell phones and our antiviral cell-phone smashers can’t seem to stop them (mutations). Pretty soon, everyone has the steel-plated cell phones and we need to try a different breed of antiviral cell phone smasher. It might work, it might not. There are only so many cell phone smashers and the virus keeps making stronger cell phones that are harder and harder to smash.

So Cholita’s party was out of control. She had so many thugs crammed into her liver, we couldn’t even count them anymore. Somewhere over 5 billion. Daddy immune system shot millions of them down, hundreds of millions as a matter of fact, but when he took a break to reload his water gun, a billion snuck back in. The doctor took a little sample of Cholita’s liver house (biopsy) and it confirmed that the party was making a mess (fibrosis). We knew Rambo could be dangerous, and yes, he made us nervous, but Daddy immune system needed help. If he was willing to keep shooting with his water pistol, we’d send in the machine guns.
At the start, the machine guns seemed to be winning. But as time went on, the partiers just turned up the music and texted faster than ever. At the very end, somehow, miraculously, not a single thug could be found. It was time for the mercenaries to clear out too, and so once again, we’re left with only Dad on the porch with his water pistol.
In two months we’ll check to see if the thugs are still gone and if a permanent guard has been installed at Cholita’s garden gate. For now at least, the party’s over. We’re hoping forever.