Gabby’s Story

Site created on April 12, 2018

We have referred to Gabby as Super Gabby for a long time.  When she was little she was so much fun we referred to her as the 'port-a-party'.  Today she is a normal 15-year old who loves her friends, her camp counselors, and Snapchat and Instagram,  and works hard in school.  We started noticing she was getting a bit of belly a few months ago.  We didn't care too much, she's a great kid and that's what is important. We attributed it to her love of carbs, burritos, and chicken wings, but there was a lot more going on than we initially recognized.  The last few weeks her belly became more distended and she was losing her appetite regularly (not like her) and having a hard time keeping food down at times.  On Monday we took her to the doctor, who promptly sent us to the emergency room.  It's been a whirlwind since, but 3 days later we have a formal diagnosis of colon cancer.  Her belly was bloated because a mass was clogging things up.  We are a family that sticks together, has faith in the God of the Bible, and chooses optimism.  We've been through life threatening / changing stuff before and can testify to God's faithfulness and the futility of dwelling on worst case scenarios.  We really do trust God and take it day by day.  Sometimes hour by hour.  We are starting this site because we feel an obligation to keep those who love us updated, and doing that person by person (or even group by group) has proven challenging when our focus is on Gabby and the road ahead of us.  This site should help us keep friends and family (who are one and the same to us) updated without us stressing too much about it.  Since we first started this site, Gabby's pathology tests came back.  The prognosis is grim.  She has metastatic signet ring cell carcinoma.  We're going to need a miracle... good thing we believe in them and know the Guy who does them.  :)

Newest Update

Journal entry by Dave Cava

Gabby was released from the hospital on Monday, exactly 6 weeks after she was admitted.  It was definitely a happy day!  We opted for an AirBNB instead of taking her to the Ronald McDonald House (RMDH).  Unless you qualify for long-term housing (we don't) the rooms at the Chapel Hill RMDH are pretty small and don't have TVs in them.  With our other children visiting this week we just decided it would be good to have the extra bedrooms, our own kitchen, privacy, televisions, etc.  We're in a cute little house a block away from the main strip in Chapel Hill.  There are lots of places to eat within walking distance and whatnot, and we're glad we got this place.

Even though Gabby is out of the hospital, she still has lots of healing to do, and she still requires round the clock care.  She has a feeding tube and a drainage tube in her midsection, and she is still getting daily hydration through the port in her chest.  She's still battling nausea and vomiting.  There's fluids everywhere (lol) and we are tracking the input and output of all of them.  She's on 13 different meds, most of which are administered through her feeding tube using syringes.  Audra is really her primary nurse right now, and I am helping as much as I can.  It's a lot of work for both of us.

Gabby seems a little more like herself each day, but the healing is slow and there are still good days and bad days.  She wishes she could sleep later.  She's eating a little - she's tolerated potatoes, pancakes, and eggs well.  Rice not so much.  Little by little.  

We've got follow up appointments at the hospital on Friday and Monday.  If all goes well with them, we will probably come home next Tuesday.  We hope so.

It's probably a good time to remind everyone, particularly those we don't know super well, that when we get home Gabby will probably be more excited about seeing her friends and her cat than anything else.  She's still a 15 year old kid, and she's still dealing with a whole lot.  We'll need some space to settle and probably won't being entertaining visits from people who aren't already close friends, close family, or neighbors for a while.  I am sure we'll be able to use some meals, but please coordinate through Debbie Dauth (we'll post her info again soon) - please do not just show up at our house with food.  It actually gets stressful when the fridge is overflowing and we are throwing out good food and don't know whose dishes we have, etc.  First world problems... 

Encouraging cards and letters are great - keep those coming!  They have gotten Gabby through a lot.  She received over 200 pieces of mail, mostly in the first week were here.  We stopped asking for mail after that, and she actually opened the last of it on the last day she was in the hospital.  There were many days she woke up crying in the morning, upset about still being stuck in the hospital, homesick and discouraged.  When that would happen I would suggest we open some mail, and it would cheer her up and encourage her.  After a few days of the that, I didn't need to suggest it, she would just start asking to do it.  

If you'd like to send her a card or note at the AirBNB, just get it in the mail today or tomorrow to:

Gabby Cava
c/o Samantha Swan
210 Cottage Ln
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Most of all, please keep praying for us.  We've gotten over a major hump, but things are still very hard and we need ongoing intervention from God if Gabby is going to be restored to health and stay well.  We're still in an uphill battle.  

Love you, Team Gabby!!  XOXO


Our Address: 8 North Lane, Huntington, NY 11743 (but we're not there right now!)

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