Monday, November 22, 2010

First Swim Meet

We spent our ENTIRE weekend at Ally's first swim meet. Since it was at our home pool in Beavercreek, I had to work the event and then I also spent much of the day with Ally waiting, getting her ready, and eventually watching her swim her VERY FIRST RACE!

So here is my girl...who had chemo on Thursday..and gets in the pool and races on Saturday and Sunday. Jerad and I were so very proud of her. The first race she did was the 50 meter freestyle. She was in the second heat out of nine or ten. Of course, I get her all in position as she goes through the lines to get to the starting blocks. I had so many butterflies in my stomach. I was worried about her dive off the block....we had been working on this a lot because she is quite scared to do it. I finally had to let her go and just watch from the side of the pool. Jerad and the kids were up in the bleachers. My good friends Karen and Bonnie were there (with their Emma) and they provided me with much needed moral support. I also had my cousins Kevin and Julie to lean on.

But...SHE DID IT. SHE DID IT! She came right off the block, not perfect by any stretch, but progress from where we started a month and a half ago. She swam like crazy to the other end, did a flip turn (again, not perfect, but so proud she flipped) and then headed back to the start. Two lengths of the pool. She was in third place for a while (neck and neck with a couple girls) but then fell back towards the end. She finished in a 1:02. 2 months of work and hours of waiting all culminating in this one race. Of course, I was crying tears of joy and the proudness ran all over me. To consider where we have been....last year at this time she could spend days in her hospital bed. At times so weak she couldn't even walk and we would use a wheelchair.....and now she just sprung off the block. And the crazy thing is: She wasn't even last place. In fact, she had a good time and earned a spot on the free relay for the next day. And her time was second best of the four girls on her relay.

We went over and talked to her coaches. I think they were surprised because she hadn't gone this fast in practice. They didn't know she had it in her. I think his words to her were "you were flying!" No matter what, she is just starting and is not going to be winning any races but her coaches are so encouraging and so positive with her. Yet still always giving her new things to work on. They saw the tears in my eyes....I have to be like no other parent. Just wanting my girl to finish and do her best and get some rehab in the form of exercise in the process.

The whole rest of the day, I swear she walked around with a little smile on her face. Not only were we proud of her, but she was proud of herself. You could just tell that she LOVED it. The whole atmosphere of the meet and she especially liked when Emma "decorated" her for her race. Even that night, as we ate dinner, she was just so happy.

On Sunday she had another race. She did the 50 meter backstroke. I was scared she might possibly get disqualified....I had seen some really good swimmers getting DQd earlier in the day. But she did it again. Not quickly, but she didn't get DQd and again I was so proud she went the whole way without faltering. She finished the race...last in her heat, but not quite last overall. So proud that she did it correctly. Backstroke is a little harder. Someday we will try to race the other two, but not yet!

So now today, Ally isn't feeling so great. I don't think it has anything to do with the swimming, but I do think the chemo has caught up with her. They are trying to lower her counts. Today she had a nasty headache all day. I even tried giving her Tylenol with Codeine, but nothing was making it budge. She has one dose of steroids left too, and that generally makes her feel cruddy. She can't sleep when taking them. So I ended up picking her up from school this morning. I am hoping that it goes away and that we aren't moving towards being sick for our Thanksgiving holiday. Only time will tell.


  1. I have been waiting for this post :).
    Great job Ally! Amazing how far you have come.
    I love where Emma wrote "Eat My Bubbles".
    Keep up the good work.
    We are very proud of you.:) :) :)

  2. WAY TO GO ALLY!!!! WE ARE SO PROUD OF YOU! I love seeing every new step that you take and can't wait to read more. Happy Thanksgiving to the Barnett Family and wishing you a restful and family filled day. Love, The Black's

  3. beautifully said Janel! what a day! here's to many more races in her future.

  4. I am so lucky to have witnessed her first races. We loved spending time with the Barnett family and "teaching them the ropes". Emma loved getting Ally all decorated for her first event. I am looking forward to many more meets together in the future. Congrats Ally and the Barnett family. What a long way you have come.

  5. Janel-
    YEAH for SWIMMERS!!!!! I'm just waiting to hear that she's a breaststroker though. But I am partial to fliers, so maybe that'll be her real strength. Anyway, i loved seeing the photos, and I'm crying too. Of course, for joy. I miss the swimming days. I'm hoping she feels better now, and of course, your dad too. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. We have so much to be Thankful for.
    P.S. we are moving to Denver in January, so maybe Ally can show us how to conquer those slopes next?

  6. P.S. I'm so sorry to hear about Frank and your Grandma. I'm sure it hurts, and I hate that for you. I do know though that we are lucky to have them not only in our lives, but to watch out for us every day. Peace, Janel.

  7. I want my new team slogan to be "EAT MY BUBBLES!!!" I'm with Nicki - - I absolutely love, love that. What a great story to read and Way to Go Ally!!!
    Of all I have to be Thankful for this Thanksgiving - seeing Ally participating in a swim meet has got to be up there!!! WOW!!
    I am thankful you will all be around a table, sitting up, laughing, being together - all 5. Just as it should be.
    Sending prayers, strength and hope - as always,
    Jenny :)

  8. WAY TO GO ALLY ! Congratulations :) You look great.
    Janel. . . . . . as always. . . . great post.
    Hugs to you and the family, Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

  9. NICE JOB ALLY!!!!!!!! Wow, those are awesome pictures of you in the water. Janel, the tears are flowing and they are tears of joy from a grandmother. First swim meet, I remember that, Cardinal HIll. I am so proud of all of you. What a difference a year makes, and next year at this time it will be even better. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving and everyone was able to enjoy that day. Great job, Janel!!!

  10. It is awesome that Ally's able to do swim team! Way to go, Ally! We're proud of you! Hope to see you again soon!

    Kayleigh Crabtree and family

  11. She continues to be a miracle! Way to go Ally (and family)!