It’s been six days since I last wrote, and there’s very little new to say…
Tuesday night, the doctors finished meeting, and we got the call with a single thought:
Wait, and come down to the hospital; they said. Come down to the hospital, see with your own eyes, and talk about what happens next.
So yesterday, as the sun came up, with fearful and weak hearts, we went. It hurt a little to see the white and gray on the screen, folding in and mixing with extra fluid where once was healthy brain. The tumor site. And there, on the edges, were small gray marks that looked almost like bubbles of varying size and shape. This is it?
After hours of talking, you see, it comes down to this: if these new growths -these surprisingly small growths- are somehow, against-all-odds (and there are many) an effect of radiation, there is nothing they need to do now. Chase seems to be well and unaffected. However, if the new and tiny growths are cancer cells… there is nothing that can be done right now that will stop them from growing and taking over. There might be clinical trials and research and options that may grant us a little more time, but all that has been known to cure this vicious disease has already been used to help Chase.
With this in mind, we could open his head now. We could request a biopsy or even a full-on brain surgery to know which awful we face, but for now, with heavy yet peaceful hearts, we will not.
You see, each family feels differently and chooses differently, but for Bob and me, we made a promise way back in 2012 to do things FOR Chase and not TO him. To open his head now and try to remove would reintroduce dormant risks to him and would only serve to answer our questions…not save Chase’s life.
How desperately we want those answers! The thought of waiting eight whole weeks to know is gut-wrenching. We find ourselves constantly moving back and forth between “How foolish we’ll feel when it turns out to be nothing!”, and “How could it possibly be anything but this cancer attacking again?”. We wait under the shadow of the knowledge that eight weeks from now, we could have to face the unthinkable. And all of a sudden, I’m thinking of the swing set I wished we had, and the vacation we never took, and a hundred other little, inconsequential things I wish to cram into a time that is suddenly moving way, way too fast.
…and yet, it could be nothing. This is our hope…even though we’ve been told it’s an unlikely one.
…and yet, the truth is that we’re all terminal. Even if you never hear a doctor say it; we are. How did you think we leave this world? We’re all terminal.
Yesterday, we were encouraged to invest in Chase’s quality of life. To make the most of this time. To do the things we’ve wanted to do.
…and yet, the truth is that we should be doing those things all the time anyway, whether it’s doctors’ orders or not. Life is short and time is short and a hundred verses and songs urging this same thought are crowding into my mind as I write these words because this is the refrain of life from the creation of mankind. We’re all terminal and all we have is our today in front of us.
And so, our family waits. Our questions are not yet laid to rest, our answer are not yet known, and the next eight weeks may well be some of the most excruciating to date, but we have today and we have Chase and we will walk through whatever eight weeks and beyond brings to us…
…moment by moment.
So much more to life than we’ve been told
It’s full of beauty that will unfold
And shine like you struck gold my wayward son
That deadweight burden weighs a ton
Go down into the river and let it run and wash away all the things you’ve done
Farther along we’ll know all about it
Farther along we’ll understand why
Cheer up my brothers, live in the sunshine
We’ll understand this, all by and by
-Josh Garrels, Farther Along