I am not sad to see this week end.
The end of chemo is so close that we can practically taste it and the full depth and breadth of all that Chase has been through in the last 14 months seems to settle a little more heavily with each chemo injection. The week started well with some little victories, but Chase quickly fell under the chemo – getting more tired and more aggressive as the week went on.
I don’t often write about Chase’s aggression…in fact, I can’t think of a time I’ve ever written about it. It’s a very difficult aspect for me to accept, let alone put into writing. Chase is a passionate and strong fighter. I still remember the doctor delivering him and saying “It’s a boy! …and he seems to be holding his head up on his own…wow.” This, we love. The pure stubborn defines so much of his cancer fight. Unfortunately, as it mixes with the brain damage and the treatment toxicity, and is magnified by the constant pain and discomfort, it exhibits itself in screaming, hitting, biting, and kicking. Frequently. He’s almost always quick to calm, and is always quickly remorseful, desiring to “make it right” with the person he hurt, showering them with hugs and kisses and telling them he’s sorry and he’ll never do it again, but the raw truth is that the days and weeks when he struggles like this sometimes seem like months and years. He walks through this intense treatment with more grace and strength than I ever could, but it getting the better of his temper is an honest and almost daily reality and I mention it here so that you can pray for Bob and me as we help him through this. Pray for us to give him grace while still encouraging him to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger (James 1:19-20).
When Chase isn’t being aggressive, he loves interacting with people. On Monday, as we were waiting in clinic, he saw one of the nurse assistants and after chatting with her for a moment, he informed her that he needed to stay in clinic to see his doctor, but that she could go “find my room and make my bed”. Luckily, the CNA, besides being an excellent maker of beds, had quite a sense of humor.
This week, I also had a conversation with the amazing woman behind the organization that provided Christmas for our family last year. She told me that she had gone to the hospital earlier in 2012 and asked them who, in their medical estimation, only had a few months to live and wouldn’t see another Christmas. Chase was among those named. Almost a year ago. I’m in awe of these tiny glimpses of how God completely surpasses what we think we understand to be the course set before us.
But the reality is that facing Chase’s mortality again, and his frustrated aggression, and another week of chemo, and the needs of three other littles have left me physically exhausted and Chase’s on-and-off again elevated temperatures and visibly weakened condition have worn away at what little mental and emotional strength I had left. I didn’t even want to write because the week was hard and my response to it was often ugly. I’m staring down a new week beginning and thinking to myself “I barely survived last week! What do you mean there’s another one coming at me?”
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:30-31 NIV
This is my answer. Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes.*
Moment by moment.
*excerpt from 10,000 Reasons; Chase’s favorite song.