The shadow has descended again and I’ve found myself unable to write because of it. Three whole months have passed like the snap of a finger and once again, we stand in front of the two doors: the next MRI is in less than 48 hours.
Technically, the shadow of relapse is always with us, but we feel it ever so strongly the week before the MRI. I wasn’t going to write because I’ve had no words -only fears and fighting fears- and I’ve wanted to be silent in my thoughts and prayers until after the results are known. However, today, I was reminded to open my hands. To relinquish again the dread of the unknown to the One who knows.
So, tonight, I finally sit and write. I still fear much and fight the fear, but today, I opened by hands – a thing I haven’t done in too long. I needed this reminder that Chase is not ours to keep. In fact, none of our precious littles are. They are our entrusted treasures and we are their stewards. We’ve gathered them around us in front of the two doors and we wait… with open hands.
Moment by moment.
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Psalm 24:1 [NIV]
Long before his birth, the adults around him had prayed for a building in which to have their church. Now, the prayer was answered. The old building had been stripped and tooled, fashioned and made new by the loving hands of the community, all but ready for the gathering. The flooring has yet to be laid and the pastor gathered them and challenged… Write. Write a prayer on the floor before it’s covered. Write your heart in faith for what God will do in this place. And so the 8 year old boy crouched on the cold stone and wrote the prayer that came to his heart…
“Dear Lord, I pray Chase Ewalt survives his canser and they will find a cure – Life in God.”
They say that love can heal the broken, they say that hope can make you see. They say that faith can find a Savior if you would follow and believe…with faith like a child. -Jars of Clay
Moment by moment.
In the hours following Chase’s surgery, scans showed that there were some areas of fluid around his brains – pockets, if you will. I regularly flash back to those uncertain hours and the sick, tight feeling in my stomach as we waited and wondered if he would need to go back into surgery.
Those hours resolved in the same day with a second scan that showed no change and it was determined that the fluid could be watched and waited on as Chase moved forward in stable condition.
Chase -as we well know- continues in stable condition, but the January scans (when we received such good news) revealed that these pockets of fluid have changed: now, there is blood in them.
I won’t even begin to write on a technical level about things like “hematoma” that I don’t even completely understand, but I will reiterate this: Chase is stable. If there was an immediate or emergent quality to this issue, we would see marked changes in him.
Chase will, however, be having a repeat scan in a couple of weeks and will be meeting with his neurosurgeon to determine a plan of action. …a plan that I pray will in no way involve booking an operating room.
The wondering and the waiting. The watching anxiously and exchanging worried looks over his head any time he slurs a word or loses his balance. All of it tempts me to despair and curse the cancer…to throw up my hands and scream “This will never be done! This will never be better! There is no end to this awful disease!”
In the middle of this past week, we learned that a little girl who shares our hospital lost her battle with cancer. Her name is Anna. She was 11. Somewhere, her family sits forever changed – doubtlessly reliving the awful moments when they were told that the chemo had done irreparable damage and the very hours were numbered.
I grieve for Anna’s family, yet I am truly thankful for her life’s reminder that I still hold a living and breathing child in my arms and that each second of life is a precious gift.
The day Anna died, I stood looking out the window over the bleak landscape and as I stood, snow began to fall. As I watched the flakes in the air, I was reminded that there is a sovereign God who crafted and knows each design of each flake that touches the earth and he knows Anna’s heart and Chase’s brain and all the whys and wherefores that I don’t and may never know or understand.
I want to tie this all together neatly… The blood pockets in a damaged brain, the chemo-ridden heart that stopped a too short life, the snow that fell and the insight with it. I don’t believe there is a neat or tidy way to wrap these hideous and beautiful things, but this …
“Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice? And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back? For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.” Romans 11:33-36 (New Living Translation)
Moment by moment.
Posted in Chase, Family
Tagged blood, Brain, cancer, chemo, faithfulness, gift, God, heart, hematoma, snow
As Chase and I were talking this morning he suddenly began to pray: “Dear Jesus,” he said, “Thank you for my cancer! In Your name I pray, Amen!” The “amen” was almost a shout as he turned to me exuberantly and exclaimed “Mom! I prayed for my cancer!”
I almost had to pick myself up off the floor.
His precious joy is something I needed to record here as a picture of “faith like a child“…no strings attached, no analyzing or questioning, no ulterior motives, simply joy and thankfulness in the moment.
But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” Luke 18:16
Moment by moment.
Five years later…
My Dearest Husband,
As we pledged our lives to one another, we never could have known what was ahead. I know that these first five years are only a small dip into the well of blessing that the Lord has for us. As I write, I am reminded of the words we sang that day:
“Thine own great presence to cheer and to guide; strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow, blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.”
In joyful anticipation of growing closer every year…