I was going to title this message “Cancer Stinks” – actually, I was going to use a stronger word than “stinks” – but, although it would have captured my thoughts about the cancer struggles with my daughter, it placed the focus on the cancer rather than the ones who are really in the middle of the battle.
On January 24th, our twelve year old daughter was diagnosed with an advanced stage of ovarian cancer, and since that time life has been a blur. Even though we can call this blur a New Normal and we are all learning how to adjust, it is still extremely difficult. Two weeks ago we saw that Kaylee’s hair had begun to fall out because of the chemotherapy, and she decided to get a short haircut in order to minimize the mess of hair on her pillow and clothes. Well, the new haircut lasted almost one week.
On the morning we were to enter the hospital to begin her second round of chemotherapy, the day which also happened to be her thirteenth birthday, after larger and larger clumps of hair began to brush out, she made the brave decision and asked me to shave her head. Of course, I have been telling people for years that bald is beautiful, but now I think everyone will have to agree. These little baldies are gorgeous!
There are many young bald heads around the Children’s Cancer area of the hospital, and also many at the Ronald McDonald house where we stay. And, although the initial loss of hair is traumatic, all of the patients and families I’ve talked to agree that the loss of hair ends up at the bottom of the list of concerning issues. There are much bigger things that consume your day!
The younger girl in the picture is the three year old with brain cancer we met in a previous message:
She was not having a very good day because her blood counts were low and she needed a transfusion. Since then she had to go to the emergency room because the transfusion did not seem to be working and her fever was beginning to rise. Our daughter is smiling in the picture, and was having a good “moment,” but the smiles are few and far between these days. Cancer….stinks!
I have been pondering a biblical application which I have studied, thought I understood, and have written about in the past. However, I’m realizing how our experiences must be allowed to interact with what we read in order to yield true meaning. The following passage is often quoted in showing us how we are to face our trials.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
I believe I have previously written that we ought to get to the point in our walk of faith where we can actually be thankful for our trials because we know the good it is bringing into our life. After all, isn’t that what this passage calls us to do? Well, if that is what the passage is saying, and if children’s cancer can be classified as a “trial,” then I have no other choice than to reject the passage. I now think we sound pretty foolish when we smile and tell people to have joy in trials. I sure hope we can make large allowances for trials where there is no joy to be found; where it is alright to NOT have joy in the trial. Or maybe we need a term other than trial for certain levels of hardship. Let me know what you think.
The day may come when our family will look back on all this and be thankful, even joyful, for this segment of our journey. As many of you have done, we may consider this the most significant part of our spiritual and emotional growth. But we are not there yet. My heart aches for our daughter, for my wife, for my other children, for the many families we have met thus far, and for many of you who are going through your own hardships at this very moment. Right now there is no joy in this particular event. However, I am thankful for the endurance of my daughter, how she continues to mature, and how our family is working together during this hardship. Regardless of how this journey progresses, cancer will always stink and those who are thrown into the battle will always be my heroes!
Have a Christ Centered Day!
God’s Daily Word Ministries
**** Reading Plan ****
Mar 25 Deuternomy 4:1-49; Luke 6:39-7:10; Psalm 68:1-18; Proverbs 11:28
333.23 miles in 2013 : Goal 1509 miles