Tuesday, June 10, 2008
A long road ahead
So by now, I'm sure everyone has heard the latest news about Chunks-a-lot and even though it's all right in front of me, I feel like I'm watching this from a distance. Sitting in the room with the neuro-oncologist today was like a surreal moment. A Grade three Anaplastic Astrocytoma was the final diagnosis....and it only carries a 50% survival rate for her age group. How do you wrap your head around that statistic? Hearing that your child has a 50% chance of surviving is so unbelievable...I'm still in shock. We're leaving tomorrow afternoon for St. Jude's hospital and as I am packing all of our bags, I began thinking---how do you pack your life in a suitcase? We'll be gone for the better part of a year and I don't even know where to begin packing for that type of excursion. You make a list, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo and it just seems so ridiculous for some reason. Where is the list for a one year absence from home? I feel like I need a separate suitcase just to bundle up my emotions in. Fear, apprehension, anxiety, sadness, anger, I could go on and on. I sit here and think about how hard all of this is going to be, all the chemo and the side effects it will bring, all the ups and downs, and it just numbs me. Someone actually asked me today, "What's wrong? You sound so normal.". Yes, well someone has just put a timeline on my daughter's life and clued me in to how terribly hard the next 12 months of my life are going to be; yes, there is a large part of me that's not really here. I almost feel like a turtle who has left its shell and that's all that's left, just the tough outer covering, nothing inside. Maybe that's just some type of survival method kicking in, I'm not sure. Then I see my precious Chunks-a-lot, babbling and walking around as though she hadn't a care in the world and it breaks my heart. For she hasn't a clue to the hardships she will have to endure in the upcoming weeks and months. She's so little and chunky...it just doesn't seem right that she has to go through all of this. It breaks my heart, it absolutely devastates my soul that my little angel has this terrible cancer. I hate this tumor and the cells that are feeding its growth, I despise the pain it brings her and how much it has interrupted her childhood. She will celebrate her second birthday in a hospital and that makes me hurt beyond words. One day I'll look back on this as a memory and there's a part of me that is jealous of that. I've already been pulling from my reserves on strength and hope and I wonder where that extra strength that I'm going to need is going to come from. I am reminded of a sermon I just recently heard from Dr. Charles Stanley in which he preached over and over again, God's grace is sufficient. And so it has been and so it will be. I refuse to give up on this, I refuse to lose hope, I refuse to falter in my faith. Jesus Christ, my Savior, WILL pull us through this and He will be there to hold her hand and mine each step of the way. This is when life gets serious and when all of our faith gets tested. I can only hope to come out of this a stronger person in Christ. So for all reading, regardless of your spiritual beliefs, get on your knees and pray for this little girl. And for this next sentence, it only seems right to use her real name: I believe, we all believe, in a Miracle for McKaylee.