St. Jude's...round one
So we are finally here at St. Jude's and it is so amazing. I guess I thought that being here would provide some sort of relief and although it has, it's also provided a new sense of reality that I hadn't yet experienced. I have now been face to face with the reality of childhood cancer. I walk down the halls and see kids, whose lives should be filled with baseball games and princess parties, and instead they're wearing masks and have gleaming bald heads. I cannot escape the reality that this is McKaylee's upcoming future. You would think all the chemo treatments, radiation, surgeries, etc. would slow these kids down, but they don't miss a step. They're the happiest children I have ever been around. There are some that seem tired or constantly plagued by a sensation of coldness, but for the most part this place seems to be nothing but a world filled with hope. Hope for the hopeless...that's the message that keeps getting repeated. I no longer feel the piercing gazes of onlookers trying to figure out why my daughter has two huge cuts on her head, as the physical consequences of cancer are a way of life here. We're no longer the "odd man out", we're just part of a community of families that have the sweetest, but the sickest, children. It's encouraging to meet others who are struggling with the same daily battles, the same medical trauma...and yet it's equally depressing. You can't escape the ugly in all of this, the looming statistics, the fatality of childhood cancer and while that is extremely hard, it's also just another hurdle to jump in this journey we are traveling. I've just learned to swallow that lump in my throat and I've found myself constantly telling God, "Give me grace...give me peace...give me strength.". I won't say it's been easy, because it hasn't. But this place has provided a haven for my family and the best care for my very sick little girl. So here we go, one step ahead....sometimes two steps backwards, but then always another step ahead towards hope. She will beat this, we will beat this.....together, as a family. And hidden in this tragedy are moments and memories that I will hold close to my heart for a lifetime. I thank God daily for this wonderful place and for all the doctors that continue to provide my little girl with the best treatment possible. I look back on everything that has occurred thus far and I can see how God clearly paved the way to St. Jude's. And I find hope in knowing that tomorrow might be a little harder than today, but I'm not alone in this. For standing by my side are friends, family, doctors and most importantly Jesus Christ. And from day to day, I still proclaim that I believe in a miracle, a COMPLETE and total miracle of healing for my precious little girl!