Just the shell

I can look back on this entire situation with McKaylee and see how I've always had to travel down into the valleys before I can come back up the mountain again. Lately, I've been stuck in a valley. Something seems different to me....all of a sudden. I'm not really sure when it changed or even what it was that changed, but it was something and I sense it so deeply. I look at McKaylee and something seems so empty inside of her now. The happy, curious, bubbly toddler that I use to know has become tired, irritable and so subdued. We took her to the zoo today so she could delight in all of the animals, like she always does, but there was no joy in her face. She laid her head on my chest almost the entire time and shook her head "no" at almost all the animals we came across. These drugs, these horrible and potent chemotherapy drugs are sucking the life out of my little girl. And yet without them, the tumor would be taking more of her from me and at a quicker pace, as well. It just seems like I can't win for losing....and neither can she. She just keeps on fighting and fighting this ridiculous battle and everytime she gets a little bit ahead, she gets knocked down again. She was screaming in her sleep the other night and I laid there staring at her forever. I started to wonder what it felt like to walk a day in her shoes. To hurt everyday, to be tired, to have no appetite and be sick all the time and I wondered if she's used to it by now or if she even realizes how joyful her childhood should be. We grow up expecting things to be a certain way based on our experiences in life and she's growing up in a hospital where lab work and clinic visits are the highlight of her day. There's pictures painted all over the walls in the inside of the hospital and she goes around and pets all the pictures of the animals. She finds so much joy in doing this and for some reason, that makes me so incredibly sad. It's all she knows and she probably thinks they're real because she is so gentle and loving with them. How can that be her life experience so far? What is it about that situation that breaks my heart and humbles me all at the same time? This little child should be running and playing, giggling at ladybugs and eating Popsicles in the sunshine. Yet here she is, hurting and tired....just a shadow of the chunky bundle of joy that she used to be. There's still a smile and, on a good day, sometimes I'll see it quite often. And I still get attacked with her love and admiration on a daily basis, but something is still missing. Her joy, her happiness, and her childhood....they've all faded away into the background. So for now she'll hurt. For now she'll battle this cancer with everything she has in her as she becomes a shell of the person that she used to be. And hopefully one day, we can fill her life back up with all the wonderful things she has missed. I'll just have to find a way to bottle her childhood until she has a moment to not just experience it, but enjoy it...


Shea said…
Jessica, I wish I had something incredible to say. I can't imagine the hurt you are going through. I have had my fair share of valleys though, and God will bring you through it. We are all praying for precious little McKaylee, for a miracle and for you to have her happy little self back.
Natalie said…
Thinking of you and that little one today. Give her a kiss from me.
Every time Emma see's her picture on my slideshow she squeals her name in excitement. I had no idea Emma even remembered her!
It's so hard to read your blog because my heart bleeds every time. I can't imagine your pain, but you can't imagine how His strength comes through your words and encourages so many people every day. It gives new meaning to "...when I am weak, then He is strong."
I personally have seen God in a new way. Thanks for being so transparent.
He gives beauty for ashes.

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