Sometimes I forget that she has cancer. That we have cancer. I forget about this life and death thing we’re talking about. There’s just so much that happens in the day to day, so much energy that goes into keeping track of the details of this treatment that most of the time I forget what it’s for. Back in January, when I’d even hear the word ‘cancer’ it carried a weight. It brought out such a heaviness in me, such a paralyzing fear, that I could hardly say the word without crying. But now it’s a part of my daily vocabulary.
I know what cancer is better than anything I could learn in a book. What I know I’ve learned from living with it. I don’t have it, true, but it’s sitting right next to me. It’s inside my daughter. Like a predator, it crept in the night and stole from us. It took innocence and joy, peace and security all with one hit. We didn’t ask for it to invade her body. None of us asked for it to destroy our life, but it did. And though I hate it with every fiber in my being, I understand why things are different now. I get that we live in a fallen world and this is what that means. We know that tragedy will happen, we just don’t know when. We don’t who it’s victim will be. This time it was a four year old blue eyed, blond haired little girl…that was mine.
But I don’t know how you explain to a child what cancer is. How you explain this great dark cloud that moved over our lives and continues to rain drops of fear and pain. And maybe I don’t need to. But I tell my kids that it’s a rock in Izzy’s belly and that now she has more rocks other places too. I tell them it’s making the inside of her really sick even though we can’t see it. I tell them that the medicine we have to give her to make her better is going to make the outside of her sick and we will be able to see that. I tell them life got kind of crazy when cancer came. And that it will be like this for a long time but we will be okay. I tell them that God is watching us, walking through this journey with us. That anytime we’re sad or scared or anything at all we can just ask Him for help and He’ll be there. That He’s going to take care of us through this whole thing and that He will never ever leave us.
I wish I was a child. I wish I didn’t know anything more about what we’re dealing with than what I told them. But I do. I know more about cancer than I ever wanted to have to know. And I know less about my own life than I ever have. I’ve been on staff at a church for nine years. There have been ups and there have been downs but these have been some of the most rewarding years of my life. I love what I do. It gives me life. But I’ve never done anything half heartedly and I’m not about to start now. So what does that mean? Cancer gets to take away that too?
I don’t know. But I will continue to walk forward trusting the One that does. Izzy feels much better today. Though she hasn’t gotten out of bed, she is a little chipper this evening. The nausea is finally under control and her kidney function has improved. Hopefully we can go back to the hotel tomorrow after chemo and just do things outpatient on Saturday. She doesn’t mind being here nearly as much as I do. When we come here she’s now calling it her “vacation.” Not sure if that’s adorable or heartbreaking but I’ll take it.