Cancer is Too Hard For Me

Some days are manageable. Others aren’t. We didn’t go home last week as we had hoped. It’s day thirteen and everyday our departure gets delayed by another setback. A fever, a virus, mucositis, C-Diff, her inability to keep down formula. Today I had multiple people tell me that Izzy just seems to be getting hit harder by these rounds of chemo then most kids. When she is experiencing a side effect she experiences it to the maximum capacity. Whenever I ask why something is happening our team just looks at me and says, “Well, because it’s Izzy.” One theory is that the cancer is responding so well to the treatment it’s just wiping her out. Perhaps this is a sign of how hard the cancer is getting hit. It’s a theory, but it’s one I’ll hope for. 

Regardless, this round has certainly taken a toll on her. She said something the other day I simply wasn’t prepared to hear. Something that took my breath away and my joy with it. “I can’t take it. Cancer is too hard for me,” she said throwing her head back on her pillow with tears in her eyes.” She had sores on her lips and all throughout her mouth. Her throat was raw and when she cried from the pain she covered her mouth afraid she would throw up again. Another side effect of the chemo, she had mucositis, defined by Wikepdia as; the painful inflammation and ulceration of the mucus membranes lining the digestive tract. She was overproducing mucus and would gag on it not wanting to endure the pain of swallowing. Her throat was so raw that she was throwing up blood. Graphic I know, but it’s the reality I’m living in. This is the picture of suffering I see everyday. I just hope it’s worth it in the end. 
In a couple weeks we’ll have some idea if it is. Over the next week she will have multiple scans to see how the cancer throughout her body is responding. We’ll take a look at the primary mass but also the other various spots throughout her bones. Then, October 11th we’re scheduled for surgery. For now we’re waiting in our hospital room for her counts to rise and her body to heal from this round of chemo. 
I would be lying if I said I felt peace. If I said I felt joy or hope or any of those things. I feel none of them anymore. I feel anger. Last night a child on our floor died.  They posted a sign on the door asking for the family to have privacy. It was several hours before everyone left and I saw the nurses in there packing up his belongings. Today there’s a baby in that room getting treatment like the whole thing never happened. I started wondering how many rooms I’ve been in that a family has had their final moments with their son or daughter. A moment they will never be able to forget and I walk in and throw my bags on the floor like the room means nothing to me. But it probably means something to someone. Somewhere.
All of my life the things that I have been the most passionate about were areas of injustice. I have longed to pour myself into those areas of injustice and have impact. What an odd turn of events that my child would get cancer. That I would wind up spending weeks on end on an Oncology floor amidst one of the greatest injustices I have ever seen. I am surrounded by injustice and there’s no way I can possibly do anything about it. It goes against everything we know for children to die. For them to suffer in ways that are so horrendous and yet necessary for any hope of a cure. Such a cruel paradox. 
So that’s where we are on our journey today. I wish, how desperately I wish, we were somewhere else.  But we aren’t. She’s miserable and she can’t take it anymore. And I can’t take it away from her. On top of that I’m miles away from home, from the people I love and from my other child who asked just today, “How much longer will it be like this?” 
In the midst of my despair I am reminded of an article I read a few weeks before Izzy’s relapse. In the article, The Promise of Pain, Ruth Haley Barton talks about “the great un-fixables of life.” She says if “we walk into the wilderness of our pain…(we will) discover that real faith is not a thought or a theory or a doctrinal stance. Real faith is what’s still holding you after the crisis of ‘faith’ has destroyed all your neat categories and systems of thought. We discover that real faith is what you know in the midst of not knowing.” When I first read the article it struck me. I had no idea I’d be living it soon.

29 Replies to “Cancer is Too Hard For Me”

  1. Molly, there are just no words for a time like this. I’m so sorry for what your sweet baby is going through and for what your family is going through. I continue to pray peace and healing for all. Much Love in Christ

  2. Molly, so terribly sorry for how painful it has been. Izzy is amazingly just so dear – Lord please have mercy! Thank you for the humility you have shown giving us glimpses of God in the midst of the hell you guys are walking through with this battle. Your writing is a weapon rallying compassion and prayer, and now a cry for justice/mercy even louder; please continue writing for yourself, Izzy and all of us blog-reading Izzy-loving fans. You are demonstrating God’s character on that floor and this blog, and we will continue praying for mercy, healing, strength and relief in the dark hours. “Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” Psalm 24:8. Love, strength and nearness of the King to you all,

  3. You do not know me but I have been following your blog since the beginning, when a friend shared it with me. Your story has affected me in ways I could hardly begin to express. Though I am so sorry you and your family are going through this, I am so grateful for your honest sharing. I just stopped and prayed after reading this entry, before commenting, as it shook me to my core to imagine such unimaginable pain. Love in Christ, Sybil Brun

  4. Molly, there really aren’t adequate words to address the horror that Izzy is experiencing. I continue to pray for Father God to lift her out of this pit and heal her. I continue to pray that your faith will be real and tangible during this time.

  5. Molly, your words are an incredibly powerful testimony to the strength and faith you bring to your family. Izzy is a beautiful, amazing young child, and her willingness to admit to her fears regarding her own power to overcome these terrible times brings me to my knees in tearful prayer for her and her inspiring mommy, together with everyone in her family. We are all holding you in our hearts and prayers, and may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

  6. Hey Molly, I pray that soon, very soon, there will be good reports, healing reports, miraculous reports on Izzy. And when you ask the team why, or the team asks each other, why… they will say “because it’s Izzy”! Yes, things must look very dim right now, I can’t even imagine how you must feel. But “Team Izzy” and “Izzy Strong”…we are all praying for you and lifting little Izzy up in prayer ALL THE TIME. I wanted to share something that Sam (my hubby) said to me after Izzy’s Benefit. He said, “I knew that Izzy was special, from the pics I have seen of her on FB since this all started. But being at the Benefit, and seeing the pics of her, from the time she was born and up until now, I can see she was always a special little girl. Her eyes, her smile…she is just a special little girl.” We all love your little Izzy, (I actually call her “my little Izzy girl” 🙂 And we are here for you guys, and we are praying for you guys, and we love you all so very much. I know you are angry, I would be. I think the cancer is angry bcuz it is being defeated, and it has to leave. Forever. That is my prayer. I love you.

  7. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain you are going through – not being able to take away the pain from your precious baby!! Izzy truly is one special little girl and a gift from God. I pray for you and your family, I pray that God will continue to give you the strength and faith you need for this journey. Do not feel guilty for any of your feelings – you deserve to feel how you feel – and each time you post, you express your feelings of anger but by the end of your post, God has given you faith and strength!!! Lots of love and prayers coming your way as always. (Have you seen the movie Letters to God??)

  8. I know you do not know me, but I have been following Izzy’s story from Kathy Korth as she is a friend of mine. I also know Deb Davis and her family. Since May I have been going through chemo and have experienced the effects and set backs just like Izzy. I am only half way through treatments myself. I was diagnosed with stage four non hodgkins lymphoma and was very near and felt like death when I was diagnosed. I completely understand the way you have to feel. The unanswered questions, the unknown, the fears. I live it everyday as well. Living it and watching your child suffer makes one question his or her faith. Each set back just makes you feel more and more defeated and your hope just diminishes little by little. Each hospital stay is more miserable than the previous one. When I am there I sit and look out the window and see the people passing by and get jealous that life is going by and I am not part of it. Then you look so forward to being released then fear what might happen “on the outside”. I can go on and on. The way people say you should handle it and be positive does not always work. Suffering and watching one suffer is the worst thing for anyone. But, one thing I have found to be true from all of this is finding the strength to get through it. I guess I never knew how strong I really was until that was the only option I had left. I pray you find strength not just for yourself, but for you daughter as well. I have also found that when the going really gets tough, the ones who spout off all the cliches and have all the answers are the ones who have never really experienced the first hand effects and seen the true side of the disease. I say, if she feels like crying, then cry along with her. If she wants to laugh, laugh along with her as well. But, if she wants to give up, keep pushing her. See if there is an easier treatment. Help her in whatever way you can. If she needs a break, tell the medical staff to just back off for awhile. When she gets to go home, give her time to just feel normal. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the disease and being a patient that you forget that there is a person there or in her case a kid. Give her the opportunity to do something she can do instead of constant reminders of what she cannot do or the things she cannot have. I am not an expert on this matter, but speak from my own feelings and experience. I am not questioning your current ways at all nor am I telling you what you should do. I believe we all do the best we can with what we know at that time. If there is one thing I can give someone to help them in anyway, then I feel it is worth it. I just know there are still times I feel like this is a punishment for something I have done or the way I have treated someone. But as I have been reminded many times, God does not work that way. Also I have to remember that He does not put anything on us that we cannot handle. I know I may never know the reason for what I am going through, but I do know and see the lessons I have learned already. Strength does prevail and regardless of the outcome for me, I will be a better person for it.
    I do wish the very best for Izzy and all of you. You are all in my prayers. Stay strong and try to remember to have hope and faith that all will be positive and the suffering will end soon. I say, let the suffering end and let the healing begin. Physically and mentally for everyone.

  9. Molly – thank you so much for sharing your heart, honestly. I can’t even begin to imagine what you are going through and pray for your strength and peace. The prayer group at Olympic View Church of God in Sequim, WA prays for you and Izzy every week – it helps that I’m on staff and give them weekly updates! So keep it up, keep sharing your feelings and struggles – there are so many lifing you up in prayer, every day, all the time!

  10. Hi,
    I am praying that you and Izzy will find strength and comfort in the Lord for each moment. When Amanda had mucositis a pain pump was used to help ease the misery. There were a couple medicinal mouthwash that Amanda tried. She didn’t find any benefit from Mary’s mouth wash, but thought Philadelphia mouthwash helped some. I will be praying your team will have insight how to help ease the suffering, that this will pass quickly.
    Now that we are a few months past the last bout of mucositis, it becomes a vague memory of misery. I pray that as the sores heal, that the memory will fade for Izzy a well. I look ahead to days of life, joy, moments that can hold smiles for your family.

  11. Lifting you up in prayer. I know is may seem so trite, we had a huge need of prayer over a year ago. We were surounded by prayer warriors during our time of need. It was all that sustained us. It was God enveolping us in his arms. Again I say we are lifting you up in prayer.

  12. “Father God. You are above all things. You see the depths of pain that Izzy, Molly and her whole family are experiencing. You know the heartache of seeing a child suffer. You are supreme and can easily take away the negative effects of chemo while continuing to press on your healing power in Izzy’s body to break free from this cancer and all the cancerous cells. I ask you to do that now. Sweet Savior bring your healing touch to Izzy’s body ridding her of all sores, complications, infections and eradicating the cancer in her body. She is crying out saying she can’t do this anymore and her family is crying out saying how hard it is to live this day in and day out. Step in, heal Izzy, heal this family and show them this instance your glory, your peace, your presence. Make your presence known so mightily right now that all those around can only stand in awe of the brightness they see in Molly, Izzy and their family right now. Bring healing, bring life, bring joy again. Thank you for your ability to tend to our every need, every minute of every day. Thank you that we don’t have to go through the pain of this life alone. Thank you that you are there in Izzy’s room with her right now, touching her body.”

  13. Indelible Grace – “Dear Refuge of my Weary Soul”. This song is all I’ve thought about since reading. It seems there aren’t too many songs out there that can articulate feelings like what you wrote about, but this might be one…Praying for you guys.

  14. Jesus, I ask for you to strengthen Molly, Kendrick, Izzy and Carter by your Spirit in their inner man. I ask that you’d give them endurance. I ask you would heal Izzy and teach her about who you are. Let them see you today and be aware that you are with them.

  15. Molly,
    I’m not sure if you remember me, but I spent a few summers in Anderson with Jill. I think we were all in junior high and spent most of our times walking to Dairy Queen. I’ve seen your updates through Jill’s Facebook and have been praying ever since. My heart just breaks for the suffering you’re beautiful daughter is going through and I can’t begin to say I understand how this must feel for you. All I know to do is pray and I am for complete healing and restoration, taking comfort in the truth that Jesus is moved with compassion by each one of your tears. Love you!

  16. I’m yet another reader you don’t know. When my friend Tera shared this post, I wasn’t sure at first whether I should read it, afraid that it would be too difficult. My 3 1/2 year old son has multiple and serious medical and developmental disabilities and sometimes it feels like I’ve reached my threshold, that even hearing about the bewildering suffering of another child would be too much. I’m so thankful that I did click that link, though. I know it doesn’t feel this way to you, but the grace of God shining through you is a beautiful thing to behold. That naming of injustice, that wrestling with anger, that just-barely-enduring the intolerable circumstances you have to choice but to face — somehow, it is all adding up to a picture of God’s unwavering faithfulness in the face of ultimate suffering and total heart-sick weariness.

    Today, I am simply praying for some relief for Izzy and consequently for you and your family.

  17. You don’t know me. My niece Christine Spittler has asked for prayer for Izzy. My heartfelt prayers are going up to the Lord for precious Izzy and your whole family. I can’t begin to imagine what you’re going through, but as a mom and a grandmother, my love and comfort reach out to you. Our God is great and He is holding Izzy ever so close.

  18. Molly, Kendrick, and family,
    We, too, have been following Izzy’s story. This entry has been the hardest for me to read. I am so glad you have faith to hold you together when all else fails. What about people without faith? You are in our prayers here in Georgia – and in Indiana where Jim is now with his mom, Kendrick’s great Aunt Evelyn. Prayers are powerful – and God continues to hold you in His tender hands. Thank you for sharing your heart and soul. Know that you are loved! Jim and Ellen Butler

  19. Once I got to the part where she is getting scans I felt a positive surge. I will hope and pray everyday that they are exactly what they need to be–proof her condition is improving and that it’s all worth it. I have never seen anything happen to a child as you have described it. I almost wanted to skip that part, but felt selfish looking away while your family has to watch. I don’t know any of you either but one day I saw a photo of a really cute little blonde girl who clearly loved her daddy and clicked on it. I have checked up everyday since and told my whole family about Izzy’s story. We are praying for you-wish we could take the cancer away.

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