Vast Understatements

It still seems so surreal, this journey I am on. I can’t believe that this is my life that I’m living and that this is my child I’m looking at. My child who walks daily with suffering and injustice. This road is harder to walk down than I ever could have imagined in a thousand years. Most days there simply aren’t words that would do justice to describe the things I feel. Words like ‘sorrow’, or ‘pain’ seem to be such vast understatements to the emotions enveloping me. 

We came home Monday after twenty-six days. I had come home the weekend before to spend some time with Carter but Izzy hasn’t seen our house in nearly a month. She told me Sunday she couldn’t remember what her room looked like. This trip certainly won’t etch it in stone for her. We’ll return tomorrow, or in the middle of the night tonight, rather. Her surgery is scheduled for 7:30am. Her scans showed that the cancer is responding well to treatment. The ten or so spots in her bones are no longer visible and her primary mass has shrunk considerably. It still wraps itself intimately around arteries that lead to the left kidney. They won’t know until they get in there if it too needs to be removed. A kidney for you and I is really no big deal, but for someone going through cancer treatment, kidney function is huge. Having both kidneys is the best case scenario to ensure she can receive the maximum dosage of drugs during the remainder of therapy. Needless to say tomorrow is a big day for us. 

I’m learning that everyday is a big day though. That’s why everytime Izzy comes home I take Carter out of school for a day or two. Tomorrow isn’t a guarantee for any of us and I am now more aware of that than I have ever been. When it’s all said and done I would rather look back and see that Carter spent time with Izzy when she was home and felt well than have a certificate of perfect attendance hanging on the fridge. He needs it and so does she. And to be prefectly honest, so do I. It warms my heart to see them together.Their times together are so few and far between that they cherish every moment. Their laughter is contagious, their smiles are inspiring and their willingness to sacrifice for one another and share can come only from children who have truly longed for one another. A year ago I never would have dreamed that Spiderman and Cinderella could have had tea parties that would bring tears to my eyes. 

Before we came home Izzy told me she couldn’t wait to go “fire flighting.” ( I think that’s her term for catching fire flies. It’s kinda catchy, I know. You’re welcome to use it). I didn’t have the heart to tell her that she spent the entire summer in the hospital and it was too late to go fire flighting. Before I could even think of how to change the subject she began to cry. She then confessed that all she really wanted to do was go swimming like other kids but she couldn’t because of her “dressing.” (That’s what covers her central line). This time I did tell her that summer was over and even other kids weren’t swimming but I didn’t tell her she would still have her central line all of next summer too. 

By then the flood gates were totally open and she began to weep about wanting her hair back. Her hair would never come back and never be as long as Pocahonats’ and blow in the wind like hers. She laid her little bald head on my lap and wept. As I stroked the the top of it, peach fuzz wet with sweat, my heart broke with hers. A mother’s greatest longing is to satisfy the needs of her child. I couldn’t give her hair, or let her swim or take her fire flighting. 

I think that God must feel the same way when He sees us suffering. Certainly at any point He could take away all the problems of the world in a snap of His finger, but He doesn’t and we don’t always understand why. He could have stopped Jesus from dying on the cross but He didn’t do that either. And yet knowing everything I know about Him I have to believe that it was hard for Him to watch that whole episode on the cross. I have to think that words like “sorrow” and “pain” must have seemed like vast understatements to Him too. That even though it it was necessary, it broke His heart.  Because even though I don’t understand what the heck is happening to my life, I do still claim to understand something about the nature of God. He is love and He is compassion. Those aren’t just qualities He posesses, they are who He is. So when He sees a child like Izzy crying, whether it’s because of mouth sores or because she wants her hair back, it breaks his heart. And when He sees me crying, whether it’s because I’m heartbroken for Izzy or I’m even mat at Him, it breaks His heart. Maybe you don’t agree, and that’s okay. But this is my journey and this is what I believe about my God. 

15 Replies to “Vast Understatements”

  1. ***Maybe you don’t agree, and that’s okay. But this is my journey and this is what I believe about my God.***
    Totally agree and we will continue in prayer for Izzie and her family as long as needed!

  2. I am so greatful for the joy you have felt watching the kids together, asking God for more of that as well as healing. I love you so very much & am honored to have been able to spend time with you today. TOns of love & prayers for you & the family sweet friend!

  3. Fire flighting. Oh, how I used to love fire flighting. We don’t have fire flies in AZ, so I can’t do that either. I’m praying for you, Molly, and your entire family. Praying for today, praying for tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and the next day……I totally agree with you on taking Carter out of school. It is so very important to cherish each and every moment and live for the day.
    Sending love, hugs, kisses, prayers from Arizona.

  4. You are truly a blessing to your child and our God. I agree with every word you write about him. I think and pray for you often!!!!! I do not know you or izzy only through a mutual friend do I hear of your story but truly pray for Gods healing and mercy for you, little izzy, and your family. I also have a 4 yr old little girl I cannot even begin to imagine your heartache, although our God, as the bible states, only gives us what we can handle. He must have some enormous plans for you guys;) may God continue to give you all strength to fight this fight. Yours in Christ

  5. Hi, I don’t know you or Izzy but wanted to let you know your life story breaks my heart and I am praying for you, Izzy and your family. I have to remember as I read your pain and sorrow that God is in control and through His strength we will be overcome the suffering in this world. God bless you and your family!

  6. Sweet Molly,
    I know we haven’t seen each other for quite some time (besides that brief day at the mall:), but I want you to know that Christine gave us Izzystrong bracelets this week and our family is wearing them each day, praying for her, and you all, as we wear them. I don’t understand cancer, don’t understand people suffering, especially kids, just don’t get the yuck of life. However, I DO believe God’s word, and I know what He says are things He promises. What comes to my mind: “Take heart! He has OVERCOME the world!” and, “His mercies are HANDMADE for us EACH day” (Message). His mercies are things like those precious two playing together, fire flighting, and Spiderman and Cinderella tea parties, boy that HAD to be one awesome party! I’m sorry you’re going through this. It’s not right and frankly, I just hate it for you, and all who have to go through this. We want you to know that we are praying for you. His grace is sufficient, even when we don’t realize it. Praying you are BLESSED beyond measure, praying FAVOR upon your children, and praying HEALING on your precious princess, beginning with this surgery tomorrow. You are loved….

  7. I’m hoping and praying for the best possible outcome tomorrow. I think and pray for your little family so often! I too, believe that this breaks His heart, stand firm, and hang on…He’ll never leave you. I pray He gives you the strength you need for tomorrow, one day at a time. Love you all!

  8. I can’t imagine. I just can’t. I’m not a mother (yet, hopefuly someday soon), and my heart aches for you and your family. If only all of could take a little of Izzy’s pain away. Know how many people are thinking about you, and praying for you. Going through my own personal struggles with my relationship with God, this post really put some things into perspective. So, through your pain (understatement), God is really working through you. So thank you. Love to all of you from the Buckeye State.

  9. Praying and will be praying tomorrow for the miracle that they remove the mass and leave little Israelle’s kidney intact, and that she heals quickly and well from her surgery. May you all feel our Lord’s arms around you tomorrow and in the days ahead.

  10. It’s 12:03 am in Anderson Indiana on the day of Izzys surgery and I’m praying once again for Izzys surgery. Amazing to read your story and your words speak such truth. I cry as I deeply care for a child and family I’ve never met and wish families never had to feel this deep hurt. Like you I know God feels our pain and each tear drop. Hold close to Him as He holds close to you and Izzy. I invite you to take time to listen to You’re Great Name sung by Natalie Grant. My best friend wrote this song and it’s words are very powerful. I hope you can feel Gods peace while listening to it. Once again know I am praying for healing and for you to be home as a family.

  11. May God watch over Izzy during her surgery! Prayers to your whole family. I never met you, but a Facebook friend posted a link to your page. I would like to offer you some hope. My 5 year old daughter Katelyn just completed Cancer treatment in August, and I can really relate to your feelings and stories. Katelyn was diagnosed last October with a Wilm’s Tumor in her right kidney. At the time of her diagnosis, the tumor was 3 1/2 pounds and was removed the very next day. Her right kidney was also removed. There was a rupture during surgery, which was an added concern about the cancer spreading. After 2 rounds of radiation, 5 different chemotherapy drugs, and several transfusions, she is now Cancer Free. Katelyn went through her whole treatment with only one kidney, and there were no problems. I pray that Izzy’s kidney can be spared, but if not, I wanted to let you know about another child who was able to handle chemotherapy with one kidney. God bless you all!!

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