One of the first things we did after Izzy’s first tumor was removed back in December was plan a trip to Disney World. We had just gone last year and weren’t planning to go again so soon, but the whiplash of learning she had cancer and then learning it was gone made us appreciate every moment we had together. Our trip was planned for this week. For months I counted down the days til I would see her there in all her glory running around in a different princess dress every day. But clearly we aren’t in the happiest place in the world this week. We’re in the hospital. I can promise you I haven’t seen a single pumkin carriage here, not one fairy god mother, and certainly not a castle. And what’s worse is most of the time this place is missing a Daddy and a Big Brother too.
Out of the past thirty five days she’s only been home three. We’ve finished this round of chemo and she actually recovered quite brilliantly from it but we are still having problems with her feeds. Tomorrow they are doing a procedure to redirect the tube that’s in her stomach directly into her small intestine. Her feedings will now bypass her stomach entirely. It’s not ideal but calories are so important to recover from chemo and IV nutrition is just so hard on your body. Everyday we make difficult choices and there simply aren’t any easy answers. Anyways, as I stand over her in recovery tomorrow and look at her with no hair, no eyebrows and no lashes, I’ll do my best not to think about how we were supposed to be riding It’s A Small World.
I know that going to Disney World isn’t the most important thing but I find myself desperate to see that Izzy does what she longs to do in life. Like going back to Disney World? Maybe. But there are two dreams she has that she’s been speaking of more and more these days that I think are even greater. For as long as I can remember she has said she wanted to be a baby doctor someday. She has since ‘discovered’ that doctors just walk around and talk all day which she finds neither impressive nor intriguing. Now she has decided that someday she wants to take care of babies that don’t have moms or dads or homes. This dream moves me because it’s evidence of the spirit of compassion and the heart for justice that are within her even at four years old. This dream makes me smile. It makes me proud.
The other dream she’s been speaking of isn’t nearly as noble as the first and yet it’s the one that makes me feel the most emotion. Someday she hopes to ride on a school bus. This dream is a painful one to hear because it’s something that most children will have the opportunity to do without effort and like so many other things it’s something that I can’t guarantee for her. If all goes well we will still be finishing our treatment plan next year at this time. Who knows when she’ll start school. But then again, who knows anything anymore.
It seems like only yesterday I was sitting in my office at the church working. I remember coming home from work to the synchronized shouts of ‘mommy’ as I came through the door. I remember going to the zoo and the splash park and having picnics on our deck in our wooded wonderland. And I remember thanking the Lord every night for the peace in our life, for the blessings of our children, and for the provision of our health and safety. But you know what I don’t remember? Meaning it. They were lines of thanks I recited out of obligation and obedience. Maybe I did mean it a little, but nothing like I would mean it now. I couldn’t have. There’s no way I could have known how precious, how valuable it was until it was all taken away and the thought of it ever returning remained in question.
Last week shook me to my core. Our doctors are not that concerned about the pathology reports and have continued to remind me of that. Still, it took a toll on me and has taken several days for me to settle down. One thing it stirred in me is a call to pray WITH Izzy more and more about her healing. It is something that we used to do every night and somehow it has fallen off my radar. I pray aloud for her and she just listens in agreement….
“Jesus, thank you for Izzy, whose perfect and wonderfully made.
Watch over her while she’s sleeping and help her to not be afraid.
and take away all of the cancer and keep her healthy and safe.”
The first two lines I’ve prayed over both my kids since as long as I can remember and the last verse has been recently added. After she falls asleep I lay my hand on her side and pray on my own. The image I see when I pray is light shining into her body breaking up the cancer cells. So I will continue to ask the Lord for His light to flow through her and bring healing and I would ask you to do the same.
Today a friend sent me some encouraging words including a scripture that seemed to confirm what I have been praying the past couple days. Receiving a verse that lined up with wear I felt the Lord leading me to pray warmed my heart. So maybe we aren’t at Disney this week, I can’t change that. But I’ll gladly settle for a word from the Lord instead.
Isaiah 60:1 “Arise, shine, Izzy! For your light has come and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.”