For as long as I can remember I have wanted to change the world. I have longed to help those that have great need, longed to bring justice to places there was none and wholeness to places that were broken. The Lord has given me the heart of compassion, the spirit of an advocate and the soul of a warrior. I have gone the places He has called me to and fought for the people and the causes He has put upon my heart. It is just who I am. I am a sinner, saved by grace, I drink too much wine when I’m stressed and I use more profanity than most of you would find appropriate. I’m no one special but I’ve always wanted to change the world.
Reality is setting in and the days are getting harder. I watch Izzy playing in the yard, riding her bike, chasing the kittens around the house and I pour myself another glass of wine. The pain is too much. The reality that is my own is inescapable. There is no place I can go to hide from it. No corner is deep enough to shield out the truth that is growing inside her. No blanket I pull over my face is dark enough to keep the day away.
Today was the most horrific of days where we listened to the treatment plan – a Phase I Clinical Trial. We listened to all the things the chemotherapys would do: take away her hair, make her sick, cause her pain, make her tired. Then we listened to the thing the chemotherapys would not do: keep the cancer away. But if it shrinks the tumor or makes it go away, she can keep receiving the treatment for two years.
The cycles will last three weeks. Seven days of oral chemo at home on week one, five days of IV chemo at the hospital on week two, dropping counts on week three. As I said she will lose her hair. There will be shots and blood draws, transfusions and just so much…We don’t know if school is a possibility for the fall. It depends on how her blood counts respond through all this.
We went over every page of the study with the team and then Dr. Weiss asked if we had any questions. I finally asked the question I had been wondering the past two and a half weeks, “Will there ever be a time in her life now when she is not in treatment?”
He paused and took a deep breath, ” Well, it’s the year 2015. A lot can still happen in the next few years.” I nodded, “But you’re saying that where we are now, she will be in treatment for as long as she lives.” The room got quiet.
“Yes, until you guys decide it’s just too much.”
All my life I’ve wanted to make the world a better place. I’ve been focused on the whole damn forest and I can’t even make it better for the two trees in my own backyard. And that is a horrible, sickening, terrifying feeling that makes me want to curl up in a ball and scream. But I didn’t. Instead I chose to pick up the pen and sign the papers.
Today I gave consent for my daughter to begin another season through hell. And do you know why? Because the clock is ticking and I’m running out of options. So I agreed to put one foot in front of the other and trust that the Lord is going with us. That He knows where we’re headed. The battle ahead seems grim but it is not over yet. And I cannot give up because that’s not congruent with who I am or who the Lord is. He gave me the heart of compassion, the spirit of an advocate and the soul of a warrior, not to fight for the forest but to protect two little trees trying to flourish in my own backyard.
May the Lord bless this trial, these drugs and our participation. May He annoint Izzy’s body in preparation for what she’s about to experience and may she have the chance to live without treatment once again.