I do not ask questions for which there are no answers. A question is followed by a natural pause. When we ask a question that has no answer that pause goes on forever. If the questions are important, if they come from the depths of our broken soul, that pause is accompanied by a pain that goes on forever as well. There is no room within my heart for anymore pain. My heart cannot handle the pause of asking a question like, “Why is this happening to Izzy…Again?” Questions like this will never be answered this side of heaven and I have learned to simply not ask. To accept this broken world for what it is: a land of constant tragedy, void of reason.
Our first week of treatment was such a kind re-introduction to chemotherapy. But this week. This week we remembered chemotherapy is often a lion in sheep’s clothing. It is so gentle and quiet at first and then it attacks, like a thief in the night, stealing quality of life, pilfering joy and hope.
This week Izzy lay on the couch and moaned quietly, her hand never far from a basin to throw up in. This week she hardly moved from that couch each day, mostly to run to the bathroom, her bowels tormented from the poison. She cried and she cried but mostly she just lay. Just lay, with a sad, pained expression on her face.
Izzy has lost over 4lbs in the past two weeks. The bones of her pelvis stick out obnoxiously on each side. Everything that goes in her goes straight through her. The nausea has subsided, but the diarrhea and abdominal cramping are at an all time high. Her counts have dropped, she couldn’t go out in public if she felt like it. She is too weak to do much of anything. On the occasion we journey outside for a bit but she grows tired. She longs to go back inside to the couch.
I have made a pallet for her on the couch. Her favorite blankets and her pillow. Even her favorite stuffed animals on the back of the couch to sit watch over her. But they look creepy actually. They look lifeless and stuffed as she has paid them no attention. What good are a child’s toys if the child has no life to give them?
This week I remembered what the fight is all about and this week I remembered that it is her own. I can get a tattoo and I can shave my head. We can all rally around her with all the love and support and prayers in the world. But at the end of the day, and at the beginning of the day for that matter, the fight is Izzy’s. She is the one being knocked down. Yes I know, she will bounce back. But then, right away, she will be knocked right back down again. And with each hit she will fall faster, she will hit the ground harder and she will stay down longer. That’s not me being gloom and doom. That’s the science behind chemotherapy.
I have never known a pain like this. A sadness, a hopelessness so big that it would not fit within the confines of your heart. Often times I hear nothing around me but the emptiness inside my chest. I hear the void that is my soul and I think that this life cannot possibly be my own. But it is. That this life cannot be my child’s. But it is.This is our life for now. As we wait. As we pause.
As I was writing this post I listened to a worship song I used to listen to over and over again two and a half years ago on the Stem Cell Transplant floor. Desperate cries for redemption to overcome flowed from the headphones into my soul. Tears streamed down my face as I typed each key. My soul was raw and free for the first time. The Lord began to lift my head from the darkness. Suddenly I looked up and saw Carter standing in the doorway. He was watching.
“What’s wrong, mom?,” he asked, still keeping his distance. I struggled with my words. First said nothing and then decided to be upfront. He knew. I know he knew. “I’m sad baby.”
He walked closer to me now, “Why?” I took a deep breath and gathered my composure enough to speak clearly. My words were slow and deliberate. ” I am sad because Izzy is so sick.”
We have talked about Izzy being very, very sick since she relapsed. He has never wanted to go further. But this time he understood the word ‘sick’ to mean what it truly does for us. “Izzy is sick?,” he asked, as if he had never heard those words before.
“Yes, baby. Izzy is sick.” And he ran to my bed and buried his head in me. After a few minutes he looked up, “How sick is she?”
“She is very sick baby,” I said and he cried. I don’t know why he got it now, don’t know why he suddenly understood but he did. “Is she going to d-i-e?,” he asked with a terrified look on his face.
A few tears finally fell down mine, “I don’t know baby. I don’t know.”
“But. But. But I don’t want to be an only child,” he said and climbed up onto the bed with me to get more closer to me still.
For the next ten minutes we talked about tumors and chemotherapy, praying and healing and we talked about hope. I promised him that I would tell him if the doctors told me they thought she was going to die. I promised. And I asked him to promise not to tell Izzy about how scary the kind of cancer she has is. He agreed.
If you wanted a feel good read tonight, you clicked the wrong link. This is the honest, raw, heartbreaking story that is ours. That is Izzy’s. This is Izzy’s story and this is Izzy’s fight.
We walk slowly with her in this suffering, in this pause. We wait and see what the journey has next for us. We continue to ask the Lord to lift our heads from the darkness every day. We ask for His mercy, His grace and above all, His Healing. And then we wait, in yet another pause that is accompanied by a great pain.
Blessings on you today and LIFE for Izzy.