The past few weeks have taken us through the ups and downs that are our life. The unforgiving, rocky terrain that is a journey through childhood cancer. I have been forced to remember the thing I have gotten so very good at forgetting. To remember the thing I have pushed so far back in my mind, so far deep in my heart. To remember that Izzy has a cancer that has no cure.
Three weeks ago today Izzy became ill in the middle of a regular course of her at-home-chemo. She stopped eating or drinking anything and began to not tolerate the tube feedings she receives overnight. Eight days went by with nothing of any substance staying in her. Every day she grew more and more weak until eventually she was admitted for six days. Seeing her so lethargic took me back years ago to the treatments I used to watch her go through. To the way she used to lie around so helplessly ill and I would stand by her side feeling so completely inadequate as a mother.
We got through the admission. They pumped her full of fluids and eventually her stomach began to calm down. We made it through that little valley we weren’t expecting and much to our surprise there was a hilltop of joy waiting for us as we climbed out.
Throughout this past week she participated with the students of Fishers High School in a Fashion Show and Dance Marathon to raise money for Riley Children’s Hospital. Those students embraced her and loved her with their whole hearts. They fell in love with my Izzy and she fell in love with so many of them.
She spent three evenings with them this past week, laughing and dancing and soaking up the selfies. The night of the fashion show the other models were sitting in the front row with their parents but not Izzy. She was backstage with the high school kids all night. She ran around with them all week like she was one of them and it was so important to me to just let her.
When I look back on the two weeks in comparison, the one she spent in the hospital and this past one she spent with the Fisher’s kids, I have to say that there was one week immensely more painful for me than the other. I wish I could say it was the one she spent in the hospital, but it was not. I’m used to seeing her in hospital beds. I’m used to seeing her as a child that is sick.
What I’m not used to is thinking about the high school years for my kids. Just a year a part, she and Carter should spend three years in high school together. But this past week as we stood in the high school, long deep breaths of sadness filled my chest. The medical community says she will never go. Not to high school, not to prom, not to spring break. They say she will never make it there with her brother. So as I listened to her squealing all the way home from the high school each night, silent tears fell down my cheeks in the darkness. For I know the thing she does not know.
I believe God can heal her, I do. I still lay hands on her tiny body every night and ask Him to. I declare that she is free of disease. I declare that she is filled with His goodness and His glory. But somewhere between our will and God’s will is everything that happens in between. Somewhere there, in the in between, is all that we will never understand this side of heaven. And I have to be willing to accept that.
I am so grateful to the all the kids at Fishers that loved Izzy so well this past week. So thankful for the time you took out of your schedules, the effort you put into making a difference and the compassion you demonstrated by embracing this cause. I like to think that she helped each of you to see that behind every great cause are real, live people with real, live, but sometimes heart breaking stories.
I do hate this journey but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world because this journey was custom cut for me with Izzy in it. Yes, I want more for her but this is what we’ve got. She’s worth the rocky terrain, the uphill walk both ways, the sleepless nights and the constant flow of tears. No matter what happens, when it’s all said and done I’m so proud to say I AM her mother. Always and Forever.
Blessings on you today and LIFE for Izzy.
**Medical Update: Tomorrow morning Izzy will start another 2 week cycle of chemo. Please pray this one is easier for her. It will end on Friday, March 11th, her 8th birthday and we would like to stay out of the hospital so she can celebrate all weekend.
We go back for quarterly scans the last week of March. So far, the spot has remained inactive since we began this chemotherapy but we’d like it to go away. In addition the last scans showed nodules in her lungs and liver that we’d like to see gone too. They aren’t active either but we don’t like them. Thanks for praying.