I didn’t have cancer again for a long time, about a year and a half. I still had to go to the hospital every few months for scans. I also had some problems with my stomach and had to have surgery but other than that I just got to go to school and have fun. My hair grew out and it hid my hearing aids – I had to wear those because of my hearing loss – so really nobody even knew I was any different. And most of the time I didn’t feel any different either. I liked not having cancer because I could go to school and run and play with my friends. I never felt sick and I had lots of energy. I also liked not having to go to the hospital all the time and I liked everyone not always crying.
I was seven when we found out I got cancer again. We had just gone to Florida for Spring Break and I got to be at the beach again. The week we came back we went to the hospital for my regualar scans and they saw a rock. The doctor decided to do more pictures to be sure. We were back at the hotel when the doctors called momma. She had daddy come out in the hall to talk so I kinda figured they were talking about something serious. But I was not expecting her to say it was cancer when they came back in.
“Baby, Dr. Weiss and Satheesh just called. We need to talk,” she said.
“No. No. Please don’t say I have cancer again. Please,” I begged her. Then she started crying so I knew I did. “I don’t want to have cancer again!” I yelled. I had already had it two times. I thought back to all the time I had to be in the hospital and started remembering feeling sick and missing my house. “Momma, no. It’s not fair. Some people never have to have it and I already have.” I cried and cried and then buried my face in the pillow on the hotel bed and screamed as loud as I could.
Momma and daddy sat on the bed with me and they cried too. Daddy rubbed my back and momma just kept saying how sorry she was. I cried for a real long time and asked questions about my hair and about treatment. Momma said I woldn’t have to stay in the hospital as much as last time but she said my hair would probably fall out again. She said we were gonna find a chemo we could do at home that wouldn’t make me quite as sick. I didn’t know you could do chemo at home so I was surprised by that.
Pretty soon daddy headed home to be with Carter and me and momma stayed at the hotel by the hospital. Momma turned out most of the lights in the hotel room and snuggled in bed with me. She prayed and she cried and I just lay there thinking about how much I hated cancer and how much I didn’t understand how I got it again. Momma prayed different than I did. She tried to teach me how once but I didn’t understand why she used so many words and that made her frustrated. Momma prayed the same prayer for me every night and she said I could pray for myself anytime I wanted to too. She said a prayer can be whatever you want, that it’s just you talking to God. But the thing was, she wanted me to say certain words, so it wasn’t really whatever you want. When momma prayed she would say this:
“Jesus, thank you for Izzy. Who’s perfect and wonderfully made. Watch over her while she’s sleeping and help her to not be afraid. Lord, we ask you to cover her with peace. We ask you to fill her with hope and strenght and love and compassion. Jesus we thank you for everything you’ve done in our life and we ask you to continue to bring healing to her body and fill her with LIFE.”
So one time she tried to get me to say something like her but I said: ‘Jesus we thank you for everything you’ve done in our life and we trust you no matter what’. She wanted me to say something real specific about healing and LIFE but I could never remember so I just kept saying what I say about ‘trusting God no matter what.’ She said my prayer was beautiful but it made her cry so I wondered if she really thought that.
Our hotel room was real quiet that night we found out I got cancer again. Momma rubbed my back and I feel asleep soon, thinking about my cats back home and wondering if it mattered what words you used in your prayers or not.