William the Conqueror has been home for six days! It has been an incredible whirlwind of fun, stress, laughter and joy. This morning I discovered that I’ve been ignoring an amount of fear and dread. A large, invisible hourglass full of descending sand seemed to sit on the hearth between our family pictures, marking how little time we have left. While we won’t have to return for the second round of chemotherapy until Monday, today was a frightening day. Today William and I had to return to UNC for a bone biopsy to check his counts and to see how successful the first round was. I packed a bag for a day-trip and then packed an overnight bag, just in case.
I came face to face with the unlikely reality that we may be checked in and forced to stay. He seems healthy and there isn’t any indication of need, but the increasingly familiar road to our home away from home seems like a pathway to a prison as much as an escape to freedom. I had to spend some time praying and bringing my requests to God because a Thanksgiving weekend together isn’t promised. “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, with prayer and thanksgiving, give your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
This process is teaching me that trials reveal how strongly you believe what you know you believe. I wasn’t ready. What if I couldn’t get back in time for the school pick-up? What if I missed out on a holiday again? The laundry is piled up and the potatoes aren’t peeled. There were more hugs to have and nights to sleep more than 4 hours! At home there were countless responsibilities. At the hospital there was uncertainly and circumstances far beyond my control. I had to drive the road between them before dawn.
At 5:25am we left in the rain but William endured the car ride quietly. The usually beautiful scenery was enveloped in darkness and taillights. I turned the radio on to a station that was talking about Moses sending out the 12 spies to check out the promised land. 10 were terrified but Joshua and Caleb came back saying that yes, the land was full of giants but GOD would overcome the obstacles that overshadowed their size and strength. What a renewal of my mind in the dark.
We arrived on time at 7:00am as the sun rose over UNC. It felt strangely comforting and very familiar. William clearly recognized where we were and began to chatter at those around us. Soon after he started “acting two” and yelling, “EAT!” He isn’t allowed to have any foods due to the anesthesia, so the check-in hour is our most challenging.
Do you see? Do you see what I am facing here? He is spoiled rotten, I tell you!
By now the doctors were arriving and making a bee-line. “William! No bow-tie today? How’s it going, Buddy?”
I turned and saw more familiar faces; another family we have been hospital neighbors with have a child with another form of Leukemia. The boys are similar sizes and both have 3 year old brothers. We bonded at the pantry and family fridge. They were sitting in a chair waiting for vitals as well. They were being checked in today after Luke’s biopsy. We chatted about the holiday schedules at the hospital and joked. They hope to be out by Christmas. We get Thanksgiving because we are a month behind. A few ‘time share’ parents who had gone home were having appointments today. It was a bit of a reunion and reminded me that God always provides reasons to be joyful and reminders that we aren’t alone.
As William went in for anesthesia I went to the downstairs pharmacy and ate a few granola bar while I waited. Only 5 weeks ago we did this same routine. It was intimidating and foreign. Now it all felt second-nature although it was only the second time. That’s the comfort of the Holy Spirit’s presence.
As I walked upstairs the bed was wheeled out with my sleeping Conqueror.
He usually awakes suddenly and comes up swinging but this time he slept for ten minutes, jerked awake, looked around and was soon smiling.
The doctor came over with a paper of his counts… if you aren’t in the medical or “sick family member” profession be patient.
His hemoglobin jumped up to 11.1! His platelet count that is often between 53-91 (and indicates health) was….412! I have NEVER seen it higher than 120!
Now the big one..his ANC. That is the level we needed to be at .5 to go home. It rose to 1.5!!!!
(Do a happy dance and pretend we won the Olympic competition, Superbowl or Hunger Games, please.)
People, God provided miraculous healing. THANK YOU for your prayers- they work! With a happy but hungry baby in tow, we were excused to go home. We were driving back within three hours, while last time it took six.
I had to come face to face with my ways of thinking. The usual holiday pressures with the feelings of strain that this will be the last time our family will be home together in 2014 led me away from trusting God’s provision. It is easy for me to be grateful for the things I’m used to. I’m thankful within trials as well, but being at home where things ‘should’ feel a certain way brings new challenges. This is a new walk for our family and both my spirits and my hair fell flat this week. I felt comforted that we had made it through Month 1 and a twinge of self-sufficiency that we can have a great holiday together. No wonder we are to turn to the Lord daily. I am at home with a renewed mind. William is home with a stronger body and a testimony of how God’s mighty provision. We’ll see about the biopsy results soon but I am quite convinced they will also testify to the Healer.