It dawned on me this weekend that somewhere along this "cancer road" with Ethan, I've lost sight of LIFE. Life as in LIVING. Without even really seeing it coming, the mindset of "death" had settled into my being and taken root. Not really about any one particular thing, but about everything. My joy has been dead. My future (in my mind) has been dead. Any desires I had about enjoying my life with Adam and Ethan - died. It's as if one day I was walking along the road of life, not a care in the world, then out of nowhere a large wall fell right in front of me. I couldn't see around it. I couldn't see over it. All I could see was this large, depressing wall. No cracks in its surface to show bits of sunshine. No hidden rope or ladder to aid me in climbing over it. Nothing. Just a wall. Stopping me cold in my tracks. Stopping everything. And I had eventually given into the fact that this wall was going to always be in my way. And I'd never be able to do anything about it, so I just sat down... and stayed there. Thinking that everything was over. No more happy days. No more dreams fulfilled. Even thoughts that God wasn't finished "taking" from me. No hope for the future. That's the kind of death I mean.
But, the last few days, God has tenderly reminded me that there is life. And not only life, but so much left to be lived and enjoyed. So much more to give. So much to be thankful for. So much more in store for me, for Adam, for Ethan... for us together. In an effort to start chipping away at the wall, I started looking purposefully at all the things in which I have to be thankful. The list could go on forever, but I'll write a few here.
1. My husband is proof of God's deep love for me. Giving me Adam has been one of the sweetest, most generous gifts the Lord has ever given me (this side of Heaven).
2. My baby boy just celebrated 4 months of life! And he is more of a cutie than I could have ever imagined.
3. Even though my little Ethan has cancer swimming in his blood, we still have the ability to make fun memories together. And though there are scary procedures and stays in the hospital that we have to endure, we also have the TREMENDOUS blessing of being able to come home in between, and live the life of a normal family.
4. The rest of Ethan's body is perfectly normal. His limbs work perfectly, his mind is alert, his eyes are curious, he babbles like a baby should, his ears hear sounds around him, his heart is healthy, his brain is healthy, he's extremely active and strong (kicking, grasping and rolling all the time), his feet are precious, his smile is contagious, his eyes are big and beautiful.... he was fearfully and wonderfully made... and you see all those wonderful details every day.
5. The love and support we've received during this trial has been absolutely touching. I've never experienced so much compassion in my life. There is a website I can go to and see all the locations that view Ethan's blog. Did you know that there are about 25 or so states that view this website (not to mention all the cities within those states)? Did you know that there are people in Canada, the Ukraine, Romania, Bermuta, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia, Taiwan, China, Peru, and Bangladesh that read this site? And I can only assume that if people are reading, then they are also praying. What an overwhelming encouragement to mine and Adam's heart. Our parents, sisters and brother-in-laws, extended family, old friends, new friends and those we've never officially met... we are so very thankful for you all.
6. Prayers. I am so thankful for the ability to pray and have prayers answered.
7. Thankful for the other moms who have contacted me. Some are in the midst of their own struggles with sick children, and others have been where I am now and seek to share their encouragement of having come out successful on the other end. What a sweet comfort to know that as a mom, there are others who's struggle is the same and that I am not alone in this particular insanity.
8. And I'll close this particular list of thanksgiving by saying how thankful I am for the Lord. His comfort is real. His peace is there when nothing make sense. He continues to be patient with me even though, at times, I am fighting against Him as opposed to fighting this WITH Him. And He gave me the gift of a son. And though it would appear that the gift has been a bit tampered with... only He can mend the packaging once more. He does that for us all of the time. And He will do it again.
John 11:4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
Psalms 23:1-6 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Before I go, I have a praise report! Throughout this past session of chemo and the at home medications, Ethan's good blood counts kept going down, and the bad cells rose slightly. Thus, he continued to need transfusions (we were practically at the hospital for outpatient visits every day)... however, yesterday afternoon he had another round of blood drawn and I got the call last night with the results. Over the weekend, his good cells went up in number and his bad cells dropped! What a tremendous surprise... especially since he hadn't had a transfusion since last Friday and the medication at home stopped on Sunday. I was beyond thrilled! THANK YOU FOR PRAYING! We go back to the hospital tomorrow (Thursday) morning for bloodwork and will be readmitted later in the afternoon. Be in prayer for my discussion with the doctor as we determine the direction we need to take for this next round of chemo for Ethan. Also be in prayer once again for no side effects and no pain for our little man.
As difficult as it is to move into accepting that our baby has cancer... the cancer itself is subject to God's power. And with the God that we serve, there is more power in a single breath of His being (take a quick breath yourself to fully understand) than the "power" cancer appears to have in Ethan's body.
1 Corinthians 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.