Sunday, May 11, 2014

Hospital Update, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day. As many of you know we had not planned to be here on Mother's Day...we had thought we were done with long inpatient chemo-treatments. But we're not. Today we started session 2/3, with each session starting with a week of intense "chemobombing," then two weeks of recovery. Tomorrow we will start with a bone marrow aspiration and a lumbar puncture with chemo. We'll likely be here another 21 days, have a few days break and then be right back at it again for a third time.

We had four days at home. We used it doing laundry, packing, getting Luke ready to start preschool next week, a hospital visit for blood work, and even a little relaxing. We celebrated Mother's Day early with some swimming and a nice dinner. Today we were told we could come to the hospital later in the day and so we got in more swimming and naps and playtime. What a needed break!

This week was extremely hard for me. When we were told we had to come back it was almost as bad as when we were first told she had Leukemia. Because when we were told she was coming back, I finally realized that she has high-risk Leukemia. I talked to a nurse who even said, "very-high risk." I hate the very words.

I've always been scared since Grace was diagnosed. I don't believe that being afraid is sinful. David wrote in Psalms 56, "When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I will praise God for what he has promised." So David felt afraid, but chose to trust God instead of be a slave to his fear. Feeling scared of the chemo, that's logical. I know what it will do to her. Feeling scared of the pain she'll feel, that's based on facts. It's what I know she will have to go through, and I am afraid of that, I don't want that for her. And even though I know that God will be with us, I know there is not going to be a shortcut, and it will be hard. And I am dreading it, though I know He will help us endure it.

But this week, mine was not just a rational fear. It was the other kind, the kind that makes us slaves. When fear keeps us from hearing or believing God, or if it keeps us from obeying Him, that is a problem. Mine was more than a problem, it was a spiritual onslaught. I was massively attacked this week. I know the voice of my Father. His voice always, always, always brings me peace. I also know the voice of my enemy. It always feeds on fear. And it's never the fear of the immediate facts. Satan lives in the fear of the future and the unknown. My fears were of the very worst and they crowded out all joy and peace. The lie "Grace will die" repeated again and again in a terrible cycle that I was powerless to overcome on my own.

Daily I've come to God in prayer. Daily He's rescued me from the grips of fear that made it hard for me to even breathe. The other day in prayer He showed me that I was being attacked spiritually, and that I could choose to recognize the lies for what they are. Satan is a master of lies. He knows half-truths are the most deadly lies there are. I don't know the future. I don't know if Grace will die when she is young or if she will die when she is old. One day she will die. We all will. So the truth-part to the lie, "Grace will die," had enough truth to make me sick, but the deceptive-lie was that death was already at the door. Today Grace is not likely to die, she's eating and swimming and doing well. Today is a day I can trust God. Tomorrow will worry about itself. And the lie that made me afraid that "Grace would die" became powerless, at least for the day.

Today I had a special moment. Grace is often too busy discovering the world to cuddle. She's always been that way, unless she's sick. Today she felt great but she fell asleep with her head on my lap. It was so tender. And as she slept I prayed for her. I kept asking God why He would choose this for us. I felt so abandoned. And it wasn't the slavery-fear, it was just sadness. As I was praying I saw Grace's "Beads of Courage" necklaces hanging on her dresser. Something about them caught my eye.

There was a rainbow sparkling on them, a reflection from her jewels on her curtains. As soon as I saw the rainbow, I felt the Holy Spirit's presence, and He reminded me that rainbows are a symbol of His promises. And He has promised, "The Lord himself goes with you and will be with you. He will never abandon you or forsake you. So do not be afraid, do not be discouraged." Duet 31:8.

Soon the rainbow was gone, but the peace I felt remained.

Please being praying for us this week. For Grace's chemo to not harm her in the short or long term. Please pray that she wouldn't get any mouth sores. Please pray for wisdom for the doctors and nurses. For all the children here at CHLA. For Luke, that he would adjust to his new school and schedule. For Chad and I, that we would be able to trust in Jesus, even when our family is going thorough so much.


  1. When I am afraid it helps me greatly to shut out the prowling lion's voice by repeating over and over, "I love you, Lord. I trust you, Lord. Your will, not mine, Lord." So wonderful that you are aware of how important to battle against fear. And hopefully a comfort to know that you are definitely not alone - fear is spoken of more than 500 times in the KJV Bible! Prayers for all of you constantly! :D

  2. Thank you Melissa for being such an amazing human being. You show such grace and power even in your weakness. Maybe that comes from God in you. That's what it feels like when I read your words. I have been a pastor for many years and have seen many people experience excruciating pain and suffering, yet none have demonstrated the type of authentic faith that I have seen in you. The kind of trust that embraces all the fear, sadness, disappointment and loneliness and yet clings to God with the confidence that He is indeed with you though it all and will sustain you with His presence in spite of the many times that it all seems too much to bear. I am so proud of you. More importantly; I believe that God is proud of you. Our Father, please allow Gracie to live a long, full life. Please protect her from this onslaught of chemo. Keep her from the sores, and give your servants Chad and Melissa the grace and peace to carry on. And bless Luke with joy as he ventures into preschool! Amen.

  3. Melissa - this post reminded me of a song by The Choir. It's called "Sad Face." It was written after the drummer's wife had a second miscarriage. I hope it's not inappropriate - if so, please forgive me.

    There's a crystal in the window
    Throwing rainbows around
    There's a girl by the mirror
    And her feet won't touch the ground

    'Cause she never saw the sky so bright
    Isn't that like a cloud, to come by night?
    Never mind the sky; there's a tear in her eye

    A sad face is good for the heart
    Go on cry, it can be a cruel world
    A sad face is good for the heart of a girl

    There's a woman in my kitchen
    With a rainbow on her cheek
    Well, isn't that a promise?
    Still I never felt so weak

    There's a tiny spirit in a world above
    Cradled so sweetly in my Father's love
    So you don't have to cry
    No, there's something in my eye

    A sad face is good for the heart
    Maybe just now I don't understand
    A sad face is good for the heart of a man