So this will probably get me nominated for hoarders, but oh well! As we were going to bed tonight, my wife said, “You really need to clean off your nightstand as it is getting dangerous over there.” It was almost as if she pulled some invisible string because precisely as she said “getting dangerous,” my pile of books went all Jenga on me. I tried to stop the slide by grabbing a book before it hit the floor. I happened to open it to maybe read a page, but it caught my attention so I read the first couple of chapters. The book is titled, “Hope for Families of Children with Cancer” and it was given to us anonymously by “A Redstone Family” (Redstone Elementary is where two of our daughters attend school). At the very beginning of the book is a poem that I liked and wanted to share called “Cancer is so limited…” but I am also realizing that although I have been updating the Facebook page, I haven’t really updated this blog so I’ll do it intermittently between the lines of the poem which I will italicize (just because I think I am so darn creative like that).
Cancer is so limited…
It cannot cripple love
It cannot shatter hope
Delaney had a fantastic weekend. She was excited to go cheer on her soccer team in their very last game and was feeling well enough that she wanted to participate in the pregame warm-up drills. She did that and was still feeling well at game time. Next thing we knew, the game was underway and Delaney was in and actually playing with her teammates. It was just awesome. There were a lot of guys there so I made sure that my contact lenses that I don’t really wear didn’t start irritating my eyes under my sunglasses, but it was a close call. It was Mother’s Day weekend, but nothing could have made this father more proud than to see his little girl getting out there and just giving it her all.
It cannot erode faith
It cannot destroy peace
Sunday was Mother’s Day and Delaney wanted to make her Mommy waffles for breakfast. So we made breakfast while Stacey and the other girls slept. Just as Mommy was one mimosa into Jack and Jill (not sure if you’ve seen this Adam Sandler movie or not, but it really is best with more than just one mimosa), Delaney announced, “It’s time to get ready for church!” So we woke up her still sleeping sisters, and off we went.
It cannot wipe out confidence
It cannot kill friendship
Later that day, Delaney and two of her friends were playing on the trampoline. I was doing some yard work and just listening to them be kids. They were playing a game called, of all things, “Deadman” (it would be like our Marco Polo) when one of her friends says, “Delaney, you can go first because you have cancer.” I had to laugh because it was just one of those “Out of the mouth of a child” moments but then caught the other friend also try to remind Delaney that she had cancer only to have Delaney respond with, “Yeah, yeah, yeah… let’s play the game!”
It cannot suppress memories
Monday, we got the reminder that… well… that our child has cancer. We were feeling pretty darn good after the great weekend she just had. I took her in Monday so they could run her labs and make sure all of her counts were okay. Prior to Monday her last labs were run ten days prior and everything looked so good that one of the nurses joked, “She is doing so well, she should go pick up an extreme sport this weekend!” That’s kind of what we were expecting on Monday considering how good she looked and was feeling, but we got almost the exact opposite. Every important thing they check in her labs (ie. white blood cells, hemoglobin, platelets, etc.) tanked. This is the part that 10 weeks into it, still catches me off guard. She can look fantastic on the outside, and just have things way off on the inside.
It cannot silence courage
I am hoping that I am not way off base here (by now we all know that I usually am), so if that is the case, I’ll ask for your forgiveness in advance. This line of the poem happens to give me a chance to talk about one of the most courageous people I know: my wife Stacey. Stacey works full time. It didn’t matter as was the case a few weeks ago when she got to spend another night in the ER with Delaney, and then almost immediately had to go work. Yes she is great at her job and enjoys what she does, but she deals with an enormous amount of guilt. I think most working mothers have to deal with this to a certain degree (Should I really be working or could we make it if I was a stay at home mom) especially when their child is not feeling well. Here is where I may be off base, but I think she has to deal with a much, much larger degree than the mother who feels terrible when their kid has a cold. I’m not even necessarily saying other moms, as we have other kids who get the “normal” kid illnesses. As a parent, you know that unless your child has a big test that they didn’t study for, with a cold everything will be just fine in a couple of days. That isn’t necessarily the case when instead of a cold, your child has cancer. This has been very, very tough on my wife, yet she carries on every day as the courageous loving mother that she is.
It cannot invade the Soul
It cannot steal Eternal Life
It cannot conquer the Spirit
“Did you drink coffee before you got here?” the nurse asked a giggling Delaney this morning. The way she was laughing and carrying on as her normal silly self, you would have thought she didn’t know that she was about to receive her chemo treatment… but she knew. She went from thumb wrestling, to wanting to arm wrestle, to playing some game where you make a virtual cookie. The entire time she was getting her medicine, she was just laughing at having a great time. Sorry cancer, but you haven’t even come close to conquering Delaney’s spirit! .
It cannot lessen the power of Resurrection