"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."
Elijah and I made it into the city and to the hotel. I was so exhausted I didn't know if I could actually get up and walk. I considered having food delivered but the hour wait time detoured me. We headed out to Whole Foods, which was such a mad house that we left. I had noticed a pita place so I headed over there. The price was more than I was hoping to pay, and after I ordered, I noticed that the only seating was upstairs (Elijah was in the stroller). I decided we would have to take it back to the hotel, but I was starting to feel faint from exhaustion and hunger.
Just about a block away from the hotel, I quickened my pace to make the crosswalk light....when the paper bag holding our food gave way and out tumbled our food onto the sidewalk. I salvaged what I could, and we made our way back to the hotel room. By this point, Elijah was almost inconsolable for about 45 minutes so we decided to get loaded back up and head out for a walk.
Our friend Joey, who may have been in a work meeting with two of his associates.....invited us to come and crash their dinner meeting at one of our favorite cafes. I was worried about Elijah not having eaten, but Joey ordered his favorite frozen yogurt and fresh berries, which he happily devoured. He also, against my wishes, ordered a chocolate cake....which was like food for my soul. :)
Joey's associate and friend, Theresa was missing her boy (whose birthday it was), and so she gladly held Elijah and entertained him in his curiosity as a chemist mixing sugar and water. Joey and Taymour also enjoyed feeding Elijah, playing games with straws...
At the end of a long and wearisome day, I cannot say what a grace it was to have friends come around me and help with Elijah, and engage in pleasant conversation....not to mention the yummy food. :-)
We had a fantastic evening and Elijah slept wonderfully from 10:45pm when I put him to bed, until 2:15am when I woke him for his last feeding, and again until 5:45am when I woke him to get to the hospital.
It was a good reminder that many times the difference between a day ending badly and a day ending well is whether or not you keep going. (Although let's be real-there are those days that just need to be over.....think: early bedtime!)
Anyhow. We got to the hospital by 6:30am, and because we were trying something different with his anesthesia, he had to be poked twice for his IV (mostly because he was thrashing about.)
I took him back and laid him on the table and took a few deep breaths. I got Ben on the phone and then waited for the doctor.
The tumor near Elijah's central field of vision is growing again. The doctor carefully explained our two options: laser, or more IAC (intra-arterial chemotherapy.). He said that it is highly unlikely that they will be able to kill this tumor with laser without taking out his vision. So, the doctor felt that the best course of action at this time was to laser the tumor today, and loosely plan on chemo next month. (The doctor did go so far as to mention that he checked to make sure the chemo doctor is available in four weeks). We will be back in four weeks, and our appointment lands on October 26th, which is my son Noah's 10th birthday.
When I saw the date, immediately so many things came to my mind. God's Word says that all things He is working for my good. Even this? Even disease, and chemo, and missing important birthdays?
I can't always see it, and I don't always understand it.
But I thought of how the campground had been closed for Noah's birthday, so Ben took him on his 10 year old camp out early.
I thought about how Ben was home with the kids when we got this news, so as we told them with me on speakerphone, they had the comfort of having a parent with them.
I thought of so many ways that God has been in ALL things.
And so, while this wasn't the news we had hoped for....we will just have to expand our "All Things" file. I have always had compassion for families walking through childhood cancer, but never anything compared to what I have now. Now I breathe it with them and feel the ache in my chest with them.
And not just cancer, but so many other difficulties that children face.
These last 19 months, I have discovered strength that I KNOW does not come from me. But I would not have found it if I didn't need it desperately.
There is joy that would never have been mine, as I nurse Elijah in the quiet moments. I delight so much in each moment I have with him, and in many more moments with all of my children, because I can't take it so easily for granted that tomorrow will come.
There are countless ways in which these last 19 months have been for my good, Elijah's good, and our family's good. And all the ways that I can't see the good....well, for now I'll tuck those away into the "All Things" file and ask for the faith to believe when I don't see.
He is with us.
He is for us.
In all things.
Thank you for praying with us and for us.