Have you ever experienced some life-changing event after which you knew your life would be different? That moment when you feel a rush of adrenaline and you are screaming "No!!!" on the inside. I have had a few. They are horrible in the moment. But one thing I have found in the aftermath is that those experiences are the best providers of perspective. What is perspective? I think It is the ability to see clearly what really matters. Not to sweat the small stuff. Not to major on the minors or allow worries to overwhelm joy.
So we had one of these events on Sunday. It was the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It was also another day I won't forget but this time it was very personal.
We brought Reese into ER a week ago today. She was congested and struggling to breathe, even with the help of oxygen at home. Hoping to spend a few hours at the "h" getting suctioned and tuned up, I was told they found high levels of calcium in Reese's blood and they wanted to admit her. I wasn't worried. Isn't calcium a good thing? Aren't we all trying to get more of it all the time anyway? Their initial diagnosis was that I must be supplementing too much. "Dont beat yourself up, Mom," the Resident comforted me. But after days of testing and no answers the endocrinologist entered with his team. He asked lots of questions about how Reese has been acting over the last few months and whether anything had happened to her. I asked "what are you getting at?". He looked uncomfortable, glanced at his colleague, and then he just said it. "We have ruled out over-supplementation and a problem with the parathyroid. We are going to start looking for Cancer. "
I felt chills run over my whole body. I wanted to scream. It was the same feeling I had the first time the perinatologist told me they had found a problem with her brain. I wanted to wake up from the nightmare and make it all go away. I bit my lip hard. Don't cry while they are all staring at you! You can wait! They left the room and I went into the bathroom and let it all out. I didn't want to call Mario. How would I say it? I didnt want to devastate him. Would it be ok not to tell him? Of course not and I really needed him anyway. His parents came down from Prescott so he could be here with us. The labs came back with a high uric acid level, possibly a sign of a tumor. The oncologist ordered a ct scan but not until monday. That night I cuddled her in bed, just appreciating her breath, loving her smell and we talked and sang. We prayed and I told God that if He spared her from this My life would be different. I would be so grateful all the time and would never worry or complain again. I know I'm not the first parent to make impossible promises in a moment like this, but I really meant it.
CT came back clear. No Cancer. Mario and I both cried, feeling the release of the weight we had only carried for 36 hours but for what seemed like an eternity.
I called to tell my mom the good news. We praised God together and then I filled her in on what Faith, Mia and Olivia have been doing. I
started to worry and complain (sorry, God) about Faith's big bug project that she needs my help completing and my mom interrupted, "But you are not planning your daughter's Cancer treatment.". So there it is. Perspective. My new gauge for every circumstance. I have a fresh perspective on life as a result of this latest trial. Whatever comes my way from now on, I pray that I remember to say "at least I'm not planning Reese's cancer treatment. " I feel very blessed and grateful.
But in saying that I realize that down the hallway from me there are parents who ARE planning their child's cancer treatment. And my heart breaks for them because it is devastating, scary and exhausting. But in the midst of my scare God was faithful to wrap me in His comfort. He spoke to me through His Word and in prayer that no matter what the reports said, we would all be ok. Right before the endocrinologist walked in the first time I was reading Psalm 54-57. Here are some excerpts that I held close:
Behold, God is my helper; the upholder of my life.
Give ear to my prayer,O God, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy! Attend to me and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and I moan.
My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling come upon me and horror overwhelms me. And I say "Oh that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest."
You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?
Be merciful to me O God be merciful to me, for my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. I cry out to God most high, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. He will send from heaven and save me.
My heart is steadfast O God my heart is steadfast!
For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
God is faithful. He gave me these verses to comfort and protect me from the words of the doctor. He gave me His peace while we waited.
He gave us a good report and relieved our heavy load. And he gave us an even greater perspective on life. I pray that I live a life that is worthy of His faithfulness to me and that I can pass this gratefulness and perspective on to Reese's very precious sisters.