So we had THE TALK.
The one every parent dreads where the Dr. calls you into his office, closes the door and tells you raw, heartbreaking facts and information about your precious child. Your reactions are unrehearsed and you feel like you´re in a movie watching your life in slow motion. The Dr. watches you carefully, delivers the news and shakes your hand. You walk out together, life changed forever...
Things he said still rattle through my brain two days later...
¨your daughter´s situation is very serious¨
¨treatable but not curable¨
¨we can´t give her chemo because of her nutritional situation but it wouldn´t make a difference anyway¨
¨you need to choose between quality of life and extending her life¨
¨the lifespan for a metastasized gastric cancer is 10-12 months¨
¨you need to decide how much to tell her and your other children¨
¨only a miracle can change this¨
This can´t be happening! This isn´t what he was supposed to say! This isn´t how things were supposed to go down.
The Drs. have been so positive until this point. From January on, the surgeons told us, ¨We are going all out for a curative treatment.¨ And we all believed it. Even they did. Because even though she had Stage IV Gastric Cancer with an extremely high mortality rate, her metastasis was fairly ¨light¨; that is, no organs were touched, no adjoining nodes were affected and this was amazing. Only the original umbilical tumor which was completely removed, and 3 small spots which they removed during the surgery when they took her stomach with its original cancerous ulcer were dangerous. The localized thermal chemo bath during surgery gave further power to killing anything within the abdominal cavity. Anything missed would be taken care of by the follow-up chemo begun 2 months after surgery.
But chemo was not begun. The serious nutritional issues which we have charted in these pages have lead us all down a much more difficult & complicated road than anyone expected. Nutrition became the priority and we have fought for it with all our might. No one anticipated the difficulty her intestines would have in recovering their motility. No one could foretell that 2, 3, 4 and 5 months after surgery, chemo would still not be happening. Of course it makes sense, knowing the evil multiplying power of cancer, that it would now be growing and showing its face again. But now there are no medical recourses.
Does any of this change our faith for a miracle? No. Does any of this change our belief in God´s sovereignty? No. Could God be directing us away from chemo to preserve Jenna from its devastating side effects? Is there a natural path of healing for her? A supernatural path for her? We don´t know.
Not knowing is very uncomfortable. We yearn to know. We yearn to help our kids understand. We long for their faith to survive the attacks on God´s goodness and love to them and our family. And now we are just trying to assimilate this news, to cry when tears come, to pray desperate prayers, to pray peaceful, yet exhausted prayers. To pray at all.
We´re going to keep walking. We´re going to keep hoping. We´re going to keep being honest with God & others. We´re going to keep loving each other however this unfolds. We´re going to keep grieving. We´re going to keep wondering & pondering. We´re going to keep believing in miracles. And mostly we´re going to keep believing that GOD ALWAYS HAS THE LAST WORD.
The human sentence over Jenna is one thing. The God sentence over her clearly reads:
´THIS ONE IS MINE...AND THE MOST HIGH HIMSELF WILL ESTABLISH HER.¨
Photo by: Addison Berry