Abby's Journey Archive

The numbness of relief

This is a slice from Abby's Jan 20, 2005 MRI.  The gray circle in the left center indicates where the tumor was.  The lack of any bright spots suggests no additional tumor activity.

Our family, before going to the Cheescake Factory for a post-MRI celebration.

Just after Abby was diagnosed, some friends of ours from church (Amy and Steve G.) came to spend the evening with us. They had a son that was diagnosed with Fanconi Anemia--Caleb was a joyous little boy who caused everyone around him to smile involuntarily. Fanconi typically leads to bone marrow failure in most of those afflicted. One treatment for FA involves a bone marrow transplant, and they elected to attempt this, but sadly were not successful. Caleb died in April of 2002. (

Amy and Steve bared their hearts to us that evening, trying hard to pass on some things they had learned about having a desperately ill child, and how to simply cope when you spend days on end in the hospital and you seem to know your doctors better than your own family members.

Something that Caleb's mom said to us has stuck with me over the past 9 months--"this is not normal." That, along with her experience spending lots of time in the Psalms, were two of the pieces of advice that most helped me over this time.

I had to remind myself of this again when Abby went into the MRI chamber this afternoon. She was nervous and worried that it was going to hurt. I kept thinking that we had done this all before, many times. And yet, Amy's words kept coming back to me--"this is not normal." Of course, it's not normal. Kids are supposed to run and play, swim and scrape their knees, build towers with Legos and dress up like princesses, go to school, have sleepovers.....not spend afternoons in an MRI machine under anesthesia.

But sometimes the abnormal is the road you take before you return to the normal. About an hour after Abby got out of recovery we stood before Dr. Shafron and heard him announce that her scan "looked great." He had already talked to the radiologist, and we would get a complete report later, but there didn't appear to be anything to be worried about now.

It seemed kind of anticlimactic in a way, but as we drove home I realized that I was relieved, but sort of numb. Yes, we will have to go back in about 3 months for another scan, and PNET tumors do recur fairly often.

And as we contemplate a return to "normal", even for a while, I find myself wanting to keep parts of the "abnormal"--God had many reasons for allowing this experience in our lives, I don't want to throw away important life elements or allow cruft that hindered our relationship with Him to return.

But, for now, we are "normal" (mostly) again. What a relief. What a reason to praise God.

11:24 PM, 20 Jan 2005 by C. R. Oldham Permalink | Comments (2) | Attach Photo

MRI today

We all went for haircuts, what's wrong with this picture?

We leave for Abby's followup MRI at Phoenix Children's in just a couple of minutes. She is a little apprehensive about the "sleepy medicine", but we have been praying often with her over the past day or so, and that has made all the difference.

Over the past few months we have been blessed because God has opened our eyes in so many ways. Our uniquely American, secular, logical, technologically driven world view can be so deceiving. Like so many other things (and if you have ever had any college-level physics, this will probably make more sense to you) it is a frame of reference that we use to try to make sense out of life. Frames of reference often leave chunks of experience unexplained.

American culture often dismisses the spiritual as irrelevant, or "personal", not to be discussed or processed with others. Our experience has taught us nothing can be farther from the truth.

Like Paul says in Ephesians 6:12: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places."

And we have also come to more clearly appreciate family time--this past weekend we took Saturday to spend together as a whole family, going out to breakfast, going to the Arizona Museum for Youth, and getting haircuts--everyone including Abby (just for fun)--see attached photo. For some reason our hairstylist didn't charge us for Abby's cut.

04:43 PM, 20 Jan 2005 by C. R. Oldham Permalink | Comments (0) | Attach Photo



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