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 | Attach Photo

Celebrating a return to "normal"

We praise and worship a God who doesn't let us to go through life's trials all by ourselves, one who sends comfort when things aren't "normal". Our God knows that little girls need angels nearby when they are scared. He uses faithful, loving people like Caleb's parents to bring light to others who are facing the serious illness of a child. He has surrounded this child and this family with a powerful group of prayer warriors, and for that we are grateful. God has allowed our brave little princess to do wonderful things for His kingdom, just by being who she is and in the places she has been allowed to travel. I don't know too many 6 year olds who have had the opportunity to witness to others as Abby has these past months. Even during her own personal trauma, she had us praying for the babies in the hospital! I guess sometimes it takes going down the "not normal" path of life before great things can happen. I celebrate with all of you today!

by S Lingo on 01/21/05

Celebrate we did!

Today, while waiting for Amy's phone call giving us the results of the MRI, I prayed and my mind went back over the last several months. I thought of the many times God provided encouragement and comfort through His people with a phone call, an email, or a card arriving just when it was so badly needed to renew our strength. We do not know what the future holds for any of us, but I can say for certain that whatever it is, God is faithful. We celebrated this wonderful day by enjoying dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, which was Abby's choice.

by Virginia Wiersma on 01/21/05

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