Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Clark and Chemo

Continuing from the previous post:

Right after Clark's malignant tumor was removed, the doctors put a protocol into place for his treatment. They recommended 4 rounds of chemo. Two rounds would be administered in the hospital, over a period of several days. Clark would have to be admitted for those. The other two would be "day medicine," where we would go in just for the chemo and then come home after a few hours.

Like most things in my sheltered little life, I had NO CLUE about any of this. I spent a lot of time reading up on his type of cancer, searching for information that would tell me everything was going to be okay...looking for any little tidbit I could cling to like a life-line. Searching for hope. 

Hepatoblastoma, I found out, is an uncommon malignant tumor occurring in infants and children, typically before the age of 3. And I read that it usually presents with an abdominal mass (WELL!). The information said that if the tumor was intact and had not spread, and the entire mass was able to be removed...AND if the surgery was followed up with chemotherapy...the survival rate would approach 100%.

But I still hadn't learned. I was looking for something that would let me know that everything was going to be okay...and that this would all fade away and just be a really bad dream. But, hope isn't found in a treatment...it's found in a PERSON. The person of Jesus Christ. He is our life-line and the only hope we have in this world. "In this world you may have troubles but be of good cheer...I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

And so, in the beginning of all this, in my naive and shallow way, I worried about Clark's...hair. It was so silly, but it was the only thing I thought I could control in this out-of-control situation. Our daughter, and our last two boys were tow-heads. Holly's and Logan's hair had already started to darken up a little, but Clark's was still white blonde. Oh how I did not want him to lose his hair. "Just please, Lord...he's got cancer and had surgery and now chemo...but not his hair...please."

Every day that went by, I would gently run a comb thru his hair and nothing would happen! THANK YOU, LORD! But, on day 15 or whatever day it was...they had warned me...his hair began to fall out. It came out in hunks. It was all over his pillow when he woke up from a nap. It was on his clothes, tangled in his fingers, and stuck in his mouth. And I just lost it. It just felt like the loss of innocence. I couldn't take any more.

The last thing I wanted was for any of us to make a big deal out of his hair...like, in front of Clark. He was just two years old, but I didn't want him to feel different or weird. So, I asked Jim to take him to get his hair cut...I knew I wouldn't be able to do it. When they came back, Clark's beautiful hair was gone. The barber had left just a very small covering of the hair that was left. By the end of the week, even that little "fuzz" was gone.

But God did a work in my heart, because I was praying for Clark's healing. As the days went on, I forgot about the hair. I mean, I saw Clark's bald head every day...and it wasn't just the hair on his head. He lost his eye brows...he lost his eye lashes. I saw his sunken eyes and his thin frame. I saw how weak he was every day. My prayer changed from "Lord, not his hair," to... "Lord let him live."


Because you really can't realize that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have.

"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior." Habakkuk 3:17-18

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