Then... and Now: Remembering Cancer

Samuel at a tea party
funny face at the Oncology Clinic
I wish I could say that I never once think about cancer anymore. It's a memory in the past, right? We are living in the here and now so my mind should be fixed on the present. 

But regularly, and often daily, my mind drifts back to remembering when. Often it's a reminder of something that I used to have to do or perform daily that I don't have to do anymore. I don't have to give shots or clean CVL tubes. I don't have to flush with syringes and give all sorts of assorted medicines throughout the day many times a day. 

I don't wear purple latex gloves and I'm not incessantly cleaning up throw up, wiping every surface with antibacterial products and bleach is no longer the perfume I wear. I have a routine that doesn't revolve on how many days are spend at the Cancer Clinic. I am not in the midst of regular EKG's, CT scans, MRI's, and dressing changes. 

Getting checked by Dr. Pegram
I don't have that red-eyed, glassy look ALL the time. I wash clothes and bedding because it's dirty not because it has some sort of body fluid all over it. I'm only changing diapers for 2 kids instead of four.  I breathe easier and deeper. My heart doesn't lurch every time I get a call with the number starting "668" which is CHKD calling. 

But it's still there... lurking in the back corner of my mind. The games of "what if" haunt me. What if this comes back? What if this good time will be over before it really began? What if this is the last normal holiday, birthday, outing.... 

A long life is not a guaranteed promise on this earth. We are shadows. fleeting. Dust to dust. A vapor. A flower that quickly fades- here today and gone tomorrow. My hope isn't in this world. It is not in the temporary. It is not in the here and now. 

Our "favorite" hospital room
My hope is in the Lord and in His promise to redeem and make all things new. My hope is in Heaven where I will be with Him face to face. The place where there is no more sin, no more sadness, no more sickness, no more shame. The place where life on this earth will be but a blip on the screen. Where eternity stretches out before us full of laughter and light and fellowship and we will be who we were made to be, doing what we were made to do, with the One who made us and calls us to Himself. 

I look back at the years and I'm so thankful that I'm not walking the same road. It was painful and so very hard and my heart broke every day and at times I never thought I would see the sun shine again. 
And here we are. Over a year and a half of having any chemo. Almost two years since we had to be inpatient in the hospital. I don't freak out if Samuel has a fever anymore. I don't have tubes that I have to clean and flush and be mindful of. He can take a bath. He can go in a pool. I don't have to worry about the sun burning his chemo saturated skin. 

So as challenging as my days can be now I have to remind myself... they've gotten a lot better. Then I  was pregnant and then having a newborn while facing my other son's cancer treatment and all that it entailed. Now my youngest is two. 

Then all five of my children were under the age of 6. Now, my oldest is 8. Samuel used to be able to barely eat any food and was on a feeding tube. Now he eats a variety of foods and is able to handle an assorted variety of food without gagging and throwing up.

So much has changed for the better. So much to be thankful for. God has been so merciful and kind. 

Next month is another follow-up CT scan. Hoping for the same good news- no cancer.


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