Saturday, January 8, 2011
I love Christmas. I love the cozy feelings and the crackling fire. I love little girl Christmas dresses and yes my boys wearing matching shirts one more time! I love pondering the verses that remind us that the little baby in the manger is the promised Messiah. I love thinking about the saving grace of my Messiah. Those were my anticipated thoughts and my expectations of Christmas 2010.
Sometimes, things change....sometimes the unexpected comes.....sometimes we have the opportunity to cry out to God like never before. All these things have happened here on the hilltop recently.
Things changed.....things changed after a wonderful Christmas dinner with my family on December 11. Katie woke up December 12 with a fever. Not unusual for her, but higher than her normal fever. A fever that led us to Children's Hospital that Sunday evening. There I heard the usual comforting words..."just a virus, it will go away in a few days....." I left there with the usual feelings of I'm glad it's nothing, but deep in my heart, I knew there was something.....I'd known for a long time there was something hiding.
Monday came and we waiting out the fever and I rocked my baby girl and she slept with a soaring fever. Tuesday morning came and I knew, we had to get some help. Off to the dr. (the 29 time that year) We did the usual tests, blood, strep and flu. Katie's temp was continuing to climb even with meds. Finally the dr. said that she wanted more tests. More blood and chest xrays. Okay we could do that.
We did more tests, went back to the office and the xrays showed viral pneumonia. The blood work wasn't too good. Seems that she needed a big gun antibiotic shot. The dr. would call in the morning with more details. The lab was running more tests.....
I had been gone much longer from home than I had anticipated and my two older boys were calling and saying it's getting dark, when are you coming home. I was 15 minutes from home when the call came that Daniel was bleeding....he had a cut on his foot. Ben thought he could see Daniel's bones! Dear me, what next?!
I prayed for them, Katie, me .....Jesus help me! I got home at the same time as Paul. We ran in the house with a limp little girl, to find Daniel with a foot that needed stitches. Seemed that he was walking through a pile of stuffed animals and got cut! REALLY? The stuffed animal cut him?! What's the story here?
Paul began getting some dinner for the boys, I put Katie to bed and then set out for the ER. Oh and yes, it was Paul's birthday! While I had Daniel alone, I questioned him. While Paul had Ben alone, he questioned him. They were like Ft. Knox, if there was a story, they weren't changing theirs. They both told us the same thing. These boys are very trust worthy, so we were stumped!
How was I going to tell the ER that my child got cut and needed stitches by a stuffed animal?! We remembered that there was a broken car under the bed, so we used that as the possible offender. They laughed, stitched him up and sent us on our way.
(A few days later, I felt like I should really look at a particular stuffed animal. Tucked into it's paw was an open knife! A knife that had an almost four inch blade! It was one of those oversized dogs, that Jonathan had seen at a garage sale and just had to have. I can't even imagine what could have happened! God was good to us! Daniel really had been cut by a stuffed animal!) One of the highlights of Christmas Eve, was my Dad removing Daniel's stitches!
The next morning, I got the call. The call that changed me. Is still changing me and I don't know where I'm going to land. I do know that God is good, and that He uses all things for my good. That said, it wasn't fun to hear my Dr. use the Leukemia word. Yes, she thought it was only a 10 percent chance, but she had spoken with both a Hematologist and an Oncologist about Katie's blood work.
Apparently, she didn't have many white blood cells and even fewer neutrafils. They are a component of the white blood cell that fights infection. She could have a really bad virus or something else. We would have to come back and get another shot, more blood work and stay away from sick people.
After I picked myself up off the floor, I made my calls. Calls for people to pray. We needed prayer. Sweet friends brought us meals. My parents took the boys for a few days. We were wading through water that seemed to be drowning us.
On the outside, I think I was somewhat holding it together, but God knew, I was a mess on the inside. Katie's blood count continued to go up and then plummet. Thursday before Christmas, we faced the reality that she would have to see a Hematologist. They would get her in just as quickly as possible.
God in His amazing timing, arranged for a dear friend to visit us during Christmas. MaryJane watched the boys, played with them and just generally kept things going at home, while I took Katie to appointments. It wasn't the visit we planned on, but I'm so thankful she could be with us!
I made it through Christmas with the darts of the enemy whispering in my ear that this would be Katie's last! I fought it, but it was there every time she laughed and played with her new play house. It was there as I greeted my family Christmas Eve. Every moment that was to be enjoyed, I basically gave the enemy. I didn't stand firm in my mind. I tried, but the darts were coming and I didn't seem to be able to tear down every thought. Not this time. After Christmas, my mom asked me what my favorite part of Christmas was, and without missing a beat, I said: "getting past it!"
My big mistake was that I didn't tell anyone what was going on until much later. Why didn't I expose the lies of the enemy? He comes to steal, kill and destroy! I knew these things! This was a chance for my Messiah to rescue me! He did anyway! He brought me up out of the pit that I was digging for myself with my vain imaginings!
We went to see Dr. Lanarsky the Tuesday after Christmas. It was a rainy day, and I was still teettering on falling into the pit of despair. I really didn't think he was going to tell us she had Leukemia, but I was so concerned that what they were going to do to Katie would hurt her. I was really trying to hold myself together for her. Paul was a tower of strength! I'm so glad that man is my husband!
We got off on the fourth floor. It was incredibly beautiful. Etched in glass were the words: "I am a survivor". My thoughts, were God, I don't want to have to be a survivor! I don't want to walk down this hall with a little soon to be bald girl! I didn't want her to join those ranks! It wasn't what I had planned! I didn't want to be one of "those" people!
"Miss Bestsy" called us to come in to start Katie's initial check-up. Katie happily did everything they asked and was rewarded with a princess sticker! Then we went into another play room to wait for the Dr. He came and visited us about her medical history. Then a precious woman came to take blood. Katie was great and the lady was even greater! She told Katie that a butterfly was getting some of Katie's sweet nectar! There was a butterfly attached to the needle!
We went back to another playroom until Dr. Lanarsky came back to officially tell us that Katie did NOT have leukemia. Her numbers were down, but other numbers were good and healthy! The white blood cells that were down would need to be watched and monitored closely. They were low. Very low.
Now a couple of weeks out, it looks like Katie has Chronic Neutrapenia. It's not great, but it can be managed. We are looking at a bone marrow biopsy in the upcoming weeks. Many more blood tests. Probably some shots, and then I don't know what.
Now that we know that she doesn't have Leukemia, we are resting much more calmly here. But, there is still something for me to embrace. Surprisingly enough, I'm once again recognizing that I'm not in charge here on this earth! I can't control circumstances outside my realm of control!
I have a feeling that God is going to reveal Himself in a greater way than I had ever imagined. I've decided that even though I was happy with things as they were, God has more for me. He has more for my family and He has more for Katie!
His love is infinitely greater than I thought and My Help Comes From The Lord! I can call out to Him and He will hear my voice and sail on the wings of the wind to my rescue! He will carry us through this dark place. There is healing in His wings! He will heal our girl! He loves my precious girl, more than I could ever even think to love her! I'm so glad I serve a good and faithful God!
This isn't my usual post, but it's where we are right now and I thought I would just sort of share the whole story. I know there are bits and pieces that may not be clear, but it's as much as I can get out today! We will stand and fight and see that God has plans for good for us and for Katie!