Christmas and Cancer
As I’ve learned to expect in the world of cancer, these past couple of weeks have come with some ups and downs. Let’s start with the blessings because those are what remind us that God is so good in the midst of such darkness and sadness.
We were able to go to Lance’s family and my family’s Christmas celebrations. Davis’s white blood counts were up and he was doing so well, so they said we could go and be with family as long as they were healthy. The biggest miracle was that all 8 adults and 6 kids were healthy through Christmas. Praise Jesus!
We were able to attend the Christmas Eve Service at our church, Heritage Church. My plan was to come late and leave early. Davis wore a mask to prevent airborne germs and it seems to have worked as he hasn’t shown any sickness symptoms.
Lance was interviewed by Glenn Beck on his international podcast/radio show in order to share Davis’s story. The feeling that thousands of people were asked to pray over Davis and Lily made my heart explode. I was so proud having listened to my husband articulate the most difficult thing we have ever experienced in such a beautiful way. I wept as I listened, and wept as we experienced the response of prayers, notes, cards, and generosity of giving.
This cancer life comes with many fears, one of the biggest being financial. We are so thankful and blessed by the amount of generosity that has been given to us financially. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We were able to buy Christmas gifts, and have been able to get Davis all the naturopathic supplements that he needs. Thank you for loving us in such a tangible way as this is just the beginning.
God continues to amaze us with Davis’s strength and resiliency in this process. God has been given glory over and over through conversations with doctors, nurses, and even in you all having conversations where we are all asking hard questions. God is ever-present even in the scary and difficult spaces.
We have the dearest of friends who blessed us with “12 days of Christmas” leading up to the big day. They knew that our Christmas experience would be limited compared to past Christmas celebrations. The kids would wait every day by the windows hoping to catch the “little elves” that were dropping off all these fun Christmas activities. We made gingerbread houses, had movie nights, went on a Christmas light scavenger hunt, did Christmas crafts, had lovely hot chocolate dates under blankets by the fire, and so many more. Thank you to everyone who blessed us with these experiences. You made my kids Christmas so much more special!
Also - we bought a dog! This puppy has been a welcomed relief and emotional comfort for us all. Lily and Davis are so excited for this family addition. Welcome to the family Jingles!!!
The day after Christmas, first thing in the morning, Davis was scheduled to begin his 3rd big cocktail of chemo. This reality was looming over us throughout the days leading up; knowing our time of him feeling well was coming to a close.
I am officially a cancer patient mom because I’m able to disconnect Davis’s “tubies” on my own. I’m doing things that in the beginning of this I swore I wouldn’t do, like flush his port, put Heprin in it (to prevent clotting in his port) and then cap it off. It’s amazing what you will do for your kids comfort in an attempt to make their life as easy as possible, attempting to prevent more hospital time with every ounce of energy you have.
This last round of chemo has come with more side effects than previously. He has been nauseous, vomiting, had diarrhea, and been very tired. However, these symptoms seem to have subsided already. So even though there were more, it seems to have been short lived.
The doctors refer to chemo as medicine to Davis. This has proven to be a problem. He has now associated that “medicine” actually makes him sick. So it has been a battle to get him to take his meds at home. He insists that medicine will make him feel worse. We now intentionally separate the terms chemo and medicine in order to make it clear which is which. As we all know, chemo is poison and he isn’t wrong in realizing how it makes him feel horrible. I wouldn’t want to take that “medicine” either. It takes both Lance and I to coerce him to take meds at night. If any of you have experienced Davis’s anger, you have a picture of the battle we face when it’s medicine time.
I’ve debated in my head how to share this last struggle. So here goes nothing……I continued to find my mind asking whether this would be my last Christmas with Davis or not. I’m not naïve in knowing that we could all die at any time. We actually never know whether our holidays will be our last ones with our loved ones. I found myself holding my breath many times throughout the Christmas activities trying to will/demand the thoughts and tears to go away. At one point I snapped at Lance begging him to not ask me what’s wrong because if I say the words out loud, I would break.
It’s amazing the amount of fear we all hold regarding death, regardless of faith, if we really allow ourselves to sit in it. I don’t believe these considerations take away from God. If anything, they highlight Him more. There is no time I have ever had a deeper need of my Savior, Jesus Christ, than in this life I’ve lived since Davis’s diagnosis. Cancer is evil and yet God is good. Even though this might have been my most painful Christmas so far, it will be marked for me as a Christmas where I experienced the depth and vulnerable helplessness of what it means to need Jesus. I’ve never been more thankful for Jesus’s birth, death, and resurrection than I am today.
I can’t help but wonder, if we don’t allow ourselves to consider our deepest vulnerabilities, do we really believe we need Jesus? If we fool ourselves that we have everything figured out, or that we are unaffected by others, then we fool ourselves from truly believing we deeply need salvation. Don’t shy away from your vulnerabilities, because ultimately it means you are shying away from Jesus.
We continue to thank God for His blessings amidst the struggle for we know that the blessings remind us of who He is and the struggles refine us to be more like Jesus. Thank you for walking this journey with us.