Ever since Atticus's diagnosis I have tried to stay positive. Tried to be brave. Tried to comfort myself with the fact that he has done SO well with all of it so far. But sometimes, the reality of the situation is just overwhelming. Like on days like today.
Just about once a week my sweet little buddy and I trek into Charlotte to Levine Children's Hospital for his treatment. We hike up to the sixth floor around 8:30am, usually before most other appointments arrive, sign in, and wait to go back for treatment. And today was no different, except we were not alone today in the waiting room this morning. Instead, sitting across from us was a mom and dad, and their daughter Addison. Addison was probably about three or four years old. Her mom and I struck up a conversation which eventually lead to her asking what Atticus had, and I told her. After discussing his Leukemia a bit, she told me that her daughter had Wilms Tumor- a tumor of the kidneys. They had found out recently. Today was their first visit to the clinic.
And so what do you say to a woman you just met who breaks down in front of you and says the enormity of it all is just too much. What do you say? The only thing I could say....... I understand, and I will pray for you. Because I do understand. Now. And I wish I didn't. But I do.
My baby has cancer. He has cancer. And every week I am surrounded by others that do too. Like little Addison....... and like the teenage boy with Down Syndrome in the waiting room today when Atticus and I left, whose mother's eyes met mine and gave me a knowing smile....... and like the other teenage boy waiting with us for the elevator who removed his hood to reveal his bald head, and who probably drove himself to his own appointment today because he looked about my Evan's age.
Cancer is everywhere it seems. There are friends in our church who have been recently diagnosed, friends and acquaintances in my adoption support groups who have it or whose children do. And the dear Lord knows I had plenty of experience with it before now too. My mother passed away from it at age 48, my uncle- her brother- had esophageal cancer and died at 51. My grandmother.... my great-aunt..... yes from the time I was a young girl I had my fair share of exposure to life with cancer. But those were adults at least. They may have died way to soon, but at least they had gotten a chance at life. When you are talking about children, well it is just a different matter all together.
There are no easy answers, no simple treatments, no guaranteed cures. There is nothing anyone can really say to make it better, make the burden lighter, make the worry go away. There is prayer, and understanding, and that is why those were the things I offered to that woman today. The only things I could give. The only things that might help, if just a little.
But in the meantime, it still sucks. And I never use that word. But it really does. And on days like today when I call my husband sobbing because the weight of it all just comes crashing down on me, and the reality just slams me into a wall with such force that I am not sure where else to turn, I realize that the Lord is the only place I can turn, and He will direct my steps and He will guide me through it. Me and all those other moms and dads who carry this weight upon their shoulders. The weight of cancer, and their child having cancer, and the worry and the what-ifs...... He will carry us through all of it. Just like He has before as referenced in that Footsteps poem. And I have to rest in Him. Because sometimes, it is just too much to bear.