As I looked at everything that had happened: the diagnosis, the persistence of the leukemia, the transplant, and the ups and downs of recovery, I could almost see the VERY reason each of the trials had happened, and all the good that had came from the horribleness of the disease, and the ways that it had strengthened our faith.
And that scared me.
For those of you that know me, you won't be surprised by that. I'm always waiting for the "other shoe to drop".
However, aside from the now expected uncertainty that will forever cloud our lives together, I found myself thinking about the bigness of God, and His plans. The very fact that I thought I could almost make out the path we were heading down, and why we hit each bump along the way, made me doubt that I even knew what road we were actually on.
And, as it turned out, I was right. I didn't.
I don't believe God works in a way that someone as flawed as me could decipher and solve. His ways are much bigger than mine, as is His understanding. As I told kids after Steven's first diagnosis, we may not know the reason for our suffering and pain until the day we are face to face with God in Heaven.
I keep reminding myself of this.
Over and over.
Sitting in this hospital room, watching my husband, face and chest bright red from a reaction to an antibiotic, struggling with a fever than has all but refused to go below 102.9, has, at times, required me to look deeper for the blessings and be mindfully conscience of my thoughts, but, always, when I look, the blessings are still there.
Seeing the (already too thin) man I love lose 10 pounds in two weeks, unable to eat or drink anything, reprimand himself and vocalize that he is "disappointed in himself" because of his inability to rise above his current condition and do it for his family, pushes me to seek God and ask for His healing, acceptance and peace. Mental, and physical.
And He is here. In this hospital room. My mind has had to work harder to recognize Him at times, but my heart knows He is still here. And He will continue to be.
Recounting to the nurses all the blessings that so many of you all have showered on us, feels like a way to make Him visible to others, and allows me to see Him more clearly myself. It's also a good reminder to us both that we aren't alone and that so many are praying for Steven's healing and praying for strength and discernment as our family travels this road we've been called to walk.
This walk, our journey.
Currently, the plan is to go to transplant as soon as possible. This means that, at the very least, we will be home for a couple of weeks prior to returning for transplant. We could be home longer, but that would mean that we were waiting for the donor to complete things on their end.
And, yes, right now it looks like we have a donor.
We don't know who, or where they're from, but we do know that initial tests show that they are a 10/10 match for Steven. They have been notified and have already submitted the follow up blood work, which will be used for confirmation, to the lab. Dr. Jacoby was impressed by the timeliness in which they had already gotten the initial sample to be worked up. This shows us that 1) They have been located, 2) They have been notified, 3) They are agreeing to donate, and 4) They have been prompt at their response to the need, thus far.
Thank you to all of you who swabbed for Steven. Although you might not be his match, you could be someone else's. Someone who has a life, and a family, and people who love them. Someone who could be waiting on, and depending on, someone on the donor registry to give them a chance at life. If you haven't joined the registry, I would highly recommend you consider it. Our eyes have been forever opened to the need.
I know of one person who joined the registry after Steven's diagnosis that has already been notified that they might be a match for someone else. Steven and I both view this as a HUGE blessing that has came from his diagnosis.
Maybe in our darkness, someone else has found their light.
I recently read the book, "The Butterfly Effect". It is short and sweet, but gives a very interesting up-close look at how all our lives are intertwined and how every decision we make impacts someone else. After reading the book it made me wonder about all the chain reaction blessings that have happened, just because our lives took a turn down a road we would have never chosen. I can see so many blessings... I wonder how many I won't ever know of?
This is the thought that keeps me going.
Knowing that there is someone much bigger than me at work, whose mind I will never know, keeps me from getting consumed by sadness and self-pity.
It also makes me thankful that I don't know God's mind and what lies ahead. I am just called to trust that whatever detour we may take, our final destination remains the same, and that God himself will get us there.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
I want to leave you with a picture depicting the joy that came with a generous gift given to our family. Webster Electric received four St. Louis Cardinals tickets for the Monday, June 1st game. Instead of raffling them off, or having a drawing, the employees decided to give them to us.... or, more specifically, the kids.
My initial plan was to have someone take them while I stayed with Steven. The kids, however, begged me to go with them and Steven was determined that I do just that. So, with my cousin Julie joining us, my kids experienced their first Cardinals ballgame.
Blake was in heaven, and Lakyn wouldn't take her eyes off the field for fear of missing something.
Once during the game, a foul ball barely missed my outstretched hand (I was too slow to realize what was happening and actually stand up), and bounced off the hand of the gentleman behind me. Blake, having already formulated a plan if a foul ball opportunity presented itself, was completely disgusted with himself for being so "distracted" by his cotton candy that he failed to carry out his plan of taking off his cap and snagging the ball out of mid-air.
He soothed his pain by eating more cotton candy.
Again, thank you to all of you who have made life with leukemia, and life away from home, much less bleak. The joy on the kid's faces was so good for this momma to see and the best medicine I have received in quite a while.