Once again I find myself sitting in a hospital room looking out the window. The view is different this time, thanks in part to some kind nurses who took pity on a family who had experienced the same view for over four of the last 11 months.
Eleven months. Twelve actually.
Eleven months since our first stay in St. Louis and one year (and four days to be exact) since Steven was diagnosed.
(Typing that made me cry.)
Although my heart keeps beating and my lungs keep breathing, there are times that I feel as if I haven't been alive for just over a year now. Instead, Steven's diagnosis has, at times, kept me in a purgatory of sorts. Not alive, but not dead.
Actually, that isn't true. Steven's diagnosis hasn't done that.
There are people who have faced, and continually face, uncertainty and adversity. They still find joy, and pass joy on to others. Or, at least, it seems they do. I know I laugh with friends, make jokes about some of the craziness life has thrown my way, and had moments where, if you were on the outside looking in, you would think that I AM joyful.
And, maybe, in those moments, I actually am.
There are moments that despite the black cloud I feel I have looming overhead, it is impossible not to see the joy that life truly does have to offer. Sometimes rain bursts forth from the cloud and it blurs and makes the lighter, brighter side of life, hard, if not impossible, to see. However, the Son always shows up, dries up the rain, and reveals a rainbow of hope in so many shapes, sizes and forms.
The truth is, I do have SO much to be joyful about. So very, very much.
Even when the rain makes it (really, really) hard to see.
Living a life unable to recognize all the good and all the blessings that have been put in it? Living a life with blinders to the daily miracles alive in our own lives? Living a life that is dull, gray with hues of only black and white, because you are too far down in your own despair to see the rainbows of hope, love and joy that God purposefully places in YOUR life?
Well, that would truly be failing to live.
So, maybe although there are times that I feel that I haven't really "lived" this past year, I realize that this is only true if I use the definition of "living" that I had prior to Steven's leukemia. Truth be told, in some ways I have been more alive than I have ever been before.
I won't lie. Living doesn't look the same as it did a year ago. Joy doesn't either. And although there are times I would jump at the chance to return to that life, there are other times that I wouldn't dare give up the "view" from here.
Amazing things have been revealed to me this past year. The love, friendships, community, support and faith I have been witness to are what life, and living, is truly made of.
Moments when life looks gray, and dreary, I force myself to find the Son. He's always there. And time and time again, just when I think the rain will never stop, there is a rainbow that reminds me of a promise that the rain won't last forever.
Tomorrow is Steven's transplant. We don't know the particulars on the time yet. Apparently two flights are scheduled. If the donor is done with the process by the early flight time, then the transplant will, most likely, be around 3 or 4:00 pm. If not, the cells will arrive on a later flight and the transplant will be around 8-9:00 pm.
As I had stated before, the transplant in itself is a rather anti-climactic time. It is a bag of cells that are gravity fed into Steven's body.
It is what is happening in Steven's body that is climactic. Very much so.
The dreaded "hard time" is predicted to be days +6 to +12. Tomorrow is day 0, with each following day being day +1, +2, and so on. This hard time is due to the delayed effects of chemo and radiation, as well as being the time when his counts will bottom out. It is also during this time that his new cells should start engraftment.
There are so many things that have to happen to make this transplant a success. Please pray that the cells engraph, that the GVHD is minimal and manageable, and, of course, that the donor cells scare the leukemia so bad that they decide to never return.
Also, it goes without saying to pray for my kids.
There have been some amazing things that have been shared with me by people who have been praying for my husband. These things have given us so much hope and encouragement and someday, I hope to share with you how God revealed Himself to so many of us during this most difficult time.
Please keep praying.