Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Can Be Rough For Some

This is 5 yr. old Kate McRae.
She is the daughter of one of the Pastors at our church.
I was so moved by her mother's post from last night that I felt a need to share it with all of you. I really feel that it profoundly shows our need for Christ in our life.
That even though we are all caught up in the excitement of Christmas and all the activities and decorations that come with this special holiday, the true fact is, that Christmas can be rough for some.

December 11, 2009 10:56 PM
I was not going to post tonight, as again it has been an emotionally taxing day. I am learning that these days will come inevitably. It is a part of this journey. It is not a matter of if they come, but when. And then a matter of where will I turn when they do.

So tonight, as I tried to go to sleep a little earlier my mind has been spinning as we slowly inch nearer to 6 months of battling cancer. I think of June 28th and how oblivious we were to what the next day and months and possibly years would hold. Something that changes everything. Nothing goes untouched. There is much I don't remember about the first few months. The pain at times feeling so almost unbearable that I wondered how we would survive it. From the moment of finding out Kate's diagnosis it was a whirlwind of specialists
, names of brain tumors and possible treatments. I took in some but mostly felt like I heard "your daughter is critically ill". I never really heard those words, but that is what my broken heart translated everything to. And slowly as we learned more our hearts continued to crumble. Not only did Kate have a brain tumor, but it would not be fully operable. And then the devastation of finding out it was cancerous. And highly aggressive. And extremely, extremely rare. And with a poor prognosis. I didn't know if I could breathe, or even make it from one day to the next. But somehow, God provided the strength when we didn't know if we could hang on.

4 days after finding out, Kate was in brain surgery. I do not remember much, mostly just collapsing on the corridor floor sobbing wondering how our babies life would change. We were blessed with a very talented surgeon and we knew he would do his best. However, we also knew the tumor was in a position that made the surgery even more risky. She then emerged with hemiparesis. Her right side was not working. And she wasn't talking. The ever so prevalent smile, missing. We knew she could be at risk for losing part of her personality. It almost felt like a death sentence. I felt like part of me had died too. I would lay in bed with her crying, begging God to bring her back, all of her. Praying we had not seen the last of our sweet Kate's personality. Praying He would restore her body. Most nights though I couldn't even pray. I could only moan from the deep recesses of a mothers soul. Thankful that even that He could understand.

As I said most things were a blur the first few months. The stress and shock so intense I don't even remember some people visiting, or having particular conversations. I think we were in survival mode. But there is one thing I will never forget, one boy I will never forget no matter how many months and years pass. We could hear his groans and cries at night. He was in the room next door. After deciding I would meet his mother, I finally mustered the courage to ask why he was here. Her response sent me reeling to another low I didn't know existed. He was a brain tumor survivor. 5 years of clean scans. Just finished winning a state basketball tournament and had a stroke as a result of weakened vessels from treatment. He was left unable to talk, walk or even eat. She thought this would be a lifelong disability. I felt like I was kicked when we were down. Every night hearing the groans a reminder of the risks that lay around every corner. From the tumor, from treatment, from not doing anything. I cried and cried to God to save Kate. For I knew, we were helpless without His intervention. It was pain I didn't know possible. Pain I hoped we would never ever experience. And yet, here we were, living a nightmare. Wondering if we would ever experience our daughter like we had in days past. If smiles, joy and pleasure would ever be part of our life again. The days seemed dark, intensified by Kate's continued missing smile. The spark seemed gone. We didn't know if it was depression, confusion, sadness or simply that the tumor had taken part of our daughter. I couldn't eat, simply drank protein shakes to survive. I couldn't go home and leave her unwilling to talk to most anyone but us. Unable to communicate most of her needs. So for almost 7 weeks I only saw the inside of hospital walls, heard cries of families and the breaking of our hearts. It felt like eternity. And yet slowly, Kate made progress. Her speech therapist winning her over first. Finding the pet therapists and the dogs highlighting her days. Seeing her smile slowly return. And then her joy start to return. I look at Kate now and see Kate. Yes, the tumor may have left some hopefully temporary disabilities. But Kate she is here, sassy, spunky and yet loving, just like before.

I share this because God often shows me in my darkest hours just how far we have come. Yes, we still have a mountain to climb. But we have already climbed many. The past six months are something I would wish on no one. To see your child experience what we have watched Kate go through, well the pain is still fresh. But we have seen God's faithfulness when we were barely even able to make is to the next day. We know this will continue to be painful. It cannot be when your child is involved. So be patient as we try to cling to God while we grieve and continue to walk this road of much uncertainty. We simply ask you to pray. Pray that God would continue to guide our path, make clear our decisions and we are asking that He spare our daughter. That she live many healthy vibrant days on this earth. We have seen what He has done already in her body and in helping us to make it these past almost six months. Now we need help for the next six. And we pray we continue to see His hand move mightily.

Please take a moment to pray for Kate and her family. And stop and remember why we are celebrating Christmas and what that means to you.....because Christ IS the reason for the season.

1 comment:

vivian said...

hi nancy! just prayed for your friend and her daughter.. wow.. what a story. and there are soo many others like that out there. It makes us really count our blessings.
Also wanted to tell you that you are the winner of the pinkeep!
so please email me your address and I'll get it out to you monday!
congrats! I hope you like it.