Tuesday, December 18, 2012

As Christmas Approaches...

As December 25th approaches I remember... The very day I woke to find that the pregnancy test I bought on the 24th and tested only to find out was negative....was actually positive on Christmas day when I sensed that I should retry.  I was overjoyed.  My son...whom I love with all my being made his appearance on September 1st, 2005.

As December 25th approaches I remember... We were advised one year ago at this time that our son had relapsed.  I will forever remember the haunting knock on my office door while I was in session.  I excused myself from my client to open the door to see the horror and tears in my husbands eyes.   My husband told me "our son's cancer returned."  We were three years into our journey, with only six months left.  However, our fight was not done.  Our son's prognosis for a cure decreased, and we were advised because he relapsed in his central nervous system that we had two choices (transplant or chemotherapy).  As most know, we chose a bone marrow transplant as it is the most curable option. On June 1st, 2012, our son received his transplant one day before he was suppose to be done treatment completely as scheduled prior to relapsing.  We look back almost one year ago celebrating Christmas up north secluded in a cabin to escape the journey that we knew was to come.  Our Oncologist permitted this escape prior to commencing with high dose chemotherapy, and rounds of weekly lumbar punctures inserting chemo in his spine to defeat the cancer. 

As December 25th approaches... I look at my son almost one year later, and six months post-transplant with good days and bad days.  Through all of these days he inspires me.  He is courageous.  He is caring.  He is empathetic.  I am blessed.  He blesses my life.  I want this journey to be finished for him.  I want this journey to be finished for our family.  As a cancer mom and a cancer dad, we carry the burden of worry about relapse, engraftment fail and future difficulties from radiation and chemotherapy.   We watch discreetly as our son moves throughout the house.  We watch for bruises.  We wake each night to check for fevers.  We are concerned of any pain, stomach aches, headaches, etc. without letting our son know.  We are the cancer parent.  We will forever be changed as this journey has changed us.  This change has brought good aspects to us as parents.  We cherish our children.  We are patient with our children as we let the small things in this life roll off our backs.  We soak up every moment of fun and silliness.  We are a family that finds joy in each other even in our hospital room.  This journey with cancer is not our leader.  We are the leader of this journey.   Our leader is joy, happiness, and to "lift Jesus high" through all this pain. I may cry, and question "why," but I will find joy through my Heavenly Father.

As December 25th approaches... We still journey as our son struggles with Graft versus Host Disease (GVHD) in his gut, receives nursing every morning for two IV medications, and multiple oral medications to control GVHD and prevent infections as his immune system is suppressed, so GVHD does not spread further in his body.   BUT, I am thankful.  I am blessed.  My son remains 100% his donor.  My son will win his battle. As his mom, I will fight alongside him.  I will always be by his side when he is sick, in pain, and I will be there as he struggles emotionally and mentally.  I will strive hard for my son, and my daughters. One day my children will have a testimony of the greatness of God.  

As December 25th approaches I celebrate... The birth of Jesus Christ who will one day come to change all this sorrow and pain.  The one who should be celebrated, thanked, honoured, and the one we should all emulate.   Michael W. Smith sings a song called "You be Lifted High." As this journey continues and one day ends....I want more than anything that as this song states that " it's you (Jesus) that they (community) see, not I."  Happy Birthday Jesus.  Thank you for my Salvation.

Finally, when Christmas day approaches... Remember those in your community and around the world that struggle in various ways, that have less, and that have experienced loss.  Perhaps, shine a little light on these people because we all want to feel loved, appreciated, and valued.  Be thankful for what you have, and don't ponder about what you don't have.  Choose to understand people not on what you see with your eyes because we all have a story.  Perhaps, a story of pain and hardship.

Merry Christmas, and I wish you all much love and blessings.

The following words are from the song I shared above.

Be Lifted High by Michael W. Smith

Sin and its ways grow old
All of my heart turns to stone
And I'm left with no strength to arise
How You need to be lifted high

Sin and its ways lead to pain
Left here with hurt and with shame
So no longer will I leave your side
Jesus, you be lifted high

You be lifted high
You be lifted high
You be lifted high in my life
Oh God
And I fall to my knees
So it's you that they see
Not I
Jesus, you be lifted high

And even now that I'm inside your hands
Help me not to grow prideful again
Don't let me forsake sacrifice
Jesus you be lifted high

And if I'm blessed with the riches of kings
How could I ever think that it was me
For you brought me from darkness to light
Jesus, you be lifted high

You be lifted high
You be lifted high
You be lifted high in my life
Oh God
And I fall to my knees
So it's you that they see
Not I
Jesus, you'll be lifted high

Oh Jesus, you be lifted high
Oh you be lifted high
Oh you be lifted high in my life
Oh God
And I fall to my knees
So it's you that they see
Not I
Jesus, you be lifted high

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