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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Come What May & Love It (Sun 1-30-10)

"...every life has peaks and shadows and times when it seems that the birds don’t sing and bells don’t ring. Yet in spite of discouragement and adversity, those who are happiest seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger, wiser, and happier as a result." --Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin
I mentioned a couple posts ago that we had a little roommate at the hospital who just about broke my heart. I'm not exaggerating even a little bit. Because Raya was young & othewise healthy, they put her on a "clean floor" with oncology & nephrology patients and other kids who had compromised immune systems. Our 4th roommate was an 8 year old boy with a tumor in his leg who was there for his 5th round of chemotherapy. When he and his parents got there, they said hello & introduced themselves and his mom apologized in advance for anything we might hear later as he was getting settled in. I kind of laughed it off and told her that there was no way it would be worse than our previous roommate and her foul-mouthed family & friends. :)
A little while after he arrived, it was time for him to start getting his IV fluids. That was when I started to realize why his mom was apologizing. The poor little guy had a meltdown. I heard him say so many things that brought tears to my eyes. He knew that the fluids he was going to get would either make him have to wake up every 2-3 hours to go to the bathroom or else wet the bed. He knew that the bags of liquids marked "CHEMOTHERAPY" that the nurses attached to the port in his chest would make him feel horrible. He knew that everyone kept telling him that the chemo was the only thing that would kill the cancer, and he knew that if he didn't have chemo, the cancer would eventually kill him. That's a huge burden for an 8 year old to bear.
He messed with the tubes that were connected to him and threatened to pull out his port. He complained about the lousy view from our room (I agreed, it was lousy :). He asked her what would happen if the chemo didn't work and why he had to get cancer anyway. He refused to take his oral medications because he was afraid of what they would do to him. I heard him crying to his mom and begging her to let him die instead of making him get chemo. I heard him tell his mom that God knows everything and God knows how to fix cancer and that HE knows that it's NOT chemotherapy! (that one made me smile a little :)
I sat there on my little plastic couch on the other side of the curtain holding my skinny but otherwise healthy baby. As I listened to the sweet, compassionate mother on the other side of the curtain answer all of the heartbreaking questions that her sick little boy asked her, I dabbed at the tears that kept filling my eyes and couldn't help but be so incredibly grateful for everything that is good in my life. (I was grateful, among other things, that we had made it through 4 kids before one of them had to go to the hospital for anything, grateful for the doctor who sent us there, grateful that the reasons we were there weren't anything more serious, and grateful to be at that particular hospital.)
By the next morning, the chemo had gotten underway and the little boy had calmed down & relaxed. He slept for half of the day and then once he woke up, he ate like he hadn't eaten in a week and watched a few Disney channel shows. It was no secret that he didn't want to be there, but since there was nothing he could do about it, he watched tv, ate hot pockets, wore all his favorite pajamas, read letters from his classmates that his teacher brought him, and just made the best of a not-so-fun thing.
I had a lot of time to sit & think while we were at the hospital. I thought about some of the things that aren't exactly going how we'd like them to, and I thought about all of the things that we have to be grateful for. There are SO many more reasons to be happy & things to be grateful for! It's easy to get caught up in what's going wrong and lose sight of what's going right & how there are SO many more positives than negatives in life. It is difficult to put aside stress and worries and enjoy everything else, but that's exactly what God wants us to do & that's why He gives us so many blessings. He gave us life and he wants us to live it and love it!
{even if there's a tube up our nose!}

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