Monday, March 27, 2017

I'm Back...with a request

Well, my computer has officially DIED, and hubby was obviously missing my blogging so much that he bought me a new laptop! Okay, well, maybe more the fact that my whining and sadness over the loss of my faithful laptop friend was getting annoying COULD have played a part in it as well, but whatever.
The truth is, blogging is for my kids, but it's also my therapy. It keeps me sane in times of stress or worry, it keeps me thankful and reminded of blessings, and it keeps our family in touch with those far away.
And today, I'm very, very thankful for blogging, because I need to send out massive amounts of prayer invites to YOU!

Emma had an appointment with her  doctor on Wednesday for pains in her legs and a swollen gland on her neck. The minute she said it was a lymph node, I immediately pictured hours upon hours of lymph node tests and surgeries and scans and all the worrying and crying and praying and it caused me to forget to breathe? Or breathe too loud? Or turn pale and frozen? I don't know EXACTLY what caused it, but Dr. C immediately reassured me it was nothing - and just because John had cancer, didn't mean every swollen lymph node was cancer, but that she was going to run a full menu of blood tests just to ease this momma's heart. She would call me in the afternoon to let me know all was well.

Hours later, as I sat in the sun, watching my little man try his hardest to dunk a basketball in the towering rims above him, I got a call. And you know how it is when you've got kiddos around and you're busy wondering how the Jesus sandal tan is gonna look on your feet, etc. I didn't really hear her name or what where she worked, but she needed more information about Emma for her appointment tomorrow.
(Appointment tomorrow? Oh crap. What appointment?)
Sure! I say, and she takes my information and insurance policy and addresses and phone numbers and says that she can give me directions to the hospital tomorrow. Her appointment is at 1:00.
(Hospital? HUH?)
So I ask her, embarrassingly, where she was calling from again, and she tells me she is from the Children's Hospital/St. Jude's in Tulsa.
SO, if you know me, you know I could barely hear anything over the beating of my chest. To say I was panicked would be an understatement. This poor woman was being questioned and hurled freak-out-mom comments that she could not answer, being just the lady at the desk who got the short straw that day and didn't know it until she called Heidi Castro on the playground in her Jesus sandals and rainbow sunglasses.
I hung up, and in a blur was home, trying to find answers or solace in someone - ANYONE. My friends were nowhere to be found, my husband was in a meeting, and I was so confused. Do I call Dr. C? Do I bother her and force her to tell me WTF is going on??
By the time I had gotten off the phone with my stepmom, who was coming over to be with Evan (though, probably moreso with me), Dr. C called. She could tell something was wrong.
Was it the high pitched hello? The snot sniffling? The shaky voice? Or maybe just the gasping after every syllable language you usually forget around age ten, but some of us emotional messes continue to speak fluently all their lives?
But I got out that I had gotten the call from ST. Jude's, and she was horrified that she had not gotten to talk to me first. We went over the test results, which had left her a little confused? concerned? and because she wasn't 100% sure, she had consulted her friend in Tulsa, who wanted to see Emma for herself. There were signs that were consistent with lymphoma, and Dr. C wanted Em to be seen by someone who would be able to tell us what was going on.

The thoughts that went through my head hurt. It was like playing John's cancer all over again. Reliving it, painful moment by moment. I didn't want to do it again. I didn't want to helplessly watch as someone I love more than life has to fight alone.
And I definitely didn't want to lose another child.

That night we did the first step of any. We prayed. We let close friends & family members know, and they prayed. Emma's small group at church were praying.

By the next morning, an entire army was putting on the armor of God, standing around our child in a protective circle, embracing her with prayer. We had texts coming in from people we hadn't seen in years, letting us know they were with us.

God works in amazing ways, doesn't He?

The wait at St. Jude's was long and scary. I found myself staring at the colorful butterflies and flowers decorating the lobby, thinking how nice it is that they made his place so inviting for the children, and yet I felt like I was staring at the little light on a lantern fish, mesmerized by the beauty of it all, just to be swallowed up in it's jaws a moment later.

But, I'm *pretty* good at putting on a brave face...

We got into the exam room and Dr. H was called into surgery, so she was a little bit late. During that time, our nurse, Diana kept us company. She was sweet, and funny, and made us feel SO at ease. I truly believe she's doing what she was put on this earth to do.
We were visited by a parade of people. A counselor to help us all through her diagnosis, a med student that kept popping in at the wrong time, and the financial lady from St. Jude, who told us that anything our insurance didn't pay for at this hospital would be paid for by them.

And the tears fell.

Because EVERY YEAR, we've donated money to St. Jude because it was the least we could do. We had two healthy children out of three. We didn't have to worry about hospital stays and medicines and waking up the next day alone.
And now here we are.

Worried, and scared, and nervous.

Well, not ALL of us. :)

Dr. H came and they did a more in depth blood test, and she wasn't sure what was going on, either. She did find a handful of swollen lymph nodes and a couple levels had changed a teeny tiny bit since the day before, but we were no closer to answers.

From here, her blood cultures will go people who specialize in children's cancers to see what they think. We will go in weekly for the next two weeks to observe the levels again, and see how they change.

So, what can you do?
Pray for this to be just a strange virus that her body is reacting to strangely, but will go away on its own. Pray that her body will be strong, and fight hard. Pray that every doctor involved find peace, because it is never easy to deal with a sick child, (or with a sick child's mother!), and pray that whatever the outcome, we will remember that we are not alone.

Just look at this girl!
Strong and brave.

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