I think things are beginning to take shape for the routine we will know for a while here. Month one is almost in the books. A big thing that waits in the wings now is the status of what is going on in Leo’s marrow. He’ll have a tap on Monday to see.
What they want to see is inactivity of leukemia cells.
They have a plan for either result.
He might need radiation too. Bleh.
A lot of my day goes into trying to get this dude to love food. Ms Jenny, his kids church teacher for the women’s’ study on Wednesdays brought chili yesterday. We blended it into a smooth soup and he wolfed down three helpings. Go Ms Jenny!
It’s heartbreaking though to experience a moment where he hates a favorite food all of a sudden. He’ll have a mouth full and then look miserable. Then he’ll cry. And then I have a handful of slimy half chewed food in my hand. It’s like watching someone steal the accomplishment of hope from him after he was waiting for something good.
The road has been marked with several heartbreaks like that.
It truly is a journey.
I have confidence for this journey for two reasons.
1. My God is good. I learn it more and more each day.
2. This trail is not untraveled. It is a little Via Dolorosa for my family to walk, but as soon as our feet touched the dusty trail that would wind through The Valley of the shadow, I saw carvings of men and women who had walked it too.
Landry Hodges, a young man who i used to go watch play football as often as I could in Leavenworth. I remember seeing the news hit Facebook and wonder how long it takes to break a life with that kind of diagnosis. Then I watched as his champion of a mother Sherrie Peaden Hodges hope with the purest hope and believe in her God. I watched the good reports roll in and rejoiced and praised God.
Quinton Cook was another young man who used to eat my bacon and study the Bible with me. Phillip Parsons and I still joke about his copy of utmost being in my library. It actually is, by the way, guys. I remember watching the chemo steal the sharpness of Quinton’s mind for a season. I also saw him defy death. I saw him defy hopelessness. He dyed his hair. He stuck his finger in the face of his own mortality and took away that power. He just graduated college.
Brian Bowers taught me more about the guitar and about worship leadership than anyone in my life. He taught me more, also, about the tenacity and strength required to raise mighty sons. He promoted to chief before leaving Hawaii, earning him the nickname Chief Big Deal, or CBD. His diagnosis was a gut punch to our whole Ohana. His miracle turn around has been an exercise in hope. We still pray for complete healing.
These three guys, and so many others, have left markers on the path. They are mighty. They are victorious. Their smiles, their joys, their trophies of days lived well are all reminders that the little moments of Hell we know on the path are only moments and that we can keep walking.
I wonder about quitting. I get whiny and defeated. I just want things back to pre cancer life.
But that’s not my life.
And in my heart, I want to do honor to these heroes who have helped me believe. I want to honor them with my resolve, with my strength, and with the thing I can do as the supporter of the real hero in our house who is daily defeating cancer. Our little Leo. Every laugh is another refusal of despair. Every card played in Go Fish is another hilltop captured from the enemy. Every hug belongs to my God who has taken despair away, and forged hope.
Landry and Quinton have walked through the clearing on the far end of The Valley. They call us on. Brian walks a much harder trail. The Valley is deep for him and yet holds no power over his God.
We are about to turn the first real corner on our path. The canyon walls rise high and the path stretches long. But the walls are marked by the hands of these friends. They call us further along.