Considering our circumstances

Tonight concluded the “Consolidation” phase of Eva’s leukemia treatment when she swallowed her final dose of oral chemotherapy. Tomorrow I will take her down to the clinic at Rady Children’s Hospital for a routine draw of blood. If her blood counts look good (and we expect they will), she will begin the next phase of her treatment on Wednesday, January 18. That phase is called ”Interim Maintenance I.” I have described the nature of these therapies in a previous post.

People ask how we’ve been doing during these last few weeks. My answer is usually something like, “We’re doing alright, considering the circumstances.” That reply doesn’t really say much because there doesn’t seem much to say. The immediate crisis of a life-threatening diagnosis has been replaced with what seems banal by contrast—changing diapers, cutting pills, and mediating arguments. To borrow biblical language, things are neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm—spitting temperature.

Each phase of Eva’s treatment has begun with a doctor handing us a list of drugs and their most common side effects. We are thankful that Eva has been spared virtually everything on those lists, but we are learning about the side effects you can’t quite quantify on paper.

Perhaps it has been cabin fever from the frequent rain (which we need), or perhaps it has been the frustration from my stubborn cold (which we don’t need), but for whatever the reason there has been a certain pall over us lately. We’re tied pretty tightly to the house, disallowed for medical reasons from the places we once frequented. Things that were always “yes” have turned to “no.” Tactics that formerly turned the tide of a day breaking bad are either impossible or ineffective. The generous amount of patience that the crisis had generated in me has all but dissipated and I don’t like the way that feels. Bad days often tally into worse weeks. These days there is no single setback, no definitive burden that defines our story, just the background noise of daily cares. We’re in “maintenance,” which is about as boring a category there is. We’re stuck in the middle—not in danger, but not out of it either.

I trust this is what it’s like to climb out of the valley of the shadow of death. Things are warming up, but the chill remains. The crest is ahead, but there’s still a good piece left to travel. And walking ahead of us is a Shepherd. In his hands are the rod that guides and the staff that comforts. In his hands are the nail–scars that testify to the truth that he has walked this path before us and did so for our eternal benefit. We fix our eyes on him. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. We consider him who endured…so that we will not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 12:2-3).

So, considering our circumstances, we’re doing alright. But considering our Savior, we couldn’t be better.


3 thoughts on “Considering our circumstances”

  1. I get it…well maybe. Obviously I am not in your circumstance. I have never had a child or close loved one who has a potentially terminal illness. But I remember well the days when we were in the Midwest and day after day the temperatures were below 20 degrees and the ground was covered with snow. And we had lots of children who needed to get out of the house and a mom who just hoped for sanity until the weather broke. No, I can’t empathize completely. But I do get the “stuck in the house” feeling. May God increase your patience and give you comfort as you watch your children grow in their knowledge of life. I hope this doesn’t trivialize your situation. I will continue to pray for you all.

  2. You hit it on the head! I understand the “maintenance phase” is boring but take comfort in knowing that you are going through this phase and not a more intense phase. Is at this time that you can revaluate, gather strength, and enjoy this part of the journey as best you can. It is at this time that we tend to want to take it back from God and work the problems on our own. Know that you are not alone, as you know there are others that have gone through this and totally understand where your are coming from. Give us a call if you want to chat. We will continue to pray for you all.

  3. Hi. I have not had the pleasure yet to meet you and your family but you and your family have not left my thoughts daily or my prayers. I have been blessed to get to be friends with your in laws Sally and Jeff and I am so joyful that your daughters journey to health to date has been so successful. Your words and inspiration have been felt by many.and have been truly inspirational to me. Every journey has a purpose and although sometimes stressful, you have persevered and been an inspiration by sharing with us all.

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