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Friday, January 4, 2013


Ever have one of those dreams that seems so real that you wake up and for the first few seconds you have to shake you head and think "Did that really happen"?  I had one of those last night.  Although I think this qualifies as more of a nightmare than a dream.

I know where it came from.  I think I saw the same commercial yesterday at least 5 times that asked the question "What would you do if you were told your child had cancer?".  I love that they are trying to make people aware that these little warriors suffer too, but I hate being reminded over and over that I have been that parent and I have heard those words, but, I digress.  Also one of my friends noticed how thin Ella is now.  She is completely off steroids so she had totally lost her protruding belly and also she grows 1/4-1/2" each month it seems.  She now wears the same size pants her 9 year old brother does.  When she made the comment, I told her how much it worries me that she is so thin.  When Ella was 1st diagnosed she had gotten really thin.  Her head looked too big for her body.  These two things followed by a commercial for a horror movie that is about to be released made my nightmare seem so real.

Steve and I were in our home, but it wasn't the home we live in now, it was different.  Ella was at a friends house spending the night.  We got a call from the girl's mom that Ella died in the middle of the night.  The mom was apologizing over and over, but no tears.  No one was crying. I didn't get to see her.  She went right to the hospital.  Ella's oncologist came to our house and told us "This just happens sometimes." For some reason, in this dream her oncologist came to the house with her daughter.  Steve started offering her Ella's Build A Bears saying that we needed to get her room cleared out anyway.  I remember feeling really bewildered.  Like I just could not understand why this had happened.  It felt sudden and out of the blue. I was crying and asking why, but no one would answer me.  They just kept saying "I don't know, it just happens.".  I felt like I was standing still, but everyone else was moving in a circular pattern around me- like they were going on with their lives and my feet were stuck in one place and all I could get out of my mouth was the word "Why?".  Then I saw Ella lying in the fetal position on a bed.  Her hair was longer than it is now- more like it was when she was first diagnosed with ALL. She wasn't moving, just lying there.  Then I woke up.

Fear sucks. You can push it away during the day, but it will find you at night. You can tell yourself it is okay.  Everyone asks "Aren't you glad it's over"? You can smile and say yes, because it is easier than explaining that it's not really ever "over". As soon as I woke up, I went into Ella's room, felt her head and climbed into bed with her.  Why did I feel her head? Because it is my natural reaction to make sure she is doing well. Always checking for a fever. It's was my only indication that anything was ever wrong.

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” 
― C.S. LewisA Grief Observed

I think I am still grieving the loss of Ella's innocence.  I get lulled into a false sense of "she won't remember this", and then she will say something about needles, or hair loss and I think- will she ever forget?  Maybe my grieving and fear are merged into one and I fear this will happen again, or that she won't be able to have children, or that she will have development delays. Maybe this is why they feel like the same thing.  And it is not just Ella I fear for.  My dad who had stage 4 skin cancer had refused to go in for his final scans, until I called him to let him know that Ella's came back as cancer free. He called me and told me SHE inspired HIM to go get checked.  He has beaten the odds.  They told him he wouldn't make it past two years, and he has.  I also fear for my friend who was told she has an 85% chance of getting a few different types of cancer within 5 years of finishing her treatment.  She is almost at 3 years.  Deuteronomy 31:6 states: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your GOD goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you."  Why is it so hard to turn our fear over to God and let him handle it? Oh how I wish I had the strength to do this during the day, and at night.  I will leave you with this song from Sara McLachlan- Fear.



  1. Cancer is like a giant Walrus in your living room. At first it takes over the entire room. He has control of your remotes and is eating stinky fish on your couch. But over time he begins to shrink. It takes a really long time but one day you will notice that he is sitting politely on one end of the couch and is sharing the game system. Eventually he will shrink to the size of a magazine rack and is tucked away beside the couch. Oh he will grow in size at trigger dates, appointments and cancerversaries. But he quickly becomes the magazine rack again. Then years from now he will be a small ornament sitting on a forgotten shelf. He never goes away but eventually the fear subsides and life is beautifully normal again.