Thursday, September 15, 2011
It is well...
So, Round III has officially started. We arrived at the hospital yesterday morning (and for future reference, don’t believe me when I say that I have a new way from Warsaw to the hospital that is more fun and just as fast). Once we arrived, things started rolling pretty quickly. We took Levi to the clinic, where they performed their barrage of measurements, questions, and blood draws.
Levi decided he was big enough to do some of this on his own, so he donned a mask and rubber gloves and helped as much as he could. He is getting so used to this by now – he helps push the syringes when they flush his lines, knows how to operate their thermometers and stethoscopes, and sometimes even takes the oral meds by himself. I figure when gets older he will either despise doctors or want to become one. Everything looked good (he had even put on a little more weight), so we headed to his hospital room. He’s in the same room again – 410 – so he still gets an outside view and can see down the hall to wave at the nurses and other patients as they walk through the ward.
My mom came up to help us out – it was great having her there, both for moral and emotional support as well as an extra hand to corral Levi as we unloaded and unpacked his things. We’re getting pretty good at this now; we learned that it is much easier if you just leave everything packed in totes and stored in the van instead of getting everything back out after you get home. Just promise me, dear readers, that if you ever see a tired looking couple pulling wagons through the hospital loaded with totes, luggage, and little toddler toys, that you will never make comments like “Wow, moving in huh!” or “Did you bring enough stuff?” Chances are, they’re not there for a vacation, and would give just about anything to not have to be hauling in those loads in preparation for a long stay. Instead, just offer a smile or open the door for them. It goes over a lot better…
They performed the bone marrow biopsy and the spinal tap in his room, then fired up the chemo around 2 pm. This round will last five days, so he will finish up next Monday. Stephanie is already pretty worn out from the “chasing a toddler with an IV pole” routine, so we are glad these rounds are getting shorter, not longer. He’s not a big fan of the eye drops he gets every six hours; the nurses told us that they burn a little bit, so it also makes it tough for him to go back to sleep when they give him the drops at 2 am.
Things are going ok so far. He’s hanging in there, and proving once again that he’s a tough little dude. We are praying for good results from the tests they performed yesterday, and that he can stay away from some of the nasty side effects that can come from the stronger dose of chemo drugs that he’s getting. I am heading down there tomorrow afternoon, and will get him all to myself tomorrow night and most of the day on Saturday, as Steph and Caylee head down to Seymour for my little sister’s bridal shower.
The concept of “faith” has been on my mind a lot lately. This round is going to require a lot of it, as the adrenaline for the Levi’s first two rounds of chemo has waned, and the thought that we’re not yet halfway through his treatment weighs heavy on our minds. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 11:1-2 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” I have confidence in what I hope for, and I am assured by what I do not see. I pray that we can achieve the type of faith that is considered commendable for those that come behind us as well. That chapter in Hebrews is awesome – it goes on to talk about the models of faith that we see throughout the Old Testament. But I want to share with you one of the models of my faith.
Last year, when Levi was first diagnosed with AML Leukemia, I found myself struggling with anger and bitterness. I would like to tell you that I was not angry with God, but that wouldn’t be true. It was one of the many forms my strong reaction to his diagnosis took. One afternoon, I knew that my heart was not right, and I prayed that God would give me a song to sing. Now, many of you know that while I have very little musical talent myself, I love music. I would rather listen to music than watch TV or read books, and usually my taste and opinion on music is the harder and louder – the better. So I halfway expected to have a fast-paced worship song come to mind that we hear in church or on contemporary Christian radio, but instead the song I was given was much simpler – and much more blunt. Here are the words – many of you know it well…
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
My sin, oh the bliss, of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
Of course, the song is “It Is Well With My Soul,” by Horatio Spafford, and there are more verses than what I’ve written above. In the 1870’s, this guy’s life took a turn toward the tragic. He lost his only son, lost everything in the Chicago Fire, and then lost all four of his daughters after sending them, along with his wife, on a ship to Europe for a family trip. After being devastated by the news, he set sail to Europe to be with his distraught wife and wrote the words above while passing the place where his daughters perished. My reaction to this story, after first reading about Horatio, was “are you kidding me?” He lost everything. Most would have nodded their heads in understanding and sympathy if he turned bitter and rejected his faith. But he didn’t. Instead, he poured it out in his words, and I can picture him on the deck of the ship with tears running down his face looking up towards the heavens and telling God – “you know what, I’ve seen tragedy, but I continue to place my faith in You and all this stuff that’s going on – it’s all well with my soul.” He knew he had victory, and his faith in the God’s sovereignty and master plan continues to amaze me.
So – I know I am rambling, but this is a song that I have sung, prayed, and recited countless times. I even have it written on note cards where I can see it daily. It continues to bring tears to my eyes when I hear it in church, and when my time on earth is through, it will be played at my funeral. It snuck its way back into my head yesterday on the drive down to hospital. I pray that I can have faith like Horatio, and I trust that God is in control, and will strive to consider it joy when we face trials of many kinds, because the testing of our faith produces perseverance, and when perseverance finishes its work we will be complete (James 1:2-4).
Thanks for your continued love, prayers, and support, and may your faith be strong when you pray for our little Levi.
Love you all,
Michael, Stephanie, Caylee, and little Levi