Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Counting the Cost

Earlier this summer the family whose basement we occupy came home from a campout. Included in Matt's backpack was a canister of bear repellant. He asked me to guess how much it cost. Ignorantly, I figured it was probably about $15. Not even close. $75 for a can about the size of a soda can. Ridiculous, don't you think? Who would pay that much? And they didn't even use it. When you stop to think of the potential consequences of NOT having it, $75 feels like the steal of the century. There are some things in this life that are worth any price. The companies that make bear repellant could triple the price and I would gladly pay it. I feel the same way about Clara's treatment, though there is no way we could ever pay for this without insurance and the generosity of family, friends, neighbors, and complete strangers who have blessed our lives beyond what we feel we deserve.

I recently read an article by a man who was called to serve for three years as a mission president for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He would have to leave his home, his country, a profitable business, and many of the comforts and conveniences that he enjoyed without any monetary compensation. While contemplating the requisite sacrifices, a distinct spiritual impression came to him, "don't count the cost."

For the past few months, I have made a mental note of the extreme cost associated with Clara's cancer treatment. The greatest cost has been in terms of time. Time spent away from home and family, friends and neighbors, work and recreation. The possibility of Clara being healed and freed from this disease makes it easy to completely disregard the costs associated with her treatment. I am frequently asked by friends, family, and complete strangers how much is all of this going to cost? We don't even have a ballpark figure right now, but there was one day in July where the total bill to our insurance was more than $75,000. Just a drop in the bucket, right? For the first time in my life, I am able to open bills with a grateful heart. No matter the cost, Clara is worth it.

There are so many learning opportunities we encounter each day. It's almost as if the Lord has enrolled us in an advanced course in compassion, patience, generosity, charity, humility, faith, hope, longsuffering, love, and enduring to the end. We are far from the end, but each milestone makes us grateful for the progress Clara has made.

Yesterday Clara started losing the energy that had blessed our lives during the weekend. She threw up a few times, didn't eat a thing, and her temperature began to rise. By 11:00 she was up to 99.4. At 2:30 when I woke up to change her diaper she had exceed the safety threshold of 100.4 degrees, so I quickly packed our things and brought her to the emergency room. They are so wonderful down there. A room was ready for us, as were her iv fluids and antibiotics. Within two hours, we were sleeping back in the inpatient oncology wing of the children's hospital. Lab results show that once again, Clara's immune system is gone. We're just hoping the digestive tract sores from mucositis will spare her this time. She is scheduled for two days of scans and tests next week. On November 1st she has a morning appointment in Seattle to get started with her stem cell transplant.

We can do this.

Wherefore, all mankind were in a lost and in a fallen state, and ever would be save they should rely on this Redeemer. 1 Nephi 10:6


tharker said...

So beautiful. I keep thinking of a line from "17 Miracles".
"It will all be worth it."

Thank you for sharing your heartfelt thoughts. You are all in our hearts and our prayers.

Alicia said...

I truly value yours and Natasha's blog posts, for so many reasons: the updates, the insights into your lives in Spokane, your honesty about what you are feeling and thinking, and the strengthening it gives my own testimony to read your words. I appreciate so much the way you say positive, uplifting things without sugar-coating anything. You keep it real, and I love that. You are such an amazing family, such amazing parents, such faithful servants of the Lord. There is no doubt in my mind why He knew you guys could handle this.

Shannon Lybbert Low said...

Ditto to Alicia.

LKP said...

i haven't the right words right now, as all of this is tumbling around in my mind. as i cannot fathom what it would be like to switch shoes for a day even. your family's strength is astounding, your guys' testimony inspirational. there are many experiences & moments this year where i've felt like my life was in an ever-tightening vice... and then i look to how you all are enduring your trials this year, and suddenly my life's pressures feel inconsequential. i'm sorry there is not instant healing & relief from all of this right now, my friends. but i so admire your strength & further growth that you've experienced through this entire ordeal. you're all still in our prayers. ::hugs::

Jenna said...

Love your posts Brian. Clara is so worth it and if anyone can handle this trial, its your family. Love you all.