Wednesday, May 23, 2012

One year later.

This morning I had an event reminder on my phone: Clara’s Neuroblastoma diagnosis 5:00 am. The emotions and feelings I had 1 year ago have come flooding back to me this week. The anxiety, the uncertainty the TEARS! Those first weeks my prayers were filled with fervent pleadings to my Heavenly Father to take her back to Him and spare her further discomfort and pain if it was His will. I suppose those words come easily to a mother whose heart is breaking watching her 2 year old so sick in a hospital bed. My prayers are now filled with gratitude for her returned health and strength. 365 days ago I couldn’t imagine life for our family being what it is today. We are blessed, abundantly blessed! Clara is our daily reminder of God’s love and grandeur.  
And the answer to the question I get all the time: how is Clara? Clara is doing great. She doesn’t stop and especially not for naps which means at the end of the day I’m counting down the minutes till bedtime. She’s the same persistent and determined little girl who raged through chemo, radiation and weeks in the hospital. My favorite thing ever is when she gets up a little too early in the morning and comes in to snuggle up next to me. She wraps her arms around my neck, closes her eyes tight and her trademark cheesy grin spreads across her face. A few minutes later she falls back asleep. I love her sweetness. It definitely makes up for the “what will she wear” battles every day. 
We are still cautious, paranoid at times maybe, especially when she manifests symptoms we have been told to watch for which mimic those symptoms that come with an ordinary childhood cold or flu. I don’t know if we will ever stop worrying and wondering. It’s always in the back of our mind that it will come back. We’ve been told it will, but we also know medical research doesn’t have all the answers and sometimes God’s Will defies research. I can’t help but hug and kiss Clara every chance I get. With such a bleak diagnosis just a year ago I didn’t know if she’d live to see her 3rd birthday. We’ve been given the greatest gift, more time with Clara. We hope it is a lifetime!

3rd birthday
Mother's Day

Monday, May 21, 2012

Has it really been a year?

For obvious reasons this time of year causes me a lot of anxiety. Memories of the past 12 months come flooding back with the slightest reminder of what we've been through. For the first few months after we brought Clara home from Spokane, I would religiously read any news article on neuroblastoma that I could find. Now it actually makes me ill just to see the word. I shudder at the sound of "cancer" just like I do when I hear an inappropriate word on tv.

All of this makes me wonder how in the world we managed to survive the past year. The scriptures provide the answers to all of life's important questions:

. . . remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved. (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi, Chapter 10)

It is only because of God and the atonement of Jesus Christ that we were able to make it through that awful period. I feel like we have all emerged stronger, yet gentler from this experience. Tonight for family home evening we talked with the children about the principle of compensation, which was a little difficult for some of the younger ones to grasp.

The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude. (2008 October General Conference, Come What May, and Love It, Sat. Afternoon Session - Joseph B. Wirthlin)

We are so blessed to have Clara with us. We all continue to give thanks in prayer that we are together and that Clara has been blessed with a miracle. I am continually amazed and in awe at how good the Lord has been to our family. We recently moved to a new (for us) home in a neighborhood overflowing with children, which is a big change from anywhere else we've ever lived. I get home from work each day to a driveway filled with bikes and sounds of children playing and laughing. Noticeably absent are the sounds of any children doing homework, however. Last night when we knelt for family prayer, Carson expressed gratitude for our neighbors and friends. He has truly compensated us for lost time.

What does the future hold for us and for Clara? We don't know. The doctors have not (and likely will not) give her a clean bill of health. Her blind right eye appears to be making some progress. At the eye doctor last week we found that her right eye vision is 20/6000. Not exactly eagle eyes, but it's a start. She spends most of her days floating between our house and the neighbors, usually in a swimsuit, regardless of outside temperatures. Her hair is growing back, much thicker and with more texture than before chemo. All of this just reaffirms in my mind that no matter what trials life throws at us, life is good and we are richly blessed.

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