Today is big! Huge! Today we celebrate one of those milestones you never expect to even think about with your children. Once thought of, however, the prayer that you’ll ‘make it’ is a never-ending process-type prayer! That prayer for remission and the end of chemotherapy!
Ten years ago, my seven-year-old had his last day of chemotherapy. It was not the last day of dealing with cancer, by any stretch, but it was the end of three and a half years of at least one chemo appointment every week, the setting aside of lengthy hospital stays and the termination of inserting horrific drugs into a little body. Hair grew back, skin returned to healthy pink, stomach aches receded and this mom began the process of adjusting to a new normal. My son began the process of learning to deal with the things the physicians call the “price of survival” from a catastrophic illness.
I will never forget that day. Our whole family went to the last day of chemo. We sat through the last drip and flushed the port for the last time (port removal was later in the month, but we never had to access it again).
I wanted to celebrate.
We needed a huge, knock-out party. Our family should do something fabulous. A plane toting a giant banner. A fireworks display. A party with huge balloons and lots of happy shouts and singing. A prayer-of-thanks-meeting in our church. But that takes energy – and mine had all been sucked up in the fight for life.
Instead, our battered family sat quietly together in the hospital, while Andrew cried because he wouldn’t be coming back the next week for his time with those wonderful nurses. We watched Dora the Explorer with him, as usual, and we all ate the breakfast burrito that usually followed his early morning chemotherapy sessions. Andrew made his round of the nurses with a very small token of our appreciation and we waved our way out the locked door of the hospital.
The longest, most painful process of our lives was over.
There was no parking lot party. The world went about their day much as they had the day that Andrew was diagnosed with leukemia. I wanted to shout at the passing cars, “Hey! Don’t you see this is a big day here?”
Big. Huge. Gigantic.
Our God got us through chemotherapy. Cancer lost. Sure, the doctors reminded us that the remission might or might not hold. Of course, my boy faces a lifetime of cancer checks. It’s a given that physical therapy for abused muscles and coordination followed.
But, for that day, the battle was won! God carried us through.Praise God for the end of #chemotherapy! Praise Him in the Storm! #cancercaregiving #childhoodcancer Click To Tweet
We walked to our car, each quietly contemplating, in our own ways, the grandiose and loud thing that was so quietly happening.
Randy unlocked the car door and the girls climbed into the back. Andrew stood there, looking at the playground outside the hospital. “I wanna play on the slide,” he announced.
We all began to laugh and the girls popped back out of the car with relief.
No germ phobias any more! If Andrew wanted to be outside, he could be! We didn’t have to wear masks! Ever single one of us climbed up the playground equipment and went down the slide. We played hot-lava-monster and raced around, kicking up frozen bark chips with our joyous steps. The cold air pinkened our cheeks and the foggy air bounced our laughter back at us. I ran to the car and took out my camera. My gang piled up on the slide for a picture.
Andrew was done with leukemia. Andrew was done with cancer.
So today I repeat: Praise God. It has been ten years since that day our family celebrated all alone in that cold playground. Ten years since God handed us a miracle and waited to see what we would do with that gift.
My boy is a senior in high school.