January 10, 2014. That date that will go down in our family history as one of the most challenging, gut-wrenching days of our lives. Our 13-year-old daughter, Paige had been battling respiratory issues so serious that simply breathing was a huge feat. Doctor visits, days of no sleep, and a pneumonia diagnosis found us in the ER, where we spent six hours waiting to be seen. Frustrated, exhausted, and on the verge of walking out the door, we were finally called back for her examination. Because it was thought to be pneumonia, a chest x-ray was ordered. And then…the hammer dropped.
Within an hour, doctors from just about every department in the hospital descended upon us–anesthesiology, surgery, cardio, oncology…you name it, they were in our room. Still not seeing the bigger picture, we listened to everything they said and didn’t really grasp what they weren’t saying. Paige was taken for a CT scan and then immediately to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), where doctors spoke of the need for a biopsy on her lymph nodes. I prayed with her, kissed her on the forehead, and told the surgeons to take care of my baby girl. And then…the words came.
“We are 99.99% sure this is cancer.” My knees buckled, and the tears came down. How could this happen? The chest x-ray had revealed a mediastinal mass that was basically the size of my daughter’s rib cage. THIS was the cause for breathing distress. THIS was the thing that was zapping my daughter’s energy. THIS was CANCER?
The official diagnosis was T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, ALL for short. After a long time of crying and praying–and then crying and praying some more, we came to the realization that handing this over to God was the right–and only–thing to do. We were ‘all in,’ placing total trust and faith in the hands of Our Lord and Savior. He would be the one to see Paige and the rest of our family through this journey. A wave of indescribable peace washed over me, and I haven’t looked back. God would be in control and would provide for everything we would need along the way.
May 10, 2014. We are now four months in on this journey. Paige is in remission–her body shows no sign of cancer cells in her bone marrow, and the mass on her chest is no more. She is halfway through intense chemotherapy treatments and is looking forward to a few months down the road when she will be in the maintenance phase and have the chance to go return to school as she receives about two years of less intense treatment.
My daughter is a inspiration to everyone she encounters along the way. Blood transfusions, sickness from chemo, losing her hair, and even unplanned hospital stays haven’t kept her down. She exhibits strength and maturity well beyond her 13 years and shares what God has done in her life with anyone who will listen.
God is bigger than any disease, any fear, and any struggles we may face. He continues to work in our lives and is giving Paige a wonderful testimony in the process. Everything will come together for good, and He will receive all the glory!
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12