Monday, September 14, 2015

Team Sophia: 5 Years Later (Almost)

It's been 59 months and 26 days since that Sunday in October 2010 when Sophia walked in the living room of our rent house, where I was working at my "desk," (which was a TV tray at the time).  She was looking down her nose at me which struck me as weird.  I asked her why she was looking at me that way.

"Because I see two of you."

Right then, a tornado siren went off in my heart.  I'd just taken her that morning to an urgent care clinic because of the swelling of her left eye.  They told me she had pink eye.  I knew that wasn't right as this was my 2nd child and we'd all had pink eye before at that point.  What she had did NOT look like pink eye to me.  That was the last time I didn't argue ask well-thought out questions of a doctor when I thought they were not 100% in their diagnosis.

I told Dave what she said.  Immediately, we packed up to go to the ER and called my parents to drop newly-minted 7 year old Natalie on the way.  It was about 5 pm on Sunday evening.  After that fateful moment, our lives were never the same.

5 1/2 hours later, as I laid there on the ER room gurney with Sophia asleep in my arms, I did what most parents would do in an ER.  I prayed.  In what I now know to be a moment of Holy Spirit inspired prayer, I told the Lord I would praise Him no matter.  And I distinctly remember saying out loud, I will praise You, Lord.  Even if this is cancer.

After I uttered those words, there was no audible voice from God, no angelic messenger; absolutely nothing dramatic or supernatural occurred.  Sophia didn't twitch and I didn't feel the Spirit rise up in me.  It was just.....peace.  Not completely silent (hospitals never are) but like someone had thrown a blanket over us.  It was warm and safe and quiet.  That was the moment, I think, when the Lord stretched out His wings over us (Psalm 91:1,4) and I believe we've never left His side.

This picture is from the morning she got her port-a-cath put in, less than 2 weeks later.  I love this picture because that was my baby....that's what she looked like at 4 years old before cancer and chemo.

She's not here to complain and tell me "STOP CRYING!"  Apparently I do that more than she likes.  I apologize, but say her mother gets emotional and when that happens, my eyes leak.  They are really leaking now as I sit here writing this post.  It's not out of pain or despair or woundedness.  The Lord healed me of all that 2 years ago.  It's when I think about what's happened to us in the last 5 years....all the people who prayed for us....all the people who made meals....sent cards...stood by us....commented on Facebook and even read the open-ended journal this blog became....that's really what makes me cry.  Thank you is not enough, but I'll say it anyway....THANK YOU.

Then, I think about all the people who never knew us in that season, including our current church family (some just finding out last week Sophia had cancer!)  They only know "us" now, not the "us" from then.  But we wouldn't be who we are now without Sophia's ordeal...really our family's ordeal.

We are at the finish line now.  The last scans of her protocol/treatment plan happened Friday afternoon and this picture was taken right after.  I love this picture because it is fully Sophia, proud to be 9 and happy to be finished.  Tomorrow morning, we meet with her oncologist for what will surely be the very last time.  She will transfer us to the long-term care clinic at Texas Children's and Dr. Jodi Muscal will "retire" as Sophia's doctor.

I don't think there is anything wrong with being emotional at the end of the journey.

And I am.  I am emotional because we are so blessed.  Not just because she is completely healthy with no side effects AT ALL.  I can't express my gratitude to God for making her total healing a reality.  It is too much for me to express all He has done for us, all He has given us, all He continues to do in our lives.  It is obscenely extravagant and we are not worthy of it.

Theologically speaking, I know we are worthy because of Christ but that doesn't keep me from being totally humbled by that reality.  I live in that victory every day.  I operate, pray and minister out of that confidence I posted about yesterday (read that here).  But as me speaking to you, it is too much goodness given to just 4 regular 5.  Yet HE STILL GAVE IT.

I don't know who that is for, who that know that if God will give us all this, He will most certainly give you the same portion, or more.  I know He will.  

We will continue to care and serve and pray and believe for those fighting cancer.  I still do comfort kits (read about those here).  We will again pray-walk the road between MD Anderson and Texas Children's on Saturday, February 13th, 2016 (MAKE PLANS NOW TO JOIN US!)  We will have t-shirts made this time because I have a feeling because we sowed the seed this year, there is a harvest of people coming to pray in the reality of those hospitals becoming places of healing, not treatment.  

The back of our Team Sophia shirts quoted Galatians 6:9-10: Do not grow weary in doing good, for at the right time, you will reap a harvest.  I can say it has been a harvest all along.  We say the same thing in the cancer world: N.E.G.U.  We will never, ever give up till a cure is found - whether that is Jesus' 2nd coming or a medical miracle.  Either way, we are here to fight the evil-sent disease of cancer and the suffering it causes, with supernatural and natural means.  Jesus teaches us how to do that and He also teaches us healing is possible.

Sophia, our whole family is a great example of what He can do, with only a willing heart.  

Just keep showing us the way, Lord.  Thank You for always doing so.  Send us the cure for cancer and comfort those afflicted, Gracious God.  Raise up Your people to help in every creative way You can think of, Holy Spirit.  Bring more of Your Kingdom to earth, in Jesus' Name.

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