I’ve mentioned that I never go back and read my posts. Well, in the process of transferring to this blog, www.defeatingchildhoodcancer.com, I have been reading. It has taken me many nights and I am not though my blog, yet (I am currently around day +180 in November.) There’s a reason I didn’t read. Fear. The tale is devastating, and I ache to buy back the time my little girl was in isolation.
But I found something. There is something else there. A thread that is more powerful. There’s a grace when the heart is under fire. And as I sort through the muddiness, I see the miracles. They are clear and brighter than the hole of desperation we were in. Because THAT is where we found God. He is the bright light that keeps showing up in my journaling. There was another in the fire, standing next to me.
Today I am going to write about our greatest miracle, the day that our God touched Reese with His sign of hope, as the cells of life were pumped into my little girl.
Before Reese went to transplant in California, rainbows were a part of our life, showing themselves in the moments we needed them most. One day in early 2018, Father Dan came over to visit with Reese. Right before he arrived Reese noticed that our picture window was painting rainbows all over our family room. It was really striking, the sun was hitting just right to put on an incredible show. Father Dan walked in and Reese showed him the rainbows. Then she got her toy ark (as in Noah’s) and Father Dan told my little girls the story of God’s first rainbow. And that’s how it started, Reese’s hunt for the rainbow after the storm, God’s sign of hope.
I remember waking up in the hospital with Reese on transplant day. We were singing, to the tune of “The Ants Go Marching,” but singing “The cells go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah.” I felt nervous energy, I was full of anticipation. Reese had been through a week of some of the most harsh chemotherapy known to man. Known to a little 4-year-old. The doctors had purposely killed her marrow, that which keeps us alive. This was necessary to cure her leukemia. I understood that the doctors were to keep Reese alive until new marrow, donated from an 18-year-old stranger, could move into her bones and start producing the immune system we all need to survive. This all starts with transplant. I knew that cells that were harvested from our donor the day before would be inserted into the central venous line that enters through Reese’s chest, near the right atrium of her heart.
Our transplant started late, it was not on schedule and this added to my anxiety. It was further delayed when there were viscous filter and pump problems. There was a clog, her fragile new cells would not go through the machine. It is for this reason that it lasted much longer than planned, and some of Reese’s new cells were hand pumped into her. The delays and mechanical problems worked together to have her BMT end just after 4pm.
I was sitting with her, holding her hand, as the last cells were hand pumped into my little girl. I watching a rainbow creep across the floor. Minutes later it made it’s way up her bed. Then right across her curved little body as the last of the life saving cells entered her bloodstream. I felt God, I think I laughed out loud with pure joy. God is good and God was with us. And he sent us the most beautiful, perfect sign that we are never alone. The rainbow, the sign that reminds us of hope at the end of a storm.
People ask me how I stayed positive throughout our difficult journey. I was never alone, and I knew it. There was another in the fire, standing next to me. There was another in the waters, holding back the seas. I was never alone, I felt the power of God. And I can see this power throughout my journaling, and THIS is what shines through. My daughter’s journey is just beginning, I know that He has big plans for her. I am so blessed to be on this journey, right where I am supposed to be. To quote the pastor from this morning, “We’re not wrapping up a good season, we are just getting started with a good season. God is about to do a great work in this place, if you believe it… Get ready…” We are ready.
I have quoted my favorite song throughout this article. It is Another in the Fire, by Hillsong United. Perfection.
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