Monday, June 1, 2009

    Nothing Left to Do...

    There is a girl going through treatment with Cole named Lauren Cootes. As hard a path as we've had to walk, it pales in comparison with what Lauren and her family have had to endure. Lauren is 17, almost 18, and in her senior year of high school. She has ALL, just like Cole, but has been in the "first" stages of treatment for a year solid. In comparison, it took Cole 5 months to make it through delayed intensification, whereas Lauren has been in treatment since Mother's Day of '08 and is still not through delayed intensification.

    If there is a side effect, Lauren has suffered from it. And I do mean suffered. Most recently she has been in the hospital with a blood infection that was very serious and very dangerous. I had the privilege of talking with her last night and she commented that she was in pain. Last time I had talked with her (a few weeks ago) she was in pain. I asked if it had lightened up at all, and she responded, "I'm always in pain, I'm just getting used to it."

    And yet, whenever I picture Lauren in my mind I see her sweet smile. It's a tired smile and sometimes it's a little worn, but she always has a genuine smile.

    Last night, while I was thinking about Lauren's latest encounter with the demons of cancer, I realized that Lauren's smile epitomizes something that we (my family and I) have been experiencing for quite some time. When everything has gone wrong, when you just can't catch a break, when nothing seems to even remotely be going your way, then you have nothing left to do... But live.

    I think that's the amazing thing about living in cancer land. We see people who, day after day, are dealt the worst hand possible, yet they continue to play the game. Not only that, they continue to play the game with a smile on their faces.

    Our struggle, and these people, people like Lauren, have made this scripture real to me:

    Ephesians 6:13

    Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

    We all have nothing left to do but live (or stand).

    Join with Dalynn and I in prayer for Lauren and her family. They desperately need a break, a respite, anything. They have been hit so hard, so fast, for so long that I truly believe that it's becoming their normal. No one should have to live like that.

    Pray with us that Lauren's sweet smile will stay on her lips and pray with us that her family will be bolstered and strengthened. Pray with us that they will have some time of rest and peace, some time where it's not in and out of the hospital. Pray with us that Lauren will be able to fully enjoy her first year at college and get to live life in the dorms. They need it, and by God, they deserve it.


    HeatherL said...

    That's sweet, Mike. I'll surely be praying for Lauren.

    All the stuff we've been looking into with Parker has been very difficult. There are days when it feels like all we do is survive. I know that it's totally different, but I literally cry to God and beg Him to help me just to stand and not let it destroy us or our lives.

    I hope this doesn't come out the wrong way, but one of the only things that actually comforts me most days is that Parker's not in pain. So it is especially encouraging to hear from a parent of a child who is in pain (and often) that by the power of God they're going to stand too.

    I think back to when me and Jerry used to hang out with you and Dalynn in your apartment. We were so unaware of the hard times ahead. So happy. It seems unfair that we didn't have any warning that these days were coming. No time to prepare or anything. Why did we ever want to be anywhere but right there?