Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rerouted

A month ago we were enjoying a nice 3 day weekend. I emceed at church, we helped in Sunday school, I grilled some steaks, and we got ready for my mom to come into town.

Three weeks ago the girls had just enjoyed a fabulous tea party for Lydia & Frannie's 6th birthday.

Two weeks ago, Sam and the kids were in the thick of VBS week, we were thoroughly enjoying our new windows, and just had a little MRI that coming Friday that we were barely concerned about. It's probably just a lipoma or maybe a hemangioma at worst.

One week ago, we were preparing for our Esther to have a likely benign tumor and part of her skull removed in major surgery. She would have some metal in her head but it would be done and they'd do a biopsy just to be sure the tumor wasn't bad.

Today, we're spending our first night in Children's hospital as they determine how far the neuroblastoma cancer has spread throughout her body and how to treat this deadly disease. Esther had no symptoms but now she can't keep any food or water down because of her third round of anesthesia in a week and a half.

Esther was patient and brave today and did very well, has "good veins" and they were able to easily place her port and take bone marrow samples from her hips. We still do not have a final, conclusive verification that the cancer is neuroblastoma but they are very sure that's what it is. Tomorrow will bring a CT scan, a PET scan, an MRI, and blood work. The concern is that neuroblastoma usually starts around the adrenal glands, in the abdomen, and that the tumor in Esther's skull is not where it began. Pray the tumor would be abnormally isolated. We should have initial pathology results from her bone marrow biopsy tomorrow.

In less than a week our lives have been completely flipped upside down. Completely rerouted. Likely to never be the same ever again. It's still hard to believe this is all real sitting here in this hospital room with Esther and Sam. I'm frustrated and angry. Esther is getting irritable and this is only the beginning. She has been so brave and patient but she can only handle so much. Why sweet little Esther? Why not one of us? Why her? I have no idea. I have no clue how to handle this.

But the truth is that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is good and his love through Christ has not changed. I don't know what He's doing but I know he is in control and will work all things for the good of those who love him. Am I struggling to believe that right now? Definitely.

But I also know that God willingly gave his own child who suffered that we might be free from sin, that we would know him and trust him. God willingly did this. Jesus willingly went to the cross for us. The greatest threat to us was never sickness or cancer or forest fires or even death. The biggest threat has always been our separation from Jesus and our inability to get back to him. God sent his own son to suffer and die to change that. He made a statement once and for all that he loves us and wants us to be with him.

We don't know why God is doing this (and doubt it not, he is over all this), but we know that he is with us. He is no stranger to suffering and tears. He understands. He grieves with us. He has not deserted us or forgot about us.

If the LORD had not been my help,
my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
When I thought, "My foot slips,"
your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up.
When the cares of my heart are many,
your consolations cheer my soul.
Psalm 95:17-19

12 comments:

  1. I cry more from your families story than for my own. Maybe its because this was my story just one month ago. God shows trial to those who can handle it and for his grace to shine. Just keep thinking what a witness your family can be to the staff working with Ester, to your other neighbor one room down, to the volunteers and to other cancer patients who are going through the same thing but don't know God. Ester's story will be amazing one day and she will tell everyone how God did great things for her when she was just 3 yrs old and how strong the her parents have become through all this. Our trials now can show how Great our God really is. May blessing shine on you little Ester!
    -Jodi

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  2. We love you guys sooooooo much...our hearts are full and heavy with love and concern and prayer for you all. Wyatt and Vrai pray everyday for Esther and talk about her and make things for her. :) I'll be sending them your way soon! Thank you for taking the time to write. Sometimes I'm sure it helps, and sometimes I'm sure it's hard. Thanks for helping us understand and be able to pray specifically.
    God's peace and grace to you all tonight,
    Amber for all the Constants

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  3. Anthony, your picture just breaks my heart, but Esther does look so brave and sweet in her bed. Thank you for sharing your real thoughts and for re-directing mine to Christ. I have been praying constantly for your family! Keep updating us when you can. Love you guys and praying hard.

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  4. Sam & Anthony - Each time we read the posts we cry for you and your kids and for Esther. We have been praying and sending good thoughts your way. Hopefully some of them have helped. It is so gracious of you to share your journey. It helps remind those of us that have not had to take this hard road to appreciate all that we have. We will keep sending love your way.

    Cari (Chris, Peter & Alexa)

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  5. I don't know you but a friend linked to your blog. I have a 3 year old little girl and my heart hurts just thinking about what Esther and your family is going through. We will be praying for you, my little girl will be praying for yours. when she prays for someone who isn't feeling well she always says, are you all better now? right after she finishes praying. God is able to make her "all better" that quickly and we will pray for it!

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  6. I don't know you personally but I wanted to let you know you have touched my heart with your faithfullness. God Bless you for remaining strong in faith in the hardest trial of your life. Your daughter and family is in my prayers and I am adding your daughter to our prayer chain at church. I pray that you are filled with continued stregnth and guidence as you follow this next journey of your life.

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  7. I'm following you (thanks Amber) and praying hard for your family as you face this new struggle.

    We attend Willow Creek and Joni Earkson Tada shared a powerful message on suffering. (http://media.willowcreek.org/weekend/special-friends-weekend/)

    I'm praying for comfort for you and yours all the way from here in Chicago.

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  8. I'm praying for you too! Your faith in God during all this is commendable and truly comes from Him! I am praying for Esther too! She is a brave little girl and the reason is that she trusts her parents and trusts God :) What a gift to have at her age! Thanks for updating!

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  9. Praying for you guys daily (or more) and usually fighting tears! You all are so dear to us! The song on the radio this am was encouraging - "Our God is not dead, he's surely alive. He's living on the inside, roaring like a lion." We have a fierce God, not passive. Even though that's hard to believe through such incredible trial! Wish you guys were closer so I could potentially be Esther's nurse! :)

    Jenn

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  10. I'm am praying for you guys everyday.. You don't know me but I know alot of colorado people that are now in arizona.. I went through cancer treatments and ct scans and pet scans.. And now I am doing radiation.. I know how it is to go through something like this. So if i can be of any help I would love to :)

    Love,
    Patty

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  11. Toby and Mateo's NanaJune 27, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    I'm Charity Lehmann's mom. I want you to know that I will be praying without ceasing for your sweet Esther as well as your entire family. She will be on my church's prayer list.

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  12. Esther sound like a wonderful little lady with a great smile. I will truly be praying for you and your family during this time. Esthers are strong, steadfast and brave women. The two Esthers I have known (my gma and Queen Esther) seem to have demonstrated great courage and strength, even with life's painful, skewed, and uncertain future. In the thick of things, these women patiently held fast to God's providence. Trusting and resting in His good and faithful plan and STEADFAST love. I trust and pray your little Easter will do the same.
    Megan aka "Jeanne's little sister"

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