Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Keep Your Eyes on the Lights (BMT Day 0)

Today the 7 of us drove down to Children's Hospital to see Esther off for high dose chemo and transplant. I (Anthony) checked in to the BMT unit while Sam and the older 4 hang at Brent's Place for the rest of the week. The kids said goodbye to their sister for 3-4 weeks in the lobby of the hospital before we headed up.

It ended up being a pretty fun and laid back day for Esther and I. We unpacked and I put her stroller and kitchen set together. She had one of her favorite nurses, Ms. Rebecca, who was very helpful in getting us settled and answering questions. It must have already felt like Christmas to Esther, who got to play with a new little kitchen, stroller, and kids table while also receiving a few gifts through the hospital!

Esther playing with her new kitchen, stroller, and kids table while getting an anti-fungal medicine as the day winds down.
Esther arrived as brave and laid back as always, bantering with the welcoming nurses and being as cute as ever. Things will get harder and more intense but God has gifted her with such a resilience and ability to walk into a storm as if it's not there.

As we drove down today, I reflected on what we were about to do and about the past week or so. We are entering a very dangerous phase. She is about to be very vulnerable to whatever is in her system and to whatever she has been exposed to in the past few weeks. This is treatment is brutal. There's a reason she'll get her own stem cells as a rescue in a week after the chemo is done.

I also reflected on how I don't feel close to God right now. I haven't pursued him much. I have forgotten about him and ignored him at times. Over the past week I have been fighting my allergies a bit with some throat irritation and even a cough yesterday. I've prayed but have been frustrated with the timing of the throat irritation and, in this stage, your paranoid mind only asks if you're getting sick. The past weeks have practically felt like one long obssession with avoiding illness.

But as we drove today, I had no cough, no throat irritation. My allergies have felt great all day.

There are no coincidences.

God is engaged and fighting for our good and his glory. In all the craziness of the past month, we have had no illness in our home, a home of 5 kids. Esther's health couldn't be better heading into this treatment. My allergies cleared up almost on cue and it really spoke to my heart - God is over all and has it all in his hands. I also felt grieved because I feel like I've been quicker to frustration and trying to take control instead of quicker to turn to him.

I am thankful that he is faithful when we are not, that he has plans years and years in advance for our good. I am thankful that God is beyond methods and our measures and that his plans cannot be thwarted.

Tonight, I took this picture of Esther as she looked out the window at the Christmas lights (yes, we got a room facing the south direction - one of only 3 (out of 10+ total) on the BMT unit). You can faintly make out the Christmas lights in the photo. These rooms still have the lower 18 inches of the window fogged. What that means is that you cannot simply just look over and look outside your window. You have to purposely go to the window and get your head above the fog and take a peek.

It's such a powerful picture. The lights are there. Don't forget about them. God gives glimpses, lights, little things that remind us he will never leave us nor forsake us. I don't want to miss them, especially as things ramp up in intensity. Tomorrow starts 4 days of continuous chemotherapy infusions.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:16-17)



  1. Continuing to pray for your entire family and especially Esther. I can relate to the vulnerable feeling - my son's anc was 0 yesterday, so it's a bit unnerving as we wait for his body to rebound all the while praying none of us get sick. May the Lord cover and protect your entire family as you travel down the path of BMT.

  2. Sam and Anthony, I remember the obsession with illness taking hold of Mark and I. I also remember feeling numb to God and numb to it all after awhile. You made such a great point, God is still the same, still right there, holding you guys. Though you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death, He is with you. We are praying for you guys. Also, I am available to come visit while my folks are in town if that would be helpful . Let's talk! Love you guys.

  3. Praying for sweet Esther and your entire family!