How do you respond, when you are told for the second time that your son is dying soon? We were not told that specifically this time, but we were told last year Joel had weeks or months to live when he had one tumor, now he has three, which is what they thought might happen a few weeks into the process last year. So, by reading between the lines a little bit, we know that Joel is on the verge of death again, but even closer to the edge this time.
How did I respond? I held it together fairly well until we started talking about Disney World, and when the doctors told me how great it would be and how much fun we would all have I began crying and didn’t stop for a while. Then I sent a few text messages and updated the website because, I know from past experience that if I wait until we get home to write an update I am already so drained from the emotions we have processed on the car ride home and all the phone conversations and people stopping by that I take hours longer than I should to update. How strange is that really, that this time when we got crushing medical news involving our sons very life, we knew how to manage it since it had already happened a few times before?
Before we left the hospital we were told that they found a third tumor on his MRI, this one in his brain. We leave, we call people, and I cry until I have a headache, and keep crying until I am nauseous and holding a paper bag in case I have to vomit. I cry because I love Joel’s hair and he will likely lose it from chemotherapy, and I cry because he won’t get to go swimming with his broviac, and I cry because I do not want to spend nights in the hospital with Joel away from my husband and 3 other sons, and I don’t want to spend nights at home with our 3 other sons but not Joel and my husband.
Still, when I am honest, there is a part of me that is excited, that knows that every time something bad has happened, God has responded with something better than I can expect. Part of me is excited because I am really tired of hoping the fight is over but in the back of my head really feeling like God isn’t done yet. I am a little relieved because I have always suspected it might come down to things taking a tragic turn for the worse and God being the only answer. This happened last year, but then God’s response was so subtle, it was a wait and see after radiation and it felt like a supernatural thing that unfolded very naturally. Maybe that is how God always moves, but I just felt like there would be more. So now, three tumors and it might as well be twenty, maybe it soon will be the way this kind of tumor grows and spreads, but I guess like David, I am feeling like we have killed our bear, and we have killed our lion, and since I want to be done fighting and I know how the story goes, I am ever so slightly glad to see the giant approaching, because I believe that this is the final battle, the end of this fight is coming really soon, and I can only be glad about that because I believe we’ll win it.
I am scared I won’t be strong enough to face the things we might have to face in the coming weeks and months, but then I remember how much grace God gave us to walk out everything we have already faced. I have never felt completely overwhelmed, and I have never felt alone. So no matter what comes next, and I truly can not even begin to guess how this will go, I know that God will never leave us. He is faithful, and this is His fight. I have peace tonight and will sleep well because just like the worship songs say, the battle belongs to the Lord.


There are 3 comments for this post.

  1. Siobhan Bibb on October 21, 2011 12:42 am

    Oh Amy,
    You and Ryan are the strongest people that I know. Your faith is a testimony to how wonderful God is, and every time I read one of Joel’s updates I see more clearly than anything else your love for God, and His love for you. I am so tremendously sorry to hear of Joel’s MRI results, but you are right, this is God’s battle, and He will fight for you. All you need do is to trust on Him with all of your understanding, and He will direct your paths. I pray with all of my heart that this battle is one that though it’s a giant of a battle, it’s easily fought with one single stone in a slingshot. I pray that Joel reacts well to the chemo, and that the treatment will not be too hard on his little body. I pray with all of my heart that Joel is healed quickly, and that the tumors never return again. You have our love and our prayers. More than any of that though, you have the Creator of the universe on your side, and He loves your family, He loves Joel.

  2. Jenny (Stroh) Hutson on October 21, 2011 11:30 am

    I just wanted you to know that my family and my entire church family are lifting you all up in prayer. We are praying for a miraculous healing of Joel and for peace and strength for you and Ryan. You said it best when you said God’s plan for Joel hasn’t changed. He will see it through to completion.

  3. Juanita Visser on October 21, 2011 4:05 pm

    Dear Amy and Ryan, im from Cape Town South Africa, in 2009 my 14 year old son was diagnose with brain cancer, as i was looking at Joel pictures my sons scares was the same, but i make peace in my heart and in my mind. It was abt 3 weeks before he pass on, as i was sitting next to him on his bed he was in a world of his own, so i ask him what he is looking at, he told me “mommy i never gonna be healed” i ask him why he is saying such things he answered” i just saw Jesus and Jesus was calling me” he also believe that he will never die in vain, he so much believe in God and that God will use his death to get his friends to be saved. He died 8 month after the doctors diagnose him with the cancer, but i can only praise God for the time he was borrowed to me. After his death God is doing wonderful work in the life’s of his friends. Im praying for your family because i know what u going through, remember God love Joel and He also love his family. Dont ever give up hope, because its not over till God say its over. Be strong in the Lord and let Him be your strength. God be with you always.

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