Monday, July 7, 2014

Facing Her Fear

As I've mentioned in previous posts, Paige is now in her next phase of treatment.  Despite encouraging words about how each treatment gets us closer to the finish line, she wasn't exactly ready to move ahead--she was hoping for just one more week of feeling good.  She's had a month of increased energy and activity, so I really can't fault her for wanting to prolong the inevitable.  Over the past 11 days, she has received three chemotherapy administrations and one spinal tap with chemo.  Even though one of the chemo drugs had the potential of an allergic reaction and causes her extreme anxiety each time it makes its way onto the calendar, Paige made it through each one with the same courage and strength she has displayed throughout this journey.

The spinal tap, however, was going to be a true test.  As you may recall from previous posts, Paige had a very scary reaction the last time she underwent this procedure.  She experienced heaviness in her legs and right arm--to the point of being unable to use them--as well as very slurred speech.  These stroke-like symptoms resulted in a trip to the ER and a few days in the hospital.  It was determined that the meds in the spinal tap 'conspired' with another chemo treatment that day to hang around in her brain a little too long.  Thankfully, she rebounded and recovered quickly, and subsequent scans have shown no cause for concern.  Trust me when I say that news resulted in some serious praising going on around here!

Fast forward to the latest spinal tap.  Time to face a pretty big fear.  Praying over this procedure began days beforehand.  Different drug combination, more than one with anti-inflammatory properties that would serve as extra protection.  Rescue medications prescribed and in-hand.  Reassurance from her parents, doctors, and nurses that things should be just fine.  The procedure went smoothly, and Paige's body tolerated all medications administered that day.  Unfortunately, that didn't stop her anxiety, as there was still a window of 'opportunity' for another reaction to rear its ugly head.  Paige knows her body is healing.  She trusts that God is protecting her every step of the way.  She is also a 13-year-old girl who has dealt with more in the last six months than most people her age could ever imagine.

Recalling a discussion with her doctors that a reaction could occur anywhere from five to ten days after the procedure, Paige put herself on heightened alert on day five.  She began checking and double-checking her arms and legs to make sure they weren't getting that 'heavy' feeling again, and she was having trouble settling down at night to get some much-needed rest.  In fact, we reached a point where she needed a little extra help on those rough nights, and her doctor prescribed an additional medication that proved to be effective in helping her relax.  After one particularly tough night, Paige shared with me that she had been "trying and trying not to cry and get upset."  When I asked why--and reassured her it was perfectly okay to have those moments, she said she was afraid it would let people down "because everyone says I'm so strong."

Any guess as to what happened next?  Yep, this mom (through tears, of course) assured Paige that crying in no way makes her weak.  That being afraid was understandable--it was her body that experienced those effects, after all.  The important thing to keep in mind was that we couldn't let fear take over and undo all the good things we have seen so far.  Just as we have addressed every other obstacle, we would work through it together, praying for God to give us peace and the calm assurance He has provided since this journey began.

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Paige, you are the strongest, most amazing girl I have ever known.  I am beyond proud to call you my daughter, and I thank God every day for allowing me to be your mom.  Strong.  Brave.  Inspiring.  Keep facing those fears, my love.  God is doing such an awesome work in you!  

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Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.   1 Peter 5:7

3 comments:

  1. Paige is truly inspirational!

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    1. Yes, Melinda--she most definitely is! :)

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  2. Thinking of you. When you are well you can offer support others going through this. You will know just what to say.

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